Stories - Style - Music - Events

Woodstock, fringes, freedom, and illusion

By Monica Camozzi
4 min read

Peace and love that never came, fringes and freedom: the wonderful illusion of Woodstock 

15-18 August 1969. Three days of peace, love, freedom. A revolutionary gap in the middle of the Vietnam War, in full racial opposition. Like all myths, Woodstock blossomed a few years later. Young people wearing bandanas, glasses with colored lenses, long pearl necklaces, and unconsciously glamorous fringes inspired decades of future trends. The genesis of that chic boho style that would soften the much more ideological intentions in the years to come. Among the hippie fringes, the dream of freedom and social ecumenism stayed afloat, completely ignored by the deaths in Vietnam and the racial split that plagued society. The illusion, like the myth, would become clear in the following decades. However, Woodstock, back then too, received many red flags and illustrious rejections. For instance… 

Un fenomeno sociale ed estetico, Woodstock

Woodstock, fringes, illusion, and… a lot of “no, thank you.”  

Bob Dylan refused the invitation to Woodstock. In fact, some say that having a house near Bethel, where the festival was held, the star decided to move away from there together with his family. Jeff Beck, with his band, said no to the festival because, fearing the betrayal of his wife, he rushed back to England. John Lennon wanted to attend but only together with Yoko Ono and was told no. The Stones didn’t join either since Mick Jagger was filming Tony Richardson’s film Ned Kelly that August. Moreover, not everyone knows that millions of dollars were wasted between the fringes and the flared jeans of Woodstock: the organization of the festival had cost more than 3 million (in 1969!) compared to the revenue of 1.8 million dollars. The family of one of the organizers ended up paying their debts until the 1980s.

Il woodstock mood ripreso dalle celebs

With Woodstock, the great illusion of the 1970s collapsed after Kennedy’s death, Vietnam’s many deaths, in the hallucinogenic three days of 500,000 people, and the hysteria of the stars gathered to play. The legend of the festival was born from Michael Wagleigh’s wonderful documentary film, which captured the festival’s most epic and fascinating moments. The fashion and the emphasis of the libertarian dream helped create the archetype: dressed in tie-dye prints, with the symbols of the animated revolution Peace & Love, fringes, and crop tops broke all sartorial constraints, paisley prints. Clothes that, years later, many brands would turn more glamorous by igniting the ethnic and vintage bohemian style. 

The mythological reconstruction of Woodstock uses the language of fashion. Lots of fringes, the illusion sublimated into glamour.  

The mythology of Woodstock has built many small bricks in the wall of symbolism, in a patchwork of sociological, aesthetic, historical connotations that have made it a monument ab aeternum. And from there, the world of fashion has drawn great inspiration. For instance, the colored beaded bracelets, a key element of the hippie syntax, were redesigned by Dior.

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Zendaya has signed a capsule collection for Tommy Hilfiger, in which boho-chic floral dresses are matched with boots and accessories that magically give the metropolitan touch on the revolutionary dream.

Zendaya per Hilfiger

Coach presented the suede jackets with fringes, while Moncler literally quoted Woodstock on their sweatshirts. Céline adopted the poncho, another gem of that summer shaken by torrential rain, and gave it a noblesse couture touch, while Etro embraced the ethnic mood by adopting, as always, since the brand was born, the paisley motif with a very refined connotation. In short, the anarchic spirit of those garments dissolved like Alca Seltzer in the immense container of aesthetic suggestion, becoming a quotation, an aphorism.  


Fashion built on something that has never been fashionable 

Woodstock’s message was anti-everything! Anti-marketing, anti-fashion, in favor of peace, comfort, freedom. The 500,000 protagonists of those three epic, crazy, revolutionary days, contestable for drug use and collective hallucinations, would certainly not have loved some hyper bourgeois interpretation of the epigones. The people of Woodstock were not fashionable. They wore handmade crop tops, naive skirts, hippie fringes, beaded necklaces. And for them, the reunion wasn’t an illusion; it was a real desire for something different. That spirit was disguised, often misinterpreted, and used in areas such as Coachella, which is a festival held in California at the end of April that offers music, sculpture, art and becomes the stage for bloggers and fashion influencers. Because that field, that farm, those rock stars, and the subsequent creation of a myth have set an irresistible precedent.  

Un outfit Molly Goddard

Molly Goddard’s Autumn Winter 

Within the present-day creatives, we suggest a Woodstock spirit metabolized and carried out by the stylistic figure of Molly Goddard, exquisitely from London. Sweaters of flowers’ daughters dance on large skirts of crimson taffeta, hi-tech couture greatcoats twirl on floral skirts. The masculine cardigans take on a folk connotation, becoming ideal companions for check trousers and bags with a knitted look. 

Written by
Monica Camozzi
Journalist since 25 years, copywriter, storyteller, passionate of made in Italy, business adventures and new challenges.
4 min read

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