Summer of Sartorial Love
A new MFA exhibit shows how hippie garb went haute couture.
â€śHippie Chic,â€ť the name of the latest exhibit at the MFA, conjures up thoughts of macramĂ© and patched jackets. But this showâ€”which runs from July 16 to November 11â€”actually explores how that eraâ€™s haute couture and ready-to-wear fashions emerged from the â€™60s counterculture. â€śWeâ€™re not showing the real street hippie,â€ť says the exhibitâ€™s curator, Lauren Whitley. â€śWeâ€™re not showing someoneâ€™s embroidered jeans or homespun stuff, but how all of that was incredibly important in percolating up to high fashion.â€ť This means visitors wonâ€™t see a collection of Grateful Dead T-shirts, but they will see a tie-dyed silk-velvet pantsuit by the legendary â€™70s designer Halston. The hippie movementâ€™s influence on the eraâ€™s high-end apparel makes sense: Revolution and protest were in the air, and itâ€™s a designerâ€™s job to embrace new looks. Besides, itâ€™s not like the couturiers making the clothing were the stone-etched icons they are today. As Whitley points out: â€śYves Saint Laurent was a young guy in his early thirties then, and he very much wanted to feel the pulse of the time.â€ť
The loudest pulse, of course, was rock â€™nâ€™ roll, and â€śHippie Chicâ€ť showcases outfits from the iconic London shops where the rock stars got their duds, like Granny Takes a Trip and the Beatlesâ€™ Apple Boutique, which is pictured at left (the blonde is Pattie Boyd, who would later marry George Harrison and, after that, Eric Clapton).
In order to make sense of this delirious time for fashion, Whitley and her team have dressed more than 50 mannequins that show the progression of styles from the late â€™60s and early â€™70s. Amping up the grooviness quotient even more, each mannequin will be fully accessorized with vintage boots and scarves and have custom-made afros, mutton chops, and lanky flaxen locks. â€śThis is the first fashion exhibit where weâ€™re going to use wigs,â€ť Whitley says with a laugh. â€śWe just felt they wouldnâ€™t look right bald.â€ť
Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/arts-entertainment/article/2013/06/25/mfa-exhibit-hippie-chic/