Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Missoni Knit, Mod Makeup, and Spring Merriment

The first things I thought when I got this new zigzag print shift were: the 1960s, and ...

Missoni, 1960s
Missoni. When one thinks of Missoni, one thinks first and foremost of its trademark, zigzag knit, amply illustrated here in these groovy boots.

I have no doubt that whoever designed the considerably cheaper fabric used to make my dress had Missoni in mind.

Vintage Missoni, selling on Etsy for a whopping $3,750
It's difficult to know whether Missoni's zigzag knits were oft copied in the 1960s and early 1970s, or if Missoni oft copied an already existing trend.

Either way, the zigzags were everywhere, and the brighter, the better.

Even today, Missoni's trademark knit is in high demand, as evidenced by these crazy-expensive, modern shorts, and the knock-off of the pattern in my own new dress.

The look matches my cat, Milo. Okay, not really, but I wanted to share a photo of my cat.

In truth, though, I really did think that my dress was full of oranges until I looked at it a second time.

Cape: London Fog; Boots: Ecco; Dress: Tacera; Earrings and right hand ring: Birks; Hair clip: Stylize; Mesh bracelet: heirloom; Brooch, sunglasses, tights, and brutalist bracelet: vintage
It actually features a great deal of red, purple, and pink but, as with my hair, the colour seems to vary, depending on the light.

Noting its pink zigs (or are they zags?), and noting that the cherry blossoms were already in bloom, I decided that, the next time the sun came out, I'd photograph the blossoms and the dress together. 

Okay, actually, Beau would photograph them together. I'd just look pretty. He's an awfully patient fellow.

Beau and I first noticed the blossoms on February 14.

In other words, ever so romantically, we saw them on Valentine's Day, exactly one year after we announced our engagement.

I did dress for the occasion in a red and white dress, but you've seen the dress before, the lighting was bad that day, and the photos were blurry, so it made more sense to wait for the sun and show you a new dress instead.

And, lo! the very next day, the sun came out ...

... in all its groovy, 60s splendour.

While the rest of Canada was digging out from under a huge snow storm, we were lounging in the green green grass under the pink pink petals and the blue blue sky.

Ah, the west coast. Sigh.

There was a teensy nip in the air, so I tossed on my woollen cape-coat and headed off to the park. 

(And do please note my wonderful, 1960s, D'Orlan brooch, which I adore, and which you can see better here.)

The cape-coat is a cat fur magnet, but I love it ...

... and it's a shoo-in for a 1960s look (though I don't think this particular photograph was actually taken in the 60s).

I'm short and my arms drown in the bat wings, so the cuff tends to flip up but it almost looks intentional. I don't mind.

I still looked groovy, I think. Yes? It's not really very easy to look good on a mobility scooter, so I consider it a real accomplishment when I manage it.

Of course, we weren't the only ones in the park but one of the things I love about my city is that we have so many parks, they're never over crowded. I've lived in New York City and I know crowds! I don't miss them, especially now that every jostle and twist increases my pain levels.

As I've mentioned before, it rains a lot here, so, when the sun comes out, so do all the people. I even ran into my good friend (and soon to be "bridesmaid"), Sal. He was in a bit of an existential funk, but I think the sun helped a bit.

Check out that moss on the tree! As I said in a recent post about the rain, it's not so much a matter of trying to coax life out of the earth here as it is a matter of trying to contain it.

I love that!

It was a lovely Sunday.

And I was doing my 60s thang ...

... in my Missoni knock-off ...

... with my matching accessories.

I think they have a sort of zigzag vibe. Can you dig it? 

The mesh piece belonged to my paternal grandmother and probably dates to the 60s. The brutalist bracelet, which I'm guessing is from the 70s but could date back to the 60s, was a gift from a guy I met through our mutual love of vintage. Apparently he's got a matching set of earrings for me too and I was bummed that I didn't have them yet, but I soldiered on!

The other thing that makes my dress quintessentially 60s is its cut. The shift dress was absolutely everywhere in the 60s, first showing up in the Mod looks of London, and quickly spreading to suburbs everywhere.

This cut is not actually all that flattering to anything but a very thin figure -- at least not head-on. It's a dress that looks best on a body in motion.

I discovered this when looking at the photos Beau took of me wearing it.

