The Modernization of Past Trends
How fashion turns past to present & why trends can go through the recycling bin without coming back out as yesterday’s trash
Peasant shirts, high neck blouses, fringe and gladiators. These have become regular installments on the runways as of late, an overt fixation on the 70s. And recent years fashion has shown favor to 20s styled bead work, 40s style skirts, 60s shift dresses and 90s slip dresses. Victorian style collars have found a modern place, trading painted portraits for street-style stars.
It is no secret that one of the most consistent sources of inspiration for designers is the past. There is no obsolescence in fashion— no matter how antiquated a trend may seem, a new collection can resurrect it right from the back of thrift store racks to the front of department store display windows.
Fashion’s favorite muse is nostalgia, an intimate source of inspiration that is born from memories. Nostalgic art cultivates that fondness of years past and hones it in a way that fits present wardrobes. making it relevant for the modern market.
The modernization of design achieves a sentimental aesthetic rather than a played out one. There are interesting nuances that come to play in the modernizing of trend, in the transforming of old to new.
The entire mechanics of design have evolved over the years, as has the creative eye of designers, as has the people who wear the resulting product. That idiosyncratic change owes as much of itself to time as it does to the subjective qualities of creation, ensuring that, though history always repeats itself, it may do so in a way that has not occurred before.
We owe the majority of these subtle alterations to the beautiful imposition of the designers’ own personal aesthetic. This artistic ability to apply a new signature upon an older idea is the natural way of art, the signature finger print on a commonplace theme.
All of our favorite designers perhaps have studied fashion forefathers and mothers, noted the masterpieces, taken a page from their book and aesthetically applied their own artistry to the concept. And a new fashion period is reincarnated.
Color palettes, fabric choices, pattern plays all contribute to an artist’s contribution to trend resurrection, which is a trait of fashion design that always commands a degree of relevancy, a commentary on their own artful interpretation of these years of yore. That subjective commentary is never obsolete, always modern, as it is an opportunity to analyze, pay tribute to, and then evolve what was before to what is now.
Recreation without plagiarizing is an art form that respects and honors its predecessors. It incorporates features of these trends without overly mimicking the former. Direct imitation would not function on a runway as the client would not be able to rationally incorporate it into their wardrobes. It would read more as a costume. These aesthetic updates are the fine line between authenticity and mockery, wardrobe-ready and cos-play. There are now high ruffled necks everywhere that channel the regal femininity of the era without the constricting aura that the women of the late 1800s donned.
Art always reappropriates history to what it needs it to be now and fashion has directly adopted that concept, under the logic that its trends pivot best on that cyclical evolution under the influence of new eyes and creativity.
This is why creative directors who maintain the integrity of the house’s founding fathers, function best when they maintain their own aesthetics without compromising their predecessors’ own concepts and styles.
Former designers, former decades, former trends—It’s where we have been, where we are now, and where we are going.
Lauren is based in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition to writing here on Pursuit of Daydreams, Lauren’s daydreams consist of all forms of design: Graphic, Fashion, Web, Interior, Art. On any given day, she can be found preoccupied with at least one of the above. She is happiest with a bowl of ice cream in hand.