Here ye, here ye…Call up Pantone and the folks at FIT, as a new chapter is about to be added to the fashion history books: Polygamist Pastels. As news skimmers might have noticed, there’s big doings going on in Texas right now, as authorities have removed 400 children from a polygamist compound after receiving complaints of abuse from one of the group’s 16 year-old members. While delivery of the real news is best left to the sharp and dreamy Anderson Cooper (swoon!), the sect’s unusual sartorial stance is worth some unofficial investigation.
As rogue photographers have documented, all women in the conservative sect wear long-sleeve, floor-length pastel shirt dresses–striking, unusual pieces that look like a cross between Victorian woolen mill uniforms and the corduroy numbers Delta Burke sported on Designing Women. (And yes, the frocks look similar to those worn by Chloe Sevigny‘s character wears on HBO’s Big Love. Some costume designer sure did their homework!)
While sadly, I couldn’t find any explanation for the women’s Gibson Girl-meets-Pretty in Pink French braid ‘do, turns out that when the group’s current leader, Warren Jeffs, came into power, “Women were to stop wearing brightly colored or patterned clothing, and told that pastels reflect the submissive behavior they must always show.”
Skipping over the obvious talking points of 1)shock 2)dismay 3)what the ?-type outrage of this fact, let’s focus on this instead: Clothes in cotton-candy hues have a history of being sweet—from Regency-era Empire gowns which fit in with the era’s romantic aesthetic to the ’60s polite, post-mod Jackie O. looks—but now, with the tie to the controversial sect, there’s a chance that the same shades could turn a tad unsavory. Unexpected perversion? Right-wing fads? Sounds like a good Halloween costume…or Marc Jacobs Spring ’09, no?! You heard it here first.