Past Perfect: 1955
Sometimes the only way to go forward is to go backward (uh, style-wise, at least—otherwise, bring on those progressive values!). Welcome to Past Perfect, where we take an aesthetic trip down memory lane to shout out the looks, books, and other enduring pop-culture creations from a particularly notable 12 months. We think it’ll be way more fun than a high school history lesson—but only time will tell.
THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH
Ahh, Marilyn. The Seven Year Itch made the most of her bombshell-ness with that subway grate scene in the white halter dress—an image that everyone knows, even if they’ve never seen the film. Turns out—per this recently surfaced lost footage—what went into the movie is actually a tamed-down version. Maybe something to keep in mind when you’re picking out sundresses this year?
Two Southern California brothers—named Dick and Mac McDonald, natch—may have opened the first restaurant, but the fast-food behemoth became as American as apple pie thanks (or not, depending on who you ask) to Ray Kroc. He joined the McDonald brothers’ business in 1955 and took the golden arches to next-level ubiquity. If you want a taste of the man who made that “billions served” claim a reality, check out Michael Keaton’s charismatically ruthless portrayal of Kroc in The Founder.
Whether you had to read it for English class or you just wanted to know what the fuss was about, Lolita made waves when it was published—and still continues to. See: popular culture’s often problematic interpretation of Vladimir Nabokov’s story. In some ways, it’s the ultimate summer reading assignment.
We’re going to guess you probably owned at least one pair of velcro sneakers back in the day—or maybe you’re in the market for a fly pair right now? You have the Swiss engineer George de Mestral to thank for that. He invented the stuff after noticing the annoying way burrs stuck to his dog and his clothes on an outdoor excursion, and, during this year, he patented the hook and loop closure responsible for that satisfying riiiiiiiiip.
REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE
“Many credit Rebel Without a Cause as the first film to capture youth culture. James Dean’s get-up—blue jeans, white T-shirt, and red windbreaker jacket—made a statement, and a lasting one at that. And where do you think Damien Chazelle got the idea for La La Land’s dreamy Griffith Observatory scene? Bingo.”