You are looking at one of the most amazing things ever. The “Fashion Preview 1980’s” you see above is from an issue of US magazine dated January 8,1980 and features an interview with our hero, designer Larry LeGaspi, pictured here flanked with models wearing his glorious space-age creations. I’m gagging about discovering that he also made wedding gowns and I imagine that any bride wearing a LeGaspi down the aisle was the most gorgeously galactic woman on the planet. I also love that he “called it” back in then, saying that the children of that time would someday be living in outer space– and as we know, it’s not that far away Soldiers!
A big glittering “thank you'” goes out to Jane, a very special Sparkle Soldier, who knew that this would be a dazzling addition to my archives- THANK YOU SO MUCH JANE!
This should also serve as a reminder of how important it is for the Sparkle Army to look out for one another. And by “look out for one another”, I mean that any information, photos or other material having to do with Larry LeGaspi (especially any of his priceless vintage creations!) be sent my way immediately.
Today the Sparkle Army wishes a dazzling Happy Birthday to one of my all time heroes- Charo! Not only is she a sexy bombshell with big hair and curves to die for, but she’s charming, lovable and funny too. Her famous “Cuchi Cuchi” career has spanned over 40 years making appearances on all the TV shoes that ever mattered including the Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Pee Wee’s Playhouse, the Tonight Show and most recently, RuPaul’s Drag Race. This Spanish songstress is equally known and celebrated for her guitar playing talents and I’m sure this will come as no shock to you Soldiers, but her hits “Dance A Little Bit Closer” and “You’re Just TheRight Size” are in heavy rotation at Da General’s living room disco. With an endless supply of sparkle outfits and a big heart of gold that fights for the rights of animals, Charo will always be a hero and today we honor her with a grand Sparkle ArmyBirthday Salute!
Although I never met Donna Summer, she was a very important person in my life and the news of her passing yesterday covered me with extreme sadness. Her influence touched me in every way and formed my ideals as a child- I wanted to look like her, sing like her and dress like her. I was captivated by her extreme beauty, flawless skin, perfectly applied makeup and luxe curly hair (mine was was horribly pin straight and thus began my love affair with hot rollers). Her voice was strong and powerful, but also sexy and at times, angelic and her outfits- do I even need to mention her outfits? Yes Soldiers.. yes I do! Sparkling, shimmering and always at the height of disco fashion giving her the perfect stage presence to accompany her supreme talent. Indeed, I spent hours listening to her albums, dancing in my bedroom and longing for the day I would be old enough to be inside a real disco and look fabulous while I danced under the glorious flashing lights. Forward to today and here I am.
She was everything– a mentor, an idol and an icon and in her honor, I considered “going black” on Sparkle Video Day for the first time ever as a moment of silence. However, after much thought I realized that was not the right thing to do, especially as Da General of the Sparkle Army. It’s my duty to make sure that sparkling is our first priority, no matter what comes our way. This is our duty and together we will continue to bring light, love, sparkles and Sparkle Videos to the world and that, Soldiers, is exactly how we honor Donna Summer- forever The Queen.
Halston was one of the most influential American designers of all time. While many people tend to associate him with dazzling on the dance floor and all night Studio 54 decadence- his contributions to the fashion world are his true his legacy.
Roy Halston Frowick was born in 1932 in Des Moines, Iowa and from a very young age showed an interest in sewing and designing. He became a milliner after graduating from art school in Chicago and then eventually moved to New York city to work for Lilly Dache´, one of the most well known hat designers in the industry. Once he became established in the “Big Apple”, he went to Bergdorf Goodman where he made glorious head pieces in their custom salon. It was there that he first became a household name after making the famous pillbox hat worn by Jackie Kennedy to the President’s inauguration in 1961.
Eventually, Halston moved into women’s wear and opened his own townhouse studio and by the 70’s, his simple but elegant and disco-tastic silhouettes defined the look of the era. Asymmetrical shoulders, halter top gowns and bias cut flowing caftans, capes and sleeves- many of them sparkling madly with sequins– were all creations of his genius. Ironically, his designs were often referred to as minimalist, but there was nothing minimal about Halston. He used only the best fabrics like cashmere, hammered satin and yards and yards of silk chiffon, and his dresses were known for their amazingly flattering fits. To this day his shirt dress made from Ultrasuede is still one of the highest selling in history. He was immortalized in Sister Sledge’s “He’s The Greatest Dancer” because he dressed (and hung out with) the most famous and the most fabulous. Liza Minelli, Bianca Jagger, Lauren Hutton, Liz Taylor and Marisa Berenson all wore “Halstons” as did the crème of high society and the jet set crowd. Special note: it was Halston’s idea to have Bianca’s legendary birthday party at Studio 54 and that’s because he was fabulous himself! He had movie-star looks and was always smartly dressed in his trademark black turtleneck, dark glasses and cigarette in hand. He lived a luxurious lifestyle, partied unapologetically and traveled stylishly with his entourage of models who came to be known as “The Halstonettes”. When they were all photographed as a group, they made the most iconic images in fashion history – not to mention their sparklingly memorable cameo appearance on the Love Boat.
Disco fabulosity aside, Halston was a true pioneer accomplishing many “firsts”. He brought American sensibility to the forefront of the fashion world both garnering respect and stealing the limelight from Europe. He was influential in uniform design which he created for various entities including the American Olympic team, Braniff Airlines and even came close to designing for the NYC Police Dept* (can you imagine New York’s finest patrolling the streets in Halston? Fabulous!). He was also the first high-end designer to enter into major licensing deals as well as to be contracted to design for a chain store, JC Penney. While the latter ventures became overwhelming and caused problems for him in the end, the fact that he took such risks was groundbreaking. You see Soldiers, we’re used to partnerships like “Karl Lagerfeld for H&M” and “Missoni for Target”, but back then it was unheard of.
