Many people think that the first designer to pay homage in Italy to cartoon character Olive Oyl, created by Elzie Crisler Segar in 1919, and turn her into a fashion icon was Moschino.
Yet, in the early 80s, Elio Fiorucci had already used images of Olive and other cartoon characters for his Pop Art inspired clothes and accessories for women and children.
When I was a child I had a pair of pink gloves and a matching scarf with a print of Olive Oyl by Fiorucci that I used to love.
In fact I liked them so much that, while I had to depart from my gloves when they didn't fit anymore, I decided to keep the scarf as a memento of a happy childhood and of my early Fiorucci obsession.
Soon after that Moschino designed silk scarves with images of Olive Oyl, based his collections on the cartoon’s look and on the main colours – black and red with just a touch of white, that characterise her extra long skirt and top, often accessorised in the comic strip with a little hat decorated with one or two flowers - and, in 1995, launched a flowery fragrance perfume (Cheap and Chic) shaped like Olive Oyl’s body.
What fascinated quite a few designers about Olive Oyl was the fact that she looked like the opposite of a stereotyped fashion icon: tall, skinny, with no sensual curves but with extremely big feet, Olive looked rather awkward, often stumbled into her own feet and was also prone to bursts of anger.
A perpetual damsel in distress, Olive - constantly kidnapped by Bluto (Brutus) and constantly rescued by spinach eating Popeye, whose sailor look contrasts with Olive's but also complements it - reappeared a lot in fashion in the last few years, especially after the copyright for Segar's characters expired in the EU.
It was for example the case of Japanese clothing brand As Know As that released last year an entire collection of dresses, shirts and tops inspired by Segar's character to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the brand and the 80th anniversary of Olive.
So here's a simple idea for an Olive Oyl necklace in imitation of Fiorucci and Moschino’s designs.
For my necklace I used an Olive Oyl bendable rubber figurine that my brother scavenged for me in a toy shop, two extra long black plastic pearl necklaces (you can either buy them in a department store or make your own ones after buying enough pearls) and a short piece of satin ribbon.
I doubled up the necklaces and rolled the ribbon around the pearls creating in this way a sort of swing seat for Olive (see image 3 in this post).
After the satin "swing seat" dried, I proceeded to glue my Olive figurine on the rolled ribbon and let her rest her hands on the pearls as if they were the ropes of the swing.
Yes, you're definitely right, this is a rather eccentric necklace compared to my recent experiments, but I guess a little touch of eccentricity is exactly what we need to save ourselves from the boredom, bleakness and mediocrity that pervade our modern lives.
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