Friday, July 20, 2012

Hello, Gypsy

"She was a gypsy woman..."

"Hippie" has not worn well in Fashion's lexicon. In the beginning it stood for counter-culture youth poised to take over America. Later "hippie" applied to anyone who appeared not to work or not to wash or both. When the "hippie look" inevitably trickled up from the young and strapped to the established and cashed, the correct descriptive was "Bohemian" or "Boho". As the style has been repeated in the years since Woodstock it has also been known as "Bohemian Chic", thus giving the green light to Oscar de la Renta for $4,000 price tags.

Woodstock never looked this good... or clean

Note: Boho never referenced the area around Bowery and Houston in New York City, just as it has no real connection to either Bohemia the country or La Boheme, the opera. "Bohemian" shares closet space with "Folkloric" and "Ethnic". Anna Sui has been referencing all three for years.

'70s Socialite Talitha Getty in Bohemian Chic

Now, according to the New York Times, comes the great "let's call a spade a spade" moment. The newest incarnation of hippie is now being called—simply— Gypsy. That word would say it all: wild, romantic, mysterious, colorful and the polar opposite of Chanel's dictate to take off the last thing you put on. As to the gypsy look— more is definitely more. We've yet to see the full impact of the nascent rustlings of multiple bangles and layered scarves, but designers have embraced it full-force before (Giorgio Sant' Angelo and Yves St. Laurent). It's a look— or a lifestyle longing— that has never really gone away.

Oh, Giorgio...

I love it, of course. But "being of a certain age" one must steer clear of looking like a bag lady (from Bowery-Houston) by appearing to wear everything one owns all at once. The only woman who can get away with that is the magical Iris Apfel. The rest of us will have to show a little restraint.

The Iris of my eye...


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  2. Great article! I knew the bohemian chic look went way back, but the way you put it makes it so much more than a history lesson. Thanks so much for the great read.

    1. Thanks, Heather. I appreciate your comments. Fashion too is the circle of life!