Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Betsey Johnson's Dress for Non-Seamstresses (1966)


The mini-garbed blonde in this shimmering sequence of paste-it-yourself dressmaking is a New York model named Lauren Hutton who cannot sew and for once in her life can say....So what? Starting with a basic dress in see-through plastic shown below, Miss Hutton shows how even a girl who is all thumbs can glue together an eye-catching number. All she needs to do is apply adhesive-backed foil scallops to the vinyl surface in a layer on layer fish-scale pattern. The cut-outs come in a $5 kit sold with the unadorned $15 dress, and include not only the economy-size sequins but also, in separate kits, wiggly strips and bright stars. Dresses and cut-out kits are the whimsy of a 23-year-old designer named Betsey Johnson. In a year of work for the Paraphernalia shops, Miss Johnson has made a name for inventive ideas—none more so than this one, which permits a girl to clothe herself using the techniques of gift wrapping. The emergence of the fish-scale dress is shown in four stages from top to bottom, variety achieved by using different cut-outs is illustrated in the star and strips patches on the final dress. Shoes with clear plastic heels are by Herbert Levine ($38).

Sweet Jane blog: Lauren Hutton modelling a Betsey Johnson dress 1966

Lauren Hutton in a 1960s plastic dress by betsey johnson

1960s plastic dress designs by betsey johnson

Close-up of cut-outs show scallops, curvy strips—enough in each kit to cover one dress, plus extra sheet of foil for free-form designs.

Model Lauren Hutton in a 1960s plastic dress design by Betsey Johnson

Model/Actress Lauren Hutton wearing a 1960s plastic mini dress by Betsey Johnson.

All images scanned by Sweet Jane from an original editorial in LIFE (International) September 1966. Except for photographs No.2 & No.7 which I scanned from Radical Rags Fashions of the Sixties by Joel Lobenthal (purely because the images were of a higher quality than those in the original Life Magazine issue). Model Lauren Hutton. Dresses by Betsey Johnson. All photographs by Howell Conant. View some of my previous Betsey Johnson posts Betsey Johnson's Mirror Dress (1966); Beauty Goes Out On A Decorative Limb (1966); Betsey Johnson Coty Originals advert (1967); Betsey in Time Magazine (1967), and also some of my previous do-it-yourself fashion posts Apply Yourself (1970);  Chip-an-Outfit Kits (1968); Emmanuelle Khanh's do-it-yourself dress for Paraphernalia (1966), and finally, The Picture of Fashion (1972).

1 comment:

  1. ooh i am all over that 4th dress! what a clever idea! though i wonder how long it lasted for on the dance floor before you started leaving a trail of foil scales, with your dress poking out in places...


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