TIME Style

‘Oscar’s Hairdo’: How to Create de la Renta’s Signature 1969 Updo

Society Ball New York
The society ball at the Plaza Hotel in New York City on Jan. 19, 1970. A woman wears "Oscar's Hairdo." Ron Frehm—AP

Get a TIME tutorial on the vintage style named after the late, great designer

Oscar de la Renta, the acclaimed fashion designer who died Monday at 82, will likely be best remembered for providing dresses for First Ladies and movie stars alike. In the late 1960s, however, he was also famous for something that was a lot less complicated than a couture gown: a messy hairdo.

The style — what might be called a “messy bun” in today’s YouTube hair tutorial lingo — was known in the U.S. as “Oscar’s hairdo” because, in November 1969, he had every model in his spring collection wear the style. The look, which TIME described as “skillfully composed to look as if it had been dragged through a thornbush backward” was alternately known as Belle Époque (because it resembled ‘dos of that era), the Onion (for British fashionistas), the Char (because it made you look like a charwoman, or cleaning lady), Concierge (in France) or Goulue (after the can-can dancer). LIFE Magazine even added it could be called “The Washerwoman.” It was originally conceived by Paris coiffeur Christophe Carita in 1968, perhaps inspired by Brigitte Bardot, and New York hairdresser Kenneth told TIME that its sex appeal may have come from the idea that if you could find the hairpin that’s holding it up “in a matter of seconds it will all be out on the pillow.”

Here’s how you create the look, as per TIME:

The front is pulled loosely up and back into a topknot. Underneath, along with the remainder of the hair, can generally be found several ounces of wool twine or a nylon mesh cushion, the better to swell the structure to second-head proportions. Hanging down at strategic intervals (at the temples, around the ears, and down the back of the neck), are separate, curling tendrils of hair. The whole thing may look like the work of a bird who flunked nest building.

Despite the many ironic names for the style, and this magazine’s implication that it was a ridiculous idea to pay to end up with messy hair — $17.50 at a Manhattan salon, a price that might cause today’s New Yorkers to faint in gratitude — Oscar’s Hairdo has proved to have staying power: Glamour has declared that the “coming-undone style” will be one of next spring’s hottest looks.

Read TIME’s review of Oscar de la Renta’s 1993 debut as the first American designer to head a Paris couture house, here in the archives: Mais Oui, Oscar!

TIME fashion

‘Death Becomes Her:’ 100 Years of Exquisite Mourning Dresses

Widow's wear was once a rigidly codified corner of the fashion world

“Widows are all much in demand,” sings the titular character in an English-language translation of The Merry Widow. “And if the poor things should be rich / Then there’s no end to the suitors at hand!”

And with so many gawkers gawking, a widow ought to be well dressed.

Mourning attire from 1815 to 1915 is the subject of a new exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, “Death Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning Attire,” opening Tuesday in New York. And though Harper’s Bazaar urged “nun-like simplicity” of widow’s weeds in 1868, many of the frocks on display are very grand, embellished with lace, fringe and beads.

The period’s dichotomy of dress reflects the opposing aspects of widowhood: on one hand, a widow’s two years of wearing black reflected her chaste sadness. On the other, it signaled that she was sexually experienced, maritally unattached and possibly endowed with a new fortune of her own.

Some also found all-black attire to be quite fetching. After Queen Victoria’s death, Consuelo Vanderbilt’s husband observed her in her mourning outfit and paid her a “rare compliment:” “If I die, I see you will not remain a widow long.”

Upper-class women like Vanderbilt could afford to have black gowns made in the contemporary fashion, reflecting current trends in all but color. If one could not afford a new wardrobe of mourning clothes, one might apply some advice from the Rolling Stones to their existing wardrobe and “Paint It Black” (or dye it, anyway).

