Oh So Disco

Oh So Disco

If ever there was a time and place in history worth revisiting  it’s got to be  New York city circa mid to late seventies. Studio 54 to be precise.  Home to 700 plus exclusive partygoers  who every night celebrated glamour, decadence and excess. Never before or since has night clubbing looked so good.

Bianca Jagger dancing at Studio 54

Disco anthems sang of shallow partying that went on for days and resumed without question the following evening. How fabulous it must have been for those involved,  dressing up like their lives depended on it and then parading and sharing the splendour in nights of  high-spirited heady fun.

The disco scene’s energising and seductive marriage  of  New York’s art, music and fashion worlds resulted in an iconic  aesthetic of ice cool glamour epitomised in the portraits of photographer Ron Galella.

Dance and fashion fused with the celebrity and art worlds under the refracted lights of glass globes. The door policy is legendary. Beauty, success and celebrity would not always guarantee you entry but it definitely upped your chances. The global and lasting  impact of the club lay in its carefully calculated mix of revellers. An amazon of  ’70s supermodels including all American golden girl Lauren Hutton, Texan Jerry Hall and ill fated beauty Gia, shook their booty alongside  rock icons and artists.  The occasional unknown and oddballs  added intrigue.

Studio 54 was built on nothing if not self belief.  Promoter Steve Rubell and club goers alike embraced the American ideals of thinking big and making a splash. Flamboyance was in vogue, resulting in moments of celluloid history such as  Bianca Jagger riding  into the famous nightclub astride a white horse.  Budgets and self promotion were unhindered allowing for some colossal ego expansion.

Bianca Jagger making an entrance on a white horse

The bold and the beautiful spun and shimmied in show stopping Halston’ and  Ozzie Clark creations.  Halston created minimal designs in luxurious modern fabrics. Cut was everything.  Exquisite draped jersey halter dresses and pant suits allowed the wearers freedom of movement and freedom of expression. Love beads  and flower power were out and affluence and prestige were in.  Think lustre, think legs and think long, long nights.  It was a Bacchanalian era where looking good and feeling good where all that mattered and at the former they succeeded without question.  The international  lifestyle of the club’s jet setting elite was reflected in exotic fashion accents  like Afghan jackets, turbans and the kaftan. The minimalism and simplicity of the form fitting gowns were also offset by bold accessories and outrageous behaviour.

Halston, Bianca, Grace Jones and Andy Warhol at Studio 54

“In every corner you’d see somebody you read about in a paper or a friend or Beautiful People or mad people. Major, major stars. All the social people. You had a blend of society that had never happened before. It was like a movie.” Halston said of the era.

‘The Studio’ as it became known has been richly  documented in several films. Chloe Sevigny and Kate Beckinsale donned bored expressions and glitter eye shadow for the  sardonic period piece Last Days of Disco.  54, directed by Mark Christopher, covered the lives of the scene’s  key figures. Controversial auteur Spike Lee  gave us his take in Summer of Sam, a strange film that set a serial killer plot line against the backdrop of disco hungry hedonists.

Chloe Sevigny and Kate Beckinsale in the Last Days of Disco (1998)

Designers and high street stores are all plundering the seventies this summer and disco’s glamourous influence  is there too, seducing us  back onto the dance floors  in billowing voluminous  flowing maxi dresses,  white tuxedo jackets, funky jumpsuits  and ultra high strappy sandals.  Today, with  the climate of  austerity measures and economic uncertainty, a philosophy of dressing to the nines, dancing  till you drop, eschewing all and anything mundane and the inevitable understanding: same thing, same time tomorrow, seems worth considering.

Timewarp

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The casual stance, the attitude, the fantastic get up. It could only be New York. This photo of a young lady was taken unawares somewhere on Lower East side circa 2005. Apologies for the poor quality of the picture. I wanted to catch her before the rare specimen was swallowed up by city transit.

Disco psychedelia with a subtle hint of exotic executive.

She certainly looks like she means business. A real go go getter. I’d love to know where she was headed. Any ideas folks?

Fashion highs and lows 2011

To round of what has been something of a watershed year for myself I thought I’d share my
personal wardrobe highlights of 2011. This one comes in close to the top at number 3.
  1. Cool abstract expressionist jacket. Why go to a gallery when you can be one? This arty item was my sartorial conversation  starter for the year. Many the unlikely .  character including a surprising amount of genuinely approving males stopped me to compliment me on this printed wonder. I loved it as it reminds my of Hundertwasser the Austrian artist. Clashes with almost everything!
  2. Black velvet aladdin slippers. Toe curling treasures that sexily elongate my legs and had me staring at my feet for a good part of the summer. My hard wearing ways mean these are unlikely to get me through S/S 2012 so if anyone knows where I can find me a new pair please please tell!
  3. 70’s mini sundress (see main picture. Part Babs Windsor part psychedelic Laura Ashley. Flirty and demure at once in candy colours and synthetic lace. Asset flattering bargain courtesy of the lovely people at the Islington Salvation Army Charity shop
  4. Leatherette Car Seat dress. An icon in the finding and named by good self. My copywritng career was waylayed back in the 90’s but the talents are still around. I have seen its lesser cousins in the high street already. Bought at a carboot and named after a car seat. Self professed style icons don’t get much classier do they?
  5. Crazy mad bonkers print elasticated waist cut off pants. These should so not work but do. Bad in print but bad ass on. These hot pink and black floral printed bad boys were worn and worn and not just for the comfortable stretch in the waistband.
  6. American Dentist blouse. Aptly titled by amusing muse eight year old Sara. Exquisitely modeled by the lovely Aisling Conboy.
  7. Peach Vintage Radley cocktail dress. This sweet wrapper of stiff pastel organza made my birthday go pop!
  8. Animal print mules Russell and Bromley. These are some grown up shoes just like the ones my first Barbie had.
  9. Tangerine velvet waistcoat or as an American friend of mine describes it vest. I somehow feel like Bart Simpson in a vest and that to me is a good thing.
  10. I don’t hanker after the high street much but I have been stalking a pair of boots online after seeing them on a girl in Crouch End. No 6. Shearling black on black clog boots I must have you. I have in all honesty been a very good girl this year and thus deserve the best footwear money can buy. So hurry your tardy ass along now Santa.

