Retrofuturism: (un)wearable fashion - part I

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It's been almost five years since the existence of my blog, Missing Light. For quite some time I am thinking about how to enrich content on my blog into something slightly different, more informative texts, as well as representing other forms of art, and whatnot.
This is perhaps the first post in this series, which does not deviate much from what I usually write about, yet it's different. So bear with me.


Today we talk about retrofuturism, its fashion, and those who created it, through space and time.

The word retrofuturism characterize a blend of old-fashioned retro styles and empowering effects of (future) technology. Primarily reflected in artistic creations and modified technologies that realize the imagined artifacts of its parallel reality, retrofuturism can be seen as "an animating perspective on the world." But it has also manifested in the worlds of fashion, architecture, design, music, literature, film, and video games.
An early use of the term was in the title of T.R. Hinchcliffe's book Retro-futurism (Penguin, 1967). A recent neologism, the actual term retrofuturism was used by American Lloyd Dunn in 1983, according to fringe art magazine Retrofuturism, which was published between 1988 and 1993.

The future as seen from the past and the past as seen from the future.
Pierre Cardin
The first trend in which retrofuturism shows its real charms comes from vivid images created in the minds of writes, artist, and filmmakers in the pre-1960's. They all had great idea to implement the technology of the future into something already existing from that time. Such futuristic visions are refurbished and updated for the present, and offer a nostalgic, counterfactual image of what the future might have been (but is not).

Nowadays it's a combination of more recent ideas of nostalgia and retro with older traditions of futurism.


When it comes to this form of art, futuristic clothing dates back to science fiction and its films of the 1940s onwards, but also in journalism and other popular culture and media. It represents imagined vision of the clothing that certain people thought it might be worn in the distant future. Clothing was seen to be highly uniform, pointy shoulders, plastic boots, tights, one-piece garments etc.
The real truth is, it all started with sci-fi classics The Time Machine, First Men in the Moon, Things to Come etc. Hollywood had no choice but to create suitable suits for the brave human defenders of a retrofuture world.
Things to Come
In the 1960s, with shows like 'Star Trek', 'Barbarella', and  '2001: A Space Odyssey' space theme became popular. And let's be honest... no one done it better than  Pierre Cardin
2001: A Space Odyssey

Pierre Cardin

Pierre Cardin, born Pietro Cardin, is an Italian-born French fashion designer who was born on 7 July 1922, at San Biagio di Callalta near Treviso. Cardin was known for his retro future unisex designs. He embrace of science and technology, together with the notion of progress was expressed in his Space Age Collection, which featured white knitted tight catsuits, ta-bards worn over leggings, tubular dresses, and his growing interest in man-made fibers.
He gave fashion a constructive and futuristic look, geometric seams and hemlines reminded of robots. His clothes had the trappings of science-fiction and space travel, and are often considered as modern sculptures.

The clothes I love best are the ones I invent for a life that doesn't yet exist: tomorrow's world.
Pierre Cardin
Pierre Cardin
In the 1960s Space Era few more designers joined with their amazing creations: Paco Rabanne, Rudi Gernreich, André Courrèges. Along with Pierre Cardin, they were pioneers of plastic, vinyl, metal, and other non-traditional materials used as fashion garments (laser discs, rhodoid discs, paper, and plastic paillettes). They also created innovative shapes, devised new molding and seaming techniques, and pioneered minimalist silhouettes such as the monokini, helmet hats, go-go boots, micro miniskirts, vinyl mini dresses, and the concept of unisex dressing.

Paco Rabanne
Rudi Gernreich
André Courrèges

1 comment:

  1. Beautifully written. I enjoy your more in-depth posts. Looking forward to the next one.