Different expectations of attire were in place depending on what family member a woman lost — a husband’s death required the most, a parent or sibling’s a bit less. As they moved into later mourning periods, they might incorporate white or gray stripes, checks and accents and even mauve was considered acceptable.

The strict codification of mourning attire only eased up during and after World War I, when so many lost husbands, fathers and sons. As Vogue noted in 1918, “Women felt, and rightly, that the indulgence of personal grief, even to the extent of wearing mourning, was incompatible with their duty to themselves, to their country, and to the men who cheerfully laid down their lives.”

TIME White House

The Super Cute Story Behind Abraham Lincoln’s Beard

Lincoln by Currier & Ives
A beardless Lincoln by Currier and Ives Universal Images Group / Getty Images

Oct. 15, 1860: Grace Bedell, age 11, tells Abraham Lincoln to “let your whiskers grow”

Concerned that Abraham Lincoln’s gaunt, worry-lined face was so severe it might scare off voters, 11-year-old Grace Bedell crafted a solution: Grow a beard.

On this day in 1860, the Westfield, N.Y., tween wrote a letter to the Republican nominee outlining her plan to help him win the upcoming presidential election. It reads, in part:

I have yet got four brothers and part of them will vote for you any way and if you let your whiskers grow I will try and get the rest of them to vote for you you would look a great deal better for your face is so thin. All the ladies like whiskers and they would tease their husbands to vote for you and then you would be President.

Until then, the frontier lawyer had lived a clean-shaven life, apparently aiming for a statelier look than Bedell gave him credit for. “Lincoln’s Beard,” a 1935 publication by the Lincoln National Life Foundation, explains:

In the pioneer day (it was) the course of least resistance (for) most of the men on the frontier to allow their beards to grow. It may be said to the credit of Thomas Lincoln that he was always clean shaven. In this respect, as in many others, Abraham Lincoln followed in the footsteps of his father.

But Lincoln was not afraid of change. He wrote Bedell back four days later, answering her question about whether he had any daughters (he did not) and asking one of his own: “As to the whiskers, having never worn any, do you not think people would call it a piece of silly affectation if I were to begin it now?”

He appears to have answered his own question, since he began growing his facial hair shortly after. He had a full beard when, on his way to his 1861 inauguration, he arranged to have his train stop near Westfield so he could greet his young pen pal. She later recalled that he shook her hand and said, “You see? I let these whiskers grow for you.”

The whiskers have since become inseparable from the memory of the man; no card-carrying Lincoln impersonator leaves home without them. Even a pre-beard portrait was old-timey-photoshopped to include whiskers after Lincoln took office. “Currier & Ives, through a process of retouching, brought one of their smooth-faced Lincolns up to date by putting a beard on him,” wrote the authors of Lincoln’s Beard.

Still, Lincoln’s fear that the whiskers would be ridiculed as a “silly affectation” was not completely off the mark. Two months after corresponding with Bedell, he found himself punned about in the Evansville Daily Journal: “They say that Old Abe is raising a pair of whiskers,” the story went. “Some individual of the cockney persuasion remarked that he was ‘a puttin’ on (h)airs.’ ”

Read all about Lincoln impersonators here, in TIME’s archive: It’s Not Abe. Honest.

TIME Style

Chanel Closes Fashion Show with Faux-Feminist Protest

Chanel : Runway - Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2015
Models walk the show finale during the Chanel show as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2015 on September 30, 2014 in Paris, France. Dominique Charriau--WireImage

Models marched in the fashion house's Spring/Summer show at Paris Fashion Week carrying placards and chanting

Feminism was apparently en vogue at the Chanel Spring/Summer fashion show in Paris on Tuesday, which ended with a mock feminist protest.

Led by a megaphone-toting Cara Delevingne and top-model Gisele Bündchen, the Chanel models marched down the catwalk together carrying placards that screamed slogans such as “Ladies First,” “Women’s Rights Are More Than Alright” and “History Is Her Story.” Joan Smalls, Kendall Jenner and Georgia May Jagger were also among the crowd.

