For those surface pattern designers who did not make it to NYC for the Punk to Couture exhibition this summer there is still a chance for you to take in some anti-establishment inspired fashion. From July through November 11, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston is featuring Hippie Chic, a collection of far out fashion from the late 1960s and early 70s.
The clothes from that era are bright and loud and everything the mainstream world was not at the time. Hippie fashion was a bold statement from the counterculture raging against the uptight social mores and limiting traditions of previous generations. And, unlike earlier trends in high fashion, it started at street level via popular youth culture rather than coming down from the exclusive houses of couture.
As hippiedom wore on and was overtaken by succeeding cultural waves, its funky tie-dyes, bell bottoms, and psychedelic prints began to seem tacky and overdone. The generations to follow were not exactly kind when looking back on that wild era. (How many of you have ever dressed as a "hippie" for Halloween?) Luckily for us, MFA Boston's Hippie Chic exhibit has brought out some of the best clothing samples from that time, reminding us of how truly innovative, daring, and fun its fashion was.
Amidst a backdrop of shag carpets and mind bending wallpaper, 54 garments are displayed to represent varying looks of the movement. There is an abundance of surface pattern design to take in, from vibrant florals, paisleys, and geometrics to intricate ethnic prints. My favorite piece by far is the men’s suit jacket a la William Morris (see image at right). Also included in the exhibit are some of the few remaining pieces from celebrated fashion designers Thea Porter, Ossie Clark & wife Celia Birtwell and Giorgio Sant’Angelo.
I think this show is another must see! If you are able to attend, please let us know what you thought! We'd love a field report.