Flirting With The Fifties



We remember the fifties as an age of hula-hoops, beehive hairstyles and Dior’s New Look, of Sunday roasts with Yorkshire pudding; an age of Bakelite telephones with letters to dial the exchange, vans delivering the groceries and children walking to school without risk of harm; an age of rock 'n' roll, cup cakes, Elvis, poodle skirts and Brylcreemed Teddy Boys.Hardly anyone who lived through the Fiftiesdoes not feel nostalgia for that somehow uncomplicated time of steam trains and holidays by the seaside. In these difficult days, it’s no wonder we are harking back to an era when life seemed so much simpler.The fifties has to be one of themost feminine of decades when it comes to fashion. From nipped-in waists to cropped pants and pumps, there's a certain romance about the decade that gave us the elfin looks of Audrey Hepburn and the elegance of Grace Kelly.Whether it's Dita Von Teese or  your vintage-savvy best friend, it seems everyone wants to look like a pin-up or vampy '50s housewife these days. It all started with the latest Dolce and Gabbana advertising campaign, featuring Scarlett Johansson. She smoulders in front of the camera, all bust and hips and pale flesh, looking unapologetically curvy — and boy, does she look sexy. This return to form marks the start of a backlash against the waif-like models that are used in most fashioncampaigns and harks back to an era when women looked glamorous when they went to the shops. The styleis nostalgic, but Johansson makes it look modern – putting the fifties look firmly back on the map. Fifties fashion was feminine, flattering and – unlike the size zero silhouette – achievable. In the first decade after the war, the icons of the time - Marilyn Monroe, Liz Taylor -were full-bodied and glamorous women, not skinny girls. The clothes they wore celebrated emphasised and flattered their hourglass curves. Compared to today's impossible body ideal, it seems a much more attainable look. No wonder the fifties, when cellulite had yet to be discovered, are remembered so fondly. The revival of its shapely silhouette -nipped in at the waist and flaring out over the hips -is good news for women. During the Fifties, clothes were a celebration of the female form, and the bust became the focal point of this celebration. Jane Russell and Sophia Loren,showed off the full potential of their figures in corsets, strapless bras and babydoll slips.For Spring/Summer  the world's top designers are moving away from recession inspired 'less is more' and offering more playful collections as the economy begins to recover, with Dolce and Gabanna and veteran designer Jean Paul Gaultier both heavily featuring cone shaped bras, corsets and cocktail dresses within their latest collections. The mood is feminine, frivolous and unashamedly sexy.On the catwalks, the  fifties trend was done best at Christian Dior’s Cruise collection , where full skirts decorated with quirky leopard prints, belted fitted day suits in pale powder blue and fabulous full-skirted evening dresses indicated a return to womanly clothes. Perhaps sensing a money-spinning trend (i.e., one that can be worn by more than 1% of the adult population), the high street has been quick to pick up on the look. Debenhams, Miss Selfridge, Monsoon and Jane Norman are full of pretty prom dresses, and Marks & Spencer - which, judging by   recent results, needs a hit in the fashion stakes -has made introduced a selection of pretty fifties style cocktail dresses to its  recent Christmas collection.More and more young fashion chains have gone for the dressed-up, girly look this season, and many have introduced inexpensive accessories to complement their main clothing ranges. So you can team your cocktail dress with a fluffy bolero, skinny cardigan, a hat, a cute handbag, cat's-eye sunglasses, retro-inspired jewellery (such as brooches or corsages), dolly shoes or a string of oversized pearls. Sound old-fashioned? To the generation of young women who have lived in jeans and trainers, it's a breath of fresh air. But a warning to anyone over 30. Hourglass-style prom dress in larger sizes can look frumpy and a bit too much like fancy dress. Opt for slimmer silhouettes and accessorise with a fitted, faded denim or leather jacket, high patent stilettos or colourful pumps understated jewellery and simple, modern make-up. Remember, it's 2010, not 1954.

cocopops40 cocopops40
36-40, F
2 Responses Feb 10, 2010

thats great to see another fifties nut. great writhing i love your knowledge and passion for this subject keep it up

Oh yes - congratulations on one of the most eloquent postings I have seen on here