For the show, creative director Karl Lagerfield transformed the the Grand Palais into a street-like catwalk, complete with puddles. The setting was designed to heighten the show’s street protest feel, especially when combined with the ready-to-wear collection.

So has fashion fully embraced feminism? Well, not quite.

While Lagerfield insisted to Elle UK, “I’m very much into [feminism], and my mother was also a great admirer of a certain feminist of the 19th century,” it’s highly unlikely that Chanel’s brand of revolution will be taken seriously as a call to arms for equality. Lagerfield is also the man who has been quoted as saying, “Everything I say is a joke,” and surely Tuesday’s show is included.

Among the placards were slogans that ranged from the tongue-in-cheek (“Votez Coco”) to downright ridiculous (“Boys Should Get Pregnant Too”). And the chant being led over the megaphone was a call-and-response that asked, “What do we want?” The answer: “Tweed!”

While the actual collection has been widely applauded and many seemed to enjoy the spectacle, not everyone appreciated the joke. According to The Independent‘s Alexander Fury, “a few of the models had the good grace to look embarrassed.”

TIME Style

Urban Outfitters: ‘We Understand How Our Sincerity May Be Questioned’

Following an uproar, the retailer explains how it ended up selling a 'bloody' Kent State sweatshirt in a statement provided to TIME

On Monday, we wrote about the latest controversy to hit clothing retailer Urban Outfitters: a vintage Kent State sweatshirt that appeared to have blood stains on it, an apparent reference to the shooting deaths of four students by National Guardsmen that took place during a May 1970 protest on the Ohio campus.

Though Urban Outfitters apologized soon after the sweatshirt began to make news, on Tuesday the retailer issued a fuller explanation about the incident to TIME.

The company only had one sweatshirt, it says, which it purchased at a flea market. “Given our history of controversial issues,” the retailer says, “we understand how our sincerity may be questioned.”

Here’s Urban Outfitters’ full explanation of how it came to sell the sweatshirt:

Urban Outfitters would like to extend our sincerest apologies to Kent State University and the Kent State community. We are deeply saddened by the recent uproar our Vintage Kent State sweatshirt has caused. Though it was never our intention to offend anyone, we understand how the item could have been perceived negatively. The tragic events that took place in 1970 are not forgotten and our company regrets that people believe we would intentionally make light of such a horrific part of our nation’s history. To promote such an event is disgraceful, insensitive and in poor taste. To further clarify, despite what has been reported, this is a vintage item and there is only one. Once the negative feedback was brought to our attention we removed the item immediately from sale. Urban Outfitters purchased the one-of-a-kind sweatshirt from the Rose Bowl Flea Market as part of our sun-faded vintage collection. There is no blood on the sweatshirt nor did we ever promote it as such. The discoloration that has been mistaken for blood is from natural fading and sun exposure. With all of that said, this truth does not excuse us from our failure to identify potential controversial products head on. We, as a company who caters to a college-age demographic, have a responsibility to uphold to our customers. Given our history of controversial issues, we understand how our sincerity may be questioned. We can only prove our commitment to improving our product-screening process through our actions and by holding ourselves accountable. Again, we sincerely apologize for this unfortunate misunderstanding and are dedicated to perfecting our internal processes to help avoid these issues in the future.

Read more about read why the Urban Outfitters Kent State sweatshirt caused a controversy here, on TIME.com

TIME Innovation

This Company Makes Shoes That Look Like Confectionery Treats

The Shoe Bakery makes shoes that appear to be covered in frosting and ice cream

lost-at-e-minor_logo

This article originally appeared on Lost at E Minor.

Those heels look shoe delicious! Orlando-based shoe company ‘The Shoe Bakery’ creates footwear that are inspired by confectionary treats like ice cream, cupcakes, donuts, and cake. “My love for shoes came with the passion for being unique,” says founder Chris Campbell. “I love shoes and sweets so why not put them together?”

