Jump to content

Native influences and bricolage and FURS

Guest touchofsable

Recommended Posts

I am starting this thread as it came up on the Erin Wasson thread and I thought it neede its own discussion.


Dick Hebdidge a writer on youth culture once identified what he called "bricolage". Peter York(the guy who coined the term "sloane rangers"), the style guru and social commentator, concurred with this view.

BRICOLAGE is the assembly of incongruous fashion influences that put together, somehow work. He said that the assembly was rather similar to the process of a Surrealist painting.


Both PUNK and New Romantics and the high fashion success stories of people like Vivienne Westwood(who is clearly desperate to use fur love her but keeps copping out and going for sheepskin fur) used this process in their style.


Virtually every fashion movement among youth since has been totally controlled by sportswear gaints and global marketing.


But then the style was not maufactured by chain stores but "cobbled" together. Charity shops, work wear Grandads crombie, brothers works DMs and Aunties twin set and pearls and a bit of s and m gear were grabbed and assembled to make a THREATENING statement of individuality and resistance through ritual....sometimes with a bit of westwood pirate look thrown in(...still is...look at Gwen Stefanni).


Then came Nirvana, and the toned down conformity of grunge. Then the sportwear, and landfills full of trainers.


Nearly twenty years of (fur free...cant make a statement of elitism) conformity among youth(and their Anoraked parents) later, and a floundering among couture houses who tred to produce "expensive" spotswear type garments. Now the last few years couture has changed, taking in native influences, a resurgence of tweed, and natural fibres. Its happening on the street level too. Started in London with the sloanes...gone is the lady Di look and in with the ethnic influences and Aunties tweed skirt and mukluks. Firsts it was yakut fur hats and a bit of fur on boots, now its gone beserk. BUT at the moment its elite. BUT its spreading. The alienated working class girl inspired by anything from Marilyn Manson and Dita, to Black gangsta culture, to the hew eastern europeans coming, and the craze for ethnic tatoos and jewellery, are beginning to BRICOLAGE their look too. The high street stores are even trying to get in on the act now...but they havent the bottle to stock real fur.


So again moms wardrobe, charity shops and ebay are getting raided to "assemble" a look. Its still elite...but these girls are the fashionistas that lead where others will follow. At ther races all this winter were the most incredibly dressed young girls...and the look is even more bizarre now the coats are off.

Some things in the bricolage have become de riguer...like a fox hat, fur or fringed boots an item of tweed and for some strage reason, a Motorhead t shirt. I think Lenny would approve. I think it epitomises an "I dont give a damn" attitude and is a backlash against bands that try to ram political correctness down peoples throats.


So how do you assemble a look? Unless youre sixteen, keep all severe assembly out of it. Mulkuks and a summer cotton dress and sheepskin gilet and gypsy or Indian earrings a belly piercing and a celtic arm tatoo may look great on a sixteen year old ....but not great on a lady of more mature years. Think classic first, then just have something a little more....cutting edge, individual. maybe a tail on your fox hat. Maybe a fringed belt with your tweed skirt. Maybe an ethnic belt added around your fur. Maybe fringed native gloves or a coyote claw leather choker with your pearls. Maybe a couple of fox tails added on yout eighties fox fur sleeves a la YSL. Or a Dior inspired fox adorned silk top hat. Go for fur trimmed or fringed boots with a pair of suede pants, tweed jacket and fox hat...that kind of interpretation, and ALWAYS try to add your own individual influences...things you love...into the assembly so it is YOUR look. And try to keep numerous classic influences and reinterpret them...otherwise you will look like an old hippy. KEEP AWAY from borderie anglaise if youre older than 10. And sandals. In winter dont even go NEAR velvet if your going for a native look...that HAS to stay classic...unless your teaming it with something equestrian, like classic ridng boots and then your fur hat. And remember ...this ISNT the boho look from last year...its SO much more classic with a few native and couture influences. One thing is great.....gone are the seventies furs(again unless yout sixteen)and mukluks(unless they are the real mcoy) and in are the eighties shapes with big fox sleeves, and stilletoed fringed boots....teamed with tweed and ethnic gloves they are a winner. A dress basque is going to look better under your jacket than a motorhead shirt, it shouldnt be there with tweed so will look sexy;reinvented. NEVER buy chain store rip offs...buy the real thing whether shearling gilets from the Argentine, pashmina from specialist sellers of the real thing, or native american chokers . And if you want a couture element...like a dress....you have to buy the real mccoy or keep clear of it. And think colonial respect, cultural influence, not boho; think sophisticated not hippy; new trad not mod. Think re invent not rehash.


So endeth the style lecture for today but remember its not an instruction, just a commentary. Just a few ideas so your eighties fur doesnt look an eighties fur. And just imagine a lynx with that look......


Now I am putting on my tin hat for flak...but please....the days of fsahion orders are ggone and thats my point...so its just a social commentary based on what I am seeing, and a few ideas s'all.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just thought I had better check out the coming seasons collections, and I was right they are moving more to a classic look but also retaining colinial influences. So for example, have a look at Cavalli's lovely chinese embrodered caots with huge chinchilla collars. Eva cavalli:

"She's a geaisha on the outsuide but inside she's a warrior"


Then Chanel have done a lot of tweed and a 19th century dress look but bricolaged with leather skirts and thigh length boots.


Then Galliano has a fab apache headband look with a more classic collection than of late. ...there is even a ten gallon hat with feathers in, teamed with classic coats and huge ornate belt buckles.


Then there are some fantastic fur trim hems on classic dresses, with Mendel and Anna Sui...who has also gone for a US cavalry type dress jacket with red and gold russian cossack boots. Fur hems are on everything from burberry macs to evening little black dresses.


Then there is the calssic english lady look reinterpreted by DSquared(again with fur)...a bit of equestrian too. Dan and Dean Caten: "She rules, but she rides and rocks"


Then you have a gothic dark and light(silver)and mask collection at Viktor and Rolf with those amazing masks and that amazing forties inspired fox fur.


now my point is these new looks can be bricolaged, and are more geared to the older classic lady but trimmed with a few ethnic influences they can work dramatically and elegantly without looking as daft as Carrie on Sex in the city.


So think classic, then thing reinvent, add a little ethnic/native influence and your away. Let the kids have the boho look. Add the past three seasons together and you wont go far wrong for influences for this year....couture is always good for at least 6 years before the high street cottons on.


As far as furs are concerned what this means is that you can just add a few small ethnic influences to a very classic eighties fur (like chinese dragon or apache bandana, like a fox tail hanging from the sleeve, or ornate infuences like a big Dior type pirate belt) and maybe something really incogruous like a VandR mask ,and it will be reinvented!!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think it works myself. It looks like the Village People gone drag.


I know it's my opinion, but since furs are a fetish item for us, I don't think something you don't have a fetish for should be with it.l

Link to comment
Share on other sites

TOS, I guess I've been trawling through the fashion pages and have to agree to some extent. A little way out on the edge is around, but not in small town England (more's the pity) I've particularly been looking at what a male can do that breaks the stereotypical winter-wear mode. I'm looking for a coat, with some fur that doesn't look like a chunky sheepskin jacket, that isn't an 'anorak' with fur-edged hood, etc. I have to say, this coming Autumn, us males might just feel the need to abandon e-bay and head off to the shops. SOME of the male fashions look pretty street ready without being OTT. Bring it on.....


Link to comment
Share on other sites

This season I will be mostly wearing a sioux choker, us cavalry breeches, riding boots, mink tails off my belt and an outsize tweed 30s stable lads cap with a ralph lauren horse hair lined cavalty twill velvet collared ankle skimming covert coat and silver fox collar.


My girlf will be wearing an electric blue mink jacket with plein sud stretch leather pants , yakut fur hat and fringed boots(casual look) Or black mink/fox sleeves with silk topper with fox tail and veil(her Dita look)


Works for us but then it would be no good if we were all the same.

Look at some of the fantastic combinations Miss T wears.


Then Blackfox has his own awesome style with australian hat full silverfox coat which is very masculine, and leather trousers. Its a cool look.


or you could really kick it in and go for the Vin Diesel look in XXX.


