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  1. #1

    Worth A Second Look?

    I know this photo has been discussed before, but I'm not sure if the write-up has been shared. If it has, please excuse the repeat.

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  2. #2
    I've only seen the photo...never the article....Not exactly one of my favorite looks for the group, I looked very quickly when I saw it, I thought that was his shadow on Mary's back. Now that I've seen the text I can SEE it is the cut out on the gown.

  3. #3
    My eyes aren't as good as they used to be: are Cindy and Jean in the same color? I wonder if these were ever used onstage? The flowers give the group a Pointer Sisters feel.

  4. #4
    NOW we know for sure that the man in this photo is not (as has been theorized):

    1) Eddie Kendricks
    2) Frank Wilson

    It's clothing designer Bernard "The Beautiful" Johnson!

    And the article also references the outfits in this photo:
    Name:  The Supremes - Essence Magazine August 1971.jpg
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  5. #5

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by danman869 View Post
    NOW we know for sure that the man in this photo is not (as has been theorized):

    1) Eddie Kendricks
    2) Frank Wilson

    It's clothing designer Bernard "The Beautiful" Johnson!

    And the article also references the outfits in this photo:
    Name:  The Supremes - Essence Magazine August 1971.jpg
Views: 430
Size:  79.2 KB
    Which is strange too. I use to think it was Eddie Kendricks. He was touring with the Supremes at that time. I asked Jean Terrell and she said it was designer Stephen Burrows that's in that picture with them. Go figure.......

  7. #7
    It's very strange. Bernard Johnson's archives don't have the designs for those costumes. In fact, the only thing they have is a sketch he did for them in the 60s that was never created. Very odd.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by bradsupremes View Post
    It's very strange. Bernard Johnson's archives don't have the designs for those costumes. In fact, the only thing they have is a sketch he did for them in the 60s that was never created. Very odd.
    Stranger still, Stephen Burrows mentions in his biography designing for the Supremes, yet the man in the picture looks nothing like him and exactly like Eddie Kendricks from this facial hair, shape and complexion. His clothing is the style that Eddie wore in the early 70s and he was very familiar with Mary Wilson. I have to give my vote to Eddie Kendricks being the guy in that pic!

  9. #9
    I'm sorry, but that is Eddie Kendricks in that picture:

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  10. #10

  11. #11
    As Mr. Johnson was the fashion designer for the film "Willie Dynamite", it looks as if he is wearing one of his own creations at the photo-shoot with the Supremes, similar to designs that he made for some male participants in the movie.
    And since the photo and write-up were originally published in Essence Magazine, I would think that the photographer and/or writer would know if Eddie Kendricks was the man in the picture and would have so identified him.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyluckyme View Post
    As Mr. Johnson was the fashion designer for the film "Willie Dynamite", it looks as if he is wearing one of his own creations at the photo-shoot with the Supremes, similar to designs that he made for some male participants in the movie.
    And since the photo and write-up were originally published in Essence Magazine, I would think that the photographer and/or writer would know if Eddie Kendricks was the man in the picture and would have so identified him.
    I'm still trying to figure out why Jean said that it is Stephen Burrows.

  13. #13
    He looks nothing like Eddie Kendricks.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by khansperac View Post
    He looks nothing like Eddie Kendricks.
    That's funny because Eddie's son Paul says it does look like his dad!

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    That's funny because Eddie's son Paul says it does look like his dad!
    And enough people said that Cindy Birdsong looks like Florence Ballard, so much so that she could be slipped into the Supremes' line-up at the Hollywood Bowl on April 29, 1967. Even though Cindy resembled/looked like Florence she wasn't Florence.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    I'm sorry, but that is Eddie Kendricks in that picture:

    Name:  Eddie Kendricks pic.jpg
Views: 403
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    If it is Eddie with the Supremes... what happened to his beard?

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by marybrewster View Post
    My eyes aren't as good as they used to be: are Cindy and Jean in the same color? I wonder if these were ever used onstage? The flowers give the group a Pointer Sisters feel.
    Mary’s dress is lighter than Cindy and Jean’s dresses

  18. #18
    The guy in the photo is not Eddie Kendricks nor Stephen Burrows. It’s Bernard Johnson.

    Stephen Burrows designed the short white fringe dresses worn at the Central Park concert and later with Lynda on the Flip Wilson Show doing “Your Wonderful Sweet Sweet Love.”

  19. #19

  20. #20
    ok - the guy could be peter pan for all we know lol. what i find strange is that other than this 1 shoot in the shorts and this 1 pic in the peach gowns, nothing. Did the girls EVER wear this clothing again? from a timing perspective this seems to be 71. Cindy is quite thin here, as she was around this time. And the girls recently had Stephen do those white fringe mini dresses (sexy as all hell!!!) It's commendable that they're using black designers. wonder why they didn't do more for the girls? why they didn't wear them more, etc

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by bradsupremes View Post
    The guy in the photo is not Eddie Kendricks nor Stephen Burrows. It’s Bernard Johnson.

    Stephen Burrows designed the short white fringe dresses worn at the Central Park concert and later with Lynda on the Flip Wilson Show doing “Your Wonderful Sweet Sweet Love.”
    Can you find a picture of Bernard Johnson for comparison?

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyluckyme View Post
    If it is Eddie with the Supremes... what happened to his beard?
    He didn't always wear a beard/goatee:

    Name:  Diana and Eddie.jpg
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  23. #23
    The styling on both Sup's pics is ... grotesque.

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceNHarmony View Post
    The styling on both Sup's pics is ... grotesque.
    Lol. Not grotesque but, actually, I had to take a second look at both photos, because they decidedly did not look like The Supremes! At first glance, I would have thought First Choice and Emotions. I guess I'm just used to seeing The Supremes in a more glamorous or sophisticated light.

    The guy may or may not be Eddie Kendricks. I'd have to see a picture of Bernard Johnson (or Stephen Burrows).

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    He didn't always wear a beard/goatee:

    Name:  Diana and Eddie.jpg
Views: 323
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    But at the time of the Essence photoshoot, he was. Posting a TCB photo is like comparing apples & oranges.

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by lucky2012 View Post
    Lol. Not grotesque but, actually, I had to take a second look at both photos, because they decidedly did not look like The Supremes! At first glance, I would have thought First Choice and Emotions. I guess I'm just used to seeing The Supremes in a more glamorous or sophisticated light.

    The guy may or may not be Eddie Kendricks. I'd have to see a picture of Bernard Johnson (or Stephen Burrows).
    Later photos of Stephen Burrows are easily accessible. The only photo of Bernard Johnson I've seen was from an earlier time in his career.

  27. #27
    Name:  win_4184.jpg
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    Last edited by luckyluckyme; 03-10-2019 at 05:13 PM.

  28. #28
    At a younger age:

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  29. #29
    Stephen Burrows From 1973:

    Name:  51088845_269110850684988_3776673364121690246_n.jpg
Views: 315
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  30. #30
    Not much help, but this photo is of Bernard Johnson from 1957:

    https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/n...hoto/558667741

  31. #31
    Luckyluckyme, I would need to see pics of both Stephen Burrows and Bernard Johnson with facial hair. I do know that Eddie Kendricks was touring with the Supremes as their opening act at the time of the photo. Jean Terrell says that is Stephen Burrows in the pic. I still say it is Eddie.

  32. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    Luckyluckyme, I would need to see pics of both Stephen Burrows and Bernard Johnson with facial hair. I do know that Eddie Kendricks was touring with the Supremes as their opening act at the time of the photo. Jean Terrell says that is Stephen Burrows in the pic. I still say it is Eddie.
    I can confirm it is not Stephen Burrows. The photos are pretty evident. Stephen had a lighter skin complexion.

    The man in the photo is Bernard Johnson. Why else would they talk about him and the Supremes in the article? Of course they are going to have a photo of the subjects to match what's being discussed in the article. It's not Eddie Kendricks or else it would be mentioned in the article that it was him. Can you imagine an article on Eddie Kendricks with a photo of him surround by the Supremes and nowhere in the article does it mention that it's the Supremes with him? Believe me, it's Bernard Johnson in the photo.
    Last edited by bradsupremes; 03-10-2019 at 06:40 PM.

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by bradsupremes View Post
    I can confirm it is not Stephen Burrows. The photos are pretty evident. Stephen had a lighter skin complexion.

    The man in the photo is Bernard Johnson. Why else would they talk about him and the Supremes in the article? Of course they are going to have a photo of the subjects to match what's being discussed in the article. It's not Eddie Kendricks or else it would be mentioned in the article that it was him. Can you imagine an article on Eddie Kendricks with a photo of him surround by the Supremes and nowhere in the article does it mention that it's the Supremes with him? Believe me, it's Bernard Johnson in the photo.
    Magazines do make mistakes. I think that was from Essence Magazine and during it's first or second year of publication. The designer of the dresses the Supremes are wearing in the photo may have been Bernard Johnson, but that is Eddie Kendricks kissing Mary Wilson's back!

  34. #34


    Dear God....did they actually perform in these Beverly Hillbilly outfits? This is about
    as un-Supreme as it gets. They really did jazz things up a bit by giving Jean blue
    straps on those clodhoppers.

  35. #35
    I also meant to mention to check out the hairline for Bernard Johnson and then Eddie Kendricks. Now unless Bernard could grow younger from 1971 to 1973, there is no way
    I'll believe he is in that pic with the girls.

  36. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    Magazines do make mistakes. I think that was from Essence Magazine and during it's first or second year of publication. The designer of the dresses the Supremes are wearing in the photo may have been Bernard Johnson, but that is Eddie Kendricks kissing Mary Wilson's back!
    Marv, I've done the research on the gowns and their designers. It's Bernard Johnson.
    Last edited by bradsupremes; 03-10-2019 at 09:58 PM.

  37. #37
    The article is about him and designing for the Supremes. Thatís why there is a picture of him with the group. Why would there be a picture of anyone else? Please make it make sense.

  38. #38
    If you read the first two sentences on the magazine page, it literally says that the man in the picture is Bernard Johnson.

    Those incomparable Motown misses. Superfine, supercharged, supra-stars... here getting the "max" of attention, and a little putting on, from talented show-biz designer Bernard Johnson.

    I mean, If he actually designed the dresses that The Supremes are wearing in the picture, I feel like it would make sense for him to be with them in the picture...
    Last edited by TomatoTom123; 03-13-2019 at 09:22 PM.

  39. #39
    Also, great pictures!!!!

  40. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by bradsupremes View Post
    I can confirm it is not Stephen Burrows. The photos are pretty evident. Stephen had a lighter skin complexion.

    The man in the photo is Bernard Johnson. Why else would they talk about him and the Supremes in the article? Of course they are going to have a photo of the subjects to match what's being discussed in the article. It's not Eddie Kendricks or else it would be mentioned in the article that it was him. Can you imagine an article on Eddie Kendricks with a photo of him surround by the Supremes and nowhere in the article does it mention that it's the Supremes with him? Believe me, it's Bernard Johnson in the photo.
    Brad - as you've worked with the gowns and done some research, any info on why they seemed to bounce around to much in the 70s? i realize that as budgets got tighter they might not have been able to afford Bob Mackie or Mike Travis. but with these other designers it seems like they'd do 1 dress and that was it. who did the floral gowns the MJL used in LA for that Grove appearance with the Tempts? or the yellow wool ones that now have the sleeves removed?

    i also find it interesting that fans and the public felt the Sups weren't as relevant in the 70s or keeping up with trends. But they did try out a variety of less Vegas/glam looks:

    these blue overalls - as few fans here thought they were the Emotions!
    the red satin haltertops with blue hot pants - worn on Flip
    the chiffon Kate Smith gowns
    the floral Grove gowns
    the red hexagon Touch gowns
    the black pants and coats and lavender sequin tops from Touch
    the white Central Park mini dresses
    the deep purple MJL gowns from Lean On me from flip

  41. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    Magazines do make mistakes. I think that was from Essence Magazine and during it's first or second year of publication. The designer of the dresses the Supremes are wearing in the photo may have been Bernard Johnson, but that is Eddie Kendricks kissing Mary Wilson's back!
    Wrong as usual Marv it is Johnson. Johnson has only a vague resemblance to Kendricks but was significantly shorter than Kendricks. He is seated in that photo because Jean towered over him. In other outtakes from the denim hot pants photo session he is seen dancing with the ladies and it is clearly not Eddie Kendricks in those shots. Also these shots are from early 1971 when Kendricks was finishing up his stint with the Temptations. Kendricks didn't open for the Supremes until early 1972.

  42. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    Brad - as you've worked with the gowns and done some research, any info on why they seemed to bounce around to much in the 70s? i realize that as budgets got tighter they might not have been able to afford Bob Mackie or Mike Travis. but with these other designers it seems like they'd do 1 dress and that was it. who did the floral gowns the MJL used in LA for that Grove appearance with the Tempts? or the yellow wool ones that now have the sleeves removed?

    i also find it interesting that fans and the public felt the Sups weren't as relevant in the 70s or keeping up with trends. But they did try out a variety of less Vegas/glam looks:

    these blue overalls - as few fans here thought they were the Emotions!
    the red satin haltertops with blue hot pants - worn on Flip
    the chiffon Kate Smith gowns
    the floral Grove gowns
    the red hexagon Touch gowns
    the black pants and coats and lavender sequin tops from Touch
    the white Central Park mini dresses
    the deep purple MJL gowns from Lean On me from flip
    Bob Mackie only worked with them on GIT and that was due to the insistence of NBC. Michael Travis was originally been tapped to do the designs for the special, but NBC told George Schlatter they wanted Mackie so Travis was bumped out of GIT. Travis told me “I was all set to do that special. I can tell you...My designs were better.”

    They worked with Travis up to 1971. I actually have many design sketches of gowns he did for the group that never got made. I don’t know exactly why they stopped using him. I had briefly interviewed him the autumn before his death. We had intended to do a bigger interview, but sadly he died before we got to do that. That question was one I intended to ask him. Mary can’t remember why either. I had assumed his work with Liberace began to ramp up, but I doubt that’s the full reason. I don’t believe there was any falling out. The Supremes possibly wanted to try someone new.

    After Travis, they started using Michael Nicola. He did several designs for them between 1971-1972 including those yellow wool dresses with the rhinestones and sleeves. They’re actually very beautiful in person. Simple yet elegant. He also did the white bugle beaded gowns with the beaded fringe sleeves and the tropical floral gowns with the feather coats. He did many other gowns too. They also used several different people between 1970 and 1973 like Stephen Burrows (short white fringe “Central Park” gowns) and Bernard Johnson before they found Pat Campano and used him for most of their post-1973 gowns. They briefly used George Faison in 1976. I believe he did the black & rhinestone tuxedos and the infamous “Hair Folly” three-in-one gown.
    Last edited by bradsupremes; 03-15-2019 at 07:54 PM.

  43. #43
    Brad, to my memory, The ladies stopped using Travis because he was simply too expensive and in 1971 the groups fortunes started on an irreversible downturn. That was the year Mary finally had an accounting and ordered Gordy to turn over her monies to her which was nowhere near what she thought she had. So they started using cheaper designers and, if you noticed, started using the old Diana Ross gowns again. They stayed with Campano the longest after this, but when he visited them in Vegas he was upset to see them wearing costumes he had not designed, so that finished that off. This was near the time the group disbanded.

  44. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by TomatoTom123 View Post
    If you read the first two sentences on the magazine page, it literally says that the man in the picture is Bernard Johnson.

    Those incomparable Motown misses. Superfine, supercharged, supra-stars... here getting the "max" of attention, and a little putting on, from talented show-biz designer Bernard Johnson.

    I mean, If he actually designed the dresses that The Supremes are wearing in the picture, I feel like it would make sense for him to be with them in the picture...

    They can say what they want. That darker skinned, older man in the picture looks nothing like Bernard Johnson from the pic of him in 1973 here. They don't even have the same hairline at all. Someone gave Essence that picture and printed without verifying who the guy in the pic actually was. Jean said that it was Stephen Burrows. I still say he looks more like Eddie Kendricks than the other two guys. He dresses how Eddie (and Temptations) dressed in the late 60s, early 70s. The fact that he was touring with the Supremes at that time just makes me believe it is him all the more!

  45. #45
    Fighting mental health must be so exhausting

  46. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by BayouMotownMan View Post
    Brad, to my memory, The ladies stopped using Travis because he was simply too expensive and in 1971 the groups fortunes started on an irreversible downturn. That was the year Mary finally had an accounting and ordered Gordy to turn over her monies to her which was nowhere near what she thought she had. So they started using cheaper designers and, if you noticed, started using the old Diana Ross gowns again. They stayed with Campano the longest after this, but when he visited them in Vegas he was upset to see them wearing costumes he had not designed, so that finished that off. This was near the time the group disbanded.
    Thanks for the info. I knew about the Campano incident in Vegas. When I asked Mary about why they stopped working with Travis, she said she couldn’t remember exactly, but did say it wasn’t anything personal. Mary did visit him shortly before his passing and she mentioned how nice it was to reminisce with him. I know when I spoke to him he was very proud of his work for the group and spoke highly of all the ladies.
    Last edited by bradsupremes; 03-16-2019 at 12:48 AM.

  47. #47
    Wow! Would love to know what his design approach would have been for GIT. I love the gowns used for the show but the set design and colors were hideous. The gowns faded away into the sea of mustard and brown that they used and completely diminished their impact.

    I do like that they used so many designers and had a variety of looks. The Scherrie dresses were for the most part pretty and elegant but not really suited for disco. Having some massive chiffon ball gown doesnít compliment the intricate disco dance moves of their choreography

  48. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    Wow! Would love to know what his design approach would have been for GIT. I love the gowns used for the show but the set design and colors were hideous. The gowns faded away into the sea of mustard and brown that they used and completely diminished their impact.

    I do like that they used so many designers and had a variety of looks. The Scherrie dresses were for the most part pretty and elegant but not really suited for disco. Having some massive chiffon ball gown doesnít compliment the intricate disco dance moves of their choreography
    There's several sketches for DMC that were never made and I've wondered if they were intended for GIT, but if he wasn't included in the special then most likely those sketches were intended for the group's regular stage wear.

    The original sketch for the TCB green swirl gowns originally had sleeves and a color palette of green, yellow, light blue, dark blue, and purple.

    I know the girls liked some of those chiffon gowns because they could ball them up in a trunk and then when it came to perform, they could take them out, unball them and they'd bounce back with no wrinkles.

  49. #49
    Does anyone know who did these gowns?

  50. #50
    When scherrie joined almost all of the gowns were done by Pat Campona. I donít know if he did any prior to scherrie. But almost everything except I think the rhinestone tuxes (your my driving wheel on udo 77) and the uni-dress they wore in the disastrous Caesar show in 76

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