As you can see, excellent craftsmanship and great attention to detail went into the making of these sweet-looking shoes. Customers can even order custom-made designs, which will cost around $200-400 and will take about 3-6 weeks to finish. With shoes that look as mouthwatering as these, I think I’d rather eat them than wear them!

You can find out more about The Shoe Bakery and purchase their products here.

Via Design Taxi

TIME Style

Why That Urban Outfitters Kent State Sweatshirt Caused an Uproar

Kent State Shootings
Mary Ann Vecchio kneels by the body of a student lying face down on the campus of Kent State University, Kent, Ohio on May 4, 1970. John Filo—AP Photo

The blood-like details on the sweatshirt seem to reference the deaths of four students in 1970

A sweatshirt offered for sale by Urban Outfitters on the retailer’s website caused outrage Monday as it seemed to market a bloody shirt from one of the most shocking episodes of the anti-Vietnam War movement. The sight of a faded “vintage” Kent State sweatshirt with red accents, which is no longer for sale, caused many people to notice that the marks on the fabric looked like blood. From there, the conclusion was simple: the sweatshirt seemed to be a reference to the May 4, 1970, Kent State shootings.

The resemblance was mere coincidence, the company later said, in an apology: “There is no blood on this shirt nor has this item been altered in any way. The red stains are discoloration from the original shade of the shirt and the holes are from natural wear and fray.” Urban Outfitters may not have intended to offend (even though, as a consumer psychology expert told Money this morning, controversy is good for business) and it does seem possible that nobody at the millennial-centric company even thought of — or, perhaps, had ever heard of — a protest that happened more than four decades ago.

So what exactly happened at Kent State?

It took half a century to transform Kent State from an obscure teachers college into the second largest university in Ohio, with 21,000 students and an impressive array of modern buildings on its main campus,” TIME reported shortly after the shooting. “But it took less than ten terrifying seconds last week to convert the traditionally conformist campus into a bloodstained symbol of the rising student rebellion against the Nixon Administration and the war in Southeast Asia. When National Guardsmen fired indiscriminately into a crowd of unarmed civilians, killing four students, the bullets wounded the nation.”

On the night of May 1, as students at the Ohio university danced in the street, an unlucky driver attempted to get through the crowd. The mood in the country, amid a wave of student protests over the Vietnam War, was tense, and the confrontation over a traffic jam quickly became more serious, as students in the crowd started anti-war chants. The police used tear gas to get the students back to campus, but the conflict was still fresh when an administration-approved rally began the next day, a Saturday. The protest turned violent, and the local mayor requested help from the National Guard. On Sunday, Ohio governor James Rhodes said that the student protesters were “the worst type of people that we harbor in America” and, despite requests to close the campus, declared a state of emergency instead. When nearly 1,000 students staged a sit-in that night, it was against his order banning all protests.

Though classes started as usual on Monday, the protest ban still rankled students. Many — again, about 1,000 — assembled on campus, flaunting the ban and prompting the National Guard to respond with tear gas. Some students picked up the canisters and threw them back. To the student demonstrators, taunting the Guardsmen was a more serious game of catch. “…Delighted spectators, watching from the hilltop, windows of buildings and the roof of another men’s dorm, cheered,” TIME reported. “Many demonstrators were laughing.”

But then the tear gas ran out. The Guardsmen retreated to the top of a hill, watching the crowd. They fired.

The protest, noisy and chaotic, stopped. Four students were dead. William K. Schroeder, 19, had been a spectator. Sandra Lee Scheuer, 20, had been walking to class. Jefrrey Glenn Miller, 20, had called his mother to let her know that he felt he had to take part in the protests. Allison Krause, 19, had recently placed a flower in the rifle of a Guardsman at the protest. Ten others were wounded.

The deaths of the Kent State students inspired another wave of student protests across the country, as well as the Neil Young song “Ohio”:

Read a May 1970 report on the Kent State shootings here, in TIME’s archives: Kent State: Martyrdom that Shook the Country

TIME Style

11 Ways to Get Dressed for Work Without Going Crazy

Clothes Man Shirt
Jan Stromme—Getty Images

A fashion insider offers tips for pulling yourself together

Meet George Brescia, a longtime fashion insider who has worked for big names like Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger turned personal stylist and feel-good clothing guru. But the best thing about Brescia is that he’s about much more than just telling you which colors look good together. His new book, Change Your Clothes, Change Your Life, looks at the connection between our feelings and the clothes we put on our body. Brescia has even coined the term “conscious dressing” to appeal to those who have convinced themselves that what you wear just doesn’t matter. Even better, his how-to guide culminates with a checklist of must-have items for your closet (sneak peak: it runs from “the classic little black dress” to “three to four quality bras”).

Brescia wants to be your fashion fairy godfather and psychiatrist at the same time, using your style woes as a way to diagnose how your day-to-day struggles with clothes relate to issues that go beyond your wardrobe. Some of his advice might feel time consuming at first — he recommends eschewing sales and shopping online in lieu of hitting the stores in real life — but chances are you’ll end up feeling a little more aware of how your clothes affect every aspect of your life.

Here, tips from Brescia about how you can make your clothes work for you:

1) What you wear matters.

“It’s never about just wearing the clothes. People get so overwhelmed when they think about what to wear. So they just fall asleep at it, they just pick and they don’t think about what they’re wearing. And some people get really freaked out by it. They want to hide and not be seen, no matter what. But you’re required to wear clothing by law. So the key is that no matter what you do, other people are going to see you and think about what you’re wearing. And you’re going to think about them. Take that experience and work it to your advantage.”

2) You are your closet.

“Your closet is like the window to your soul. Your closet says everything about you. But I still see this all the time: What do you not wear 80% of the clothes that you own? People don’t know what to do, so they get overwhelmed and buy things they think they should. Which means a lot of people go into their closet and feel dread. You should go in and feel joyful.”

3) Learn from the likes.

“Go into your closet and start by going through piece by piece. We all know what these pieces are in terms of what you get compliments on. Don’t you have a sweater or a dress or a suit that people always say, ‘OMG! You look amazing?’ Take those pieces and start to gather them. But don’t just think about the superlatives — it’s time to learn from them. What color are they? How do they fit your body? If you’re getting compliments every time you wear green, green is a good color for you. This is a way to teach yourself about silhouettes, colors you look good in, fabric. And then go back to gather the things you’re not wearing. Make a pile and take it to a consignment shop or thrift store.”

4) Care about what you wear.

“Getting dressed isn’t superficial. It’s not for [other people], it’s for you. It makes you feel good by taking the time and making it an important thing, then you’re going to attract what you want in your life. If you take the time to figure out for yourself how you want to feel, dressing right can help. You can’t just try hard when the stakes are high. You’re making an impression whether you realize it or not.”

5) Throw away your old casual wear.

“Casual dress freaks women out the most. Figure out what you want to say — do you really want to be wearing your boyfriend’s basketball shorts on the treadmill at the gym? And you don’t have to pay a lot for casual clothes. You can get basics at amazing prices. There’s no excuse — it’s not costly! When you’re walking the dog, you don’t know who you’re going to bump into. No one is asking you to go out in a cocktail dress. If you’re grabbing something, it might as well be cute.”

6) Don’t break your bank.

“Everyone has their own budget. When you know what you look good in, and are using your closet as a toolbox, you can shop anywhere. It’s a personal preference. Just be mindful. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on basics. Fashion and style are for everyone.”

7) When to spend.

“Splurge on things that are timeless, like a handbag or a watch. Pick a beautiful accessory. If you get an item of clothing like a great blazer, make sure there’s a longevity to it, because you can wear it with different things.”

