So here's a thought where did the idea to squeeze ourselves into uncomfortable denim wear come from???
Casting an eye back over the past century it is apparent the post war bohemian art culture, where ‘modern’ was the order of the times is the best place to start. Rising up in the Mid 50’s icons such as Audrey Hepburn began wearing skin tight clothing. Adapted from dance clothing such as leotards and leggings, skinny trousers and denim could display the lean body, a nod to the artistic minimalism of the time and (for women at least) a direct rebellion to the confines of oppressive gender attitudes of fashion past.
The drug addled and emaciated ‘celebrities’ made famous by Warhol in the 60’s, continued this trend. Skinny trousers are the uniform of the hard-edged and underfed factory regulars. Edie Sedgwick’s regularly in nothing but black tights, and Twiggy, supermodel of the time when not wearing a super mini would sport such styling. But this was also the time for the less ‘arty’ male to take on skinny leg wear. This time in the form of skin tight Suits championed by the English Mods.
The trends continued through into the 70’s remaining a staple look of punk culture although the mainstream had become accustomed to flares. It was in the early 80’s however that came The Spandex Revolution and a rebirth of the leg-hugging look. It wasn’t only the punks now that were showing off the curves of their pins but the seemingly aerobics influenced MTV generation where Madonna and Olivia Newton John were the queens of the scene. Motley Crue and other ‘hair bands’ choose Lycra spandex infused denim as a wardrobe mainstay, another challenge to what was acceptable for male identity.
Finally the mainstream had taken heed. Donna Karan dresses the new generation of toned, take-charge female business executives; the shoulder pads, bold black jackets, ostentatious gold jewelry, and leg-hugging black pants with high waists. Followed was a decade of closets filled with stretch stirrups and jodhpurs, strong shapes and block colours.
The 90’s lost the look rebelling against the 80s trends and opting for the neutral tone mish mash of styles gone by that was the 90’s. It wasn’t until the early to mid 2000s that skin tight made a comeback. Nicolas Ghesquière at Balenciaga exiles the now fashion faux pas that was the bootleg cut with a collection reminiscent of scuba gear. But filtering down off the runway, cutting edge male and female musos sport the figure hugging attire, a new generation, paying homage to their bohemian forefathers who brought forward music & art and clearly the foundations of modern style. Band boys are wearing them, Supermodels are wearing them, Skinny is clearly here to stay.