Thursday, 7 February 2013

Male Plumage | Dandyism has returned! Wear Ruffles! Buy yourself a purse (1970)



The peacock days are coming back. A man in a bright leather suit or snakeskin coat might still rate a hard stare, or an approving one, but he would no longer cause consternation in the city streets. Paradoxically, most designers credit the distinctly un-dandy hippies with making possible the return to dandyism, simply by proving that a fellow can wear almost any outlandish costume in public - if he has the nerve. Designers in London and Rome, working from the far-out, far-gone glories of Restoration styles, gave their imagination rein. The old promise that ordinary man is finally to be liberated from dull clothing has flowered brilliantly in outfits of every fabric and color. Men's boutiques now do a brisk trade in necklaces, purses and earrings. Health spas find a demand among business and professional men for mud packs, hair tinting and skin creams - all once the exclusive province of women. Most men find the new styles extreme - not to mention expensive - but so long as dandies are as attractive to women as they seem to be, the "Peacock Revolution" - illustrated here by partisans wearing their own versions of the fashion-will continue to spread it's feathers.

Top left: In a photograph hand-tinted by a technique popular in dandier days. Los Angeles musician and tennis teacher Larry Piller shows off his leather Captain America suit. Centre: A customer in Carlo Pallazi's Rome Salon gets a fitting for a handmade suit in a setting of chandeliers, tiled floors and antique furniture. Top Right: Tokyo's Kansai Yamamoto, a 26 year-old fashion designer, wears a beaded choker and an appliquéd T-shirt with his snakeskin suit.

Above: In a London shop called Granny Takes a Trip, a young man inspects a $60 velvet brocade jacket.

Top Left: Best-selling French novelist Francois-Marie Banier has on a velvet suit designed by Cardin. Bottom Left: As women learned years ago, proper accessories are crucial. Thus, hats for men are staging a comeback, particularly in Rome, where Remo Argenti's shop does a brisk business in straws. Centre: In the U.S., body jewelry, like the necklace above, sells well. So do the inexpensive but flashy rings. Top Right: Franco Piscardi, who is 17 and works as an automobile mechanic, wears a nylon print shirt he bought for $5 in a Rome flea market. Bottom Right: Because the new tight pants are likely to have no pockets, many Italian men carry keys and money in purses like the one above.

Above: In a London boutique, a potential customer tries on boots, including a multi-starred design made popular by rock singer Joe cocker.

Top Left: New York's Eric Cruz, 19, a student in fashion design, wears an Afro hairdo, a hooded African dashiki and a necklace from Kenya made of seed pods and animal teeth. Bottom Left: In Manhattan, a man seeking just the right complexion to go with his Italian outfit tests a skin base at the grooming bar in Bloomingdales.  Bottom Right: Businessmen from Los Angeles relax in a muscle toning whirlpool bath at a health club called The Sanctuary and above that, At La Costa, an expensive spa near San Diego, a patron has a skin tightening mint compound applied to his face by a woman attendant. Top Right: Canadian Paul Stooshnoff bought his Yves Saint Laurent safari shirt in Paris and his leather pants in London, where he is directing a movie.

Above: Hairdressers at Sweeney's in London give herbal shampoos and razor haircuts, then use hand driers to accentuate any natural curl.

Top Left: Giorgio Sciommer, 43, a hairdresser and boutique owner from Rome, wears $200 worth of silk evening suit, and a silk jersey shirt with foulard scarf, all by Palazzi.  Centre: (main picture) While in Rome a businessman hurries to an appointment, carrying a small purse. Top Right: French photographer Patrice Calmettes festoons his 18th Century Afghanistan wedding tunic with several necklaces, pendants and an ornate Greek belt.  Bottom Right: A man in an upholstery-patterned coat ambles down a New York street.

King's Road 1970s
Above: The new fashions are not exactly ubiquitous, but they are spreading fast. On London's King's Road, a fellow with an *ice cream cone appliquéd on his back strolls with his girl. 

All images scanned by Sweet Jane from an original editorial for LIFE Magazine, September 1970. All photographs by Enrico Sarsini. Note: Although the purple satin jacket with the appliqué design was not credited in the original article, I have it on very good authority that it came from Mr Freedom and that the leather patchwork/star design boots are from Granny Takes a Trip. A wealth of information about the label and shop can be found on the Official Granny Takes a Trip Facebook Group