Over the Moon

One has to wonder if Andre Courreges recoiled at the sight of Neil Armstrong’s cumbersome space suit — it was so not what Courrèges had in mind.

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Calvin Klein, spring 2009.

Photo By Thomas Iannaccone

Louis Vuitton Ad

Photo By Courtesy Photo

Aftershocks of cosmic chic have reverberated through modern runways: Mugler in the Eighties, Prada and Miu Miu in the Nineties and, most recently, Nicolas Ghesquière’s futuristic creations for Balenciaga. His sharp shouldered and C-3P0-legged robo girls for spring 2007 sparked a seismic futuristic streak that lasted until spring 2009.

As for the direct impact Apollo 11 had on fashion, Cardin embraced it. “The moon era has arrived — it brings new dimension in art, creation and thoughts,” he said before his 1969 couture collection, which featured circular moon-cut coats and dresses. But for the most part, by the time Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin kicked up the moon dust, popular trends had come back to Earth, as the world was adjusting to the bohemian, free-flowing styles of the hippie generation. Lest anyone forget, Woodstock took place just a month after Apollo 11 touched down. Meanwhile, high fashion was already on to its next mission: the midi skirt, which, as we all know, crashed and burned.

Koda cites pantsuits, tunics and double-face wool, a fabric championed by Courrèges, among lasting contributions from Sixties Space Age fashion. Still, in retrospect, the era seems largely a niche — some might say kitsch — moment. “If you look at Courrèges and all those people, it was like a great utopia, how the future will be,” said Francisco Costa, who used futuristic flourishes for his spring 2009 collection for Calvin Klein. “Obviously, [reality] is very different than what [they imagined]. The concept applies — fabrics that are very high-tech, and construction of the clothes — but if you take it literally, it’s not a good thing.”

Even Louis Vuitton, a house that latched onto the anniversary of the lunar landing for its current Core Values ad campaign, starring astronauts Aldrin, Jim Lovell and Sally Ride, distanced itself from any space-fashion angle, focusing instead on the connection to Vuitton’s roots. Daniel Lalonde, president and chief executive officer of Louis Vuitton North America, said at party to celebrate Apollo 11’s 40th, “It’s really more about the journey than the fashion.”

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