>The Duckie Brown fall 2011 Show: Ruminating Backstage With the Duckies

23 Feb

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Text, Vivian Kelly

“Is this a ‘men’s collection” or a “women’s collection?”
UGH.
Like Steven Cox, 1/2 of the Duckie Brown label, I find the question rather, well… dated. Perhaps a better word would be, “anachronistic””.
Back in the early Eighties, we had Grace Jones and Brigitte Nielsen. They looked FAN-TAS-TIC. They made the point that you could be masculine AND feminine – all at once. Both sported looks such as white “wife beaters” and “men’s” black tuxes in now-iconic photographs. They helped spout the notion of “androgyny” which photographic legend, Helmut Newton, helped to make fashionable.
Another famous example is Bianca Jagger, back in her Studio 54 Days. Her most famous outfit was a white PANTsuit. In the Seventies though, it was considered “daring” to wear pants to work.

Then-Vogue Editor, Grace Mirabella, was considered to be “daring” to propose this as “a work option”. As I later learned, as one of her Assistants, in the early Nineties, Miss Mirabella meant what she said. I cannot recall a SINGLe day she did not walk into the office in slacks. Her favorites were: Geoffrey Beene, Calvin, and Bill Blass, not necessarily in that order.

Even in the mid-Eighties, when I was going on my first job interviews, I wore SKIRTS – no question. Pants, were not really an option.
The whole topic seems ridiculous in retrospect. Just a year earlier, I’d gone on a road-trip to UVA [The University of Virginia] for a weekend of party hopping. The scene I lived out that weekend was straight out of Tommy Hilfigger’s tailgate glossy ads. What’s interesting is that when you inspect it closely, “preppy style” can ALSO, like “East Village Punk”, look quite uni-sexual. We college co-eds were from a dozen or so different colleges and universities but we all looked like the frat boys whose parties we attended.
The uniform: Lacoste shirt [untucked], Levi jeans [unwashed and stiff] and Sperry Top or Docksiders. Sounds limiting? Not really, when you consider how many different colors the Gator shirt was available in.
Okay, I made-up that word, “unisexual”. At the end of the day though, most of us are looking for clothes that we, as people, can just wear.
SOME “PEOPLE’S FAVORITES”
-The “wife beater tank
-Converse “Chuck Taylors”
-A really WELL CUT pair of trousers – Duckie Brown! Oftentimes, they will be black.
– Levi’s original 501’s. You need to break them in, it just takes time. Be patient.
-A Woolrich red and black buffalo plaid jacket
-Docksiders, the originals.

So, why can’t a man wear women’s clothes and vice-versa? Duckie designers Steven Cox and Daniel Silver ponder the question in our pre-show interview, here.

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