October 4th, 2013

Fashion forward, fashion backward

Ah, the Paris designer shows during Fashion Week! The elegance, the money, the glamour, the je ne sais quoi.

Or perhaps not:


Then there’s always Wizard of Oz retro:


And modesty:


Enough, enough.

For a palate cleanser, let’s go back in time to some decades with real glamour:



And even though this dress is over-the-top with all its feathers, Ginger Rogers keeps it classy:

It’s an amazing dress, but it’s best appreciated in motion—which, after all, is what it was designed for. Enjoy this view of what we’ve lost these days—although thankfully we have the film and YouTube to remind us.

It doesn’t really get going till a bit after minute two, but you’ll be rewarded for your patience with a light-as-air dance of surpassing delicacy and tenderness. Watch for Ginger’s transcendent backbends:

Two political conservatives, by the way. Astaire was a dance genius who had many partners, but none was better than Rogers. In fact, I have trouble watching him dance with any of the others, good dancers though they may have been. Rogers was his dance soulmate.

26 Responses to “Fashion forward, fashion backward”

  1. I Callahan Says:

    That first chick needs to lay off the heroin.

  2. Ymarsakar Says:

    A comment with two links got put into spam filter.

  3. Gary Says:

    I know almost nothing about fashion, but regarding the first photo: what’s up with the gaunt body, the sallow complexion and the darkened, lifeless eyes? Is this the comeback of “heroin chic”?

    For the third photo (“And modesty”), I’ll leave the commentary to an expert, the 7-year-old girl referenced in a recent post:

    This dress is really bad. … It’s really weird. Like you can see her underwear!!!

    And yes, Audrey Hepburn is about a thousand times more glamorous than any of the first three.

  4. Ymarsakar Says:

    Gary, my theory is that Western fashion is designed to desexualize the genders, so that males don’t feel attracted to females and thus do not reproduce.

    The results seem to speak for themselves.

  5. kit Says:

    I agree Neo!
    Fred and Ginger were meant to dance together. And thank you for the beautiful dance clip. I always thought Ginger must have had to work harder because of the flowing dresses and high heels but she made it look effortless.
    It is so funny that the comments for Fred’s first screen test were”
    “Can’t act. Can’t Sing. Dances a little.” Boy, were they wrong! (And it doesnt hurt that I like their politics, too)

    I heard a wonderful comparison between the dancing styles of Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire. Kelly was athletic and rooted in gravity while Astaire floated and danced on air.

  6. mizpants Says:

    There does seem to be a Heroin Chic revival. At my hairdresser’s, I noticed that the models in the Aveda posters on the walls looked about three weeks dead — violet shadows under their eyes and a ghastly powdery pallor. My hairdresser, the proprietress, pointed to some other posters and said they’d been even worse, but she’d taken concealer and blush directly to the paper and “touched them up” so they looked more wholesome.
    I wonder whether it has anything to do with Obamacare. Let’s not look too healthy! It might make people resentful.

  7. artfldgr Says:

    Too bad experience and relavence doesnt count…

    lets just say this is the work of a “close friend”


  8. artfldgr Says:

    “Can’t act. Can’t Sing. Dances a little.” Boy, were they wrong!

    they werent wrong
    that was BEFORE she worked her feet bloody with fred
    and of course, would she have had to work them bloody if that review was otherwise?

    what she had was drive to get it right and not give up
    she earned her talent as opposed to just falling into it
    (which technically should give her MORE credit, not less)

  9. artfldgr Says:

    here is the work of a man i grew up with knowing
    used to play chess with him, talk things
    learn photography. wife (later years) was an opera singer… (maybe you know her neo?).. everyone was an artist or such. given i was bronx science, soloist clarinet first srting, and his daughter played a stradavarius (i wont tell you what name), and part of my rare childhood (no one believes)

    if you look you can find amos andy, fred astaire, blue eyes, and so on. i have met lots of them when i came to the studio as my dad worked with him.


  10. George Pal Says:

    Good gawd! Model #1 looks like she just escaped Dachau.

    The then and now – yet more evidence of the deconstruction of the world, led by the demi-monde cadres of politicians and the haute monde world of celebrities – or have I mixed my worlds?

    And how long before what comes around goes and and what goes around comes? Hope it’s during my lifetime.

  11. OlderandWheezier Says:

    artfldgr: The “can’t act…dances a little” was made about Fred, not Ginger.

  12. artfldgr Says:

    mizpants its not heroin chic…

    its “love of the dead”..

    looks similar, but not the same…

  13. artfldgr Says:

    I stand corrected!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

    According to Hollywood folklore, a screen test report on Astaire for RKO Radio Pictures, now lost along with the test, is reported to have read: “Can’t sing. Can’t act. Balding. Can dance a little.” The producer of the Astaire-Rogers pictures, Pandro S. Berman, claimed he had never heard the story in the 1930s and that it only emerged years later

    Astaire later insisted that the report had actually read: “Can’t act. Slightly bald. Also dances”

    What’s all this talk about me being teamed with Ginger Rogers? I will not have it Leland–I did not go into pictures to be teamed with her or anyone else, and if that is the program in mind for me I will not stand for it. I don’t mind making another picture with her but as for this teams idea, it’s out.

