Ain't Nothin' Like the Real Thing: Faking flower-child high fashion with vintage vérité | Culture | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Ain't Nothin' Like the Real Thing: Faking flower-child high fashion with vintage vérité


Published August 14, 2002 at 4:00 a.m.

Besides the name “Skye,” I received many groovy gifts from my hippie parents, including an appreciation for early 1970s folk music and a keen sense of bohemian fashion. Swathed in hand-me-downs from my mother’s 1970s wardrobe, I have embraced the peace-and-love image and just naturally blend in with Vermont’s Phish-inspired fashion scene.

But I have been proudly sporting my patchwork skirts, Alpaca sweaters and Birkenstocks without paying much attention to whether I’m in or out of style. So imagine my surprise to find that I and other like-minded Vermonters are suddenly at the height of couture.

In one season, so-called “peasant” smocks and long, flowing dresses have seemingly leapt from the bodies of Vermont dairy farmers’ daughters and onto the runways of Paris and Milan. Versace and Yves Saint-Laurent are swaddling their own anorexic flower children in the kind of outfits seen on every day on Church Street — and even more commonly on State Street in our laid-back capital.

But you don’t have to cash in your life savings to buy the new designer collection. Wannabe hipsters can achieve the same look from any number of local secondhand clothing stores — not to mention retro-friendly new-clothing shops. Take it from me: I went on a scavenger hunt last week to discover that many stores in the greater Burlington area are already stocked with the newly trendy duds.

Who can say which is authentic — original bell-bottom corduroys still mud-stained from Woodstock, or the boot-cut Gucci cords with the mark of the elite right on the label? Can the trained eye distinguish the really old from the fake old? Could Vermont citizens dressed in native garb convincingly fill the pages of Vogue and Cosmo? You decide.