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Wear and Toss That Dress!
Fashion is a fickle thing. And trends shift all the time.
Right now, vintage is hot, hot, hot! Sustainable, upcycled, and secondhand clothing is where it’s at. And it’s hardly any wonder given the environmental destruction fast fashion is wreaking on our planet.
So it’s almost unimaginable that back in the mid-1960s, there was a push towards disposable clothing! You read that right. Wear it once and throw it away.
No article of clothing embodies this movement quite like this 1967 Beau Monde aluminum foil and paper dress. And wouldn’t you know, I happen to have one at 20th Century Fox Vintage!
It’s one of my favorite pieces in the shop. It’s so unique and peculiar, and given the fact that these dresses were intended to be disposable means they’re very rare.
This tent-style A-line tank dress is very 60s. Add a pair of iconic white go-go-boots, and you’ve got yourself a totally mod look. And I can virtually guarantee no one else will show up at your event wearing the same dress.
I have no idea how many of these dresses remain, but a quick Google search turned up very little. I did see a few available for sale, but this is not a common vintage item.
These types of aluminum foil dresses were not the only types of disposable clothes marketed back in the 1960s. Paper dresses became quite popular around 1966 and 1967, typically little more than vessels for really groovy, funky graphics! The chic individual who wore these amazing creations would wear them, show off the cool designs, and then throw them in the trashcan.
As someone who is obsessed with sustainability, particularly in the fashion world, this concept is absolutely baffling to me. I can completely understand that paper can’t be washed. So why not print these amazing graphics on, oh, I don’t know, cotton? Polyester? Silk? Rayon? Literally anything that can be worn more than once?
The Victoria and Albert Museum in London has a magnificent collection of these paper dresses on display, but you can have a look at some of the wild styles digitally.
Disposable fashion is a quirky, fun thing to think about, but I’m happy it’s a fad that we can look back on rather than one we’re experiencing right now.
Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to go marvel at the aluminum foil in my kitchen drawer and try to wrap my mind around the creative process that turned leftover preservation into fashion.