The Mountain Times

°F Sat, April 19, 2014

Central Vermont's Most Popular Weekly Newspaper

Tripping back in fashion time, Hippie Chic at MFA

For a fashion experience crafted to engage all your senses, take in the current exhibit, Hippie Chic, at Boston's Museum of Fine Art. Curator Lauren Whitley has brought together 54 couture designs inspired by the Woodstock Generation.
For the first time in fashion history, designers took their cues from the street, using the youth vibe of the 60s and 70s to inspire haute couture. The resulting display is a collection of hallucinogenic influences derived from psychedelic pop art, patterns cut in vintage and Edwardian silhouettes, and a colorful array of vibrant fabrics embroidered with ethnic and bohemian peasant motifs.
Recently, Killington Art Guild members walked through the exhibit. Music of the era transports you back to a world of fantasy and tie-dye. The Beatles' Strawberry Fields, Hendrix's Purple Haze, and The Grateful Dead's Sugar Magnolia set the stage radiating nostalgia from an illuminated juke box circa 1960's diner. Along the era inspired wallpapered and wood paneled walls, long haired mannequins pose draped in patchwork and ribbon dresses by Yves St. Laurent and Giorgio di Sant'Angelo. There are bold, bright textiles by Peter Max, maxi dresses and a crushed purple velvet three-piece suit sold at Granny Takes a Trip, the first psychedelic boutique in London. Also included is a tie-dyed Halston pantsuit ensemble as well as an Arnold Scassi sari created in 1970 for Barbra Streisand. Two show highlights: a beautiful ethereal rouge caftan embroidered with an intricate golden thread panel and a nomadic middle eastern inspired peasant coat both designed by Thea Porter circa 1969.
Missing from the exhibition: the iconic mandarin collar Nehru jacket inspired by India's culture and popularized by such bands as The Monkees and The Beatles.
What is most intriguing about the clothes is how these designers interpreted anti-establishment fashion trends into highbrow fashion. Creations rich in texture and brilliant color palettes, these ensembles speak elegance and sophistication far removed from the flower child salt of the earth, grassroots references.
Hippie Chic runs through November at the MFA. A preview of the exhibit can be viewed on line at www.mfa.org/exhibitions/hippie-chic where you can also listen to the curator explain her inspiration for the show, go behind the scene of the exhibition with collection care specialist Allison Murphy, create your own retro album cover, and listen to great tunes of the times celebrating Peace, Love, Rock and Roll. Take a trip down fashion's Penny Lane and enjoy!