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Image via WWD
The Museum of the City of New York and Stephen Burrows are transporting visitors straight back to the designer's heyday: the glamorous 1970s. The 50-piece show, titled "Stephen Burrows: When Fashion Danced," is awash with dresses to disco in, knitwear in hues that span the rainbow, and more than one phallic symbol ("It's kind of a signature," Burrows told WWD.)
The FIT grad started his namesake line in 1968 with private clients, and won the Coty Award—a comparable pre-cursor to the CFDA Awards—just two years later, making history as the first African American to win the title. A fixture in the nightlife scene of '70s New York, the designer recalls napping after dinner, getting up around 11pm to hit clubs like The Loft and Sactuary with friends—Halston, Elsa Peretti, Pat Cleveland, etc—heading home around 3 or 4am to catch a few hours of sleep before getting up and heading to work. After the jump, a few of Burrows' super '70s memories.
At the club: "We didn't really talk about fashion unless to tell someone we loved what they were wearing that they had made. It was mostly about dancing and the nightlife. Music was a big force."
In Paris: Burrows joined Bill Blass, Oscar de la Renta and Anne Klein in the Battle of Versailles, a fashion show-down against reigning Frenchmen Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, Hubert de Givenchy, Pierre Cardin and Emanuel Ungaro. The Americans won the 1973 event, changing the way the world thought about US fashion. (There's a documentary and a book coming out about the whole shebang, so expect to hear lots of buzz about Versailles '73 very, very soon.)
Yves' Review: After the Battle, Saint Laurent told Burrows, "You make beautiful clothes." Not a bad assessment for a kid from Newark, NJ.
Rubbing Elbows: Another memorable Parisian run-in was meeting Josephine Baker. She was, "divine in a catsuit looking like she was naked."
Flash Forward: Today, the designer is impressed by the work of Rick Owens, Lanvin and Jean Paul Gaultier. He isn't a big fan of the younger designers or the celebrity "designers." His own line is working to get financing in place for a spring 2014 collection.
· Stephen Burrows Retrospective Bows in New York [WWD]
· Versailles '73: The Fashion Show That's About To Be Everywhere [Racked]
· All Day at the Museum coverage [Racked NY]