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  1. #1

    Mary Talks about the "Mexico Fire"

    In a February, 1974 FANCLUB NEWSLETTER, Mary says:

    "We're trying on gowns tonight and just trying to get some gowns together for Vegas. We have to try to scrap up gowns because of the Mexico fire.
    We still do have some left and we're having some made. But you know, it gets really quite a bit of work to get them all together and get them ready. Let's see now the outfits we wore on the Sonny and Cher Show were burned, but we did salvage them. Let's see what else burned, our Butterfly outfits, the gold ones we had for our special with the Temptations, those were burned. Our chandelier gowns that are all silver. They were burned. The ones we wore on the Bob Hope Special are all right but we have to have a fitting on those. I don't know whether or not we'll be able to work for Vegas. About nine sets of gowns went."

    Correct me if im wrong, but I thought the Butterfly Gowns were still intact?

  2. #2
    I think she meant the gowns they wore on the finale of GIT that were destroyed
    Quote Originally Posted by marybrewster View Post
    In a February, 1974 FANCLUB NEWSLETTER, Mary says:

    "We're trying on gowns tonight and just trying to get some gowns together for Vegas. We have to try to scrap up gowns because of the Mexico fire.
    We still do have some left and we're having some made. But you know, it gets really quite a bit of work to get them all together and get them ready. Let's see now the outfits we wore on the Sonny and Cher Show were burned, but we did salvage them. Let's see what else burned, our Butterfly outfits, the gold ones we had for our special with the Temptations, those were burned. Our chandelier gowns that are all silver. They were burned. The ones we wore on the Bob Hope Special are all right but we have to have a fitting on those. I don't know whether or not we'll be able to work for Vegas. About nine sets of gowns went."

    Correct me if im wrong, but I thought the Butterfly Gowns were still intact?

  3. #3
    Brad knows this topic pretty well. and some that have been hypothesize being part of the fire, weren't. here's the list i've sort of thought were lost. but if someone can correct, please do:

    the gold batwing gowns from GIT and last DRATS on sullivan
    the blue and green No Matter What Sign gowns
    the chandelier gowns
    the Indian Maiden gowns from GIT - these were redo for MSC to have bellbottom pants instead of tights
    the black beaded Forever Came Today gowns
    the red fringe Sonny and Cher - fixed/remade
    the brown feather and sequins - fixed/repaired
    the black and white sequins and feathers - remade

    so that's 8

  4. #4
    the gold TCB gowns....they were beautiful....there is not one picture of the Tempts in the Lame' tuxes that matched those gowns on the TCB gatefold jacket...they are only seen wearing the green tuxes that matched the also wonderful green swirl gowns...and Eddie, Otis, and Paul in the Pink Orange Red outfits for the current pop hits medley they performed with the girls. TCB was really something else...Wonderful to get an entire hour of both groups...
    I've heard those gold TCB gowns called Butterflies and also Spider Webs...both sets of TCB gowns are Iconic...Wish they scrapped GIT and did a TCB part 2 follow up...they could have kept the Leading Lady medley since thrusting DR forward in prep for her solo career was a big priority....and I loved the Sunshine/Funky Broadway finale...hated the batwings...[[and Mary's wig)

  5. #5
    When I was working with Mary, she had the insurance forms on the amount of damages caused by the fire in the dressing room listing which gowns were destroyed, their value at the time, and estimated cost to repair and replace the sets.

    The gowns destroyed in the fire:
    1.) The "Chandelier" beige sequin/beaded gowns
    2.) Gold pleated choir robe batwing gowns - GIT/Diana's last Sullivan performance
    3.) Brown/black lace beaded gowns - "Forever Came Today" Sullivan 1968
    4.) Yellow fringe rhinestone "Indian Maiden" pant suits - GIT
    5.) Two-piece silver, blue & green - "No Matter What Sign You Are" Sullivan 1969
    6.) Two-piece pale blue sequin pant suits - Andy Williams 1970
    7.) White, silver, gold sequin gowns - 1974 MSC photo session*
    *It should be noted these gowns were only a few months old when they were destroyed so Pat Campano had them recreated. The recreated sets survive in Mary's collection.

    Gowns damaged but repaired:
    1.) Short white leather dresses with tassels - "Your Wonderful Sweet Sweet Love" Flip Wilson 1972
    2.) Red bodice with gold beaded fringe - "All I Want" Sonny & Cher 1974
    3.) Yellow, black and gold sequin "Raggedy Ann" pant suits - "Stoned Love" Tom Jones 1970.

