Saturday, October 4, 2008

San Francisco Street - Today's 70s Inspiration

Photos by Vanguard - San Francisco

Remember how, in the 90s, we were obsessed with the 1970s. Somehow, men managed to pull all of the worst things from the era – polyester, loud prints, unflattering colors, and exaggerated detailing – and thoroughly integrate them into their wardrobe. Luckily, the last few years have allowed us to purge all of those bad ideas (never again will we wear a fabric that doesn’t breathe) so that we can look at that era with new eyes while searching for ideas that may have true relevancy and show real innovation in the men’s realm.

Tyson is a great example of how to take inspiration from the 70s without degrading yourself in cheap fabrics and prints. Here, he has grabbed and amazing cut and silhouette. We see a highly evolved (and might we add, slightly suggestive) bellbottom that, although subtle, sets him apart from every other man on the street. This outfit happens to also connect closely to our exploration of Marc Jacobs’ leggings in the post below; the cut of these bellbottoms provides another alternative to those who depend on the lean-bottomed silhouette. (View more photos of Tyson at Garbage Dress)

Whereas Tyson is finding new inspiration in shapes from the 70s, the outfit above retains the inspiration we have taken since the 1990s (prints, colors, details) but digs deeper in order to interpret these ideas in a new and much more tasteful way for today’s men. The colors he has chosen are subtle yet, in our current world of neutrals and monochromacy, are still just as bold as the neon pastels used in the 90s. His print is less space-disco and more historically patterned. His fabrics maintain the textural philosophies of the 70s (nubby juxtaposed against satin) but does so in natural and luxurious fabrics rather than those made by man to imitate the natural and luxurious. Finally, his details (seen in his bag and accessories) have the whimsy of 1970s, but with an intellect not found during the 90s.

Later on in Vanguard, we will be discussing historicism and its role in contemporary menswear as well as whether or not something truly avant-garde can borrow from the past. For now, however, let us consider this lesson: let’s learn from our past mistakes of taking from former time periods. Rather than pursuing and mass-producing cheap take-offs of motifs that will, in retrospect (no pun intended), make us look clownish and overdone, let’s view history with a more intellectual eye and take from it pieces that will enrich where we stand today. In a current period that seems to be drowning in ideas taken from the 1980s, the relevancy of this lesson can not be exaggerated.

1 comment:

zana bayne said...

That's such an epic picture of tysonne. love it! Also, the second gent is Kelvin from MAC in hayes valley. He's a constant icon of style in SF. I would love to photograph him every day. Also, great double portrait (the fellow waving in the truck).