Well everyone, it’s October which means it’s time for leaves, pumpkins, the anxiety of preparation for the holiday season, and of course the word “sexy” appearing on everything it shouldn’t.
The sexy wicked witch, sexy Elmo, sexy Pippi Longstocking, the sexy … you get the point. It’s Halloween season, which gives the sexy token an entirely new meaning. And this year it’s taken some new twists that I cannot even rationalize.
My generation has grown-up with the Internet, and in doing so we’ve watched the idea of sexy devolve from short shorts into a thong and bra. My generation has also watched their favorite films, toys, and characters from childhood remixed, and reinvented. To say we are experiencing a nostalgia boomerang is an understatement. However, this time around it’s not just about the childhood memories; it’s also a little bit about sex.
It’s not just on the Halloween rack either. Granted costumes have long been the poster child of sexy gone wrong, it’s starting to show up everywhere, and sometimes more subtly than others.
Mattel is looking into iconic women of television’s past for a new series of Barbie dolls. From I Dream of Genie to Bewitched, the drop-dead gorgeous stars of vintage primetime are going to start appearing on store shelves.
In television we have Boardwalk Empire, an HBO original series about Prohibition-era Atlantic City. The mobs, the alcohol, the sex—it’s all there.
Combining sex and nostalgia is like picking the best of both worlds—the sex appeal of growing up and the fun memories of childhood. Even though the products may not be similar, the underlying theme is the same. And while this may have just begun to sprinkle itself around the mainstream market, it’s beginning to go full force underground.
Dieselpunk, a branch of Steampunk culture, focuses on the 1920s-1950s with a modern twist. It’s a sexy, technological version of the roaring twenties with corsets, push-up bras, and diesel engines. And speaking of corsets, the burlesque movement just keeps getting stronger.
The point here is that nostalgia alone isn’t cutting it anymore. I suppose we have always known that from film remakes, but from a design standpoint, it’s simply not enough. It’s about appealing to a new indecisive audience—that not only craves nostalgia, but also craves their childhood in a more adult form.
So push aside the sexy Sesame Street costumes (yes, they are real) and start looking at nostalgia through new eyes, because it’s changing all around us. And while change may not always hearken back to the playground or be just like mom used to make, it has a few new tricks up its sleeves. And some of them have looks that could kill.