    There was some speculation that the gold bugle beaded gowns from their Sullivan "Impossible Dream" performance were destroyed in the fire, but they do not appear on the insurance forms and I later found out Mary gave the gowns to her friend and assistant, Allen Poe, who regretfully de-beaded and discarded them. He also did the same thing to two of the red sequin jumpsuits from Jean's debut Ed Sullivan performance; leaving only Mary's jumpsuit to survive.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by bradsupremes View Post
    Allen Poe, who regretfully de-beaded and discarded them. He also did the same thing to two of the red sequin jumpsuits from Jean's debut Ed Sullivan performance; leaving only Mary's jumpsuit to survive.
    Any idea why he did that?

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by bradsupremes View Post
    When I was working with Mary, she had the insurance forms on the amount of damages caused by the fire in the dressing room listing which gowns were destroyed, their value at the time, and estimated cost to repair and replace the sets.

    The gowns destroyed in the fire:
    1.) The "Chandelier" beige sequin/beaded gowns
    2.) Gold pleated choir robe batwing gowns - GIT/Diana's last Sullivan performance
    3.) Brown/black lace beaded gowns - "Forever Came Today" Sullivan 1968
    4.) Yellow fringe rhinestone "Indian Maiden" pant suits - GIT
    5.) Two-piece silver, blue & green - "No Matter What Sign You Are" Sullivan 1969
    6.) Two-piece pale blue sequin pant suits - Andy Williams 1970
    7.) White, silver, gold sequin gowns - 1974 MSC photo session*
    *It should be noted these gowns were only a few months old when they were destroyed so Pat Campano had them recreated. The recreated sets survive in Mary's collection.

    Gowns damaged but repaired:
    1.) Short white leather dresses with tassels - "Your Wonderful Sweet Sweet Love" Flip Wilson 1972
    2.) Red bodice with gold beaded fringe - "All I Want" Sonny & Cher 1974
    3.) Yellow, black and gold sequin "Raggedy Ann" pant suits - "Stoned Love" Tom Jones 1970.

    There was some speculation that the gold bugle beaded gowns from their Sullivan "Impossible Dream" performance were destroyed in the fire, but they do not appear on the insurance forms and I later found out Mary gave the gowns to her friend and assistant, Allen Poe, who regretfully de-beaded and discarded them. He also did the same thing to two of the red sequin jumpsuits from Jean's debut Ed Sullivan performance; leaving only Mary's jumpsuit to survive.
    oh wow! i never realized the white Andy Williams pantsuits were part of the fire. I thought those were the set that disappeared when sent to the tailor for alterations. mary mentions one set of outfits going MIA in Sup Faith.

    and that's terrible that Allen would do that! but wasn't he also helping design some of mary's outfits in the 80s? maybe he was attempting to repurpose the material or beads into some.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    oh wow! i never realized the white Andy Williams pantsuits were part of the fire. I thought those were the set that disappeared when sent to the tailor for alterations. mary mentions one set of outfits going MIA in Sup Faith.

    and that's terrible that Allen would do that! but wasn't he also helping design some of mary's outfits in the 80s? maybe he was attempting to repurpose the material or beads into some.
    There was probably no thought of "significant value" of the gowns in the 80's. Several were still in heavy rotation. Allen did design several gowns for Mary, including the ensemble she wore for the Rock Induction, so I'm sure his thought was to reuse and repurpose. I wonder if those beads eventually ended up on anything.

    I've often heard him referred to as her "godson".

  9. #9
    The story about gowns disappearing at the tailor may be an invention in the mind of Mr. Woods.

    The set Mary likely is referring to about being stolen backstage are the beaded jackets from the orange/yellow beaded pant suits worn on The Hollywood Palace when they performed "Someday We'll Be Together." Those were stolen from their dressing room in San Francisco, I believe this happened at the Fairmont when Jean, Mary, and Lynda were there for an engagement in the spring of 1973. If you notice, they weren't worn after 1973 and Mary only has the blouses and beaded pants from the set in her collection. Those jackets may still be in someone's possession.

