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  1. #1
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    Mystery Supremes Gown? [[1967)

    I was reviewing photos from The Supremes March,1967 photo session, and I came to the realization that the long, silky, lilac colored gowns were seen only in this photo session. I don't believe that I have seen wear them any other time than this session.
    Does anyone have any info on these gowns ? particularly the designer & where/ when they were purchased from.
    Did they ever wear them in concert ?

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    For those unfamiliar with the gowns I am speaking of, here are photos of the girls wearing them.
    Name:  Supremes 67 2.jpg
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    Name:  187C6884-05A8-4115-91E1-D6518D7C3050.jpg
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    Last edited by dannyboy1968; 11-15-2021 at 03:07 AM.

  3. #3
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    as far as i know, you're right. these were used in this photo shoot and that's all we know. now we can probably guess that they were worn on stage but we just don't have any pics of them

    there have been a few gowns here and there that just appear for a very short moment. or again, short to just us. there's a hot pink chiffon gown from the infamous Vegas engagement where flo was fired. there's an impromptu photo shoot in the dessert with the girls in the outfits and that's it other than a candid of mary with a fan

    there's also a few pics of the girls from the fall 66 flamingo show wearing an odd sort of "smock" style top. the pics are just of the individual girls close up. can't really make out the outfits and it's b&w.

    could be all sorts of reasons - maybe [[like the Copa debut gowns) the girls just didn't care for the final products, maybe they didn't POP enough on stage, maybe one got lost or damaged. maybe they really did wear it for quite a while and then it was retired but just was never really photographed.

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    Name:  34049195_1850187771686774_3369739294997479424_n.jpg
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    Name:  14606480_1198356250203266_4962337359036074955_n.jpg
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    I could be mistaken, but I think the purple gowns were a part of a more famous photo shoot which included "street clothes" and red sequin dresses wrapped around the girls necks?

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    Quote Originally Posted by marybrewster View Post
    I could be mistaken, but I think the purple gowns were a part of a more famous photo shoot which included "street clothes" and red sequin dresses wrapped around the girls necks?
    You're correct although for the other photos, Diana and Mary wore longer wigs.

  7. #7
    I've always liked these purple gowns, as they have an ancient Rome type of look! In regards to the first shot above, I remember seeing this photo in my younger days as a fan, and thought that Mary looked like she was pregnant with triplets, due to the way in which her gown is flaired out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by carlo View Post
    I've always liked these purple gowns, as they have an ancient Rome type of look! In regards to the first shot above, I remember seeing this photo in my younger days as a fan, and thought that Mary looked like she was pregnant with triplets, due to the way in which her gown is flaired out.
    When I was a kid, I used to think Mary looked pregnant on the Supremes Sing HDH album cover.

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    It could be a situation that the gowns were rented specifically for a shoot or the ladies were trying out a new designer. A lot of the fans loved the burgundy velcro gowns that Jean, Mary and Lynda wore on their last Flip Wilson Show doing Lean On Me. In a fan club newsletter Randy T asked Mary about those gowns. She said they were trying out a new designer. The implication was that the designer didn't work out so the gowns went back.

    Going into the late 60s the Supremes were white hot and designers were clamoring to work for them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BayouMotownMan View Post
    It could be a situation that the gowns were rented specifically for a shoot or the ladies were trying out a new designer. A lot of the fans loved the burgundy velcro gowns that Jean, Mary and Lynda wore on their last Flip Wilson Show doing Lean On Me. In a fan club newsletter Randy T asked Mary about those gowns. She said they were trying out a new designer. The implication was that the designer didn't work out so the gowns went back.

    Going into the late 60s the Supremes were white hot and designers were clamoring to work for them.
    very interesting! there are also that floral gowns that MJL wore in LA on the tour with the Temps. this was all right around at the same time. Randy said once they wore those gowns for the performance at the Grove but never did again. maybe the same designer?

    and then there are those pics of MJC in the blue bib overall hot pants and then the peach gowns with the designer. again, maybe they testing things out

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    More than likely for that shoot the photographer may have supplied the outfits. The Supremes didn't start looking for another designer until mid 1972 and that was likely because their incomes had dropped and they could no longer afford Michael Nicola or Michael Travis. IMO no other designer lived up to the designs of those two

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    I appreciate your responses.

    I was doing brief research, and I read from a fan that these were briefly apart of their stage wardrobe. According to an individual whom was in attendance for their show at the latin casino in March, 1967, he claims that they did wear these during their show.
    Another fan claimed to have seen them in the costumes when they performed at the Steel Pier in August of 1967.
    For those unfamiliar the infamous engagement in Atlantic City, during one of their show's, their dressing rooms were ransacked by a group of eager fans. In the ransack, about 10,000 dollars worth of gowns, hairpieces, and jewelry were stolen.
    I'm assuming that these were one of the gowns stolen during that date. There were a few sets of gowns that disappeared after that date.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dannyboy1968 View Post
    I appreciate your responses.

