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Rudi Gernreich (8 August 1922 - 21 April 1985), who designed the striped uniforms for Space: 1999's First Season, was one of the major fashion designers of the "Mod" 1960s - specialising in the unisex and futuristic look.
Gernreich was born in Vienna, Austria. In 1938, he fled to California, where he studied in Los Angeles. He worked as a dancer and costume designer before becoming a freelance designer. His signature style included ready-to-wear sportswear of dramatic stark cuts. He created a short-lived sensation with topless "Swiss cheese" bathing suits, which incorporated multiple cut-outs, and topless nightgowns. He made popular and inexpensive knitwear and long, straight halter dresses. He often used fabrics with geometric patterns and narrow stripes and introduced plastic fabrics in futuristic modes.
Rudi Gernreich, like Mary Quant, was a free spirit in the fashion world. Although he was more of a high-end designer than the youthful Mod designers, he was not stuffy like the French and Italian couture designers of the Sixties. Rudi Gernreich originally designed for the California boutique Jax before starting his own line. His inspiration was his model and muse Peggy Moffitt. Gernreich embraced simple lines and youthful styles, and designed many innovative, and sometimes controversial designs.
In 1964 Rudi Gernreich made headlines with his topless bathing suit, monokini (picture above), and later a topless dress. He spearheaded the Total Look movement, where the hose and shoes would match the outfit. He turned to many ethnic styles of dress for ideas, such as East Indian or Oriental styles. In the late 70s he invented the thong bikini.
Peggy Moffitt, Marylou Luther, William Claxton (photographer): The Rudi Gernreich Book. TASCHEN America Llc; ISBN: 3822871974