Saturday, July 30, 2005


All that talk about reviving the sixties this fall with mod dresses, armour-like clothing etc reminds me of THE dress of the sixties, the Andy Warhol Campbell's Soup Dress. It was made of paper and was the epitome of the 'throwaway' culture of the 60's.

Paper clothes were an experiment with fashion. The bizarre trend originally turned up in Australia in 1967 when department stores and Mirror Newspapers presented garments modelled by Donyale Luna from 'Paraphernalia.' The outfits were stocked in several stores but not many were sold. They were cheap and disposable - truly the fashion of the future. Well, at least until they realized that flammability was an issue. At the time the solution was to use flame-resistant materials.

Two years later the look came back through the Soup Dress. It was made of wood pulp and cotton, screen-printed with Campbell's soup tins. At the back of the neckline read: "The Souper Dress/No Cleaning/ No Washing/ It's carefree fire resistant unless washed or cleaned/To refreshen, press lightly with warm iron/80% Cellulose, 20% Cotton".

The material used for these dresses were produced like felt by a binding process with wood pulp and rayon mesh. These dresses were very fragile and light sensitive. They were made to be worn once or twice and thrown away.

Andy Warhol was a genius as he was capitalizing on pop culture and a trend that allows the brand to be displayed without being overtly commercial. It was the style that mattered, not the Campbell Soup Cans.

Today's version of the Campbell Soup Dress unfortunately is the opposite. The monogram, with the fashion house's brand in a repeated pattern around the fabric is all about money and brand-consciousness.

Unlike the Campbell Soup Dress, the logo-slapping monogrammes of today are running in the other direction as wearers are supposed to be stylish because of, rather than despite of, the brand flaunted all over the wearer.
But I guess there are other forms of fashion with the premise of the Soup Dress just that they are simply too few are far between.

P.S. Talk about monogrammes, check out what these Yale students did for LV.