April 7, 2009

Purple Haze(l)



I like all sorts of fashions - from the medieval influences of the Pre-Raphaelites, through the Edwardian fashions prevalent during the Great War to everyone’s favourite icon, Audrey Hepburn.

But I’m not a girly-girl and one of my fashion icons is a man. And a veritable bad boy at that.

I admire the fashion sense of the late guitar god Jimi Hendrix. I’m not too crazy about his fringes and bandanas but I really like the paisley, the frills, the stripes and the polka dots that must have filled his wardrobe.


He bought his iconic military jacket at the boutique I Was Lord Kitchener’s Valet, in London’s mod Carnaby Street. The store specialized in movie costumes and military gear (Hendrix’s jacket - top picture -is from the Royal Hussars.) The designer of the Beatles Sergeant Pepper’s album cover was inspired while walking past the shop.


Hendrix’s style, whether planned or not, seems to borrow heavily from the Sans Culotte, the lower classes in France during the French Revolution at the end of the 18th Century. Sans Culotte literally means without pants, or the knee-britches that were popular with the upper class. The Sans Culotte wore long pants instead, sometimes striped, usually paired with a double-breasted or a skirted coat. Underneath was the ubiquitous puffy shirt topped off with a bandana around the neck.


I see this influence when I look at Hendrix. Jimi Hendrix’s look was cool, bohemian, vintage and oh so bright. Long gone are the days when men were comfortable to dress like peacocks. And most women who try this kind of composition end up looking like rejects from Chico’s or Coldwater Creek.

I’ll just stick to my velvets and velours. Not too much can go wrong with my polka-dot shirts. In the summer I’ll break out my stripey pants. In 2008 Christie’s auction house sold a pair of Hendrix’s multi-striped trousers for £20,000.

20 comments:

Premium T. said...

I love this: "Long gone are the days when men were comfortable to dress like peacocks." Alas!

My older sister skipped school to attend Jimi's funeral....and he's buried in the same cemetery as my parents.

K. said...

Great stuff! You should come out here to Seattle and visit the Hendrix exhibit at the Experience Music Project.

giulia said...

Wonderful. Looking straight at a cool magnet from Experience Music Project & a postcard of JH sent by friends. Thanks for this...

Gina said...

i love the "peacock" phrase too...but admit it, if a man did dress like this these days we would think he was probably gay or maybe a little bit nuts.

love your blog!

Poetikat said...

"Dandies", didn't they call them? I think I recall Disraeli being one of those flamboyant types. (At least that's what I remember from Ian McShane's portrayal in the BBC production.)
When I saw your jacket in yesterday's post I was going to say, "Very Admiral Nelson!" (or something like that).
I like that look too, but I'm petite and it would dwarf me. I love those striped pants!

Kat

The Clever Pup said...

Kat, I'm too zaftig right now to pull off my Admiral Nelson jacket which I crazily ordered fromm Shanghai. I'm top heavy.

I have another, less costumey, one from April Cornell,which I wore out last night.

willow said...

The title of this post made me laugh out loud, Hazel! Yes, he was one cool dressin' dude, wasn't he? I love your polka dot shirts!

Rinkly Rimes said...

I can hear a fashion guru speaking! I think I'd have more flair if I were taller. I love 'wafty' clothes but they look overwhelming on my short dumpy frame.

Candie Bracci said...

Just love him,his style,his music and his guitar!Along with some others who died at the age of 27 like Pearl and Jimmy.i know that post is about fashion but couldn't help myself.Yes his style was unique!I've been living not far from the flat where he has lived too but unfortunately not the same time.

Coccinella said...

I came in to say the same, Rinkly Rimes! I've always loved this garb but I'm too short and round to carry it off! But when I was slim, I wore paisley shirts and velvet jackets.

The Clever Pup said...

Rinkly and the Lady Bug, I'm the same - I'm far too big up top and too vertically challenged for frills and epaulettes and boas. It would have be Nehru jackets for me. I can dream though.

Tina said...

I love your polka dot shirts! (And this post is fantastic too!) xoxo

Beth Ahrens-Kley said...

love the clever puppy!
but you ..."went out"... ohne man?!!

sallymandy said...

Hazel, I'm laughing so hard at the references to Chico's and Coldwater Creek. Many times I've been tempted to poke fun at those shops as they're about the only two in my town that are nominally geared toward the over-thirty set. I run away from them as fast as I can. But I've been reluctant to say so on my blog for fear a reader would be a fan. I know exactly the style you're talking about.

Re: the Jimi Hendrix style, this was very interesting and I love that you connected his style to the Sans Culottes. I never knew any of that.

And as for women being inspired by men's fashion, I've always loved menswear, and I note that Scott Schuman often posts women as inspiration for men's clothes on the Sartorialist.

Fascinating!

The Clever Pup said...

Beth, I think I get it! Mein man ist hier jezt. Er kam am Sonntag.

The Clever Pup said...

Sallymandy, I have to admit that I have bought a couple of velvet items from Coldwater because they have a few larger yet petite sizes.

I could see on my Sitemeter that they, Coldwater Creek, had visited. I thought uh,oh. But what happens - I get a Coldwater ad on my google ad at the bottom of the page. Any publicity is good publicity.

The Sart is driving me crazy these days. I hardly ever visit.

artslice said...

I am facinated by the fashions of this era. Jimi's clothes are so cool... also love Anita Pallenberg and Keith Richards togs.

A Thousand Clapping Hands said...

Sister, you rock! Jimi.....and Stevie Ray. Boy do I miss them. And I can't even imagine life with out Keith. I'm gonna start saying prayers for him. Always so much fun to see what was in their closets! Have a great weekend Hazel.
Catherine

Really enjoyed your 'meme' too. Was so glad you posted about the definition. I had no idea what that was - thought it was some new blog word. Ha!

Hermes said...

Goodness. I couldn't dress like that now but I remember that boutique as I wandered round London in my youth. Never met Jimi to my great regret but still play his genius music.

Sydnie said...

Jimi Hendrix has always been one of my inspirations musically. It's a shame he left the earth so early.

Sydnie
www.takemeouttotherunway.blogspot.com