    Fred Astaire in a letter to his agent Leland Hayward dated February 9, 1934. He went on to make a further nine musical films with Rogers.

  14. artfldgr Says:

    General Vo Nguyen Giap dies aged 102

  15. I R A Darth Aggie Says:

    Ms. Hepburn brings to mind that women need to have a little black dress at the ready. It can serve at multitude of functions.

  16. OlderandWheezier Says:

    Audrey was one of those rare Hollywood gems who, as years passed, grew perhaps even more beautiful on the inside than she always was on the outside.

  17. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    I agree, Fred and Ginger were meant to dance together. The footwork is astonishingly perfect.

    And Ginger did have to work harder with flowing dresses, high heels and dancing backwards! All the more impressive in making it look effortless.

    As for the dancing styles of Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire, yes, Kelly was “athletic and rooted in gravity” (a quote by Christopher Walken, no slouch as a dancer either) while Astaire floated and danced on air…but check out a breathtaking, incredibly difficult move by Gene Kelly in Invitation to the Dance @ .55 sec. and the sensuality, sensitivity and pathos in that dance is that of a true artist. IMO, in those respects, surpassing anything Astaire ever did.

    And for creativity, witness Kelly with a squeaky floor board and a simple sheet of newspaper; in Summer Stock Dance starting @ .42 sec.

  18. kit Says:

    Geoffrey Britain!!!
    You are very right about the segment in Invitationto the Dance. Also Kelly choreographed his own dances and those of others. Astaire didn’t. And who else could dance so wonderfully with Jerry the Mouse. Although, Fred did dance with a coat rack. I guess we love them both! And Ginger added the spice.
    Thank you for pointing out that clip. Love it

  19. expat Says:

    Today, women seem to have to buy their wardrobes item by item based on the status symbolism of each brand. What you get are multiple clashing items that overpower the woman.The clothes worn by Kelly, Hepburn, and Rogers make the woman stand out, but quietly and with class.

  20. kit Says:

    The Summer Stock dance is wonderful!!!! Thanks again!

  21. JuliB Says:

    There was an article this week in the Daily Mail about a model who started suffering from organ failure, all the while being pursued by agents. It’s terrible.

    Between the anorexia promoted, and the airbrushing which creates a lie about what real women look like, it causes so much emotional pain for our young women.

  22. MDL Says:

    Some believe that Fred Astaire’s best dancing partner was Eleanor Powell because she could keep up with him better than Ginger. But she wasn’t as ‘womanly’ as Ginger according to Fred so they only made one movie together. He made 10 movies with Ginger.

  23. neo-neocon Says:


    Fred Astaire most certainly did choreograph his dances; he just didn’t choreograph them alone:

    Astaire nearly always collaborated with other choreographers, and except for the choreography of choruses which Astaire avoided, it is generally not possible to determine with any certainty the extent of Astaire’s contribution vs that of his collaborators. This is particularly true in the case of his principal collaborator, Hermes Pan, where the seamless nature of the collaboration has been described by Astaire’s rehearsal pianist Hal Borne, the only independent witness present throughout the entire process of dance creation of the Astaire-Rogers films: “It was hard to figure who contributed what to the choreography”. Borne also describes the working atmosphere of such collaborations: “It was always pleasant. Never a hint of unpleasantness.”

    Given the consistency of Astaire’s dance style in subsequent films made with or without the assistance of Pan, and the fact that he choreographed all the routines during his Broadway career with his sister Adele, dance historian John Mueller is of the opinion that, on balance, Astaire probably acted as lead choreographer in his solos and partnered dances throughout his career. Later in his career he became a little more amenable to accepting the direction of his collaborators, however this was almost always confined to the area of extended fantasy sequences, or “dream ballets”.

    I like Gene Kelly. But IMHO, Astaire is far, far superior. Kelly is stronger, but Astaire has the superior art—smooth, versatile, you are never aware of his body or his technique for technique’s sake, only of the dance.

  24. kit Says:

    thank you, Neo. I am glad to know that and I apologize. I sometimes ask people if they could have one really terrific talent would they like to sing, play an instrument or dance.
    I am always surprised how many men tell me they would like to dance like Fred Astaire and that so many choose dance over the other arts.

  25. Richard Aubrey Says:

    George Pal.
    After VE Day, my father was too beat up to go to the Pacific so he was doing the various kinds of things the Army did to hold the continent together and go home, two separate issues.
    He saw a lot of near-dead coming out of the camps, usually wearing Army clothing. Gaunt, eyes had seen too much, with oversized overcoats.
    Had a flashback twenty years later in NYC on business seeing a bunch of models getting off a bus in January.
    If, as said, the camera adds ten pounds, these gals are skinnier than that.
    Also, the bone structure required gives long, usually graceful, hands and IMMENSE feet.

  26. Christian Says:

    The Decline of the West continues apace.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.


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