The eighties took fashion into a direction that seems irreversible for women. The independent and powerful woman has become defined by the lack of glamour in her wardrobe. Mix that with the ever-struggling economy in North America and you have a perfect recipe for the death of the feminine woman.
Personally, I miss it. I guess I can’t say I miss it exactly, since I was not alive during the glamour and spectacle of Hollywood in the fifties, but I miss having the option. Not to say that one can’t dress with elegance or grace and not to say that I haven’t seen crystals on any evening gowns, but the places that an Elli Saab gown could be worn become farther and fewer between in the daily lives of us North American women.
A glamorous woman is now an oddity to be criticized and judged. Stereotypes blasted at those who aren’t drab and dreary in their approach to fashion include ‘she married for money obviously’, or ‘gold digger’, or ‘it’s a good thing she’s pretty’. The implication that is cast upon one who prefers to embrace the glorious art of getting ready in the morning is shameful.
It isn’t just the costuming; the black and brown, the common and boring, the masculine concept has taken dictatorship over all things fashionable. Makeup, jewelry, hairstyles, house furnishings, shoes, and even bags have become straight, bold, boxy, and limited in their polished femininity. I guess you could say that my dream would be to see us women embodying the intellectual, the capable, and the strong, yet still hold on to our natural genetic qualities of warmth, fragility, compassion, and feminine beauty; and express it through the co-ordination of physical presence.
Some may call me old fashioned and naïve, which could very well be true, but it doesn’t take away the yearning for something more spectacular and regal in my closet. I am not alone in this dream either, as I am constantly viewing pictures of Audrey Hepburn glued onto the cover of laptops and hearing many discuss the utter feminine regality that they wish they could embody like the renowned Grace Kelly. I also witness women walking by me every day wearing tops with Marilyn Monroe’s face plastered to their chests.
It seems that we are clutching onto a memory of a time when life was simpler, when clothing was spectacular, and luxurious fashion was everywhere. We humans have a seemingly huge interest in beauty, but it seems we have been preoccupied with expressing the beauty within, an act that I cherish and admire, but have forgotten to express the external beauty as well. Both have a huge impact on the world around us, and for the better.
Andrea Lilly, JCI Fashion Student