LOWS

  1. Just the one. The tragic loss of my beloved boucle wool blue Chanelalike jacket. Last seen when locking my bike distractedly  to the railings outside Highgate Tube station.     Perhaps the long lost and much loved whippet missing from the same area is sleeping soundly on it somewhere. The thought hardly eases the pain still deeply felt.

Night clubbing with a difference.

Sadly I haven’t posted in a shockingly long time. Gasp! My poor sad little Mac has been through the wars but under my watchful eye it is still miraculously holding up. I myself have been busy elsewhere doing many exciting projects including styling a shoot in a boxing club in North London. It was a delight and a thrill to work with such an incredible team of young professionals. It was particularly exhilarating as the shoot took place during a training session making for a highly adrenalised and energetic production. I also have had the pleasure of doing a shoot with the exceptionally creative and lovely Mrs Jones. A fun afternoon was had in the squat/studio in Hackney  and the extraordinary creations were modelled by some truly beautiful human creatures resulting in artistic fashion anarchy. It was a theatrical spectacular and the well deserved picnic on the mattress was a most fortifying denouement. Keeping up with Mrs Jones has all the evidence.

Here is a just little taster…

A nicely ordered rail before the creative mayhem got underway.  Super poodle Betty strutting about  the background.

Elsewhere my masterful fascinator skills were put to good use at a hip event in the East End. A sort of night clubbing meets after school activity party where revellers are invited to customise their very own festival headpiece . The heady blend of cocktails and creativity unleashed an outrage of untapped millinery talent. It was quite an experience to watch as the inspired worked furiously at tables topped with fuzzy felt and feathers out doing each other in the quest for head band history. The shameless and satisfied artists then gathered on the dance floor show in a show case of unbridled exhibitionism to some dancelicious tunes.Fun fun and then some.


The Undisputed Winner of the evening. Half man half wildebeest. 100% hilarious awesomeness.

Show and Tell.

As there was such a long gap between posts prior to the last few I thought I would just share some of what I’d been doing and wearing besides being insulted by Ryan Air staff and furiously endeavouring  to bring my life here to London.

This is me posing for Photographerer Rebecca Hawkes at The Battersea Vintage Fair last March. This is what I arrived in. Vintage Sears Prairie blouse, high-waisted red red trousers,  very old Dexter cowboy boots and show stopping brown velvet military hat.

I am so happy with the pictures Rebecca took.  So here is another

My trouser ends couldn’t make up their minds about in or out.

Later on I purchased a lovely fifties sun dress from Love ur Look. It’s most striking feature is the print; an artistic abstract flower design in pretty primary shades with charming crayon markings visible. The pockets are such a plus making it oh so wearable.  It fits quite nicely too. This is what I describe as a perfect summer bike dress.

Great Minds Think Alike.

One of the reasons I decided to do a style blog was to counter the numerous empty and disappointing occasions when I saw my style ideas appear in shop windows and magazine editorials long after making rudimentary notes about them in my little lime Moleskin notepad. At least now these notes to self and inspirational sketches no longer linger beneath the bushel of my procrastinating, undisciplined self. Today for example I opened up last weeks Observer Magazine and what do I see there?

“Anna Dello Russo- Japanese Vogue’s editor at large, blogger extraordinaire international style sensation, internet iconoclast -stands virtually naked in a hotel room in central London, contemplating a raucous fruit-embellished fascinator.”

I may not yet be considered an internet iconoclast or blogger extraordinaire but posted on these here humble pages not along was this pretty prescient baby.

So In Your Face Anna Dello Russo and Devoted Followers!  Deemed by retailers to be too outrageous and flamboyant  for Muswell Hill, behold once again my apples and cherries!

Cue a quick tongue in cheek victory hustle.

In a similar  vein I happened to spot the imperious Black Queen of Individual style Diane  Pernet  in London. To my quiet delight I observed  her hair and gloved hands gilded with silver birds. I’m glad I am in good company is all I’m saying.

Backstage at The Oxfam Bridal Fashion Show Dublin, 2009.
Lovebird Hair Fascinator by Suzieperon

London Debut

This and more beautiful pieces on sale tomorrow at The Boogaloo Fair

Tomorrow with temperatures of  2 degrees and snow predicted I shall make my London fashion debut. Venue is The Boogaloo Highgate, where it is rumored Shane McGowan resides above shhhh. The hip as hell music bar will be transformed into a Christmas market which promises a vast array of fashion sensations. Vintage lovers, Musos, and Flea Hunters will all be thrilled at the bargains to be found. So now you know what to do. Don your earmuffs, furs, and snow mufflers and haul ass up to The Boogaloo for a heartwarming rummage. Here is a sneak preview of some of my personal booty on sale tomorrow. See you then. X