    I was doing brief research, and I read from a fan that these were briefly apart of their stage wardrobe. According to an individual whom was in attendance for their show at the latin casino in March, 1967, he claims that they did wear these during their show.
    Another fan claimed to have seen them in the costumes when they performed at the Steel Pier in August of 1967.
    For those unfamiliar the infamous engagement in Atlantic City, during one of their show's, their dressing rooms were ransacked by a group of eager fans. In the ransack, about 10,000 dollars worth of gowns, hairpieces, and jewelry were stolen.
    I'm assuming that these were one of the gowns stolen during that date. There were a few sets of gowns that disappeared after that date.
    I never heard about the ransacking, can you elaborate?

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    Quote Originally Posted by dannyboy1968 View Post
    I appreciate your responses.

    I was doing brief research, and I read from a fan that these were briefly apart of their stage wardrobe. According to an individual whom was in attendance for their show at the latin casino in March, 1967, he claims that they did wear these during their show.
    Another fan claimed to have seen them in the costumes when they performed at the Steel Pier in August of 1967.
    For those unfamiliar the infamous engagement in Atlantic City, during one of their show's, their dressing rooms were ransacked by a group of eager fans. In the ransack, about 10,000 dollars worth of gowns, hairpieces, and jewelry were stolen.
    I'm assuming that these were one of the gowns stolen during that date. There were a few sets of gowns that disappeared after that date.
    In his book on Motown, J. Randy Taraborrelli wrote that Diana and Cindy were robbed of $9,000 in furs and jewels from their rooms at the Seaside Motel in Atlantic City. Diana reported that a $1,500 wig was stolen along with a $4,000 diamond necklace.

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    the girls wouldn't have kept their stage wardrobe in their hotel rooms. those gowns, earrings and accessories [[including their stage wigs) would have been kept in the dressing room. D and C were robbed of their personal possessions. So these purple chiffon gowns wouldn't have been stolen.

    but you're possibly quite right that these were worn for many months and yet seem to have slipped by without much notice. the girls were performing constantly. tours, one nighters, big multi-week engagements at the big supper clubs. I'd guess they traveled with 6 - 8 sets of gowns at any one time. the wardrobe crew would have handle the logistics and gowns would have been rotated in and out - off to the cleaners, to tailors for repairs, back to the storage facilities the group would have used..

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    Didn't they use those dresses on their 1967/1968 tour? If you watch the footage, starting at 37:07. This is the recording from Amsterdam, there is also one floating of the same show from Stockholm. And of course, its black and white...but they look the same style.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-httVFclwGM

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1382hitsville View Post
    Didn't they use those dresses on their 1967/1968 tour? If you watch the footage, starting at 37:07. This is the recording from Amsterdam, there is also one floating of the same show from Stockholm. And of course, its black and white...but they look the same style.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-httVFclwGM
    To me, the dresses at 37:07 look more like the ones they wore for MY FAVORITE THINGS on Sullivan.

  18. #18
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    You beat me to it Reese.

    https://youtu.be/kTVF5WMN7Kw

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    In regards to the gowns that started this thread, interesting that they had dyed shoes to match. Leads me to believe these weren't actually rented or borrowed, but owned.

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    These gowns were part of their touring wardrobe throughout 1967 with both Florence and Cindy. At this time, they were still buying their gowns off the rack although not so much going to Saks Fifth Avenue, but from boutiques shops in Los Angeles, New York, Miami which featured specialized designers and their collections like Gene Shelly, Tee-ca New York, Galanos for Ameila Gray. Their first designer was LaVetta King who did a few things for them before they were courted by Michael Travis. Travis asked to design for the girls when they appeared on the Tennessee Ernie Ford Special. He told me when he saw what they were going to wear for the special, he knew he had to create something even better for them and that special featured all new gowns created by Travis. From there on out, the girls' new gowns were strictly designer-created especially for them.

    There are several sets from late 1966-early 1967 era that for some reason are not heavily photographed. I know of at least four sets of gowns where there are only one or two photos known - one being the infamous '67 Flamingo tuxedos. Like someone said above, there were multiple reasons the girls rarely wore sets - [[e.g. they didn't look as good onstage as thought they would, gowns became uncomfortable, etc.) Mary had a set in her collection that I've yet to see photograph of them wearing. It would be easy to dismiss them as just props, but if you looked inside at the label they read "LaVetta for Miss Diana Ross," "LaVetta for Miss Mary Wilson," and "LaVetta for Miss Cindy Birdsong." They were legit gowns - even if they wore them once.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    the girls wouldn't have kept their stage wardrobe in their hotel rooms. those gowns, earrings and accessories [[including their stage wigs) would have been kept in the dressing room. D and C were robbed of their personal possessions. So these purple chiffon gowns wouldn't have been stolen.

    but you're possibly quite right that these were worn for many months and yet seem to have slipped by without much notice. the girls were performing constantly. tours, one nighters, big multi-week engagements at the big supper clubs. I'd guess they traveled with 6 - 8 sets of gowns at any one time. the wardrobe crew would have handle the logistics and gowns would have been rotated in and out - off to the cleaners, to tailors for repairs, back to the storage facilities the group would have used..
    I have to laugh at the tirade the poor detective got for asking "Now why would you ladies have fur coats in the middle of summer ??"

