Origin of the Trend: Studs

What’s with all this menswear-as-womenswear nonsense, Fall of 2010? Apparently fashionistas really like that royal European excess. This season is also all about accessorizing with studs – on purses, pants, shoes and as always, belts.

The trend dates all the way back to the 1800s before it became instrumental in the punk scene in the 1970s and recently rose again with the popularity  of stars like Lady Gaga who commonly accessorize with metal studs.

Although studded clothing been around since wealthy women liked to add sparkle to their dresses by sewing jewels to their evening wear, metal studs were first seen holding down the collars of men’s shirts. Paired with matching cufflinks, studs polished male dress in the late 1870s.

The late 1950s saw the use of circular studs as embellishment for anything from jackets to sundresses to stilettos. The rise of rock and roll led to edgy clothing, like this pair of Herbert Levine Label pumps, which have unfortunately already been sold.

Studded clothing finally came to the forefront of fashion when the punk scene broke out in the 1970s. In 1971, Vivienne Westwood and her boyfriend, Malcom McLaren (who later managed the New York Dolls and the Sex Pistols) opened Let It Rock, a store devoted to their punk clothing and accessories. According to The New York Times, the store was renamed SEX a few years later. Westwood began selling her designs there. She popularized metal adornments such as studs, zippers, razor blands and safety pins.

“My aim is to make the poor look rich and the rich look poor,” Westwood told The Times.

The raw materials were generally paired with bondage’s other fetish: leather. The elements inWestwood’s designs inspired the wardrobes of the Clash, the Sex Pistols, and the flocks of followers who attacked their own t-shirts with bunches of safety pins.

After decades of the thriving punk movement when outfits were never complete without metal studs that glinted on shoulders and lapels, 2007 heard rumors of the the release of Ray Brown’s ready-t0-wear line, according to PRLeap.com. Brown has a long list of stud-clad customers including Black Sabbath, Metallica and Guns N’ Roses. The line has yet to be launched, but it undoubtedly has inspired the revival of studded accessories and clothing.

Also recently, according to The Daily Mail, Lady Gaga set off the metal detectors in the Vancouver airport last August because of her excessive use of studs. She was wearing a studded dress, a pair of Christian Laboutin pumps and spiked gloves. On top of that, the fact that her Amy Winehouse-esque hair could’ve hidden just about nything of size, called the attention of airport security guards.

Fall Fashion Weeks featured runways attacked by studs and safety pins, echoing Vivienne Westwood of the 1970s. Balmain clothing and Betsey Johnson handbags are especially reviving the trend this fall.

Published at The Lion, The Stitch, and The Wardrobe on November 9, 2010.


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