    As for the gowns Allen Poe dismantled, I should add he wrote about this and expressed his regret in taking them apart but it's very likely he only did this because of their condition. They could have deteriorated to the point where they were so fragile that he may have seen it better to save the beads and discard the silk dress itself. Mary has several dresses in her collection that have considerably deteriorated. Also in the 80s, the gowns weren't seen as historical pieces nor did they have the conservation work to restore/preserve them the way they are done now to stabilize them. I can't speak for him since he has sadly passed away, but I would likely think that's why he did it. I don't believe he did it just for the hell of it. They could have been falling apart and he may have seen reusing the beads was a better option.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by bradsupremes View Post
    The story about gowns disappearing at the tailor may be an invention in the mind of Mr. Woods.

    The set Mary likely is referring to about being stolen backstage are the beaded jackets from the orange/yellow beaded pant suits worn on The Hollywood Palace when they performed "Someday We'll Be Together." Those were stolen from their dressing room in San Francisco, I believe this happened at the Fairmont when Jean, Mary, and Lynda were there for an engagement in the spring of 1973. If you notice, they weren't worn after 1973 and Mary only has the blouses and beaded pants from the set in her collection. Those jackets may still be in someone's possession.

    As for the gowns Allen Poe dismantled, I should add he wrote about this and expressed his regret in taking them apart but it's very likely he only did this because of their condition. They could have deteriorated to the point where they were so fragile that he may have seen it better to save the beads and discard the silk dress itself. Mary has several dresses in her collection that have considerably deteriorated. Also in the 80s, the gowns weren't seen as historical pieces nor did they have the conservation work to restore/preserve them the way they are done now to stabilize them. I can't speak for him since he has sadly passed away, but I would likely think that's why he did it. I don't believe he did it just for the hell of it. They could have been falling apart and he may have seen reusing the beads was a better option.
    Brad - i so wish you and mary had been able to add more info to the gown book. i believe you mentioned many more outfits were photographed and prepared. it's such a wonderful exhibit of these historic outfits. and the traveling exhibit too was wonderful. loved the mini displays with some of the "other" things like invoices for adjusting some of the dresses for Susaye, cleaning bills, and other historic documents. its fascinating!

    and I still want a crack at trying to make heads or tail of the uni-dress from Caesar's lol

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    Brad - i so wish you and mary had been able to add more info to the gown book. i believe you mentioned many more outfits were photographed and prepared. it's such a wonderful exhibit of these historic outfits. and the traveling exhibit too was wonderful. loved the mini displays with some of the "other" things like invoices for adjusting some of the dresses for Susaye, cleaning bills, and other historic documents. its fascinating!

    and I still want a crack at trying to make heads or tail of the uni-dress from Caesar's lol
    As do I. There was a ton of great information that didn't make it which would have made the book better included more invoices, the insurance forms, photos of the burned dressing room, interviews with the various designers, more gown sketches including many unmade ones, etc. Had it been my way, it would have been a completely different book, but it wasn't my book and I was just a creative consultant. My input only went so far. I still would love to see a real comprehensive book on the gowns, but unfortunately I don't think there is much demand for one and Mary's book really sealed the deal on any future ones.

  12. #12
    Great information Bradsupremes.

    I always loved the white stretch dresses from Flip Wilson [[Wonderful Sweet Sweet Love), but I thought they were destroyed. Were they worn after 1974? I saw photos of Mary, Scherrie and a rather heavy Cindy in them when Cindy first came back.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by BayouMotownMan View Post
    Great information Bradsupremes.

    I always loved the white stretch dresses from Flip Wilson [[Wonderful Sweet Sweet Love), but I thought they were destroyed. Were they worn after 1974? I saw photos of Mary, Scherrie and a rather heavy Cindy in them when Cindy first came back.
    Brad - i thought someone mentioned that these gowns are now in the Smithsonian African Amercian Museum collection as they were designed by Stephen Burrows.

    Interestingly Stephen was one of the 5 Americans that showed at the Battle of Versailles against 5 to French designers. and the American's won! Stephen was really quite an incredible designer and quite a name during the early 70s. it's a shame the girls didn't work more with him or establish an ongoing relationship. His designers were certainly hot at the time and the association of the two could have been a great thing

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ba...s_Fashion_Show

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    Brad - i thought someone mentioned that these gowns are now in the Smithsonian African Amercian Museum collection as they were designed by Stephen Burrows.

