"Amy Miller, the exhibition’s curator, has identified the cultural
cross-currents, adding a section on "subversion and rebellion." As
examples, she used Yves Saint Laurent’s androgynous 1962 peacoat."
"The sailor looks that Antonio Marras has produced recently for Kenzo
seem at first like caricatures – yet they are imbued with his own
experience of living close to the sea in Sardinia."
"Vivienne Westwood’s new romantic pirate outfit."
Granted, it wouldn’t be the first place that I would look for a dose of fashion history, but thank goodness the IHT’s Susy Menkes is on top of things. London’s National Maritime Museum’s exhibition gives a lovely look at the history of how all things nautica have made quite a splash in the world of fashion design.
London exhibit charts a history of sailor chic
GREENWICH, England: He stands four square to the ocean and the big blue sky: hat cocked above sailor collar, buttons bold on wide-legged pants.
Is it Admiral Horatio Nelson, the hero of the Battle of Trafalgar,
whose swashbuckling hat survived when he fell? No, it’s the pint-size
outfit created for a 4-year-old prince — who launched nautical style
for generations of long-suffering little boys.
The wave of seafaring fashion, from Coco Chanel’s sun-kissed,
seashore elegance to Jean Paul Gaultier’s subversive gay pride, is the
subject of "Sailor Chic — Fashion’s Love Affair with the Sea," which
opens on Wednesday at London’s National Maritime Museum.
It starts with the trim cotton sailor suit that Queen Victoria
ordered in 1856 for her son, the future King Edward VII, immortalized
in a sugar-sweet portrait by Franz Xaver Winterhalter — and at a more
kitsch cultural level in the Minton china plates and jugs that sold
this idea of kiddy sailor style to the people.
Even then, there was something ham about the "little boy blue."
Victoria’s diary entry reads: "Bertie put on his sailor’s dress, which
was beautifully made by the man on board who makes for our sailors.
When he appeared, the officers and sailors who were all assembled on
deck to see him, cheered, and seemed delighted."