Fashion's Golden City
Most other fashion industries of the world rely for solvency on the American store buyer: New York itself can import the best from Paris, London and Rome, and exacts the utmost in professionalism from her own fashion industry. The enormous demand in rich America has made New York the financial centre of world fashion, considers Cherry Twiss.
Muttonchop Dress in brown crepe and brown velvet by Diana Dew, available from the boutique at the Electric Circus, December 1967.
THE STRAIGHT SHIFT—another New York basic—is given a bosom-revealing top, by Rudi Gernreich, the originator of the topless swimsuit. A transparent caramel silk crepe bodice joins a lined wool skirt crepe skirt. Its lines are almost as pure as those of the suspension wires scanning the skyline of Brooklyn Bridge (Most shops ordered this dress with the bodice lined).
RUDI GERNREICH is so highly thought of that his clothes are donated to museums of modern art in the United States. This short silk apron dress, above, by him, the apron in a contrasting print, is supported by some of the ever-increasing youth of the Puerto Rican section of Harlem.
NEW YORK fashion is personified by the dazzling pink crepe dress above — dead simple and an obvious choice for the casually chic. It was designed by Leo Narducci, who specialises in the middle price range. It is coolly at home even in this no-women, no-whites atmosphere of a Harlem pool-room. The ''little dress'' is an American forte.
THE CONSPICUOUS EAST frames the long printed silk crepe shift above by Oscar de la Renta, the newest star in the New York design firmament. His design holds it's own with the ultra-violet lighting and psychedelic murals of the Electric Circus, New York's swingiest discotheque, in the East Village. The stimulants are drugs — the Circus is strictly non-alcoholic. The constantly changing colour films projected on ceilings and walls — stretched with jersey stockinette — and flickering strobe lighting give the illusion of being ''turned on''. Note: Although uncredited in the magazine, I believe this to be a photograph of the Electric Circus mural artist 'Louis Delsarte' alongside the model, surrounded by his work, on the stairway to the entrance of the club.
TUNIC AND SHORTS above, in wool, are by Oscar de la Renta, and typify the present classic's-can-swing trend of New York clothes. De la Renta's clothes are worn by the '''best dressed'' set, who like the Europeanised approach. These were photographed in the easy-going atmosphere of a Sunday game of boule in the Italian district.
MINI CULOTTES, above, by sportswear manufacturers like Ginori have invaded the American scene. Designed in brown twill, this whole outfit, from gaucho hat to the thigh boots, is clearly influenced by London. Only a confident pedestrian would take as background the intertwined overpasses of highways to and from Manhattan, the nerve centre of New York.
THE SHIRT DRESS, the New York classic stand-by, is softened and romanticised, above, by Donald Brooks in white organza strewn with organza tulips. The wind-blown look was caused by the arrival of of the half-hourly helicopter from John F. Kennedy Airport on the roof of the Pan American building, towering majestically over Park Avenue in the heart f New York. This service, scheduled to connect with Pan Am flights, speeds travel-worn passengers between airport and city centre in minutes.
AMERICANISED KIMONO, above, was designed by Chester Weinberg, whose clothes are an essential buy for hundreds of upper-income shoppers throughout the states. His reputation is based on his ability to create truly American designs out of ideas from all over the world. Doubly stating this dress's Americanisation is the blatantly Broadway atmosphere of the Fun City night-club, where scantily clad showgirls frug incessantly in large windows on the corner of Broadway and Times Square.
IMAGE CREDITS & LINKSAll images scanned by Sweet Jane from The Daily Telegraph Magazine, December 8th 1967, from an original editorial by Cherry Twiss, all photographs by Horn/Griner. Hair throughout is by Marc Sinclair of New York, Jewellery by Ken Lane and Sant Angelo, Shoes by David Evans, Golo, Hebert Levine and I. Miller, Stockings by Bewitching, Make-up by Revlon, Gloves and scarves by Sant Angelo, model uncredited. You can view one of my previous posts which also featured the Electric Circus as the backdrop to a fashion shoot here and discover more about it's creator Jerry Brandt here, and on The Bowery Boys: New York City History blog here, there are several posts about the club and various other New York venues on the excellent ''It's All The Streets You Crossed Not So Long Ago' blog as well as 'what can be retrieved from the Grateful Dead's weekend at the Electric Circus and an attempt to look at the club itself' here. Discover further information about 'Louis Delsarte' the artist who painted the murals inside the club and on the stairway featured in the photograph above on his website. Another iconic and long lost St Marks Place landmark in the form of the Limbo St Marks boutique "the East Village clothier of the 'tuned-in' generation." here, And finally, some rare psychedelic footage filmed inside the Electric Circus club here.