From the streets of London, of Paris in the 1960s, to the alleys of Taipei now populated by the “millennium” generation, there has been one constant in the art of urban camouflage: the act of showing off.

Showing off and showing one’s legs, in all seasons, with the miniskirt as accomplice: a seductive garment revealing the legs and emphasizing the silhouette.

To be beautiful and to recognize oneself as beautiful is prerequisite to wearing the miniskirt. But what is this concept of miniaturization?

What exactly was the artistic context that caused the creation of such a wildly trendy garment?

The term << mini >> refers to the concept of miniaturization, or the action of reducing something and giving it a shorter cut or form. In both French “prêt-a-porter” and “haute-couture”, the idea of reduction has had different connotations at different times – and different ideas of what qualified as short or very short. The length of the skirt for more conservative ladies proved to be an affair of social and religious morality. Indeed, the skirt, as opposed to the trouser, remained the garment that defined the feminine condition. In most careers and professions even where uniforms are worn, the skirt is still seen as the feminine counterpart to the masculine trouser. This belief is so prevalent that women generally establish themselves as equal to men in two ways through their attire. Either they wear trousers themselves to affirm themselves equal to, or “the same as” men (however the reader should choose to see it), or they challenge the idea of the dominion of the “stronger” sex by redefining and reformulating the attributes of the “weaker” sex.

從60年代的倫敦、巴黎街頭到千禧年的台北巷弄,有股潮流持續在城市中發燒-就是展示姣好身材的想望(裸露/展示身材的行為)。

迷你裙是女人不管在任何季節想要展示自己姣好身材的最佳工具。透過這個總能吸睛的性感衣著,不但可露出完美雙腿,還可強調美麗曲線。

而要能穿出完美的迷你裙風尚,絕對是任何想變美麗或是被視為美麗的人們的首要目標。但這「迷你風潮」的概念是什麼?而又是在什麼樣的藝術背景下,造就了迷你裙狂野與時尚兼備的衣著?

<<mini>>這個字來自於miniaturization(小型化/微型化),或是代表刪減及簡化事物的行為。在法國,成衣及訂製服的市場中,簡化衣著在不同時空有著完全不一樣的定義,而對於「短」或是「超短」的認定也有所差異。裙子的長度在保守的女士眼中,有社會與宗教道德上的意義。裙子相對於褲子,是女性穿著的象徵。在許多須著制服的工作或是專業場合,仍是以女性裙子與男性長褲做為相互搭配的組合。這樣的傳統教條如此根深蒂固,因此當女性想要建立與男性平等的形象時,往往都會採取下列兩種的穿著方式。一就是藉著穿起長褲,表示自己與男性是平等的,更甚之表現出自己跟男人是一樣的(讀者你們可自行判斷)。或是,他們藉由改變或是重塑傳統”弱勢性別”的衣著,來挑戰傳統上”強勢性別”的主導權。

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In the sixties in the Western world, where there was a loud demand for female rights, a large political and associative movement working for the liberation of women’s rights and conditions. In fact, the values put forward by this movement found deep resonance within societies that engrained stratification between genders. This had been just one issue reevaluated by a generation that had seen the world of their parents torn apart in a world war. The issue of gender equality was discussed anew as part of the reconsideration of every aspect of society’s assumptions, values, and aims. The trauma left by the war of their parents caused the desire for social progress in every domain, as well as the reform of the very foundations of society. Ultimately, “What role does mankind have on Earth?” they asked. The interrogation of the relationship between man and his environment allowed a newfound appreciation for freedom, happiness, pleasure and well being of all individuals. Because of this change in perspective, a new intellectual movement began to emerge on the political front. Hence, artistic creation and innovation also fed from the positivity of this popular discourse. As a result, the proliferation of a new world of art, architecture, cinema, music, design, and professionalism had begun. This was especially apparent in the field of fashion, whose window displays gave the most visible presence to these enduring changes. If we choose, on a narcissistic note, to analyse the impact of such changes from the stretch of sea between France and Britain, we can see how they were reflected in artistic production on both sides of the channel.

