Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Stars & Garters at The Electric Circus | New York's East Village (1967)

Stars & Garters at The Electric Circus 

This is part of a fashion editorial originally published in November 1967, which celebrated the continued popularity of the mini and also the return of the garter as a fashion accessory. There were in fact six other dresses included in this editorial, all quite expensive/high-end fashion with price tags ranging from $735-$1,225 for the dresses and $40-$50 for the garters, and they were indeed beautiful, however, none of them were to my particular taste. I found them to be a little bit too conservative for my liking and not in keeping with what was happening on the street at the time, especially when considering that this was published just a few months down the road from the 'Summer of Love' after all. The model in the photo below (Cathee Dahmen) is wearing the very last outfit to be featured, it may have only cost $38 in total, but it is definitely my favourite look from the piece. It is also interesting to note that the shoot took place at New York's premier psychedelic night club The Electric Circus located at 19-25 St Marks Place on the lower east side. The club, which had opened in july of the same year, invited its patrons to "play games, dress as you like, dance, sit, think, tune in and turn on" amidst the psychedelic light shows, live music, circus performers, experimental theater, astrologers and freaks! It was billed as the ultimate legal entertainment experience! I've included several links at the end of the page to more detailed information about the club, including a link to a fantastic blog called 'It's all the streets you crossed not so long ago' which has written extensively about the venue and its origins and many more of  New York city's rock 'n' roll haunts of the 60s and 70s.

 A Snappy Bit of Leg Art

In this the year of the leg, with plenty on view, and everything from flashy stockings to high-rise boots devoted to emphasizing the fact. The snappiest attention-getter is the old garter. A dated but delightful showbiz gimmick, garters fit the current theatrical spirit of late-nite fashion. They provide instant razzle-dazzle and what's especially good about them is that if you feel you are getting too much attention at any point during the evening, you can just slip them off and cool it without ruining the effect.

Cathee Dahmen 1960s hippie fashion

Star and Garter in the East Village

Lounging in the psychedelically painted doorway of the Electric Circus, a discothèque in New Yorks East Village hippie district, a girl wears a feathered garter ($7) which goes with her Indian-style headband ($5), like the star dress ($26) they come from discothèque's boutique.

Opening night of the Electric Circus June 1967.
All images scanned by Sweet Jane from LIFE Magazine 10 November 1967, model: Cathee Dahmen, Photographer Milton H. Greene.  Electric Circus photograph scanned from Radical Rags-Fashions of the Sixties by Joel Lobenthal.  "If the Electric Circus were to open today" can be found here. The excellent "It's All The Streets You Crossed Not So Long Ago" blog can be found here, and you can read a review from the Village Voice Archive about the opening night at the Electric Circus  here.


  1. The woman in the photo above is model Cathee Dahmen. She was actually of Native American decent, and one of the nicest people I've ever met!

    1. Hi Paul, thanks for your comment,I usually try to give proper credit to everyone involved in the editorials that I post but unfortunately LIFE magazine never seemed to give credit to any of the models by name in these early issues,so it makes it difficult to do so. I've been an admirer of Cathee Dahmen for a long time, she was fantastic! Looking forward to seeing her in the new book about Antonio Lopez.


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