Our favorite historian Kevin Fernando unleashes his inner Golden Girl and looks to these fabulous femmes for a little style inspiration for his fave five picks.
Modern-day vintage celebrates all of the unique eras and niches of fashion as well as the cultures that surround a particular style. “Golden Girls” is a state of mind in which we look inward for our own unique interpretation of a fashion, no matter its age or origin, akin to the loved characters from television’s hit mid-80s/early-90s sitcom. Whether you're a Blanche, Dorothy, Rose or Sophia, remaining true to yourself at each stage of life- fashion included- is all that really matters. Let these glimmering golden creations who've been around the block inspire you a second or third time around!
Norma Kamali’s take on knit jersey further liberated the modern woman’s wardrobe, similar to her predecessor Gabrielle Chanel, who brought jersey out from the men’s underwear drawer. Kamali brought a unique combination of activewear, high fashion, and classicism to the easy and humble fabric. This delightful golden saffron hued rayon blend jersey dress plays off the proportions of a simple column dress that would look equally perfect with a black patent Charles Jourdan heel or a white Stan Smith Adidas sneaker. The spectacular addition of the draped scarf can be manipulated to make you look like a modern Helen of Troy or Erté illustration. Just add a golden laurel leaf crown, greyhound, (or both!), and you're ready for a gilded night out!
Inspired by his youth in Algeria and treks to the Majorelle Gardens for inspiration, Yves Saint Laurent often drew upon the rich aesthetic of North African dress. From his spring summer 1993 collection, Saint Laurent shows his strength of collaborating motifs of Paris haute couture with elements of non-western dress. The fact that the fabric itself is a moiré (in teal too!), combined with a gold metallic frog closure, and trimmed with a golden braid dangle and beaded hem, this short crop jacket is the perfect embodiment of Saint Laurent’s vision of a woman crossed within time and space between the Rive Gauche and Marrakech.
Mary McFadden deserves a special place in your closet for updating Mariano Fortuny’s pleating style, itself initially inspired by the dress of Ancient Greece and Rome. Fortuny’s fabric was dyed wrapped in a tight twist, which also produced pleats that must be kept in such a twist when stored to keep its shape. McFadden adjusted the fabric composition, which resulted in a signature synthetic blend that achieved a more true hue when dyed, and kept its shape more intact than the silk used by Fortuny. Metallic embroidery and faceted crystals add opulence for these two golden gowns, and a shawl provides the ultimate refinement to millennia old toga.
Yves…. I never tire of his work! Saint Laurent is arguably the most captivating talent in fashion of the mid to late 20th century. This particular model, glamorously captured through the lens of the notorious Helmut Newton, is taken from his winter 1992 ready-to-wear rive gauche collection campaign. During his early days at Christian Dior, Dior’s muse Mitzah Bricard would adorn herself in leopard, a motif once solely guarded to those of the highest religious rank in Ancient Egyptian society. Even though timidness overcame him from time to time in his personal life, Yves Saint Laurent’s professional work never exhibited it. With this gown, unleash your inner Amazonia warrior and conquer the attention of those who dare cross your path.
This other Norma Kamali creation is something truly of another realm. The manner in which the gold lamé is ruched at the bodice is quite reminiscent of her parachute dresses and jumpsuits from 1977. However, the added fanfare of a tiered graduated skirt provides the proportion of ball gown with a flair more reminiscent of disco than debutante. The use of lamé also incorporates Kamali’s love of old Hollywood cinema, drawing inspiration from costume designers such as Travis Banton and Gilbert Adrian. Step out in this dress and you'll be more than ready for your close up!
by Kevin Fernando