From the Wrap Dress to Grunge

By Givhan, Robin | Newsweek, February 13, 2012 | Go to article overview

From the Wrap Dress to Grunge


Givhan, Robin, Newsweek


Byline: Robin Givhan

Fashion designers pick their most iconic contributions to American culture.

Grunge. Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy's wedding gown. The wrap dress. All inventions that changed the fashion industry and resonated throughout the culture.

In celebration of its 50th anniversary, the Council of Fashion Designers of America decided to commemorate as many of those iconic trends as possible. So the CFDA asked its members--everyone from industry veterans to relative newcomers--to assess their impact on style for a new book and accompanying exhibition. (Deceased members were appraised by a selection committee.)

The result was a bit like a therapy session conducted in the language of straight pins and cashmere.

Some designers' answers were expected. Marc Jacobs chose his seminal 1992 grunge collection for Perry Ellis--a mashup of street style and music culture that got Jacobs fired but set the stage for his international career. It also prompted the realization in the industry that luxurious clothes didn't have to be precious. Narciso Rodriguez pointed to his minimalist bridal gown for the Bessette-Kennedy wedding that had brides ripping the overwrought beadwork from their own dresses. And Diane von Furstenberg selected a simple but sensual leopard-print wrap dress from 1974, a silhouette that redefined business attire for a generation of women.

Other designers "wanted to be seen for something that they aren't or for what they do now," says Patricia Mears, editor of Impact: 50 Years of the Council of Fashion Designers of America and curator of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology exhibition, which opens Feb. 10. Tommy Hilfiger highlighted his preppy roots and omitted his connection to hip-hop. Michael Kors underscored swimsuits and ignored cashmere. And Ralph Lauren focused on his personal vision of the American West--exemplified in his fall 1981 womenswear collection, which featured a white ruffled shirt, suede skirt, and Navajo-print sweater--rather than acknowledging the polo shirt that ultimately made him a billion-dollar brand. Others simply preferred to look to the present. Oscar de la Renta, who's been in the business for more than 40 years, chose to be represented by a taffeta ball gown from his spring 2012 collection.

A few designers were contrarians. Menswear radical Thom Browne, king of the austere shrunken gray flannel suit, loaned the exhibition a suit covered in feathers. And in the book, John Bartlett showcased his exploration of male sexuality with a simple pair of jeans--back view, no shirt--devoid of references to filmmakers such as Rainer Werner Fassbinder, as was his habit in runway presentations. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

From the Wrap Dress to Grunge
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.