Fashion is often thought of as a fanciful industry without any objectives or substance. However, fashion and politics has very often been intertwined. Firstly, it can be used as a reflection of the political and socioeconomic changes in society. For example, the hemline index is an economic theory that shows in periods of recession and austerity the fashionable hemline lengthens and in periods of growth and prosperity the hemline shortens. Fashion can also be used as the political statement in itself. That could be in the form of collective dressing - like the celebrities who donned black at the Oscars in solidarity with the Me Too movement - or by using the runway show as a form of political performance art, like in Hussein Chalayan's highly controversial spring 1998 collection which showed a series of increasingly shorter takes on Islamic traditional dress posing questions about attitudes towards Muslim women.
Political fashion can also be worn in a single piece using the beauty or eyecatching nature of the outfit while also displaying the wearer's convictions or calling to others with the same values - a form of individual activism. Below I'd like to showcase some of the best political vintage garments we have had, past or present, showing pieces from different designers that all make a punchy political statement. Please remember this is just to show how fashion can be used as political art and the views expressed by the designers don't necessarily reflect our own.
1989 Katharine Hamnett - 'Clean Up Or Die'
This stunning denim jacket is by political fashion doyenne, Katharine Hamnett. It has studs creating broken hearts, crossbones and skull & crossbones with 'clean up or die' across the bottom.
1980s Moschino - 'Fur Coats Are Worn By Beautiful Animals and Ugly People'
This amazing jacket is actually the second we've had from this collection, the first one we had sold in minutes and it is no surprise! This museum worthy jacket has the bold animal rights focused statement 'fur coats are worn by beautiful animals and ugly people'. It was created in a short pile faux fur fabric for Moschino's 'Fur for Fun' collection which was aimed at showing how fake fur can be just as good as real fur without the cruelty - an ethos which Jeremy Scott has carried on as creative director of Moschino.
1994 Moschino - 'Save Nature'
I wanted to show this piece next as it ties in perfectly with the previous jacket. This 'Save Nature' jacket was created just a few years after the 'Fur for Fun' jacket. This was part of his final collection and really shows the vision Franco had for his fashion house. The collection was named Ecouture (from eco and couture) and were made from organic cottons and other enviromentally friendly fabric. The labels from this collection also have 'Nature Friendly Garment' embroidered on them. It was a great sadness that Franco passed away so early as it would have been incredible to see if he would influence other fashion houses to be more eco friendly and where he would go next.
1990s Destroy by John Richmond - 'Destroy. Disassociate. Disorder.'
This jacket is by John Richmond for his cult-status Destroy line. I chose this jacket (which sold a while ago) because it sums up this line's political identity perfectly. It has punk style patches with statements like 'guns kill', anti drugs and 'Destroy Agent'. It also has Destroy's anarchic philsophy on the back 'Destroy. Disassociate. Disorder.'
1990s Carlo Colucci - 'The American Dream. Make me a Millionaire.'
This sweater is interesting because its intent is rather ambiguous. It could be a satirical poke at American materialism or it could be an aspirational statement expressed by the likes of hip hop stars at the time.
6 Key Designers who were known for creating political vintage fashion.
Jean Paul Gaultier
There are so many more examples of politics in fashion in single garments, from Gaultier putting men in skirts in 1994 or Vivienne Westwood's entire career so please check out some of our favourites on our pinterest board below.
British born designer, Nigel Curtiss started his eponymous label in 1992, but not before having an already prestigious fashion career. Most notably, Curtiss is known for working with Rei Kawakubo to create the Comme des Garçons Homme Plus line, he put the idea to her of starting a menswear line after seeing the value in creating experimental men's fashion.
Check out our collection of vintage Nigel Curtiss clothing, including this 90s mesh jacket here
All vintage Nigel Curtiss pieces were made in Japan to a high quality, in experimental and innovative fabrics. The list of celebrity clients Nigel Curtiss has dressed in his menswear is varied and extensive, including men as different as Mick Jagger and Arnold Schwarzenegger to Ozzy Osbourne.
To see an example of Curtiss' minimal yet forward thinking approach to fashion, check out the video below of his fall winter 1995 collection available on Fashion TV's YouTube, featuring Mickey Rourke as a model.
New In: Vintage & Designer Spring Dresses by Chloe, Missoni and Jean Charles de Castelbajac.
We've just listed three great dresses for spring, a romantic choice, a bold piece and a fun dress. Please click on the images to see the products.
Chloé by Karl Lagerfeld
This stunning vintage Chloe silk dress is from the 1970s during Karl Lagerfeld's first tenure as creative director of the label. With the ruffles and lace, this is as relevant for Spring 2019 as it was in the 70s.
This Missoni Spring 2005 dress is a bohemian dream. The lightweight, ombré knit is airy and flattering. The fringing gives a fun, late 1960s hippie inspiration.
You can see the same look in a different colorway on the runway, showing the amazing movement in the video below and on the Fashion Channel's great youtube:
Jean Charles de Castelbajac
This fun Castelbajac vintage sundress is from the 90s in a cool, comfortable cotton knit fabric. It has an amazing Cuban dollar print throughout.
