Fusing nostalgia and novelty

Picture of By Neysa Azalia

By Neysa Azalia

[mks_dropcap style=”letter” size=”48″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]N[/mks_dropcap]oticed how previous trends are making a comeback recently? Old ideas are being reinvented and it might just satisfy our subconscious longing for The Classics. Whether it’s film, fashion or even our day-to-day chitchats, we are enforcers of modernizing old trends, reflecting how the contemporary scene is full of wistful thinking aimed at revamping authentic delicacies of the past.

A number of recent films come to mind when thoughts of classic Old Hollywood are recalled. Glimpses of motion pictures today remind us of how far cinema has gone throughout the years, in particular the prominence of musicals as one of the main attractions in cinematic history will be highlighted here. Now, we are delightfully entertained by a revived, more updated version of this cinematic blend between visual, story and music thanks to Damien Chazelle’s most talked about recent development, La La Land.

Can a generation raised on “Glee” and besotted by newfangled stage musicals like  “Hamilton” find room in its heart for a movie that unabashedly evokes “The Young Girls of Rochefort”?

A New York Times article about the film allowed me – and maybe you, too – to ponder about millennials’ cinematic taste from a question that it asks: “Can a generation raised on “Glee” and the “High School Musical” franchise and besotted by newfangled stage musicals like “Book of Mormon” and “Hamilton” find room in its heart for a movie that unabashedly evokes “The Young Girls of Rochefort” and “An American in Paris”? To those who don’t know, The Young Girls of Rochefort (originally Les Demoiselles de Rochefort) is a classic French musical comedy-drama film and An American in Paris was originally a romance musical film turned play (frankly, I was confused by these old references as well).

But anyway, going back to the thought-provoking question, this immediately sparked inquiry as to whether we as millennials have what it takes to admire The Classics. Nonetheless, audiences of this mistakenly announced Best Picture winner don’t need to worry about having to be passionate about classic musicals in order to have their hearts swayed – its sheer existence can do the job. Chazelle drew inspirations, along with his team, from classic musical Singing in the Rain and the concept of ‘old school movie-making’ in order to capture the authenticities of musical cinema. Yet, with a plot and theme as modern as trying to make it in competitive Los Angeles, the film generally exudes a fair mix between old and modern altogether. Has Chazelle then persuaded today’s Glee- and High School Musical-raised millennials to start appreciating classic musicals that Old Hollywood cherished so much in the past? I, for one, have been persuaded.

In the spirit of growing a profound interest for The Classics, a similar trend is also being exhibited in the fashion industry. Baggy t-shirts, mom jeans, choker necklaces, Dr. Martens, leather biker jackets, sky-high platforms, flannel shirts, denim jackets, crop tops are all paving the way for the 80s-to-90s vintage clothing revival, but are of course revamped to reflect the twenty-first century flair.

Vogue even dedicated a page on their website about what they coined the trend as ‘New Vintage’ that’s making its way back into our closets. New Vintage has made 2016’s summer fashion trends, leading us to believe that many more variations of vintage fashion can only be expected from this day forward. Are designers – regardless to which industry they belong to – constantly looking at the past to move their industries forward?

Now to a more outreaching end of the spectrum – the central theme being discussed here not only sets focus on how old ideas are being modified, but also on reinvention. Reinvention, in terms of speech, lies at the point of chat acronyms and visual representation of messages (a.k.a the ever so amusing emojis). Living in the age of smartphones where communicating can be done in an instant requires one to be agile communicators. This apparently means that both sender and receiver of text messages must be able to interpret texts in simple words and sentences – we have to know our chat acronyms! (Yes, I took the liberty of searching for a long list of chat acronyms just for you) Contrary to the trends occurring in the film and fashion industries, technology does not take language back to the past where we experiment more with Shakespearean speech. Instead, we now move forward towards simplicity in our text-messaging and/or social media platforms. One can argue whether this is a positive outlook on human development or that it’s a product of shallow thinking produced by the idleness of young generations. Either way, I hope you get the point.

The contemporary world has witnessed many key changes and improvements that take it to where it is today. It’s very exciting to be a part of this modernized society where we can see shifts of our cultures getting intertwined with that of the past. Viewing the present scene through this lens was quite eye opening in that it led me to grow a profound sense of value for classic phenomena, which may seem uncalled for before.

Cover: BagoGames

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