Neon Wavelength

Posted by Laura
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Slip on a phosphorescent cat's eye ring, give a few twists to your Captain Midnight decoder pin, and jump under the black light at the disco that makes your dress glow. Halter-topped green wool jersey dancing dress, short and swingy. Barest back crossed by an iridescent sequined T-strap that shines out in the night. By Tiger Morse. About $125. Earrings by Chrystya Olenska for Hattie Carnegie. Paco Rabanne fancifully looped foot ornament.



In the dark of winter, a pop of neon goes a long way. Playing on the vogue for bright colours in the mid-Sixties, Hiro photographed this 1966 editorial using black light. William H. Byler is credited with inventing the black light in 1935, originally for use in medicine. By the early sixties it had been discovered by bohemians who enjoyed it's vibrant colors while under the effects of LSD. Rigged up in loft spaces it created a surreal atmosphere perfect for happenings and parties, and as the hip kids began to realise the effect it had on the appearance of their clothes they started to dress expressly for it. The space age styles of Courrèges and Cardin worked perfectly under these effects, along with other brightly coloured styles with graphic silhouettes. Young hip New York would have picked up their party gear at boutiques like the affordable yet ultra cool Paraphernalia (where Betsey Johnson got her start) and A La Carte (owned by the eccentric Warhol muse Tiger Morse), both of which are included in this editorial. While black light is now most commonly associated with late 60s psychedelic music posters and 90s rave culture, it is intriguing to see how its importance at parties influenced fashion from street level all the way to Harper's Bazaar.


Editorial by Hiro for Harper's Bazaar, April 1966.



Crisp and silky pink and white plaid overall dress, that under a black light turns glowing red and midnight blue; its straps anchored by rhinestone pins. About $35. From Paraphernalia. Mr. John headdress. Betty Milham bracelet.



New fashion reaction: black light colliding with color. What results: neon brightness exploding on fingertips, wrists, even the dancing toes. Siren green plastic bracelet by Betty Milham. About $20. Well-dipped nails, shouting "Pink!": the shade, Pink 09 (from the Ultima II Nail Make-Up Collection by Revlon).



Green plastic bands asymmetrically whipped round a baring shoe with white kidskin toe and medium, stacked leather heel. By Margaret Jerrold. About $32.



Switch yourself on under a black light. Get on the neon wavelength with jewels and a dress that come alive in the dark. Exotic leafings of pink and white swirling into fuchsia and blue under the black light. Long silk dress open over midriff and back; our addition, a long scarf looped over the head. Dress by Donald Brooks, in Gourdon silk. About $185. Betty Milham jewelry.  Shimmering on the lips: Du Barry's Glissando Illuminated Lipstick, Pink No. 6, with its own dimensions—built-in glow and color resonance.



Fantasy fall of jet and luminous ivory necklaces, caught up by pink and yellow primrose pins. By Vendôme.

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