在60年代的西方社會,女性在政治、工作權上的解放運動開始受到發展與重視。這股風潮同時也撼動了傳統因性別不同所產生階層不平權的現象。而檢視性別之間的差異,在世界各地也掀起家庭成員之間的爭執。有關兩性平權議題的討論,迫使著人們必須去重新考量社會上原有的設定、價值與目標。社會法則逐漸隨著潮流在每個領域改變,進而影響社會基礎的情況下,也造就了不少家庭上的創傷。以往男人在他的世界中所享有的自由、快樂與歡愉,將不再專屬於他們。他們充滿著”我存在世上的意義到底是什麼”這樣的疑問。然而社會改變是不可抵擋的,在政治權利的理性推動也慢慢出現。藝術上的創作與發明也受到這股風潮的積極影響。以新世界為題的藝術品、影像作品、音樂、設計以及專門學術也因而開始激增。在街頭各時尚品牌所運用的裝置櫥窗更反應也助長了這趨勢。在此我們大膽嘗試選擇分屬海峽兩邊的英國與法國來分析,就能發現這股解放風潮是如何影響了這兩時尚大國的時尚創意。

In London, Mary Quant embodied a playful, audacious, new England, which dared to accept and insist on the fact that not only had the world changed, it would only continue to do so. When she was not yet the well-known British fashion icon she is today, Quant created a garment destined for the modern, urban woman, who was at ease with herself. She deconstructed the traditional skirt by shortening it, and dubbed the “miniskirt” – “mini” indicating its length. With its obvious impression of seductiveness, prêt-a-porter fashion lines immediately adapted the design of the fresh, innovative, and subversive miniskirt in their collections. They established it as part of the phenomenon of female social liberation.

在倫敦,瑪麗官具體地創作出一種兼具玩樂、大膽的新英倫風格,不僅意外的被大眾所接受,其所造成的改變也延續到今日。當時她的地位還不是像現在我們所認知的英國流行指標,她為摩登的都會女性打造出舒適的服裝。透過將傳統裙子縮短,重新建構了裙子的架構剪裁,並將此命名為”迷你裙”-將裙子的長度”迷你”化。在這種毫不掩飾的性感形象下,成衣時尚立即就接受且開始製作出著各式各樣新鮮、創新且顛覆潮流的系列服飾。也因此建立了社會的女性解放風潮。

In Paris, the capital of haute couture, the French fashion designer Andre Corrèges gave the miniskirt a high fashion treatment and used it as a central element of his 1965 “haute-couture” collection. Corrèges secured for the miniskirt its eternal place in fashion history. He affirmed that the act of outfitting a woman was neither a question of taste, nor the adornment of a neutered body without spirit or agency. Rather, the act of outfitting a woman was the act of dressing a will, or a soul. Both Mary Quant and Andre Corrèges were visionaries, who saw in the miniskirt the power and energy of changes in their time. But is still what we perceive when we cast our gaze on the miniskirt today? This is contestable, and each is free to his/her own opinion.

Industrial Design: The Mini

Alec Issagonis developed this vehicle for the British Motor Corporation in the 1950s. It combined the then-popular concept of miniaturization, with the sudden desire for novelty in the standards of automotive design. One model of the Mini was designed as tribute to the innovator of another “mini” in the world of fashion, Mary Quant.

The profession of “stylist” had no limits in the world of ready-to-wear fashion. Indeed, in 1988 Mary Quant herself contributed to the design of the Mini’s interior. What a tribute!

在時裝之都巴黎,法國設計師安德列‧庫雷熱(Andre Corrèges)讓迷你裙成功躍入高級時裝,並運用迷你裙做為他1965年系列的主體元素。他的設計也讓迷你裙從此在流行時裝史上擁有一席之地。庫雷熱認為女性打造造型,重點不在於品味,更非在缺乏靈性精神的身體上做裝飾。相反的,完美的女裝及造型,是必須穿出女性的自我意志與靈魂。瑪麗官與庫雷熱都富有遠見,他們在當時就看出迷你裙充滿了可以改變時代的能量。但是當現在的我們看到迷你裙時,是否還能察覺這些過往呢?這大概就見仁見智了!

時尚工業:「迷你車風潮」 :
亞歷克·伊斯哥尼斯(Alec Issigonis,希臘裔英國汽車設計師,後受封為爵士)在50年代為英國汽車公司(BMC)打造了這台汽車。這台車成功結合了當時的流行簡化迷你概念與對新穎汽車設計的需求。這個「Mini」典範的設計,後來也啟發了另外一位在時裝業揪起「Mini」革命的設計者-瑪麗官(Mary Quant)。

這位專業造型師在成衣業總是展現彷彿永無極限的努力與創意。而在1988年,瑪麗官本人更是親自投身主導「Mini」車的內裝設計。多麼偉大的貢獻!!!