We've also added some great pieces by the iconic Thierry Mugler. They both are effortlessly timeless but with Mugler's distinctive futuristic inspirations, such as pointed collars and slanted pockets. The first, a green men's cotton trenchcoat and the second a smart blazer with a polka dot pattern and is so versatile that would be great in both the office or at a party.
Lastly, we've listed some great Kenzo pieces, all have Kenzo's bold, youthful aesthetic. The first, a floral men's shirt with a classic cutaway collar is great for a party or for wearing in spring and summer. The second is so of its time and yet so current, with the iconic 'Flying Tiger' print that Kenzo have recently reintroduced, this original Kenzo men's cotton blazer is also perfect for spring and summer. The last item we've uploaded is a sharply tailored blazer in a blue wool with great details, like the gold zippers and suede button trim.
Keep an eye on our store for more, as we regularly list designer vintage clothing for men and women. Please feel free to get in touch, in case we've got any other items that haven't been listed just yet!
A pencil skirt is so classic and timeless, the modern interpretation of a pencil skirt comes from Christian Dior (who else?) from his 1954 collection. What better way to stand out in the office than with a leather skirt like our 1980s Emanuel Ungaro skirt, chic and individual.
Powerful Boss Lady
For this look, I need to say nothing more than Thierry Mugler. If you're looking for a mix between a superwoman and Marilyn Monroe then Thierry Mugler is your man. Mugler's vintage dresses perfectly created an Amazonian sex siren look with his wide-shouldered, wasp-waisted designs.
Above is our office edit of our Mugler pieces available at the moment, both having the incredible tailoring that he learnt from his father and his eye for dramatic sensuality. The first, an iridescent acid orange skirt suit and the second, a more universal but equally as dramatic LBD with his typical wide shoulder line and an out of this world neckline.
This Bill Blass two piece dress suit has incredible tailoring with classic pinstripes, as good as a men's suit. Perfect for showing you mean business without the extreme shoulders of the power look.
Born in the Italian city of Trieste, Renato Balestra's story is an entertaining one, it has been said that it was fashion that chose Balestra, not Balestra that chose fashion. He originally chose to follow his father's career path by choosing a degree in civil engineering. In the last year of his study in civil engineering, a jovial bet was made between him and his friendsfor him to create a clothing design, so awestruck by his talent, his friends, unknowingly to Balestra, sent his designs to the Chamber of Fashion in Milan where he was invited to show a haute couture collection.
It was from this haute couture collection that he decided to start his own label, where he found international success with clients as diverse as the Queen Sirikit of Thailand and the princess of Jordan to world-renowned actresses and society women. Vintage Renato Balestra are made so incredibly, with a delicate hand and appreciation for a woman's sensuality - the couture dresses you will see in our store are constructed fully by hand, with luxurious, intricate beading in soft silk chiffons and organzas.
To see all of our vintage Renato Balestra dresses click here
A stunning, documented piece has just hit the store, in a midnight blue velvet with, silk chiffon, off-the-shoulder balloon sleeves and ruched bust- this stunning vintage Valentino dress was featured in a brown variation on the Fall 1991 runway.
You can find the link to view our vintage Valentino boutique dress for sale here
You can also see the brown version of our new vintage Valentino dress at 00:37 below -
Audrey Hepburn wearing her iconic little black dress by Givenchy in Breakfast at Tiffany's, 1961
Our latest collection is inspired by the likes of Audrey Hepburn, Kate Moss and other fashion icons that donned the ever classic little black dress. So easy to wear and incredibly sexy, the little black dress is a staple in every woman's wardrobe.
We have included a variety of little black dresses in this collection, from a sultry strapless Chanel dress from the A/W 1990 collection to an edgy, high fashion 80s Mugler dress, all with the timeless appeal that a vintage little black dress offers. Nothing quite offers the sex appeal and sophistication of a vintage LBD.
Not only can a vintage little black dress make the wearer look incredible, but when paired with a gent in a classic black suit offers a dramatic, timeless look making for the chicest couple in the room.
Lately we've had a couple of incredible pieces hit the store from one of the masters of Japanese design, Kansai Yamamoto. David Bowie saw the genius of this man when he wore clothing designed by him for his Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane tours. Known for mixing traditional Japanese features with Western design to create avant garde works of art.
First, we had this Kansai O2 men's jacket in a mustard wool with an incredible fringed suede yoke and 'Kansai' appliqué detailing to the back. This jacket came and went in the same day, showing how much collectors love vintage Kansai Yamamoto clothing.
The next piece we've just added, a unisex tweed suit, with an oversized jacket and balloon shaped legs - obviously influenced by eastern harem pants but with a much more interesting, westernised appeal. Both of these pieces were featured in the 1985 runway - the jacket was shown on a female model (which perfectly shows the unisex appeal of Kansai) and the pants were worn by a male model. This suit is one of only 69 ever made, so this is a rare chance to own it!
Vintage Kansai Yamamoto pieces are incredibly sought after, particularly for collectors of Japanese design, as he was one of the first waves to show in Paris alongside Rei Kawakubo for Comme des Garcons. We'll be adding more pieces by Japanese designers in the future so keep your eyes peeled.