Modern Icons: Inter-and-Intra Fashion Snapshots from Around the World

Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.

—Coco Chanel 

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Whatever your opinion about the fashion industry, branding and the rest- there will always be a subset of us that realize the division between style and brand, where style reflects life and vitality.  Everything in fashion is old and new at the same time; often borrowed and irreplaceable.  Yves St. Laurent often commented that he wished he had invented blue jeans; to him they reflected “the most spectacular, the most practical, the most relaxed and nonchalant.  They have expression, modesty, sex appeal, simplicity-“.  In few words, all that he hoped for in his own clothes.

But fashion’s timeless epic has never been confined to blue jeans, those typical American staples.

Something Borrowed: Vietnam’s National Dress

Called ao dai (ow zigh) in Vietnamese, this long flowing dress and top worn by women since the 18th century  was most modernly updated to its current form by Parisian fashion of the 1920’s.  French involvement in Indochina had long-standing effects on Vietnamese society, where many little things of the French culture were adopted into the Vietnamese cultural mainframe.  While criticized as divergent and decadent during earlier years, this dress shows how people renegotiate culture to involve all parts of history each and every day.

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(read the entire article on Vietnam by BBC Correspondent Bill Hayton at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-23501757)

Something Old/New:  Recolouring Stereotypical Picture of Iranian Women

Since the political revolution in 1979, stereotypical Iranian culture and fashion has been portrayed by the media as large groups of women perusing the streets in the hijab, chador and niqab.  However, many Persians and Iranians will remember also the days of the 1970s where Tehran was a portrayal of fashions diverse- from more conservative dress to colorful dresses, skirts and jackets.  Now, new and innovative fashion designers in Tehran are forging a new path, daringly negotiating between veils and bright color and patterns- giving homage to a longer-standing Persian culture.

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(Read more on Iranian women challenging fashion convention at http://www.buzzfeed.com/thewilsoncenter/how-irans-young-women-are-using-fashion-to-influe-bh9k)

(See more of 1970’s Tehran at http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/02/15/once_upon_a_time_in_tehran#1)

Have more modern fashion icons from around the world?  Send us your finds in the thread!

– Bridget Healy

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