Friday, 7 November 2008

The future that was

Rudi Gernreich , the designer who was credited with liberating women from clothes that constrained the body, and with authoring the first unisex looks, but his profile as agent provocateur often threatened to overshadow the artistry, the intellectual potency and the sheer beauty of his work. - ICA:Fashion Will Go Out of Fashion

The Rudi Gernreich Book

Peggy Moffitt in one of the Georges Rouault inspired bathing suits.

Beachwear (bikini), 1970–71

This bikini of brown wool knit with black wool banded edges is an amalgamation of angles. The top is composed of four triangles with all edges traced by wide, flat strips of black knit. The bottom, also traced in black, has additional black bands attached at the low-slung waistline that criss-cross once around the midriff. With this collection, Gernreich pays homage to Georges Rouault (1871–1958), a French Expressionist painter known for bordering his images with thick black lines.

Beachwear (bathing suit), 1964

Though swimwear always extends the possibility of a view to the body, the monokini caused quite a stir when it debuted in 1964. Gernreich's paradox is that the bottom of the topless suit is very conservative, with ample coverage and made in the same wool material that had been used for Victorian bathing apparel. As a gesture akin to Conceptual Art, this suit merges an avant-garde sensibility with a nod to tradition.

Peggy Moffit modeling the monokini, which was not only seen at the beaches, it was also seen making the rounds at smart cocktail parties. Where, the ladies were suitably shocked and the gentlemen were titillated.

Animal print ensembles, 1966
Photograph by William Claxton

Now playing: Grace Jones - I've Done It Again
via FoxyTunes


Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Thanks for the tutorial. I was unfamiliar with his work.

I have enjoyed the intriguing photos of your shop at Pigtown this week.

Ivy Lane said...

Interesting! Love the last image!

Cote de Texas said...

God - I remember that bathsuit like it was yesterday - thanks for the mammaries! hehe