Wednesday 28 March 2012

Things Go in Cycles

The ye olde, olde worlde of the 30s was inherited from the nostalgic Victorians and Edwardians. It became a mass phenom and moved down the classes, so it was sent up as “Gremlin Grange” or "Stockbroker's Tudor".

1. We can’t see the previous decade.
2. It recedes further and we begin to characterize it (usually as the decade that taste forgot).
3. We think we want to revive it (after all, we revive everything) but we still can’t really see it. The 80s become a time of big hair, jelly shoes and fluorescent wrist bands.
4. The same, but people become over-excited about it.
5. One or two vintage shops begin selling real 80s style, but it looks odd or ugly.
6. Hipsters get it.
7. A tentative version is produced by manufacturers.
8. It's possible to wear the real thing out in public.
9. Manufacturers produce a version nearer the real thing. It’s “everywhere”.
10. It’s over.

Laver's Law
According to fashion historian James Laver:

10 years before its time a fashion is Indecent
5 years before its time it's Shameless
1 year before its time it's Outré (Daring)
When it's current it's Smart
1 year after its time it's Dowdy
10 years after its time it's Hideous
20 years after its time it's Ridiculous
30 years after its time it's Amusing
50 years after its time it's Quaint
70 years after its time it's Charming
100 years after its time it's Romantic
150 years after its time it's Beautiful

A popular cultural phenomenon:
a) is everywhere talked about, bought, believed in
b) begins to look “so five minutes ago”
c) belongs to an earlier generation
d) which earlier generation thinks it’s terribly dated
e) young people say “We need a new X for our times”
f) geeky young people want to return to Original X but the earlier generation is embarrassed to be associated with something so dated
g) Original X becomes cool to a small but discerning crowd
h) Geeky member of earlier generation points out that it’s all been done before but nobody listens
i) Original X is blown up/abolished just before Society to Save Original X can save it
j) TPTB relaunch X under another name
k) TPTB relaunch X in an utterly denatured form
l) Something utterly different is launched as “Original X!”

1. Who is Ricardo Montalbán?
2. Get me Ricardo Montalbán.
3. Get me a Ricardo Montalbán type.
4. Get me a young Ricardo Montalbán.
5. Who is Ricardo Montalbán?
6. Wait a minute – isn't that What's-his-name?

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