Pretty Vacant is a collection inspired by the punk movement of the 1970s and the stereotypical 1950s housewife, merging the two in a celebration of their aesthetics.
The punk movement was focused on being anti-establishment and rebellious, going against the system and standing out. This was primarily focused on the music scene, with influential artists of the late 1960s to mid-1970s being the Sex Pistols, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and The Ramones. The Sex Pistols were a primary beam of inspiration for this collection, with the title taken from their song of the same name. The song Pretty Vacant is about the assumption that punk youth were stupid and had nothing of worth to say, which could be interpreted to apply to the stereotypical 50s housewife as well.
Post World War II, men went back to their families after a long time away, and women were forced to give up manual labour jobs they had taken up during the war. Then, as men went to work every day, their wives were left at home to their own devices, to cook and clean. This stereotype of being the picture-perfect housewife was a key facet of women’s lives in the 1950s, with advertisements and media directed at keeping women in the house and “in their place”. Conformity was impressed upon women, leaving them to be perfect or called crazy for doing otherwise. This is played with in the 1974 movie The Stepford Wives (and its remake), depicting the focus of the stereotypical perfect wife, and how artificial and fake the ideals were compared to reality.
The juxtaposition of the housewife’s perfection and the punk scene’s intentional messiness is a perfect contrast for this collection. The shapes and silhouettes are that of the 50s and the textiles and patterns are that of the 70s, mixing the two into a Frankenstein’s monster of romantic femininity and harsh androgyny.