Sunday, August 1, 2010

Those were the days!

I recently had the opportunity to view the San Francisco Then exhibit which featured photographs from photographer Fred Lyon. His photographs evoke nostagalic feelings for an era I longed to live in. The 1940s and 50s were a dramatic time in American history, with WWII, new music, women empowerment, and style revolutions, it truly is a time full of change. A particular photograph makes my longing grow ever more; it’s a street shot from above, of hundreds of people walking down the street. Simple enough, right? What makes this photograph special is in fact the era, for it depicts regular people in their everyday dress, back when people actually worried about how they appeared to others in public, and would never dare have the words “Juicy” labeled across their rear end. This photograph shows men and women in suits, complete with hats, coats, and gloves. People just looked more presentable and well put together back then, even if they were just making a run to the grocery store. Remarkable, isn’t it?

These styles of the 40s and 50s like to make comebacks. Ankle socks worn by youngins’ are finding their way to the feet of modern trend setters; the rock and roll greasers are once again found to be living in the attitudes of rocker chic leather motorcycle studded jackets and boots; full circle skirts with their extenuated hour class silhouette are a steady and go to classic; yes, the styles of the 40s and 50s are very much alive in many ways.

However, I wish more of these trend focused on one of the most classic 40s and 50s trends; hats. Hats with veils, feathers, roses, ribbons, tassels, felt, silk, buttons- anything and everything! Hats to match outfits, hats for weddings, hats for church, hats for work- hats, hats, hats! They seem to make any woman look adorable. They’re definetly a trend I would love to see make a comeback- and by comeback I don’t mean one celebrity who happened to be on a TV show and 2 related movies (ahem, SJP). Sorry to be ever so rude to you dear Sarah Jessica Parker, but there is a way to wear hats, and you’re just not doing it right. You see, back then women wouldn’t simply wear outlandish crazy hats just for media attention getting sake- they were an accessory worn with grace, elegance, and most importantly, poise. Maybe hats would make a comeback if someone got the bright idea to write “Juicy” on the back of them.

Four eyes! More people wore glasses back then too, it being pre-contact lenses era. If you’ve ever flipped through a 40s yearbook, you’ll agree with me that the majority of the population had glasses. Based on this fact, they were also more of an accessory. Cat eye frames, for example, are quite a unique style- they don’t make glasses that look like that anymore. Thus, these frames go for quite a killing in vintage shops and websites. In fact, I’d like to snag a pair myself! In the same street shot I mentioned earlier, the majority of people were wearing glasses. In those days, it must not have been considered quite as nerdy as it is now, considering the majority of the population was subjected to wear them.

One picture that I found particularly amusing featured these boys racing down one of the steep sidewalks of San Francisco on their skate-boards. I told my Dad about it later, and he said, oh yes, skate boards; my Dad used to do that.” He pronounced skateboards are two words, explaining they were skates on boards. I distinctly remember the boys in the photograph wearing socks that came up to their ankles and striped shirts. Stripes have remained a classic in fashion, but this summer they are expected to be very trendy. As for ankle socks, they are also making a comeback. Seen on runway shows from Marc Jacobs to Luis Vuitton, these necessity turned accessories are sure to be seen more frequently.

Put it quite simply, Fred Lyon’s photography makes me want to live in the 40s and 50s, when kids were kids, and adults were adults, and there was a firm line between the two. The days when Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant reigned over the silver screen and Elvis Presley was nothing but a hound dog. Ah, those were the days. Who would have thought that the fashions that were so prevalent back then would be making the debut 60-70 years later, in the 2000s?

No comments:

Post a Comment