    Interestingly Stephen was one of the 5 Americans that showed at the Battle of Versailles against 5 to French designers. and the American's won! Stephen was really quite an incredible designer and quite a name during the early 70s. it's a shame the girls didn't work more with him or establish an ongoing relationship. His designers were certainly hot at the time and the association of the two could have been a great thing

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ba...s_Fashion_Show
    Yes, they are with the National Museum of African-American History and Culture in DC. They were with the Black Fashion Museum but that went defunct in the early 2000s and they were absorbed by the Smithsonian. Mary could not remember how they ended up in the Black Fashion Museum. Like what BayouMotownMan said, they were worn briefly by Mary, Scherrie, and Cindy in early 1974 but then not worn after. Likely they weren't restored after the fire. When I spoke with the curator at the NMAAHC, she relayed the gowns weren't in the best condition and would need conservation work. This was 10 years ago so I'm not sure if there has been any work done on them.

    There was another set of gowns that ended up in the Smithsonian that Mary donated back in the early 80s. They were a yellow, daisy dress with beaded cummerbunds. Many have called them their ugliest gowns and some have question if they actually belonged to the group at all. To this day, I've yet to see a photo of the girls wearing them but Mary did confirm they wore them and Diana especially liked them. When I did visit the Smithsonian, I was able to see them in storage and confirm their names were inside on the labels [[Diana, Mary, Cindy) along with the International Costume Company creation label. I suspect they were designed by Michael Travis as he used the International Costume Company to assemble the gowns and it's a bit in line with his designs for the girls at the time - high necklines and sleeves. I still to find confirmation on this. I do have to say seeing them up close in person, they were actually quite nice. They were in good condition due to the fact they didn't wear them much but they are far more pleasing to the eye in person than in photo. I believe Diana's dress is currently on display now in their Entertainment Nation exhibit.
    Last edited by bradsupremes; 05-25-2024 at 11:05 AM.

  15. #15
    I just looked them up Brad and I agree they look pretty bad. I was never one who paid much attention to the gowns but there is one I always thought looked really bad on them. They wore them in the fall of 1965 at some engagement. They were white with pink floral patterns on them. It looked like something they bought on summer clearance at Woolworth's.

  16. #16
    Brad, do you have a photo of those yellow gowns? I'm not placing them in my head. I usually liked everything Travis or Nicola did on the ladies.

  17. #17
    I can share a humorous story about the Queen Mother gowns. They were light pink with green rhinestones as opposed to white, which they seem to be when the lights hit them.

    I was at the 1973 Magic Mt concert, Jean and Lynda's final performances. Lynda was in her early stages of pregnancy so they mostly wore the blue ponchos or the glittery No Matter What Sign pantsuits. One night they wore the Queen Mothers. Jean had gained a little bit of weight and hers looked especially snug. I went to the side of the stage to get a sideview photo of the ladies in concert. Jean had a huge white thread sticking out of her rear end for that whole show. I attended all 7 nights, two shows a night, they never wore these gowns again after that one time.

  18. #18
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    Yellow Michael Travis gowns with high necks, beaded cummerbunds, and daisy appliqués.

  19. #19
    I have been a Supremes fan since 1976 or so, and I have never once noticed the gowns. You all really named them?

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by danman869 View Post

    Yellow Michael Travis gowns with high necks, beaded cummerbunds, and daisy appliqués.
    It's official: those are the most unintentionally ugliest dresses I've ever seen. Some of those white things look like eyeballs. I'm having a hard time believing Diana and Mary okayed this look. Lol

  21. #21
    Oh I remember these, YUK. I think I saw a photo with JMC wearing them

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by BayouMotownMan View Post
    Oh I remember these, YUK. I think I saw a photo with JMC wearing them
    they were horrible to begin with....I cannot believe this was a choice even in 1965...by the time Jean came along, they would have been terribly outdated.....JMC did have a set of yellow wool gowns...they originally had sleeves...Cindy looked great...she appeared to be "overflowing" the top of hers...it has been said they liked the gowns, but they were very hot to wear and they had the sleeves taken off...

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by gman View Post
    they were horrible to begin with....I cannot believe this was a choice even in 1965...by the time Jean came along, they would have been terribly outdated.
    If you're referring to the yellow gowns/cummerbunds/daisies... they were from circa 1968, not 1965.

    These yellow MT gowns strike me as a design for a TV appearance first and foremost. There's nothing about this that appears like it would be comfortable to wear show after show under stage lights in concert. Hot and swampy. At least worn in a TV studio, where it would've been more climate controlled, they might have been somewhat more comfortable to wear--even more than once.

