Saint Etienne, Sassoon, and the Sixties
"Can you be wildly ahead of your time and hopelessly behind it, too?" asks David Colman in this New York Times Fashion & Style section piece that's sort of about Saint Etienne but mainly about Sarah Cracknell's home in Oxfordshire, which is tricked out with a lot of Sixties artifacts and collectables. Prompting Colman to perorate: "in a world filled with practical, pedestrian stuff, why strive to live in the present? The past is not only prettier, it’s a lot less crowded."
Personally I'd have never have fingered Saint Et as that Sixties-fixated (it's just one of many moments in music they've been drawn to and have drawn from). Or even that retro-y (they've generally had their ears trained on what's going on now in pop just as much as they've rifled through the archives).
Cruel paradox: it's the very mod-ness and modernity and modernism of the Sixties that makes it so alluring, so tempting to pastiche. As Cracknell says: “It’s an era with such a great sense of design, with these crazy things like Vidal Sassoon haircuts and Mary Quant dresses. So stylized, so deliberate. The furniture, too. Or cars!"
That reminded me that when Vidal died recently, I kicked myself for not featuring him in Retromania's chapter on Fashion. He should have been in there right alongside Courreges, Cardin, and Rabanne. As the obituaries and tributes noted, Sassoon was one of the decade's greatest avant-gardists of pop culture and pop couture. The Corbusier of coiffure; his handiwork and scissorwork as startling and angular and neophilia-inciting as the Philips Pavilion. Indeed his geometric five point cut, introduced in 1963 - the year I was born -- was inspired by Bauhaus. Originally he wanted to be an architect, not a hair stylist.
"Nowness presents!" how appropriate... nowness becomes then-ness, present-ness becomes the past(iche)