Great Moments in Disco Fashion History: Bareback Action

Quite a slogan Bakers shoe company used in the late 70’s for their backless heels!  Who knew years ago that this term, spurred on by the growth of dangerous and lethal STD’s, would evolve into something XXX rated?  As funny as that is, what’s NOT funny is that these shoes were were all the rage: seen everywhere, worn by everyone.  Often when spotted at the disco (or even at local high schools across the country), they were paired with designer jeans like Sasson, Jordache or Gloria Vanderbilt and a halter or tube top.  Other choices to accompany these heels were DVF wrap dresses and various types of delightfully swingy skirts, especially those that covered bathing suits at fashionable pool parties.  They were sexy, comfortable and a legendary part of disco fashion.

btw…. I want a pair right now!

Great Moments in Disco Fashion History: Men in Jumpsuits

I get a kick out of this 1976 ad for Jump Suits Ltd. every time I see it. That’s because the Beardo in this photo was at the height of men’s disco fashion in this one-zip number that shouts “After hours at Plato’s Retreat!”.  While the ad copy mentions that these designs are “young, hip, tight and sexy”, we all know what they really wanted to say was “Easy On.. Easy Off, baby!”.  Which reminds me…

… you simply must watch “American Swing”, a film about Plato’s Retreat which was a famous sex club for straight couples in New York City back in the 70’s & 80’s.  Besides the expected mattressed-out orgy room, this member’s only club also had a pool, snack buffet and its own disco so you could get down in one way or another all night long (now that’s what I call a party!). Truly the most entertaining thing about the film is the interviews with former clientele because now, they are all senior citizens.  Trust me, after seeing this you will look never look at the older people in your life the same way again.  You will wonder… just wonder that maybe they are a lot cooler than you think.

Great Moments in Disco Fashion History: Space Disco Coloring Books

Okay, you got me- this really isn’t from back in the day!  It’s the Join The Sparkle Army Coloring Activity Book, a fabulous collector’s item from one of our parties back in August 2009.  It all started when Ronson and I decided to make jumbo coloring walls for the party and I was searching tirelessly, Googling “space disco coloring book” day and night to no avail.  I was so shocked and saddened to find out that no one had ever thought to make something like this.  I thought, “how on earth did parents expect their children to learn about all of the important stuff in life like disco balls, sparkly cocktails and Spaced-Out Sparkle Outfits?”.  It was then that I decided to create my own images for the party and they turned out so fantastic, Ronson suggested we print up a souvenir book for our Sparkle Soldiers to take home.  Yes, thanks to us, some lucky children out there now have a coloring book filled with funny drunk robots partying on the dancefloor mixed with vintage illustrations of futuristic fashion from designers like Kenzo, France Andrevie, and the king himself- Larry LeGaspi.  (Your welcome parents!)

This glorious souvenir from our legendary party is long out of print, but if you’re gagging to have one, there may still be a copy or two available in the archives at Monster Ronson’s.  However, if you’re lucky enough to already own a copy, definitely hang on to it because word on the street is that someday, it may be worth a bajillion dollars!

Great Moments in Disco Fashion History: Groupie Chic

70’s Groupie Chic is one of my favorite looks of all time.  Outfits of metallic and satin fabrics, super-high platforms and the hottest of hot shorts topped off with sunglasses, a fur jacket and lots of attitude is nothing less than sensational!  Back in the heyday, there was even a magazine,  “Star”, which had helpful articles and fashion tips for all aspiring groupies so that one day, they too could be like their superstars.

Lori Maddox, Sable Starr, Bebe Buell and Cyrinda Foxe were some of the most famous groupies who were super young and out to have fun!  Instead of dance clubs like Studio 54, these lovely ladies were regulars at Rock n’ Roll dens like Max’s Kanses City, CBGB’s and Rodney Bingenheimer’s English Disco. Looking fabulous got them everything and anything- Rock Star boyfriends, dazzling world tours and parties non-stop, which ended up making them famous in their own right. Their legendary tales of love and lust on the road have made for some great books, films and hundreds of devoted fan sites. What I love most about them is that they’ve been quoted as saying they have no regrets, that it was an amazing time and they’d do it all over again.

There are still groupies out there today, but seriously, without the cool outfits… what’s the point?

Great Moments in Disco Fashion History: Sequin Tube Tops

Introduced in the late 70’s, Sequin Tube Tops are the single most recognized item in Disco Fashion. This magical part of the “unofficial uniform” was often worn with slim fitting jeans and super sexy high heels as shown in this photo from the book “70’s Style and Design”.  Without a doubt, this outfit was the best choice for many reasons including sparkling madly under flashing lights, “easy access” at the after party and on a practical note-  boob support for all night dancing.

I can’t imagine life without Sequin Tube Tops and thankfully, I don’t have to because this timeless fashion piece is still around today.  Whether you buy a new one, score a fab vintage version or get some elasticized fabric and make your own- it really doesn’t matter.  Just get one!

Great Moments in Disco Fashion History: Danskin Bodywear

Bodywear in general became a disco fashion sensation in the 70’s, but no other name comes to mind more than Danskin!  Anyone who has ever dabbled in the world of dance knows this brand, but Danskin also broke new bounds in street fashion when they hired designer Bonnie August in 1975.

Being young herself, Ms. August knew that people got down and got serious on the dance floor and that the practicality of bodywear coupled with the writhing sexuality of dancing was a match made in DISCO HEAVEN!  She introduced exciting new colors, shimmering textures and utilized a new fabric called Milliskin so that the leotards could also be worn as swimwear. She just knew that going from the hottest pool party straight to the Disco is the lifestyle we all want to live and she singlehandedly made it happen. The “Freestyle” line for Danskin also included unitards, leggings and the classic wrap skirt so all you needed to add was some cheek contour and a sexy pair of heels!

Yes kids, long before American Apparel revived vintage dance looks-  there was Danskin.  While they no longer make exactly the same sexified styles Bonnie August created for the Boogie Down 70’s, you can still find some great styles to work into your outfits for the Disco and the best part- they are still amazingly affordable!

”I don’t follow fashion. I like to invent it. The styles I design are based on my needs and those of my active friends.”  Bonnie August 1947-2003

photo from “Disco Dressing” by Leonard McGIll

Great Moments in Disco Fashion History: Satin Pantsuits

How much fun is this Shulton cologne ad?  The sleek look of Satin is something we’ve forgotton about in modern times, but it was everywhere in 1978 and this couple is at the height of Disco Fashion! There is nothing the Advertising Creatives didn’t include in this image- flashing lights, roller skates, billowing smoke… oh except that the fragrance is called “Blue Jeans” and no ones wearing any- but hey- it was the 70’s. You certainly can’t expect people to stay up all night SPARKLING AT THE DISCO and then write things that make sense.  How do I know this?  Printed in the lower left hand corner is “Photographed at New York, New York Discotheque”… you do the math.

By the way- New York, New York is one of the lesser talked about clubs from NYC’s disco heyday and during my research, I located this FAB photo of the club in real action- SUPERB!  This discovery has inspired me to include a new blog category in the future, so now you can look forward to more posts about historic clubs along with other random things I find fascinating. KABLAM!

(photocredit : I currently do not know the source of this photo, but once I locate it, will credit it properly- apologies for now!)

Great Moments in Disco Fashion History: SPACE CUFFS!

Because I cannot stop pointing them out every time I see them, I thought it time to pay them homage. Not for the shy or timid, SPACE CUFFS are the most glorious and daring accessories one can wear.

From a book published in 1983 called “Fashion 2001”, this outfit is single-handedly responsible for my obsession and was created by France Andrevie, a Belgian designer who specialized in avant garde clothing. This cherished book is filled with images from various designers who shared their SPACED OUT FASHION PREDICTIONS for the future, but this one is by far my favorite!  Wouldn’t the world be a more fabulous place if people dressed in this DISCO-TASTIC ensemble all the time?

Sadly, Mlle. Andrevie never got to see how her predictions for the future turned out, as she passed away in 1984 at the age of 39.  Today, I declare that the Sparkle Army is devoted to keeping her dream alive and I encourage all of you to go out, find some fabulous materials and start making yours today!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… SPACE CUFFS: GET SOME!

Great Moments in Disco Fashion History: Disco Beauty

Because it’s Saturday and you are all headed out to the Disco tonight, here’s some inspiration for you! “Disco Beauty: Nighttime Makeup by Sandy Linter” was published in 1979 and features full color photos and instructions for high drama beauty for the Disco.  Sandy Linter is LEGENDARY in the fashion and makeup world and this book was her collaboration with other great artists including top hair stylists Harry King and John Sahag. I love to look at all the GLITTERING, SHIMMERING MODELS who were the most gorgeous icons of the era such as Patti Hansen, Esme and Gia!

Shooting this book must have been fun fun FUN and leads me to wonder- did they go to Studio 54 before or after each shoot day? Maybe both.. it was 1979 after all!

Great Moments in Disco Fashion History: Wate-On

This 1978 ad shows a hot sexy couple decked out for a night of Italo in their SPACE SLUTTY BEST and it’s all thanks to Wate-On!  It seems before taking this wonder product they were just “too skinny to have fun” and “it was really a drag”!  It’s hard to think about in 2010, but being “too thin” must have been just horrible back in the party-down 70’s!  Why else would the the scientists at Wate-On have worked so tirelessly to banish this plague of body issues from future generations?  They certainly accomplished their goals with a SPARKLING BRAVO!

For real tho’-  when was the last time you were asked “Do I look too skinny in these pants?”.