Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Bearded Men of the 21st Century (1939)


The February 1, 1939 issue of Vogue ran this photo of the 21st Century man. The caption appears below. The picture can also be found in the book Exit to Tomorrow: World's Fair Architecture, Design, Fashion 1933-2005.
Gilbert Rhode banishes buttons, pockets, collars, ties. The man of the next century will revolt against shaving and wear a beautiful beard, says the designer of boilers, pianos, clocks, and metal furniture. His hat will be an an antennae - snatching radio out of the ether. His socks disposable, his suit minus tie collar and buttons.

See also:
Closer Than We Think! Throw-Away Clothes (1959)
Disposable Clothes Just Around Corner (1961)
Futuristic Hairdo Hit Women Like New Atom Bomb (1948)
Waitress of the Year 2000 (1939)
Fashion Wired for Sound in Year 2000 (1957)

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Here's some contemporary commentary by writer S. J. Perelman:

"On this man's head Mr. Rhode places an "Antenna Hat", rather similar in design to the coils of a copper still: 'It snatches radio and Omega waves out of the ether - here, at last, is man's opportunity to escape from the deadly monotony of the twentieth-century male hat.' The delightful prospect of having Guy Lombardo playing about your head and ears is enough to stir the pulse of the most apathetic."

"Mr. Man of Tomorrow will further wear a modish surtout called the Plastivest, fasioned of Plexiglass - two words, incidentally, which I will thank Mr. Rhodes to tow out to sea and burn at his earliest convenience...the feet, presumably with streamlined bunions, are to be encased in nothing more or less than congress gaiters 'with pores just large enough for air, but too small for water': and, finally, men will have returned to wearing long hair and marcelled beards in the fashion of Artaxerxes. 'And perhaps we shall find a few platinum blondes, too,' murmurrs Mr. Rhodes engagingly."

Bruce
bam1253@yahoo.com

sir jorge said...

I think I could take him.

Janet said...

That gap between the shoes and the pants though, so unbecoming! Tsk, tsk.

Longhair said...

For 1939, this man's hair is extremely long, and long hair back then was associated with the age of chivalry, pirates, and musketeers. For modern times, hair was neat and trimmed, and slicked. Modern times demand hygiene and conformity.

Anonymous said...

Why the hell AREN'T we dressing like that now?

Antinous said...

Is that a wok ring on his head?

Alan said...

I have a beard, I don't wear a tie, and my wife makes me throw away my socks when they all too often get holes in them. The future is here!

Chris Wren said...

So what is it with futurists and pockets anyway? I remember Gene Rodenberry never passed up an opportunity to mention that people in the 24th century wouldn't need pockets. Did having pockets used to be some sort of icon of lower-class impoverishment?

Anonymous said...

How are you supposed to carry around your bottle of hooch and a couple frogs without pockets! Silly futurists.

point said...

so they thought it'll still be hammer time....

Anonymous said...

Looks more like the 2020 version of the Middle Eastern suicide bombers. "For the extremists on the go!"

Matthew said...

'with pores just large enough for air, but too small for water'

Gore-Tex!

Steve Muhlberger said...

My thought was -- "It's the president of Iran!"

Wutzke said...

Yeah, the Gore-tex prediction is startling spot-on.

On the other hand, it takes a real imbecile to combine a refusal to shave with a turtleneck shirt...

Andy said...

Wow, there is a great skit from a 90s comedy show The State, called "The Bearded Men Of Space Station 11". (Here's a link). I had no idea that there was a real precedent of mixing futurism and beards.

shahn said...

they got wearing sweat pants in public right but the bling is usually around the neck instead of the waist.

buzz said...

"Duty Now For The Future!" -- Devo

death-worm said...

On pockets, or lack thereof:

I think the lack of pockets on these outfits is a result of the "streamlining" aesthetic of Art Deco, which was a huge influence on a lot of "futuristic" designs. The sleek, uninterrupted surfaces of aerodynamic surfaces found on ocean liners and trains were put on every consumer object imaginable, whether or not aerodynamic lines were practical for them (a radio doesn't really have problems with air resistance). The whole point was that these things looked faster, more modern, and more efficient. So, the designers of these futuristic costumes have "streamlined" the outfits to make them look more modern and functional, not actually be functional.

Shrike58 said...

Substitute ear-mounted cell phone for the antenna array and we're actually pretty damn close.

Aaron T. said...

This video clip actually shows the bearded future man right at the end.

Anonymous said...

As the Star Trek world had no money, keys (automatically opening doors), pens/notebooks (padds) or watches (just ask the computer for the time) there was no need for pockets. I remember Commander Riker was carrying around a tiny transponder gadget once - he had to stick it in his boot!

Anonymous said...

Osama Laden: Fashion Designer
London-Paris-New York