Wednesday, July 29, 2015

New York Fashion Cool-Aid™

Take Off In A Flight Suit

 Valentino Cash & Rocket camouflage flight suit
$3,590 at

Pondering the demise/ relocation of a few of the major New York fashion hubs of my youth has made me a flight suit risk -- or should I say it's making me risk a flight suit? While I'm not ready to fly off to Kepler-452b (our recently discovered twin planet), I imagine this is the low tech non-insulated version of what one would wear to do so.

I've lamented the closing of the magical Fiorucci retail emporium on East 59th Steet for decades now however the recent death of its creator Elio Fiorucci only made me mourn it anew. (Hopefully, the two little cherubs wearing sunnies which were the Fiorucci logo are watching over him). In addition, after 40 years, Trash & Vaudeville, where The Ramones used to shop, has announced plans to move from St. Mark's Place (the rent's too high) to a new location at 96 East 7th Street. I'm not sure how they will recreate their present space with all of its history. When Reminiscence, another old relic, moved to lower Fifth Avenue several years ago, it became more of a novelty store than the surplus vintage paradise of yore.

Reminiscence jumpsuit

I also reflected on the fact that youth is not the only thing wasted on the young. I wasted my once miniscule mid section in the baggiest clothing imaginable, favoring many of the unstructured Japanese fashions of the day a la various now defunct bands. Boasting more layers than a cake, I remember sporting looks constructed with baggy burlap pants, loose tunics, long skirts, loose vests and other relaxed silhouettes. By the mid '80s I had learned to pare down somewhat, hence one of my favorite go-to items was a onesie of utility chic: the Reminiscence flight suit.

Current Elliott Flight Suit

My first flight suit was black and somewhat more formfitting. Since one of a good thing is never enough, I followed it up with a baggier turquoise one. The flight suits were surplus items, hand dyed in various Easter egg colors. Absent any standardized fit or sizing, you never knew what you'd get. I liked the fact that I had the smaller black one and wore it slightly more dressed up, usually with a higher heeled sandal or boot, while the blue one had a more relaxed, casual vibe perfect for clogs, espadrilles or sneakers. I accessorized both with large funky beaded silver earrings, scarves or bandannas and occasionally a graphic band tee beneath in which case I would leave the front zipper mostly open. The attached belt of the same fabric was meant to be tied thereby allowing the silver latch closures to hang decoratively.

Reminiscence bike jacket

Although the coverall was made of a fairly heavy cotton twill fabric, the loose long sleeves made it ideal for rolling above elbow length which was how I always wore them. The zippers down the legs could also be closed which I did with the black one; the wider legged blue version I left unzipped to billow out. I also got a lot of wear out of an oversized rust colored hooded crinkly cotton bike jacket-- Reminiscence still features these on their website in various colors for $24. I remember pairing the bike jacket with other loose layers such as a sweatshirt tunic over leggings or a casual midi skirt and biker boots.

Pure DKNY V Neck Jumpsuit

A few years ago I thought of the Reminiscence flight suits when I came across a DKNY Pure version in silk. Again, I seem to buy these things in pairs and it just worked out that a smaller one was available in black while I went a size up in the color they call Greystone, a beige-y taupe (no shades of blue-green in the Donna Karan version). While these are a thinner, perhaps more grown up iteration, they don't have the same rugged sprezzatura as the Reminiscence version.

Saint Laurent Rive Gauche Vintage Flight Suit

Determined to satisfy my budding curiosity on the status of flight suits, I did a quick online search. Etsy produced a khaki colored Saint Laurent Rive Gauche vintage flight suit ($188) on which a former owner chose to embellish the lapels.

Bliss and Mischief Reworked Vintage Romper

If you prefer a romper there is the Bliss and Mischief Vintage Reworked Flight Suit in army green suit for $228.

Rihanna in Vintage Coveralls

For those who want to keep their flight suit budget more down to earth (so that they can afford an actual flight) there's always Uncle Sam's Army Navy Outfitters which stocks a non-designer version of the camouflage Valentino at the very non-designer price of $57.   Of course, you'd probably have to be Rihanna, (who's recently been seen rocking some utility looks about town and to the recording studio in L.A.), to pull off actual oversized military garb.

BTW, if you haven't yet seen it, check out Miss Piggy (she's a flying pig as long as it's in first class! HA) "singing" Bad Girl RiRi's latest "Bitch Better Have My Money."

- Laurel Marcus

1 comment: