Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Those Mods of the early 60's knew a thing or two

Now, I'm not talking about the "tickets" or the "numbers"- those who jumped on the bandwagon and decided to run a mock on English beaches and wear their parkas. (By the way, parkas or "wartime coats" were only worn by scooter riders in the wet to keep their suits dry.) To clarify, I'm talking about the few. The "faces" who set the trend and would be obsessive about the width of a lapel; the number and type of buttons on a suit; the curve of a cuff and the length of the vent in their jacket. They would set the trend and what was "in" one week, would very quickly be out the next. They had to be different and ensure what they wore, their hair, even how they stood was ahead of the game. All this to maintain their face status at The Flamingo or The Marquee club.

Here is an extract by Nik Cohn the British Rock Journalist entitled "Yellow Socks Are Out" (were they ever in?) that shows the obsessiveness of the era. They really were Dandies of their time.

"The look had many refinements. As well as its shortness, the jacket had narrow lapels and a rounded, scooped out hem. The shirts were small collared and, by the late fifties, button-down. The ties were skinny. Hair was worn short. Everything was skimped - narrow legs, pointed feet, no shoulders."

Then talking about shoes, the Cheslea Boot or Cuban Heel which became part of a "face's" uniform...

"It was a beautiful, ornate and decadent object, elastic sided with built up heels, maybe two inches high, which gave it a deeply hollowed instep. It spoke of heroics, of gunfights in the noonday sun, of violence and sex together."

Such fashion leadership back then was based upon being at the right place and mixing with the right crowd. It took balls. Today, the Internet enables us to research and create our own look - any mix will work no matter how eclectic. Such "tribes" as Mods, Rockers, Punks, Teds, Beatniks etc will no longer manifest themselves in the way they did in the past. People now have all the influence at their fingertips to make their own choice and selection, which is why we probably see a resurgence in many styles and types of music. It still takes balls, but is much more readily accepted. The style and attitude of Dandyism is very much alive and thriving.

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