What some in the fashion world had hoped to be among the most noble "green" fashion causes of the 2011 Oscars has turned out to be far from that. Instead, The 1930s Vintage Dress Massacre story has stolen the limelight.
South-East London fashion designer Gary Harvey was hired by Livia Firth, the lovely wife of the very handsome Oscar nominee (and winner) Colin Firth to design her dress for the Oscars. Her goal was to wear only eco-friendly, sustainable, and green fashion on the red carpet. The result? Eleven 1930s vintage dresses purchased at vintage clothing shop 360 Degrees were cut up to create one gown for her to wear.
(photo credit: Vogue.com )
360 Degrees was asked about the condition of the eleven gowns. " What was the condition of the 1930s gowns used to make Gary Harvey's dress? Were they already damaged beyond wearability or did he actually destroy 11 perfectly good vintage gowns?" (February 28, 2011 11:48 pm) source: 360 Degrees FB page
360 Degrees: "He bought the very best gowns..." (March 1, 2011 4:18 am) And later that same day: "I did say he bought the best gowns I didn't say they were perfect most vintage garments will have some sign of wear and tear." (March 1, 2011 2:18 pm) source: 360 Degrees FB page
Mr. Harvey was asked "Were the gowns that you used in wearable condition as they were, or would they have been considered damaged beyond repair?"
Mr. Harvey: "This is an unjust criticism...not one of these garments was suitable to wear in its current state, due to distress, damage, or decay, they had all been beautiful dresses once, this is the true nature of recycling. I have preserved and given new life to these vintage garments, some of which would have ended up in land-fill." (March 2, 2011) courtesy of Couture Allure Vintage Fashion
(photo credit: Vogue.com )
British journalist Lucy Siegle, who co-writes The Green Carpet Challenge blog on Vogue UK with Livia Firth and helped with the final touches of the gown stated:
"The pieces were damaged to such an extent and or so tiny that they had little to no chance of resale in their original state - sorry, there are not enough costume museums to accommodate. Rot on a hanger or make sustainable style history? You decide." (March 3, 2011 01:43 PM) courtesy of The Huffington Post
I've read that one of the gowns purchased was priced at 250 pounds. I wish I could sell a damaged, distressed, decaying, rotting vintage dress for that much...I understand Mrs. Firth was trying to do something good. I understand that Mr. Harvey is a very talented designer. I understand that 360 Degrees loves vintage clothing or they wouldn't exist. What I don't understand is how any of them can justify this, or call it eco-friendly, sustainable, and green fashion. Deleting critical comments and blocking commenters because they called this farce on the rug (which reportedly happened on the Vogue UK blog) is proof enough that all involved are guilty as charged.
I’m sure being contacted by a famous designer to shop in your store and create a dress for a swanky client who’s handsome husband is up for an Oscar is a shop owner’s dream come true. Let's face it, it's the break of a lifetime. But personally, if he waltzed into my shop, chose 11 of my best 1930s frocks and then informed me he was going to take the scissors to them, I couldn’t do it. I would refuse the sale. I’d rather remain the quiet shop on the corner than hear my name swirl around the fashion world for a week or two, where you’re here today and forgotten tomorrow. Let’s hope 360 Degrees didn’t know the scissors were coming.
In this vintage clothing lovers heart, it will be known as The 1930s Vintage Dress Massacre forevermore...