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    Quote Originally Posted by bradsupremes View Post
    These gowns were part of their touring wardrobe throughout 1967 with both Florence and Cindy. At this time, they were still buying their gowns off the rack although not so much going to Saks Fifth Avenue, but from boutiques shops in Los Angeles, New York, Miami which featured specialized designers and their collections like Gene Shelly, Tee-ca New York, Galanos for Ameila Gray. Their first designer was LaVetta King who did a few things for them before they were courted by Michael Travis. Travis asked to design for the girls when they appeared on the Tennessee Ernie Ford Special. He told me when he saw what they were going to wear for the special, he knew he had to create something even better for them and that special featured all new gowns created by Travis. From there on out, the girls' new gowns were strictly designer-created especially for them.

    There are several sets from late 1966-early 1967 era that for some reason are not heavily photographed. I know of at least four sets of gowns where there are only one or two photos known - one being the infamous '67 Flamingo tuxedos. Like someone said above, there were multiple reasons the girls rarely wore sets - [[e.g. they didn't look as good onstage as thought they would, gowns became uncomfortable, etc.) Mary had a set in her collection that I've yet to see photograph of them wearing. It would be easy to dismiss them as just props, but if you looked inside at the label they read "LaVetta for Miss Diana Ross," "LaVetta for Miss Mary Wilson," and "LaVetta for Miss Cindy Birdsong." They were legit gowns - even if they wore them once.
    Brad - thanks for sharing!! what about those horrid flower gowns that have floated around online. again, seems like another of the sets that were wore for a bit then stored. no pics or major tv appearances

    here's a link

    https://americanhistory.si.edu/colle...ct/nmah_662530

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    also when touring, they probably wanted to have a broad variety of looks. some chiffon gowns, some with an empire waist, different colors, some with jackets, etc. We all know they loved clothes! so their onstage wardrobe would have been fun to change and do different things with. So if they were picking a group of outfits for touring, they would have probably tried to mix things up. and if they were only going to take 2 chiffon ones, then they would have picked the two that was most comfortable, looked the best, different colors, etc.

    the pink ones they wore for My Favorite Things had the slit on one side for the left arm and then the draping on the other side. so this was quite effective with hand movements and the choreography, as we've seen on the tv clips of it. plus it had the sequin/jeweled band for the empire waist which gave it some pop.

    these lavender gowns are ok in this pic but 1) there's nothing to pop under stage lights and 2) that's a LOT of material layered on them. maybe those were nixes on this gown as to why it wasn't out more

    the pink gowns DMF wore in the desert in Vegas [[and there's a fan pic of Mary backstage in it too) - maybe the cuffs at collar and wrist were too binding? it didn't flow as easy on stage as the other pink gown?

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    as an ex drag queen myself for shows you cant go wrong with sequins..as Brad noted you want to "pop" under the lights..the ladies certainly got the moneys worth out of the red sequin set - Hollywood Palace,Ice Capades and another mysterious tv apperance we have no knowedge on apart from a black & white pic on laurents truly brilliant timeline site..most of the flowing dress sets are nice but they dont pack the punch for me as the sequin sets its an intrinsic part of their legend

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    Going off topic a bit, but between that shot of Mary in the original post and Mary on the cover of the Sing HDH cover, she occasionally had a habit of striking an "I'm pregnant" pose during photoshoots of that era.

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    seems like in 66 and 67 they were really into chiffon and just starting to get into the heavy-duty sequins. they sort of had "phases" of gowns

    64 and early 65 - the shorter cocktail dresses. like the red fringe, the ice blue one with the chiffon skirt, the pink dress from Top of the Pops and in the London park photos, the black dress with the little jacket from the London tour, the WDOLG pic sleeve dresses, the white lace Symphony photo dresses

    65 and into 66 - i call this the "young girls wearing mother's fancy dresses" lol the girls were so youthful in appearance and style but started wearing long dresses. these are the Saks gowns. the yellow Itching gowns from Sullivan, the gowns from the Dean Martin show, the pink full length from To Tell The Truth, the gowns from Sammy Davis with the Andrews Sisters.

    later 66 and into 67 - they're now young women. not girls playing dress up. the R&H outfits, the white sequin striped gowns, the blue sequins,

    there was the white chiffon from Sing Motown, these lavender gowns, the pink My Fav Things, yellow chiffon from The Happening on Sullivan, the pink caftans from Funny Girl lp cover, the hot pink desert photo gowns, the white chiffon with the light blue underneath from the Cancer Public Service commercial

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