This is the story about Rudi Gernreich, a Viennese Jewish boy who escaped the Nazis and found himself in America , about a visionary boy and a great designer who revolutionized swimwear in 60s.
Today we always understate whatever is so simple by saying ” well, anyone could do it” and yet not everyone can see ahead of time and state “it will be me who will make this change”.It surely wasn’t the easiest step to do . The world was much more conservative in 60s era. Being a gay could be dangerous. It could destroy your professional and personal life.That’s probably was a reason why Rudi didn’t open up publicly about his sexuality . Yet having said that he bravely has formed along with his partner Harry Hay the Mattachine Society the very first Gardengate gay rights group in the USA.In my opinion Rudi did not only create fashion history by creating beautiful pieces he changed the way people relate with their nature. He was educating people through his design. In 60s Rudi has introduced clothes with cutouts, he was one of the first to use the vinyl and plastic in fashion. With his muse Peggy Moffit he popularized androgen style. Rudi was having fun with unisex fashion and probably this is the way how he wanted to get access to people mind . By explaining non difference.
Rudi created see-through pieces, he was responsible for designing the first transparent soft bra , he introduced the topless swimwear and finally he was the first to bring the thong bathing suit. He also invented clothing based on leotards and tights and he brought us the first designer jeans.Apart of all this he was also a boy who sold the pastries door to door helping his family to survive once arrived to US . His first job was in a morgue washing cadavers for autopsy and he comments it :
” I grew up overnight , I do smile sometimes when people tell me my clothes are so body-conscious I must have studied anatomy . You bet I studied anatomy.”Rudi’s great passion was dance and he danced for a period of his life , but eventually his passion transformed in creating costumes and designing for the new and innovative Modern Dance world .
Finally … Rudi loved human body and he felt free . So that’s why he started his own revolution in order to free people. Dance, sexuality , love, body , mind, self accepted in every form and in every expression …..
Rudi Gerneich died in 1985 at age 62 . ( killed by cancer )