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The State of the Fashion Union: E Pluribus Plures

My fellow fashionisti,

A century ago, 1st Wave Feminism gave women the right to vote -- and the ability to breathe and move unrestricted by corsets and trailing skirts.  Designers like Counterfeit Chic's Patron Saint/Avenging Angel Coco Chanel took pride (and profit) in setting women free.

Michael Roberts,

In the latter half of the 20th century, 2nd Wave Feminism dramatically expanded our opportunities to make career and lifestyle choices -- and our ability to leave the house without a uniform of elaborately coifed hair, lacquered faces, restrictive "foundation garments," hats, and gloves.  OK, we also veered from one decade of shapeless, earth-toned, artsy-craftsy outfits to another decade of power suits with giant shoulders and floppy bow ties based on men's suits.  But the thought was there -- witness the recent rebirth of Diane von Furstenberg's 1972 woman-on-the-go wrap dress.

Today, a 3rd Wave is gathering momentum, carrying with it a commitment to individual creativity and playful paradox:

  • A boyfriend one week and a girlfriend the next?  No problem. 
  • Ivy League education for both future female CEOs and stay-at-home moms?  Check.
  • A career as a feminist ecdysiast?  Sure.
  • Piety and piercings?  Pourquois pas?
  • Chanel jackets with jeans, or flip-flops with evening gowns?  Naturally.
  • Smart women who love fashion (even while we thank our foremothers for releasing us from rigid conformity)?  Absolutely.  You've already met the reigning queens of this Carnivale, Fashion Tribes and Almost Girl, and many, many more blogistas, academics, journalists, fashion designers, and fabulous women in general, not to mention our presumably male fellow-travelers (on the internet, who knows?). 

In the realm of fashion health, we are developing a cure for repetitive dress disorder.  In the workplace, sports bonding is giving way to shoe bonding.  Around the globe, even women still under burkas are back at the beauty salon.  In short, we're experiencing

The Brave & the Bold #63, December 1965/January 1966

(One correction:  With all due respect to the graphic artists who gave us the Revolt of the Super-Chicks, it's not about dressing for men.  Modern women know that these super-sistas are doin' it for themselves.)

So go forth, create, contradict, and don't feel compelled to copy.  God bless the Fashion Union, and good night!


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Check out more "States of the Fashion Union" at Fashion Tribes: http://fashiontribes.typepad.com/main/2006/01/state_of_the_fa.html

Bravo, CC! Love the post. We certainly could use your wit and style over here at YLS!

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