15 April 2009

Modern Style by Charlotte Du Cann

I rediscovered this book over the Easter break when rummaging through boxes of old things. I was so pleased to find it because it contains some of the most beautiful fashion imagery of the 1980s. The cover is photographed by Alex Chatelain.

Some excerpts from Du Cann's introduction:

"The consumer age said, Look at this! Do you want it? Have it! All things became instantly purchasable, dream homes, dream holidays, dream frocks. Just sign the dotted line."

"Instead of living according to your means, you had a lifestyle."

"As these different looks streamed out of changing clubs and were charted by the style journalists, they began to influence the way everyone dressed. The pavement climbed on to the catwalk. And the looks, from Vivienne Westwood's Hobo Look to Katherine Hamnett's Hippy Look, coincided perfectly with the new marketing that everyone saw on their screens and in the magazines."

"[Modern Style] lists the elements that make the essential modern wardrobe - a redirected attitude to keeping clothes, now that fashion no longer dies each season."

"Modern Style is a democracy not a dictatorship."

"In the mid-eighties style became confused with the idea of dressing up. Modern Style, working from a permanent collection of basics (from the black polo neck to the essential pair of shades) and classics, uses 'looks' and outside influences for an extension of the visual self, not as a cover up. Modern Style is about living in the real world not at a carnival ball. Modern Girl knows the fine line between fun and fantasy, knows the difference between you wearing the clothes and the clothes wearing you. This is not a book for fashion victims. In 1988 the key word is confidence."

"Be bold."

You tell them, Charlotte!

Stay tuned for lessons in Modern Style, readers.


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