Monday, September 6, 2010

A Fashion Iconoclast 1905???

No, I'm not talking about Coco Chanel, the most famous couturier of all time, not this time. I'm talking about an unknown girl captured on film in say 1905.

I decided last night to go back to YouTube to see if any new films of the 1900 era have been posted.

And yes, a person can spend a long time living in the past on YouTube. (Unfortunately, no films of Montreal.)

Someone even posted a longer, 9 minute version, of Edison's films of the Paris Exposition.

You know what I do: I hook my laptop into the big screen TV. It's like being there.

This girl caught my eye. She's filmed at a garden party, supposedly circa 1900, but the hat fashions suggest later, possibly 1910.

But this pretty girl, carrying a younger girl is wearing her flowers UNDER the rim of her bonnet. As far as I can see, she is the only girl doing this at the party. All the hats on the older women are typical of the fashion of the time, with piles of flowers on top. And the girls seem to be wearing mosty unadorned bonnets. (There were fashion rules being followed here. It was a upper crust party.)

And this girl stands out because, I think, she is breaking the rules. And her style is much much prettier than the standard style. Let's face it, piling flowers on the head looked stupid. (Yes, Marion did the same, I have the pictures which you can see elsewhere on the blog.)

Coco Chanel thought so. She began creating smaller, more elegant hats for her boyfriends' (name Boy) entourage right around this time.

And so did this girl, who did not go on to become a fashion icon (or maybe she did). But her image lives on on YouTube.

It takes confidence to break the rules of fashion - and few do.

It is more likely that people follow whatever the mode and do it slavishly, even if it is a ridiculous and aesthically dubious fashion.. Some fashions are flattering, some ridiculous. Bell bottoms anyone?

If you read my story about Margaret's big hat you can what happens when fashions meant for the young are worn by the older women. I published it for an education magazine.