  24. #24
    There are several photos of the ladies wearing the yellow gowns on stage, both with Cindy and with Lynda. They wore them in New Orleans during their Christmas 1972 engagement at the Fairmont there. They were made of wool and had to wear them in a chilly venue apparently.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by BobbyC View Post
    I have been a Supremes fan since 1976 or so, and I have never once noticed the gowns. You all really named them?
    One fan thinks they all had names, but they didn't. It wasn't until Mary's gown exhibit with the Rock Hall and later the coffee table book that she named them but only for reference purposes. Several did have gown names created by the fans like the "Chandelier" and "Butterfly" gowns, but the vast majority didn't. In fact, in a interview Florence referred to them as their uniforms.

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by bradsupremes View Post
    One fan thinks they all had names, but they didn't. It wasn't until Mary's gown exhibit with the Rock Hall and later the coffee table book that she named them but only for reference purposes. Several did have gown names created by the fans like the "Chandelier" and "Butterfly" gowns, but the vast majority didn't. In fact, in a interview Florence referred to them as their uniforms.
    In fact, in a interview Florence referred to them as their uniforms.
    Of course, it had to be Flo. ❤️

  27. #27
    Mary initially thought those yellow daisy gowns may have been James Galanos designs, but he didn't use the International Costume Company to assemble his designs and there's only one set of gowns he designed for them. All of the Michael Travis gowns were assembled by the International Costume Company so that's why I suspect those were designed by him. Mary told me that Diana loved these gowns but that she and Cindy weren't fond of them so they weren't worn that much. It's likely the reason why Mary donated them to the Smithsonian because she didn't care for them.

    Mary had another set in her collection that I've never seen a photo of the ladies wearing. They were designed by LaVetta Forbes around 1968. Mary would pair them for exhibit with a set of green trench coats that were paired with another set of gowns that have since gone missing. Does anyone recall seeing the ladies wearing these?

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  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by bradsupremes View Post
    Mary initially thought those yellow daisy gowns may have been James Galanos designs, but he didn't use the International Costume Company to assemble his designs and there's only one set of gowns he designed for them. All of the Michael Travis gowns were assembled by the International Costume Company so that's why I suspect those were designed by him. Mary told me that Diana loved these gowns but that she and Cindy weren't fond of them so they weren't worn that much. It's likely the reason why Mary donated them to the Smithsonian because she didn't care for them.

    Mary had another set in her collection that I've never seen a photo of the ladies wearing. They were designed by LaVetta Forbes around 1968. Mary would pair them for exhibit with a set of green trench coats that were paired with another set of gowns that have since gone missing. Does anyone recall seeing the ladies wearing these?

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    The tops of these remind me of the Gene Shelley silver sequins with the blue "peacock" stones.

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by bradsupremes View Post
    Mary initially thought those yellow daisy gowns may have been James Galanos designs, but he didn't use the International Costume Company to assemble his designs and there's only one set of gowns he designed for them. All of the Michael Travis gowns were assembled by the International Costume Company so that's why I suspect those were designed by him. Mary told me that Diana loved these gowns but that she and Cindy weren't fond of them so they weren't worn that much. It's likely the reason why Mary donated them to the Smithsonian because she didn't care for them.

    Mary had another set in her collection that I've never seen a photo of the ladies wearing. They were designed by LaVetta Forbes around 1968. Mary would pair them for exhibit with a set of green trench coats that were paired with another set of gowns that have since gone missing. Does anyone recall seeing the ladies wearing these?

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    Mary referred to these gowns ones and tried to describe them to me, but I couldn’t figure out which one she was talking about. They’re not that great but I can see why Diana liked them because that style looked good on her.

  30. #30
    I'm fascinated by this thread and the amount of knowledge that is being shared. I've always wondered how the gowns were cleaned. It doesn't sound like they had multiples of the same gown. One costume maker for a community theatre group said they spray vodka in the arm pits, to combat the odor, but that only goes so long. What about the make-up etc. It would take specialty dry cleaning processes, not readily available in most towns I would think.

  31. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by drlorne View Post
    I'm fascinated by this thread and the amount of knowledge that is being shared. I've always wondered how the gowns were cleaned. It doesn't sound like they had multiples of the same gown. One costume maker for a community theatre group said they spray vodka in the arm pits, to combat the odor, but that only goes so long. What about the make-up etc. It would take specialty dry cleaning processes, not readily available in most towns I would think.
    Mary mentioned that it was a big chore to clean the gowns. and to also repair them for whatever - maybe a frayed edge, beads popping off, worn spots, etc.

    Seems like they would travel with 6-8 sets at any one time. meanwhile the other "current" gowns would be back home or off to the cleaner/designer for work. i have an excel sheet where i've tried to list the ones i know. in total i think there's 130 - 140 or so, although my list does include 1X costumes like the outfits from Fats Waller medley or the soda jerk outfits from GIT. probably a dozen or so of those. so that makes about 125+ outfits the girls wore. but of course there are most certainly ones i never saw, maybe some early homemade ones.

    initially i did write down the names that "a certain fan" dubbed each outfit. but then i started noticing inconsistencies - he'd say some outfit was named 'XXXX' but i'd already noted it as 'YYYY'. so figured out pretty quickly he was making it up

    some of my favs of his names were:

    Candle Drips - the central park mini dresses
    Rhubarb & Cream - the crushed velvet Shame dresses from Sullivan
    Shimmering Sweethearts - the red sequins from R&H
    Flamingo - the pink chiffon My Fav thins
    Silver Dollars - the YCHL on Sullivan
    Lime Zest - the chartreuse gowns for Symphony on Hullabaloo
    Black Orchid - the black and white gowns worn on Dean Martin for the Round the World medley and also used in a pic of the girls in the 25th Anniversary booklet

  32. #32
    Some of the Pat Campano gowns were named but for the Supremes Fan Club newsletters.

    Michael Nicola did tell me he did refer to the white bugle beaded gowns he designed as "White Rain."

    The ladies had roughly 170 sets of gowns although that's subject to change. This includes gowns worn on stage and specialty costumes for TV specials/appearances.

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by bradsupremes View Post
    Some of the Pat Campano gowns were named but for the Supremes Fan Club newsletters.

    Michael Nicola did tell me he did refer to the white bugle beaded gowns he designed as "White Rain."

    The ladies had roughly 170 sets of gowns although that's subject to change. This includes gowns worn on stage and specialty costumes for TV specials/appearances.
    IMO the Campano gowns are nice but it seems he didn't have the experience to understand how some subtle things worked. like the beaded fringe on the first red gowns. those things were so tangled by the end of All I Want, it's clear putting those types of beads on that fringe wasn't going to work. or the pink one-should dresses with the pants underneath from Soul Train or the black/silver jesus robes. in both of these, the fabric looks SO bulky and heavy. it was just too many layers and too thick. plus those robes swamped Scherrie and Susaye. the pink ones looked much better in the design sketch in the book than in real life IMO

    the later Campano gowns are his better ones. the brown form-fitting ones with the stripes from Soul Train and the HE videos, the blue fringe Udo Live. even the bright orange ones from Soul Train

  34. #34
    Bizarre:


    Diana Ross fancied herself the clothes horse of the group from day one. Made a movie imaging herself as a hot clothes designer.

    Yet in the end Mary was the one that treasured their fashions, while Diana went on to wear trendy but forgettable outfits thereafter. She never took the task at hand to create her own look.

    At best Ross became the "face" for a couple of months for YSL, a label she didn't favor, didn't wear, or at least didn't photograph in them.

    Even her daughter Tracee , pursued fashion more ....attaching her name to a tacky line from the Philippines found at JC Penneys .

  35. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    Bizarre:


    Diana Ross fancied herself the clothes horse of the group from day one. Made a movie imaging herself as a hot clothes designer.

    Yet in the end Mary was the one that treasured their fashions, while Diana went on to wear trendy but forgettable outfits thereafter. She never took the task at hand to create her own look.

    At best Ross became the "face" for a couple of months for YSL, a label she didn't favor, didn't wear, or at least didn't photograph in them.

    Even her daughter Tracee , pursued fashion more ....attaching her name to a tacky line from the Philippines found at JC Penneys .
    Diana also had a line of fashions in the 80s and a line of patterns for people to make their own versions of the clothes.

    in 70 when she left the group, she purposely didn't take any of the Supremes outfits with her. I don't know if she was reimbursed in some way for the costs of the outfits. but she even mentioned leaving the things in her bio. that she didn't want to impede the group in any way.

    now that said, she did do a solo shoot in the gold sequin DRATS gown that JMC also wore on Right On. there's also a solo picture of her in a gown with sequin flowers/daisies on it that was used in the Surrender EE booklet. she also wore this gown in a rehearsal segment for the ending of the Tennessee Ernie Ford special back in late 67. it's the final scene were DMC, Ernie and the other guests walk arm in arm singing the finale. Diana is in this daisy gown [[and no not the hideous yellow thing above lol), mary is in the gold/white diagonal stripe sequin DMF gown and cindy is i think in the white satin gown that had the short jacket with fur cuffs from R&H Today ending. I don't know if this Diana gown is a personal gown or if there were 3 for the group. never saw any evidence that the group had a set


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ot0SSu-EpOQ

  36. #36
    I'm obviously shooting from the hip here, don't know a whole heck of a lot ...and any corrections are to be expected from the panel of experts that frequent here.

