70s Cleaverwear

Following up on my posting of the 14th on men’s knitwear with elephant-trunk and snake appendages — apparently intended as underwear but easily interpretable as soft codpieces — Arne Adolfsen posted on Facebook to ask if anyone remembered “Eldridge Cleaver’s foray into haute couture”; an advertisement (available on several sites) from the period, passed on by Arne:

(Many would say this is basse couture.)

Also from Arne, the beginning of a piece in the Harvard Crimson, “Eldridge Cleaver’s New Pants: Every revolution needs a haberdasher, right?” by Mark Stillman on 9/26/75:

Eldridge Cleaver’s voice was soft and modulated and sprinkled with pauses as he discussed his latest venture–not his efforts to return to the United States, which he was loath to discuss, but his new role as entrepreneur, the designer of a new line of slightly obscene men’s trousers.

“Well, the ideas for these pants came out of an article I’m writing about the uni-sex movement, attacking the uni-sex movement. While I was writing the article I started thinking of tangible ways to express my ideas, you know? And these pants are the natural outgrowth of that.”

… “Well these pants look like a regular pair of men’s pants except around the groin, you know?” Cleaver said. “In a conventional pair of pants the penis gets tucked behind the pants, you know?” He imitated a tucking motion with his hands. “But in these pants, the penis is held in a sheath of cloth that sticks outside of the pants.”

“You mean the penis protrudes out — it’s hanging in this tube of cloth — outside the pants?,” Bruce [Caball, son of Cleaver’s friend Jack Caball] said loudly, his voice rising in glee. “Like a codpiece?”

“Yeah, that’s the idea. Now you see how this is a direct attack on uni-sex. Women can’t wear them, right? Take a look at what you guys are wearing. You’re wearing sissy pants,” Cleaver said.

For those of you who didn’t experience the 70s in the U.S. (or have forgotten those times), a bit from Wikipedia on the man:

Leroy Eldridge Cleaver (August 31, 1935 – May 1, 1998) was an American writer and political activist who became an early leader of the Black Panther Party. His 1968 book Soul On Ice is a collection of essays, praised by The New York Times Book Review at the time of its publication as “brilliant and revealing”

2 Responses to “70s Cleaverwear”

  1. chrishansenhome Says:

    I remember the Cleaver codpiece. I thought it was sexy but wondered what you’d do if you got aroused…

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