The 1950s – off the cusp of WWII and into what many consider to be the golden age of America. For some it was a simpler time like apple pie, baseball and the beginning of a very strong and transcendent popular culture. With the likes of Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Marlon Brando and Audrey Hepburn it's easy to see why this era is considered to be classic. Their effortless style remains iconic today. While on the not so glamorous side of the era, but still a part of the nation’s fabric was the blue collar worker and their workwear which the heritage brands of today hold as the bar to aspire to with their own creations.
When we look at the ‘50s for the plush aesthetics of fashion of that time, it can be easy to gloss over the complete turmoil that came along with that decade. There is a name that we must not forget from that time. A fictional character whose name ruled the north and south and left Black people on a very real and hellish landscape. That name is Jim Crow.
To think about the 50s today seems otherworldly, Black and white people did not co-exist as the long whip of slavery still had an effect on this country. If a television show were made about this time it would feel unreal; science-fiction-like even. Where magic, monsters and spells ascend down on stylish Black folk traveling through “sundown counties,” that show has been made, and it is “Lovecraft Country”.
With the costume design being done by Danya Pink, from the first summer scene set in Chicago, the nuance screams “Sunday’s Finest” wardrobe. As I’m sure more people have become aware, to don your Sunday’s finest is what one would wear to church. In “Lovecraft Country”, the older characters present themselves this way because, in real life, that age group did not want to wear the garb of the sharecropper that lays heavily in Black lineage. The cause and effect of this look leads to our Lovecraft characters in clean-cut suits and pants being held up by suspenders with wide floral ties. The women wear colorful form fitting dresses and pattern play blouses sharp enough to cut through the thick rising tension of the story’s plot.