My BFF Tim Gunn! New York Fashion Week, Day Three


Nothing, not even the forces of New York Fashion Week, can keep Tim Gunn and moi apart. On Saturday afternoon, I stepped out for a bit of fresh air (one of the definite advantages of the new Lincoln Center location–you can find fresh air!).

If only to stand out from the SEA of black and gray, I wore a strapless 70s dress with design saying “Fashion” in gray, black, and red in a fluid print, along with a ruffled shrug and a divine 80s does 40s Empress Eugenie (look it up) red hat with a black veil.

When Tim Gunn came striding through the crowd, he was mobbed, of course. One of definite disadvantages of the new Lincoln Center location is that one can get mobbed by a tremendous crowd, despite the police presence everywhere.

That did not stop my BFF from stopping to exchange a few words and to have our picture taken together. (Note: I am still waiting for one of the the photographers to upload it to his DAMN website. Je me prosterne devant vous, mes lecteurs, dans des excuses!)

Back to the fashion. The Vivienne Tam show, well, it was very nice. The generational problem is easily apparent. I am a classicist who believes that the 1970s were the nadir of fashion. Unfortunately or fortunately, the 20-something set did not have to live through it, so they think it is all impossibly thrilling. Les imbéciles mal informés peu. But perhaps I am being ever so slightly harsh.

From my front row seat, when the first few “lace” dresses came out, all I could think was, macrame. The heavy cotton yarn that women made belts and hanging plant holders out of. Even dyed white and called crochet, it was still…macrame.

And were would the 1970s be without maxi-dresses?
I am sure I haven’t the faintest notion, because the damn things were everywhere.

However, the rest of the collection was pretty, well made, and the 1970s lived again. Forgive me if I was not excited. The 1970s were bad enough the first time.

Later, when I am less exhausted, I will write more about my adventures under the tents. Because I have had adventures.


Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog

When Polyester Ruled The Earth! 70s Fashion Fiascos

70s Fashion Fiascos, Collectors Press, 2006

When first 70s Fashion Fiascos: Studio 54 to Saturday Night Fever by Maureen Valdes Marsh crossed my desk, I admit, I screamed in horror. The caftan on the book cover alone was enough to put me in a swoon. But a pleading letter came with it, begging me to give this book my imprimatur.
Look it up.

The letter convinced me to sit down before the fire, Bucky curled in my lap, and skim the pages.
Little did I know that I would be swept up by its contents: a blend of American social history, wit, and truly hideous clothes! Ms. Marsh is a marvelous writer, with a knack for the mot juste. Of leisure suits, she writes, “Color became the key to individuality, and no shade was too effeminate for the 1970s man to wear.”
Of course, 70s Vintage Fashion Fiascos is about fashion. As one can guess from the title, it does not mean Fashion In The True Sense. No, it is Fashion Brought Low, Fashion Brought To Its Knees. And not only because women kept falling off their platform shoes. Ms. Valdes knows just how revolting her subjects are (ruffled polyester maxi-dresses, huge plaids, my God, the Unsuit!). Every page is filled with photos, each one more ghastly than the next. And why that horrible fascination with brown??
The author has researched the decade of the 1970s thoroughly, including the sexual liberation movement, The Partridge Family, and of course women’s lib. The venerable Barbara Walters is quoted as saying, “I would never wear pants suits on the air…I think the show has more dignity than that.” (And now Ms. Walters is working alongside Rosie O’Donnell on The View–how times have changed.) And who knew that it was nurses who managed to bring pantsuits—and pants in general for women—into acceptance in the workplace?
The book is sprinkled throughout with fascinating bits of trivia about the American suburban lifestyle in the 1970s. It was certainly fascinating to moi, as this was my first encounter with what was considered “typical” suburbia…ugh. Since the youth of today has taken a great interest in the clothing of the decade, Ms. Marsh has provided an up-to-date Shopping Resource Guide in the back.
And while this writer (if I may call myself such) simply cannot agree that Pucci and op art have redeeming qualities, this book is well worth the reader’s while. It belongs on any bookshelf of those interested in fashion, humor, and of course, the 1970s.

As I gather they used to say, “Can you dig it?”

One can indeed.

Discover more about the book, and the author (who also has a website called Vintage Grace) at this website:
A Footnote:
In her letter, Ms. Marsh said she was certain I had no fashion fiascos in my closet. Flattery, perhaps, but true. However I must make a confession, dear readers.
I have tucked away in my Ebay store a garish nylon robe by Eduardo, a designer who actually studied under Pucci. It has been my secret shame, but now, thanks to Ms. Marsh, I have the courage to unveil it. It is a size Large/Extra Large. And of course, I have many pieces of much finer quality. Please overlook this one lapse. Or purchase it, so that I do not have to look at it any more. (You can find my store in the link on the right, Elisa’s Bounteous House of Style.)

Ciao,Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog