Whatever happened to cleavage and dress-up? The wiggle and the wink? Where oh where’s the fun of being just plain sexy? It’s right here, sisters, in the clothes you wear, the curl of your hair. Not to say that sexy is the everyday be-all end-all, but don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. It’s fun to vamp it up, ham it up and play it tongue-in-cheek the way women have played it since Mae and Marilyn and probably since Eve. Sense of humor has no sex, but sex certainly ought to have a sense of humor. Which is where you come in: razzledazzling and enjoying it.
Reading like a manifesto for how I personally always want to dress ("just plain sexy... It’s fun to vamp it up, ham it up and play it tongue-in-cheek... razzledazzling and enjoying it") this 1972 editorial from Mademoiselle features many 1930s-influenced styles. Arthur Elgort's sexy girls are clad in wide-leg pajama style pants, turbans and close-fitting satin blouses, as well as tight poor-boy sweaters that were popularized by the late great Sonia Rykiel. For all the discussion of "sexy" these clothes aren't revealing—it's more about the fit and the attitude with which they are worn (read Mae West's On Sex, Health and E.S.P. or watch some pre-code Hollywood films if you need some extra assistance capturing that provocative '30s glam girl attitude). I've been seeking out the perfect vintage 70s Lurex sweater set for the last few years and this editorial has made me even more desperate to find one—the cooling temperatures of fall are the perfect time to throw on a thin sparkly cardigan, especially if offset by towering platforms and an equally sparkling turban.
Apollonia Von Ravenstein and other models photographed by Arthur Elgort for Mademoiselle, November 1972.
Nights are getting longer by the minute and there’s nothing like a little razzle-dazzle dress-up for jazzing them up. For starters, here’s a dazzling bunch of sweaters if there ever was one—and you get to knit them all yourself. Fuzzywuzzy V-neck in a right now combo—pink and blue (metallic and rabbit hair angora yarns). A pullover of pink angora and gray metallic yarns. Ritzy-big earbaubles, Michael Danyon.
A little shoulder, a lot bolder—this mint/black/pink sweatertube held by a strippy halter strap (wool, angora and Lurex yarns). Bracelet by Bob Diana for Kamali. Man’s gear by St. Laurent for Paris Collections.
All the accessorizing put ons you need to bring the whole thing together. Pick and choose… From the bottom—pink suede slingbacks mounted on a high platform sole, and towering heel. By Gold, $30. Top and Pants from Crazy Horse.
From the top—a head-hugging turban of pale pink wool medallion’d with silver thread. Poetry for Merrymakers, $6. The pastel play of iridescent plastic bead necklaces is by Michael Danyon, $6 each. The long string of see-through beads (Lucite) is by Lillian Barkow, $19. Right arm bands (from top) —elastic strung beach ball bracelets. The double layer of sea-toned beads is by Bob Diana for Kamali, $9. The elastic’d clear and peach iridescent ball bracelet ($12 each) and the pastel skinnybangles ($5 each) by Willi Woo. Next lineup—oddshapes. Ovals, rounds and squares (acrylic) joined with chromium. Serge Arene for Anada, $8 each. Then, more bangles from Willi Woo, $1 each. Left arm—button clusters. Four color versions of mixed-size flat buttons ($16), the button and pearl necklaces ($16) and matching bracelets ($10) —all Michael Sklar for Childstar.
All that glitter? Not gold but sparkly spruce-green knitting (Lurex/rayon blend) sweatered into a sleeveless deep-V’d pull ($32) and matching hip-skimmer top ($50) that cardigans over spruce night-pants (Martin’s rayon velvet, $50). All Liz Claibourne for Tricot by Youth Guild.
Start with a basic—like, say, black velvet wide-pants. Then hype it with stripes. Like these. The under’s a halter (wool/Lurex rib knit, $19), the over’s a short-sleeved cardigan (Lurex, $21). Both by Renee Tener, Outlander. Beads, Michael Danyon.
Sweatery pales. Great way to groove in the nighttime—left, soft pink V-plunged wool knit that wings it for sleeves ($10), ribs its way down to pale pink wide-leg pants (wool flannel, $22). By Crazy Horse. Michael Danyon jewelry. Right, the kind of sexy that’s straight-from-the-shoulder—skinny-striped wool knitting (by Outlander, $14) skimmed over flarey wool gabardine trousers (Benson & Partners, $32). His gear, from St. Laurent for Paris Collections.
Salmon pink—a soft, floaty wrapping of it criss-crossed in front, sashed in back, swirled out in a wide flutter of a circular skirt that stops just short of the knee. From Paul Maris, of acrylic double knit, $25.
The ‘30s superstar—and you don’t have to flick on the late, late show to catch her. Motive: seductive as ever. Revealing factor: the deep V’d, shoulder-baring, sequined print halter of antique crepe ($28) worn here with a puff-sleeved bolero of antique upholstery fabric ($36), black crepe pants ($32). All, Mrs. H. Winter for Yesterday’s News. Willi Woo bracelet.
After painting the town red, home for a cup of black coffee. Again, skin’s in. The fuzzy black bandeau’s barely there, ringed with glittery pastel stripes (angora/Lurex knit, $32). The black crepe cardigan ($32), matching pants ($26) – both crisped with criss-crossed coral stitching. By Carol Horn.
The early a.m. switch to cafeteria society—caught catnapping in a short-sleeved shirt of silvery crepe-backed satin ($20) tucked into wide wide black crepe pants ($22). By Willi Smiths for Digits. The beaded necklace by P.C. Designs. Skull cap: Veaumont. Silk clutchbag by Delill.
Will she give him the slip? Tune into this late late show of shoulders—a slinky black satin slip dress with the tiniest straps, a light run of ruffles ($32). Alley Cat by Betsey Jonhson. Willi Woo bracelet.