1970s-Era Denim, Counter-Couture at the MAD Museum, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Textures

Downsizing got a little all-consuming around here this spring. This week’s ‘Textures’ challenge reminded me I hadn’t shared pictures from Counter-Couture – Handmade Fashion in an American Counterculture, a show we saw at the Museum of Art and Design (MAD) in New York in March. And who wouldn’t want to see, or wear, a flaming horse (or chicken!) flying in the sky —

MAD Museum - Embroidery Detail - Anna Polesny - Fancy Jacket 1974

Detail: Anna Polesny – Fancy Jacket, 1974

These pieces were in the Levi’s Denim Art Contest of 1974. Anna Polesny was born in Czechoslovakia. This embroidery tells the story of her life and travels.

Here’s the winner of the 1975 Levi’s contest —

MAD Museum - Billy Shire - Welfare - Sneed - My Personal Belt - Detail

Billy Shire – Welfare – Sneed – My Personal Belt

The artist’s clothing has been worn by musicians in the bands Chicago and the Doobie Brothers, and by Elton John.

This is an 11-pound jacket. Rockers work hard. Some materials: upholstery tacks, handset studs, rhinestones… and yes, that’s a desk bell, meant to chime when the jacket is worn. There is also purportedly an ashtray, but I believe I remember it was on the back. On the belts: bicycle reflectors, rivets, and luggage-bottom studs.

MAD Museum - Billy Shire Denim Jacket detail

MAD Museum – Billy Shire Denim Jacket detail

Counter-Couture, Handmade Fashion in an American Counterculture is on display at MAD through August 20, 2017.

Now back to downsizing — remember downsizing? I thought I’d donated or recycled all my oldest jeans, but here’s some denim I found in the depths of the closet this spring. My oldest jeans This isn’t even all the old jeans. No embroidery here, but the green jeans are 1970s era bellbottoms. As for embroidery, I do remember having some small well-behaved embroidery patches over holes, but of course nothing on the scale of the wonderful show items. I can offer this colorful inside label —

Green jeans vintage label

Vintage rainbow label in my 70s-era green jeans…

I guess having these makes me Ms Green Jeans. Is anyone else old, um, vintage enough to remember Mr Green Jeans?

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13 thoughts on “1970s-Era Denim, Counter-Couture at the MAD Museum, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Textures

    • The jeans have now gone on to the “stream of stuff” – either that or the rag bag. Ah – some of the things I remember wearing, perhaps I should NOT have been so courageous. I’m hoping now that anyone who saw me has either forgotten or looked equally goofy so won’t remind me.

  1. Fascinating post. I love textile art and those jackets are fabulous. Amazing that you still have so many old jeans. Mine usually wear out so are not worth keeping. But who is Mr Green Jeans? Never heard of him before.

    • The MAD show has lovely velveteen and crochet work too, really a treat for we who love textile art. Mr Green Jeans was a character on a childrens’ TV show called Captain Kangaroo. I had forgotten it until I typed ‘green jeans’ and it came back. On my old jeans, I was always changing sizes up or down so I probably kept them for when they’d fit again (but then they got packed away). Sort of like how my memory of Mr. Green Jeans got packed away — or my memory of the explosion of creativity in 70s clothing.

  2. Pingback: Texture: Up  | What's (in) the picture?

  3. I remember Mr. Green Jeans! What an amazing jacket. I would love to attempt even a small portion of so beautiful design…but alas…I don’t have the time that masterpiece would take. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

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