8) Know your trend.

“When you know what you look good in already, you can chose the trend that’s right for you. If there’s a trend out there that you like, figure out how to do it so that it works for you and your color. You never want to just go out and buy trendy items. The challenge is to know what you have to work with while knowing what you should camouflage. If you don’t love your legs, don’t wear short skirts. If you have a fab back, wear something backless. A lot of times trends are going to naturally happen, so when you see something while you’re shopping, just try it on.”

9) The one thing we should all stop doing.

“Wearing clothes that don’t fit. It’s so unflattering. When the clothes start to wear you and you’re not wearing the clothes, something isn’t working. Make sure your clothes fit. Take them to a tailor. Women especially are uncomfortable if they think clothes are too revealing.”

10) Pull yourself together every morning.

“People freak out in the morning because it messes with their confidence. They second guess themselves and spiral out. They haven’t taken the time to be conscious about it and stop and say ‘no, I’m going to take control and feel and look amazing.’ Take that time.”

11) Treat every day like you’re dressing for a big meeting.

“When people are getting dressed for a day that’s really important, they pull it together. They stop their lives, they take the time and they know it’s important. When it’s just a regular day, that’s when they get overwhelmed. You’re being seen everyday whether you want to be seen or not. There’s so many different levels, so much subtext in the workplace and a lot of politics to deal with. If you really put yourself together, it brings in a whole different experience to work. Think about the people who go the other direction, and look inappropriate.”

 

 

TIME Style

Jackie Kennedy’s Wedding Dress Almost Didn’t Make It to the Ceremony

JFK Wedding Announcement
The Kennedy wedding announcement in the Sept. 21, 1953, issue of TIME TIME

Sept. 12, 1953: John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier wed in Newport

Before feeling the glare of the spotlight as First Lady, Jacqueline Bouvier shone in the society pages as the beautiful debutante daughter of an elite New England family. She was already a tastemaker with a reputation for “devil-may-care chic,” although it would be a few years before her every fashion statement was scrutinized on a national level, and before she would feel stung by a housewife’s comment in the New York Times Magazine that she looked “too damn snappy.”

But when the 24-year-old left behind a job as a photographer for the Washington Post and Times-Herald to marry the 36-year-old freshman Democratic Senator from Massachusetts, she wore a wedding dress she found neither chic nor snappy, according to the book What Jackie Taught Us. The ball gown, with a portrait neckline and a wide bouffant skirt adorned with wax flowers, bundled Jackie’s thin frame in 50 yards of ivory silk taffeta. She had wanted a simple dress with sleek, straight lines, but bowed to family pressure to wear something more traditional, despite thinking it looked like a lampshade.

When she wed John F. Kennedy on this day in 1953, she almost didn’t get to wear the dress after all. A week before the ceremony — at a Newport, R.I., Catholic church where the Archbishop of Boston led Mass and delivered a personal blessing from the Pope — Jackie’s dress and her bridesmaids’ pink taffeta gowns were drenched when a pipe burst in the designer’s New York studio. Designer Ann Lowe and her team worked around the clock to reproduce the wedding dress, which had originally taken eight weeks to cut and sew. They finished just in time, and the gown had its intended effect, stunning crowds at the ceremony and the reception, as well as readers of LIFE Magazine, which ran three pages of photos from the event.

According to the magazine’s 1953 story, “The Senator Weds: Young John F. Kennedy takes pretty photographer for bride,” the couple radiated an air of royalty:

Outside (the church), 2,000 society fans, some come to Newport by chartered bus, cheered the guests and the newlyweds as they left the church. There were 900 guests at the reception and it took Senator and Mrs. Kennedy two hours to shake their hands. The whole affair, said one enthusiastic guest, was “just like a coronation.”

Read a 1961 profile of the First Lady here, in TIME’s archives: Jackie

 

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