Thursday, December 27, 2012

Gerry Anderson Fashions

The death this week of Gerry Anderson has sparked an outpouring of nostalgia from those brought up on his TV programmes in the 1960s and 1970s - Stingray, Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet, UFO, Space 1999 etc. And yes this is partly a nostalgia for the future that never happened, the thrilling world of space travel, underwater exploration and mass luxurious leisure that children in that period were told would be their birthright in Tomorrow's World by the end of the 20th century. I won't labour the point - Simon Reynolds has after all written a whole book about Retromania - but not only has that future not materialised but the whole belief in the future expansion of human possibilities is often dismissed as a mere retro fixation. The Association of Autonomous Astronauts (1995-2000) was partly an attempt by some of the children of the Gerry Anderson generation to carry forward that hope - inevitably we  called our 1999 conference in London 'Space 1999: ten days that shook the universe'.

Never mind the lack of personal jetpacks, one of the many disappointments of living in the actually existing 21st century is that the futuristic clothes in Gerry Anderson's shows haven't really caught on. There was a period in the techno mid-1990s when interesting fabrics and unisex clothing took off, with labels/shops like Vexed Generation in Soho. But for now looking like you crawled out of an early 1970s  album cover seems to be enough for the average hipster - though to be fair is that any more retro than desiring to look like you crawled out of an early 1970s TV show about the future?

UFO (1969-70)

UFO (1969-70)
The costumes for Space 1999 were designed by Rudi Gernreich (1922-1985), a refugee from the Nazis who was one of the founders of pioneering US gay rights organisation The Mattachine Society

Space 1999 (1973-76)

Space 1999 (1973-76)

Destiny Angel from Captain Scarlet (1967)

Thunderbirds (1964-66)

Well at least Britney Spears had a go at channelling Thunderbirds as a space age air hostess in the Toxic video:


by James said...

I also am sad none of Glan A. Larson's sci-fi of my youth had fashion break throughs

Transpontine said...

True, could do a lot worse that a Battlestar Galactica (original) outfit.

bat020 said...

couldn't agree more re the eclipse of "interesting fabrics and unisex clothing" and its replacement by vile hipstroid retrotwee.

the only mainstream brand that still seems to hold fast to this kind of sci-fi modernism is Uniqlo, which is probably why I buy nearly all my clothes from them, consumer sap that I am...