Forever in Blue jeans
Originally posted on 30/07/09
Now that we're in a capital R Recession, nostalgia seems to have become a more highly coveted commodity than crude oil. Nothings more zeitgeisty now than pulling together, having an allotment and darning your socks with Brillo Pads or somesuch, because apparently we are now living during the Blitz and having to deal with the Horrid Hun and V2 rockets, and not in actuality having to deal with 15% pay cuts and having to buy cheap plonk and prosciutto. I'm being facetious of course.
In some ways it's probably a return to the norm (perhaps not the darning socks with Brillo Pads bit though...) because we all - yes, I do mean everyone - seem to have become supremely wasteful. Why make your own stuff; it'll take you hours that would otherwise be better spent on watching America's Next Top Model and eating bean burritos*, when you could pop down to Penneys/Primark and pick up a cocktail dress for three euros**? What everyone, me included, seems to forget is that people used to make their own stuff. This isn't meant to be a guilt trip by any means, but imagine what a happy place the world could be - recycling, individuality, holding hands under the rainbow, yurts, drum circles and so on - if we actually did.
Sew and Save and Make Do and Mend, which are reissued facsimile copies of the original 1940's booklets (see what I mean about the Blitz?). Another slightly less obvious example is the revival of the Jackie Annual. Do you remember being a kid and reading Bunty, Judy or Mandy magazine, with it's photostories about having your first kiss, and advice on how to wear make-up without your parents getting mad at you? Jackie and it's rival Blue Jeans (about which I can find virtually nothing) stopped being published in the early nineties and are as a rule a wee bit before my time. However, I was saved by an industrious granny who would bring me back annuals from local charity shops, along with less welcome things, such as encyclopedia indexes and copies of Stephen Hawking's A Brief History Of Time. I started collecting at eleven and stopped at fourteen. I think at one point I must have had about seventy to eighty annuals, including a much loved Monkees Annual from 1965 and a copy of another annual called Misty, which published exclusively horror stories about witches and magical yet vengeful trees and highwaymen hanging from gibbets. As you can probably tell, I wasn't the most popular kid in primary school.
This is my 1981 Blue Jeans annual, in case you couldn't tell for whatever reason.When I was younger I was much more enthralled with the Buster Bloodvessel interviews and frankly ridiculous photostories involving women who steal babies because they are grieving for a lost loved one, and the girl always ends up with a broken heart after her boyfriend dies in a motorcycle smash up cum race in a bid to buy her an engagement ring that the real, practical bits. In a way, Blue Jeans ruined my life because I was convinced that I'd be euphorically married at seventeen, and even if I wasn't, I would have a sizeable collection of zazzy headbands to make up for it.
But I digress. Now that I'm older and wiser, I'm much more taken in by the sheer amount of sewing that these girls had to do in between holding minor clerical jobs and crimping their hair. For example, this beauty...
It's Quicker by Tube'. Worra pun. Ok, so this may look a bit childish, but I can't help but wonder what would happen if the gold and silver snakes weren't worn as jewellery but instead used to add texture to clothes. Over the material = instant 3D stripes. Under the body = a mad textured effect. It's make and do piping and you can wear it around your neck! The sausages are great too. I'd love to make a few of these longer and in really dark, muted Winter colours - forest green, midnight blue, cranberry and so on - and pile them over an otherwise boring outfit, hopefully in a way that wouldn't make my head look like a christmas pudding. It reminds me very much of some of the Sonia by Sonia Rykiel A/W '09-'10 knits that had textured piping placed underneath the wool and twisted into three-dimensional bows that are slightly disconcerting and cool at the same time. I'm a super sucker for 3D and novelty knits; it's the wee kid in me that does it. Ahem, anyway, on to the next point...
If I had any handbag in the world, it would probably be a Chanel 2.55, because I'm generic that way. However, I shall never get my hands on one, unless I suddenly get more money than sense (not looking likely judging by the negative figures bank statement) or mug an Olsen twin (would be a bit counterproductive as I would have to buy plane fare to New York). However, Blue Jeans has evidently saved the day by providing it's own instructions on how to make a quilted bag of your very own. Hallelujah! Actually, it's not a bad idea. You could make some very badass colour combinations, or at least contrive to make the art of combining colours as badass as it possibly can be. Grey and bright yellow spring to mind - ooh, and a few pyramid studs to really add a contrast.
I'm still a bit of a novice at throwing an outfit together. As a rule of thumb, if it doesn't go with jeans and black Converse, then it's officially a bit scary and sits at the back of the wardrobe or on the floor. I am trying to break outside the norm though - with mixed results. So it was with trepidation that I looked at the Fashion Workshop below. I didn't really fancy sewing shoulder pads into my t-shirts. Oh how wrong I was. This double page (lovingly scanned and merged by the boyfriend - ta hon) combine stuff I really should have thought of - military buttons, d'oh - with slightly more consciously 'retro' stuff, like painting Mondrian-esque lines on your jumper and instructions on how to make those Cleopatra snake armbands. The text is obviously teeny, but the files are quite large so you should be able to zoom in.
*That might just be me.
**Again, that might just be me.