John and Yoko:Coupledom CoolApril 6, 2015
If you think that the Kooples invented the couple swapsie fashion, think again.The brand that uses real life couples as advertising for their less than exciting range of his ‘n’ hers (or hers ‘n’ hers, or his ‘n’ his) clothing has been tapping on what some sophisticated couples like John and Yoko, already knew: that a casual blend of individual styles often creates a chic, unique look that is much more than a sum of its parts.
Coupledom Cool: Vintage For Two John and Yoko
Cool squared is what many aspire to, but a few do it well. Throwing money at it won’t make you cool (Kanye & Kim take note), and neither will emulating the über-normative Disneyesque fairytale, a la Posh and Becks.
Hardly any cool couples measure up to John and Yoko. They both had art credentials of the highest order:
John Lennon as one quarter of the world’s most famous band, the Beatles, and Yoko Ono as an influential conceptual artist of the Fluxus fame. Together, they created something quite ahead of their time.
In 1972, Bob Dylan wrote in support of John and Yoko’s stay in USA that ‘they inspire and transcend and stimulate, and by doing so, only help others to see pure light and in doing that put an end to this dull taste of petty commercialism which is being passed off as Artist Art by the overpowering mass media’.
Which is not the first thing that crosses your mind when you see them dressed as a Fool and a Witch, no? Yet this must have been at least partly an ironic comment on their presumed roles at the breakup of the Beatles: he’s a court jester and a fool, and she, well, a quintessential witch.
Only a truly cool couple would play up the jaded stereotyping by dressing up this way.
Lennon’s laid-back cool complemented Yoko’s quirkiness perfectly, even when they resembled Bonnie and Clyde.
Her beatnik beret and ostrich feather cape and his stripy top, cool shades and cowboy boots look more nineties than seventies.
Everything they did was performance art: the couple’s wedding attire (both wore white) looks incredibly playful against the rock of Gibraltar, where they wed in 1969.
Their subsequent honeymoon at the Hilton Amsterdam was the now legendary action Bed-in for peace. They wore matching pyjamas and let down their hair.
The hair is a crucial part of John and Yoko: seventies peace movement was all about hair, entwined hair, loose hair, wild hair, hair that stands in for unrestrained, uncultivated freedom, peace and love.
The signs above their heads during the Bed-in read ‘Hair Peace’ and ‘Bed Peace’, in case you were wondering what was the order of importance.
Their first joint album, titled ‘Two Virgins’ also featured hair (and some nudity), and most of their photographs from the times depict them swathed in thick layers of self-made fur.
Apart from white, black was their trademark colour. Their flares, oversized Byronic coats and ever present hats matched perfectly, and looked interchangeable.
John’s t-shirts could have been by Katherine Hamnett, only they were simply his own, at times when he choose to wear ‘YOKO ONO’ emblazoned across his chest, or when he wore the straightforward ‘Working Class Hero’ t-shirt with his wife and son in Japan.
They both looked slick and stylish in Japanese kimonos, and one has to wonder about the ways they tipped and challenged the typical balance of power within the relationship.
It is known that John Lennon highly exoticised his Japanese wife: it is also known that she was a powerful avant-garde artist and a strong individual, something that the Asian costume both underlines and provokes.
Apart from timeless pop of the Beatles and beyond, John Lennon created short stories, poetry, plays and drawings.
The relationship with Yoko opened up several creative channels that would have otherwise remained unexplored.
On the other hand, the list of Yoko Ono’s creative accomplishments is endless.
In male industries of music and art, she continues to battle sexism, racism and media criticism at her personal life, something that would certainly slow down someone less strong.
Together, John and Yoko symbolise success and beauty on a different scale than what the music industry – or any other industry – would grant us or have us believe.
They continue to inspire with their humour, style, and commitment to a more human approach to art, life and love.