Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What is Fashion Preserve?

I love the idea of finding, restoring, and wearing beautiful old clothes. Not necessarily old in the temporal sense--I'm as happy to discover a wonder from 2008 as I am from 1908--but old in the sense of previously owned, and let go. To me a great old skirt, or coat, or scarf--made with care and fine materials--is as valid an object for preservation as is an Old Master painting, or a '58 Mustang. 

So in one sense, this blog will act as an interactive gallery of great stuff found after decades of trawling through charity shops/thrift stores, vintage stores, markets, and other repositories of previously owned clothes.

Fashionland--my term the world of mainstream garment design and media--has grabbed onto the idea of vintage fashion and clung for dear life, especially over these last ten years when the relentless churn of looks and trends has compelled the utter ransacking of fashion's attic in the name of finding fresh looks. Yet when it comes to promoting antique, vintage, and retro clothes, Fashionland seems primarily interested in valorizing the already-known. Dior, Chanel, Pucci are what's featured and captioned, while lesser-known geniuses like Fath, Traina or Goldworm are ignored. Not to mention all the home dressmakers of the 50s and 60s whose often ravishing pieces are of course unlabeled, and therefore not worthy of even a look.

The thing is, though, it's crazy to ignore outright beautiful clothes and accessories simply because there's no brand name attached. What I'd like to do in this blog is highlight anything and everything marvelous that I find, from haute couture to whipped together on your grandmother's foot-pedaled Singer . . . the basic criteria for inclusion being that it posseses something absolutely special--something beautiful--that can act as a signpost for you, in your own searches . . . 

Fashion Preserve won't be about dead fashion, however. Another important criterion for a given garment appearing here is that it's absolutely wearable in some way right now. I'm fascinated by how ladies in the past styled themselves and will be discussing that with given items where I can, but I'd also like to demonstrate fresh ways of wearing old clothes: style tip takeaways that will help get these pieces back out there in public, where they belong. 

Finally, wearing clothes is an act of expression. As a consequence, clothing and accessories often hold wonderful stories. Whenever I can, I'd like to tell them, to help preserve the hopes and dreams and loves and daily business of all those fashion lovers who paved the way for us. 

I'd love to hear your stories as well . . . 

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