1960s, super model, Twiggy, thinner than thin, and younger than young
Models and/or those tell them how to pose in these dresses seemed to have known that motion increases the appeal of the polyester shift dress.

And I think the message was somehow in my head already because I just felt that this pose screamed "60s!"

The 60s were yet another period where extreme, youthful skinniness was all the rage, with the flat-chested, aptly nicknamed, model Twiggy being the epitome of this look. It was a gamine beauty standard to which no healthy, mature woman could measure up (or, more accurately, down), but I'm not sure she'd really want to anyway.

I am neither young, nor thin (anymore). That's okay. 

Twiggy, whose real name is Lesly Hornby, nowadays
Neither are the models of the 1960s, not even Twiggy herself.

Youth culture went a bit mad in the 1960s. Remember, the Baby Boomers, born in the rush of procreation after World War II, were now coming of age, and the fashion of the day reflected this fact. 

I actually find some of the fashions a bit creepy, with their little girl dresses, little girl poses ...

... little girl makeup ...

... little girl hair ...

... and little girl shoes ...

Me, I'm a grown woman. 


But I can still play dress up.

In my own way.

Given the 60s theme of the day, posing in front of a VW van was a no-brainer, but, contrary to popular belief, the 60s weren't all about far out groovitude and hippies. There were a lot of hippies about, yes, but there were a lot other people about too.

Twiggy again
I think the new love of hot and crazy colour combinations was less about rampant use of psychedelic drug, and more about the wondrous new possibilities of that amazing invention: polyester!

Such wash and go whimsy had never been possible before.

And don't forget the bright, new, synthetic tights! No need for garters! No runs! Bright colours! Low prices!

It was dress up time!

These tights were so new, in fact, that there doesn't even seem to have been agreement on what to call them. In this advertisement, they have the fun name of "leg-o-tards." I've never seen them called that before. Have you?

Colour was the name of the game, but one did occasionally see a more subdued tone in footwear, even beyond the staple of the shiny white go-go boot. My caramel boots aren't entirely inappropriate here.

But mostly, as with everything else, it was colour colour and more colour.

And frosted, pastel makeup. It's an odd combination when you think about it: bright primary colours paired with pastels.

And, on another topic, look above and let us get one thing straight... or not straight, as the case may be: long, ironed hair was not the only fashionable hairstyle of the 1960s.

Contrary to popular belief, curly hair was not entirely verbotten.

And not all voluminous hair had to be a beehive.

I have a vested interest in this topic. I don't even know how to straighten my hair!

And yet more of Twiggy
But back to that crazy, frosted makeup. When I was a child, I was absolutely fascinated by this huge-eyed look.

Toni Basil and Peter Fonda in Easy Rider
I'm not sure when I first encountered it, but I know I thought it was amazing on Toni Basil in Easy Rider.

Goldie Hawn in the 1960s
And Goldie Hawn practically made a career out of the look (okay, and talent).

I've never had the courage to go all out with this big-eyed look, but I did copy it in my own modest way here.

I opted for pink, purple, and white eye shadow, with black eye-liner on the lid, and a white liner on the inner corners of my eyes. If I can give one makeup tip, it's that a light shadow and/or liner on the inner eye immediately brightens the whole face.

That's probably the only makeup tip I can give as I don't know much about the stuff. For me, I'm wearing a lot of makeup here, and it's really very little, as you can see. I can easily recognize different makeup trends, past and present, but I don't know how to duplicate them. I've just never been one for a lot of makeup, though lately I've been thinking of taking lessons in vintage makeup styles. It might be fun.

I do think it would be cool to at least have the ability to look like this gal, even I never actually do it.

For the record, you may think that the "winged" eyeliner of today is a new thing. Look above and think again.

And let us not forget the frosted lips!

Everyone had to have frosted lipstick, right?

And huge earrings. Huge, weird earrings were tres chic. I thought the texture of these ones went well with the texture of my bracelets.

It was just that kind of a day, a just for fun kind of a day ...

... a flowers and blue sky kind of a day ...

... a playful ...

... Winnie-the-Pooh kind of a day with no deep messages and angst.

I hope you're not disappointed!

(I'm sharing this over at Not Dead Yet's Visible Mondays.)