Monday, 8 August 2011

The Glamourous Fiber 66

Yesterday, I was over at Male Pattern Boldness reading Peter's blog post Mid Sixties Style or "Glamour's Last Gasp" it is a good read, please go for a visit. He had me thinking was the sixties really "glamour's last hurrah"?

What is glamour? Is it, as Peter's magazine find suggest, restricted to a by-gone era?

I'm not quite sure I'm ready to agree. I think that Jean Paul Gauthier's Couture Collection is quite glamourous. And surely, Vogue Patterns have a touch of glamour!

Vogue 1014

Vogue 1108

Vogue 2481

Vogue 2890

Vogue 2929

Vogue 2931
But I can understand what Peter is referring to. The pattern books that conveyed images of women smartly dressed and accessorized perfectly with gloves and hats. They looked complete with a sense of fascination and mystery as to what their day might entail.

Their glamourous look was not restricted to a gala evening out.

So, what is glamour really? Is glamour an attitude? What changed in the sixties that would make someone suggest that the sixties were glamour's last hurrah?

I think we might have to go undercover to find the answer.

The dictionary defines glamour as "the quality of fascinating, alluring, or attracting, especially by a combination of charm and good looks."

If Peter is right with suggesting glamour's last breath occurred in the mid-sixties I think we might like to look at the rise and fall of nylons.

Fiber 66, created in the mid-thirties by Dupont chemist Wallace Carothers might tell us something of the age of glamour.

The allure of nylons were powerful when they first hit the market in the late 1930s. Women purchased nearly 70 million pairs the first year they were produced. The start of World War II halted the production of women's nylons but not the demand.

Nylon sales continued as a black market commodity and the post-war allure of nylon stockings could not keep up with the demand. The demand for nylons and the inability of manufacturers and stores keep up caused women to scuffle over the object of desire, this became known as the "Nylon Riots" of 1945 to 1946.

The allure of nylons continued for decades and even today vintage nylons are considered a treasure. I can say that nylons are the best pick-me-up that this gal has in her wardrobe.

So what changed in the mid-sixties in relation to nylons? Well, the appearance of pantyhose (known as tights in Britain) as an alternative to stockings.

And who was the poster gal for pantyhose? The fabulous Edie Sedgwick, better known as the girl with the black tights!

Edie wore what would become her signature black tights with everything. And tights allowed hemlines to rise along with the era of a new casualness.

By the 1970s sales of pantyhose surpassed the sales of nylons. Edie Sedgwick glamorized mod clothing back in the day. It wasn't the clothing, it was those glamorized legs.

I'm not saying that glamour is directly tied to nylons. I believe it is more the illusion of glamour that Hollywood put forth.

But those Hollywood actresses in those old black and white films of by-gone days have a leg up on Edie or any other style icon when it comes to glamour. Yeah, maybe it is all about the stockings?

Do you think that Peter is right and that glamour has had its last breath? Or can glamour be magically found when slipping on a pair of nylons? Can tights be glamourous? Or are glamour and tights reserved for Edie and Cat Woman? Any thoughts?

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