Bohemian Through and Through

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Bohemian Fashion - The two words themselves are an oxymoron looking back at the original Bohemian sense of style, which came from whatever they could scrap up. Original Bohemians in fact devoted much of their time undermining mainstream culture.

The term “Bohemian” as associated with Bohemianism - used to describe non-conventional lifestyles of marginalized and impoverished artists, musicians, writers and actors in major European cities – surfaced in France in the early 19
th as artists and creators began to gather there in the lower class gypsy neighborhoods.

One finest example that illustrates the absurdity of Bohemian fashion can be found in the introduction passages of Henry Murger’s Scenes de la Vie de Boheme. The story introduces to us a vibrant, easy-to-love silly character named Schaunard, a poor musician living in the Latin Quarter of Paris. Schaunard allows glimpses of a very blatant disregard Bohemians had for fashion and “high culture”.

In chapter one of the Murger’s novel, Schaunard – in order to protect himself from the chilly north-wind, “slipped on in haste a pink satin petticoat with spangled stars, which served him for dressing gown”.

Still in the same chapter, he went on to prepare for the day, by putting "on an overcoat, originally of a long-haired, wooly fabric, but now completely bald from age, when suddenly, as if bitten by a tarantula, he began to execute around the room a polka of his own composition, which at the public balls had often caused him to be honored with the particular attention of the police”.

I would say the strength of style or lack of it when it comes to the Bohemian, is in the spill-over of confidence that does not care for the conventional, even if money was not a factor, the style of a Bohemian springs from a free-spirited place within that individual and not from the desire to fit into an already-named category.

While Bohemians do not care for rules, classifications and categories, author Laren Stover did just that - break them into groups. According to Stover who wrote The Bombshell Manual of Style, it is not easy to classify the distinct types of Bohemian the way you would categorize birds from their feathers - as there are many crossovers and hybrids.

The distinct five groups, based on Stover’s Bohemian Manifesto are:

Nouveau – Bohemians with cash who tries to join traditional bohemianism with contemporary culture.

Gypsy – Primarily made up of drifters, neo-hippies, and others with idealism of the past romanticized culture.

Beat – Also made up of drifters, with a distinct focus on art and are non-materialist.

Zen – More spiritually focused than art, also termed as “post-beat”.

Dandy – Cashless bohemians who attempt to appear as if they have it by owning expensive rare items such as branded alcohol.

I don’t really care for the classifications, but it is very interesting to share, so it’s up here especially for you guys. Okay here are some pictures of modern day Bohemian-fashion inclined men.

Lenny Kravitz ! I wonder what's he up to these days.

Johnny Depp and his beads and boho-inspired attire. Loving it!

For more
lighthearted Bohemian fashion rave, please click on whatever is clickable on this sentence. Very Bohemian ay? :D

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shanaz@RS | 11:11 PM | Labels:

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