Automobile culture: Christina Aguilera’s Candyman

I am quite obsessed with the automobile culture, or the new styling, or the streamline design, or what most people call it the retro era. It was a time filled with everything bold and daring. The women wore thick make-up with red lipstick, and started cutting short their clothes. The products were designed inspired by the aerospace technologies, either they are inspired by those technologies or that was just a strategy to attract customers during an era of economic recession.

The video clip of Christina Aguilera’s “Candyman” can be called a summary of the era itself. In the video, we see Aguilera in different clothes that represent different women from the time: women wearing sailor clothes (which was common especially if they were entertaining the sailors; and the androgynous result was inspired by the androgynous look Coco Chanel invented in the 20s), working women with shorter clothes (to ease them working).

First, we see her singing in front of a crowd of sailors. The background of the stage featured the colors of the flag of USA, but instead of the flag itself, we see red-and-white stripes, a giant blue V, and a phrase “United We Stand”. These represent the patriotic energy of the soldiers, because the era was a time of war; wars in which America participated. The lines and bold colors represent dynamics and velocity. The movements and expressions of the soldiers were quite common, because as they have spent much time fighting in wars, it was a very happy time for them to see some entertainment, especially one provided by women.

At some close-ups, we see different Christina Aguilera-s singing in front of a pastel-colored hue background. During the time of the culture, such colors were quite common: bold, but not too bold, therefore, a pastel worked fine.

After that, we see pairs of soldiers and girls dancing together. This gives us a glimpse of how the fashion was during the time (although keep in mind that the skirts were not yet that short during the era).

We then are shown to a scene in a diner, with similar interiors to those that we have seen in the previous post: checkerboards, pastel colors, stools and bars in aerospace forms (with lines covering them), and similar typography to that we have seen in Peggy Sue’s and Mel Diner’s logos. The women here are shown wearing rolled-sleeve shirt and rolled jeans, with their hair tucked in a bandeau. This represents the working women, strong and independent with their men away.

But why do we still see the men dressed as soldiers? This is because at that time, most men are bound to go fight in a war, which explains the same wardrobe in almost every scene.

Later after this scene (and scenes similar to what we’ve seen before), we meet the soldiers (and Christina!) in a hangar. The automobile culture is hard to separate from the aerospace technologies. Airplanes and other transportation methods held a very important role during the culture, hence the influence and impact they made on the design world at the time. However, note that Christina’s bikini-like sailor costume does not represent something a woman at that time would wear in the presence of a group of men.

The whole video ends with a stamp-like photo of Christina, suggesting an old photo which supposedly would come from the automobile culture era.

It was a fun video, with tidbits of what music, interior, fashion, and basically the culture looked like during the era. And with this post, I hereby end the cycle of posts about automobile culture.

Until then!


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