What I am saying is that we can wear fur in all sorts of exciting ways.Hell look at Lordi with their reindeer fur cloaks!!!


there are some nice sheared beaver mens jackets around, and some nice fox trimmed shearlings for men too.


I am currently looking at putting a black mink collar on a mans black crocodile jacket at the moment...so there are possibilities you can do yourself.


But as for blending in in small town life in the UK...I think its as much about escaping that as anything.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You see warbonnets and think of the village people?



I highly recommend you buy A Man called Horse or Soldier Blue on dvd.

Even thats just Hollywood; but they arent bad.


Also go to links and look up native links at the bottom. Plains Inidans and other "native" peoples are as real now as they were then. And they arent all drunks. Some actually are making a supreme effort to go back to their traditional lifestyles...and that should be applauded. They make a massive contribution to eco management. Inuit, Cree, Yakut, Navajo etc etc.


The warbonnet is symbol of that and it stays.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

right on.... if i had a warbonnet, i would want to wear it all the time. at least it would let people know when i'm in a fighting mood... ha!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

hey miss T do you have any objection in posting that lovely "mountain girl"

pic as an avatar just while we are talking abouit this for a while......just so people get the idea?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You see warbonnets and think of the village people?



The context was the war bonnet combined with a fur coat. Pay attention.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I dont remember village people's Indian in a fur coat.


It's not that he wore one himself, but that he was gay, and people in drag are often gay. DON'T tell me that is a stretch.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is a stretch in comparison of you saying warbonnets and fur is a stretch in a native context!!!


I didn't say that was a stretch. I said they didn't fit. Despite what people say, fur fetish and appreciation has nothing to do with the "spirit" of the animal that it came from, any such analytical nonsense. In Native cultures it does, but that is spiritualism.


Anyway, my annoyance is not that you have a different opinion than mine; it's that you don't seem to think mine is valid. If you did, you wouldn't be trying to convince me otherwise. I'm only trying to state why this doesn't work for me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not a problem


I am saying why it does work......aesthetically. Yes spiritually too.

As I have mentioned before I believe animist framework for looking at life is very meaningful to me.

However on an aesthetic level (as spiritually you cannot say animism is wrong and christainity right...thats nonsense) fur is pleasing to the eye when mixed with other things. There are objective criteria for proving that

...aestehetics are not a matter of taste...there are certain rules. Now theses can be broken and things still work...in fact, sometimes this is the way new aesthetic is produced in Art etc ...of course. BUT if you dont like something you have an obligation to qualify the opinion.


my qualifiction is thus:


Warbonnets have a powerful symbolic meaning in both plains indian and our culture...few people can be unaffected by them; but even on an aesthetic level they are colourful, they move in a beautiful and natural way, draw attention to the face; and are created TO be beautiful....and they use things like fur and feather and horsehair because they are beautiful..and also have meaning.


The fur trade today is about 80% farmed, but even those farms are often owned or worked upon by peoples who still either still live or have a "native" heritage. Whether yakut or Cree or Sami or any of the dozens of other native peoples, they have a huge stake in the fur industry.


Furs are beautiful too. I hope here I dont have to justify that. BUT they go with warbonnets BECAUSE they are intrinsically linked. You wont find a warbonnet without fur in fact if it is authentic. So when you add them to fur the whole bricolage moves in an intensely aesthetically powerful way.

Dozens of people were stopped in their tracks and said so.


Now if you dont agree thats fine....but while designers have stopped short of using warbonnets, they have used things like porcupine quill/bison bone breastplates and chokers, apache bandanas, fringed accessories...and even furs...bobtails ect because it works aesthetically as the whole thing can work as a native look.


AND of course a statement that peraps this way of life was better after all than the modern one; damaging the planet as it is allegedly. So it is aesthetically pleasing and has social comment.


I am trying to tell you this NOT to force you to change your opinion...but because I want you to understand mine.It is you that have criticised the avatar, and on a thread about native bricolage influences in fashion.


I am not keen on anime...and I dont like gaudi...and I dont like Impressionism.....but I can appreciate them on an objective level...so its important that you understand my perspective..and do the same even if you personally still dont like it.


The reason I started the thread is to explain what bricolage is and why it can work on an aestetical and symbolic level.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...