The other day I was fortunate enough to attend an exhibition of forward-thinking fashions. Many of the outfits were designed by current attendees of design schools located around the country. Amid the multicolored mannequins that sported brand-new shapes, silhouettes, textures, and tactile sensations, there were also some fun photos of surprising outfits made of astonishing materials.
Chief among some of the most curious concoctions were a few full-length coats and jackets made of—drumroll, please—teddy bears! Yes, our favorite plush pal was recorded for posterity in photographs and in canvas renderings.
One of the reasons why the teddy bear as fashion apparel hit such a high note with the students and with the well-known designers on hand was because Madonna once cavorted about, draped in such a “grizzly” get-up. Yes, Madonna, the woman who proudly faced sold-out stadiums in a cone bra and thigh-high stockings, inspired a French designer to hand-make her a jacket of discarded bears.
Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, born in Casablanca in 1949, created a teddy bear coat that Madonna gladly donned, and it also grabbed the attention of onetime supermodel Helena Christensen. Both these powerhouse women turned what might be a prank or a joke into a bold fashion statement.
That got me to thinking about rock stars and their uninhibited fashion sense. They never have to worry about keeping their wacky sensibilities or their silly sides in check. They can just gleefully go for it!
Hard rock and high fashion go hand in hand; and at this fashion roundup, they also went hand in paw. I investigated the Internet and found a plethora of plush combos: there are lots of photo shoots that combine bears and stars who often don’t mind baring it all.
For Castelbajac, who adores plush critters of all kinds—he’s a major Muppet fan—he likens many of his childlike and outré designs to being “free and open-minded.” A collector of Lego as well (he’s made very expensive watches that borrow from the Lego brick system), he extolls a world of fashion where we are all able to dress and present ourselves as we please.
Picture everyone living in a Marlo Thomas-esque “Free to Be You and Me” world. How many of us would have the nerve and the gumption to put a teddy bear on our head, a frog around our neck, and a kitty cat hanging on our arm as a purse?
I can’t give you an exact count, but I think most “adults” would prefer to carry a sensible tote than a totable snake.
Here, then, enjoy an array of photos that illustrate how plush pals and personal expression meet in a way that is winning and whimsical.
Heck, I’m so inspired, I think I might find a box of old Beanie Babies, my quilting needle, and some heavy-duty fabric. If I could wear an amazing Technicolor dreamcoat, I’d be parading about in an instant!
How about you?