Last July, one of my housemates and I spent three nights together in New York City. We were both at the end of our holidays, and winding down in our own way. On the second last day, we were walking around the Chelsea district, trying to find some galleries that were still open through the summer break. On our strolls around the chronological street-names (that we only sort of understood), he kept spotting people double-taking at my appearance (come on – who’s gonna wear pants instead of skirts in a New York summer? That’s just silly). After a bit of this, he tapped me on the shoulder and said, “John, you’re turning heads in New York – how do you do that?” After flipping through On the street, a photographic journal of the awesomely irreverent fashion on display on the streets of NYC in the eighties, I’m not entirely sure.
For the second week of Outside-in cinema here at the Library, we will be showing the 2010 documentary The tents, which looks at the history of New York fashion week, specifically the structures within which it used to be held. There are numerous other titles in the collection that focus on the influential look and feel of the designers that work and live in NYC. The American look, for example, looks at the time between the two World Wars last century that saw the growth within New York of an interest in sportswear as fashionable attire.
For a more comprehensive visual guide, New York fashion traces the history of New York design from the 19th century up until the brilliantly outrageous 1980s.
All of these titles are findable on the shelves, though many more can be requested through the catalogue. Be sure to check out the book display at the screening to have a closer look.