Halston passed away in 1990, and while the last years of his life and career were mixed with some downfalls, it doesn’t take away from who he was and what he gave us. Like it’s says on his plaque in the Fashion Walk of Fame, “The 70’s belonged to Halston” and he came to symbolize the era. He worked hard, played harder and made a lot of fabulous entrances. He lived the life we aspire to by surrounding himself with extreme beauty, good friends and great parties. However, more than all of that he gave us “The Look of Disco” and for that, he is forever a Sparkle Army Hero.
(* Interview footage form “Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston” & NY Times blog accounts are that he pitched the designs but they were never approved, contrary to many online posts.)
Today’s Sparkle Video is an extravaganza of everything important in the world: great music, sexy sparkle outfits and endless amounts of disco smoke. This montage of dancer Gina Montes is from the Mexican television show “La Carabina de Ambrosio”, a variety show that ran from 1978-1987. While we are used to seeing scantily clad women bumping and grinding for our pleasure in 2011, back then this was new and very risky for the largely conservative viewership. However, as always, once the people got a taste of Gina’s sequin and smoke onslaught they were hooked! Bringing it to a whole ‘nother level is the “Tema de La Carabina Ambrosio” composed by space disco legend Quartz which truly makes Humberto Navarro, the creator and producer of the show, an all-out genius (andSparkle Army Hero). While this clip is a bit long, you’ll want to hang in there because you don’t want to miss Gina’s dazzlingly hot Wonder Woman moment!
I finally got to see “Mitzi Gaynor Razzle Dazzle!: The Special Years” the other night and my long wait did not disappoint because it’s filled with snappy musical numbers, lots of dancing men and so many sequins and rhinestones it’s almost blinding! Starring the gorgeous Mitzi Gaynor, this movie is a must for anyone who enjoys the simpler times of the late 60’s and 70’s when it was okay to light up a cigarette, drink a highball and enjoy show-stopping production numbers. Mitzi is a fierce triple threat (actress, singer, dancer) who does it all to perfection and what’s showcased in this film is the television specials that spanned 10 years featuring luxurious costumes from Bob Mackie and an arsenal of long and lush false eyelashes. All of her fabulosity was smartly lit for maximum sparkle and filmed with the magical star filter for extra wow, extra KABLAM!
Mitzi Gaynor: Glittering Perfection and Sparkle Army Hero!
Bob Mackie, one of the most famous American designers of all time, seems to see life as one big sparkling universe where high glamour should prevail above all. His overtime-working-bedazzler hascontributed to the superstardom of the most famous women in showbiz including Sparkle Army faves Raquel Welch, Cher, Diana Ross and Charo. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find a movie or tv show that he didn’t have a hand in during the 70’s and 80’s, when sequins and starfilters were an everyday part of life. That’s right- if it sparkled, you could bet your life it was a “Mackie”! Still in demand for his dazzling costumes, he’s most recently been glitzing up pop stars like Pink and Katy Perry- and let’s not forget the world famous, Barbie, who’s been wearing custom “Mackie’s” for years now. Did I mention costuming for stage, film, TV and the spectacular Las Vegas showgirls or designing a ready-to-wear fashion line? There is nothing his magical hands have not touched!
Ever since I was a little girl, Bob Mackie represented the world as I hoped and dreamed it would be when I grew up. A world filled with glitter, sequins and rhinestones and a world where everyone is more beautiful because they sparkle. Thank you, Mr. Mackie.
Bob Mackie: Legendary Dazzle Master and Sparkle Army Hero!
photos from the book “Unmistakably Mackie” by Frank DeCaro
As September 11th approaches and we are busy getting our outfits together for “Join The Sparkle Army” in Berlin- I want to share the inspiration for many of my own outfits: Larry LeGaspi.
Larry LeGaspi was an American clothing designer who was light years ahead of his time- so much so, that his first store in NYC was not a success at all. It was called Moonstone and back in 1973, people were not ready for his futuristic concept. According to “Disco Chic: All the Styles,Steps and Places to Go”, the store was “decorated like the surface of the moon, with a silvery moonscaped floor and twinkling stars overhead”. While it sounds like a dream to you and I, at this point in time, Star Wars had not come out yet and people basically didn’t get it. After the store closed, he had DAZZLING SUCCESS designing costumes for legendaries such as KISS, LaBelle, Divine, Funkadelic and disco lovely Asha Puthli. Thankfully, by 1978, both the disco scene and LeGaspi’s business as a designer took off, as people were finally ready to wear gold lame, winged shoulders and metallic spandex.
Larry LeGaspi: Fashion Visionary and Sparkle Army Hero!
B/W photos from “Disco Dressing” by Leonard McGill
color photos & quote from “Disco Chic: All the Styles,Steps and Places to Go” by Brian Sherratt and Nalani M. Leong
There’s only one thing to say about today’s Sparkle Video and that’s: KABLAM! THE DAZZLE DANCERS are Heroes of the Sparkle Army and in this sassy version of the Love Boat, it’s pretty clear why. All of our favorite things jam packed into 4 minutes and 1 second of fun- scantily clad bodies, glitter, sparkles andMORE GLITTER! Did you happen to notice the fabulous use of SPARKLE CUFF FASHION? (Get Some!)
“Although we prefer to be nude, the Dazzle Dancers perform covered in glitter and stripped down to masterfully designed costumes. Our goals, however, extend beyond mere spectacle. We are committed to spreading a message of love and sexual freedom. We battle the forces of blandness, fear and isolation so common in our clenched culture of coffee franchises, fear marketing and money worship. All of this is accomplished through the powerful forces of dance, glitter and fun” (excerpt from Dazzle Dancers’ Manifesto, www.dazzledancers.com)