    I think what can be reasonably said is that fashion was hugely responsible as an element for The Supremes success, the clothes are iconic , not so much for Diana as a soloist.

    Diana had a fashion line in the eighties!!!!
    I have no idea what to imagine it looked like .....
    Last edited by Boogiedown; 05-29-2024 at 02:00 PM.

  37. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    I'm obviously shooting from the hip here, don't know a whole heck of a lot ...and any corrections are to be expected from the panel of experts that frequent here.

    I think what can be reasonably said is that fashion was hugely responsible as an element for The Supremes success, the clothes are iconic , not so much for Diana as a soloist.

    Diana had a fashion line in the eighties!!!!
    I have no idea what to imagine it looked like .....
    Diana's Simplicity designs.


  38. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    I'm obviously shooting from the hip here, don't know a whole heck of a lot ...and any corrections are to be expected from the panel of experts that frequent here.

    I think what can be reasonably said is that fashion was hugely responsible as an element for The Supremes success, the clothes are iconic , not so much for Diana as a soloist.

    Diana had a fashion line in the eighties!!!!
    I have no idea what to imagine it looked like .....
    i'm not sure if it was an actual line or if she was just wearing examples of her Simplicty patterns. i don't know that it was all that huge. but given that Dynasty had a line of clothes for women to buy, i could see diana doing something.

    i would beg to differ that clothes were equally as important with Diana as the Sups. she basically just maintained this high fashion look of elegance, huge hair, stylish, etc. Bob Mackie did a lot of her stage looks and everyone sort of has that basic image of her in a glamorous gown and big hair. she sort of became stuck in this look in the early 80s and for the most part, never really deviated from it. i think she was sort of the originator of the "diva look"

  39. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    now that said, she did do a solo shoot in the gold sequin DRATS gown that JMC also wore on Right On. there's also a solo picture of her in a gown with sequin flowers/daisies on it that was used in the Surrender EE booklet. she also wore this gown in a rehearsal segment for the ending of the Tennessee Ernie Ford special back in late 67. it's the final scene were DMC, Ernie and the other guests walk arm in arm singing the finale. Diana is in this daisy gown [[and no not the hideous yellow thing above lol), mary is in the gold/white diagonal stripe sequin DMF gown and cindy is i think in the white satin gown that had the short jacket with fur cuffs from R&H Today ending. I don't know if this Diana gown is a personal gown or if there were 3 for the group. never saw any evidence that the group had a set

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ot0SSu-EpOQ
    It's funny you mention this. In that footage, Cindy is actually wearing a white beaded gown that I've only seen two photos of the ladies wearing - one of DMF in 1966 and then one of DMC in 1967. they didn't them that much. So if both Mary and Cindy are wearing gowns from sets then I wonder if Diana's black/white daisy gown was part of a set too. She did a few solo photo sessions in 1969 before she left which included her wearing the gold bugle beaded gown and then that black/white daisy gown. So it's very possible there were three of those black/white daisy gowns.

  40. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by bradsupremes View Post
    It's funny you mention this. In that footage, Cindy is actually wearing a white beaded gown that I've only seen two photos of the ladies wearing - one of DMF in 1966 and then one of DMC in 1967. they didn't them that much. So if both Mary and Cindy are wearing gowns from sets then I wonder if Diana's black/white daisy gown was part of a set too. She did a few solo photo sessions in 1969 before she left which included her wearing the gold bugle beaded gown and then that black/white daisy gown. So it's very possible there were three of those black/white daisy gowns.
    i thought the outfit cindy is wearing is the ones that were in the gown book - i think bought from Hudson's. had a small jacket with beading and fur cuffs. of course she skipped the jacket.

    what set out gowns are you referring to above with the 2 pics?

    maybe the girls were going to go "crazy" and break tradition by wearing different elegant gowns for the Tennesse finale? lol but the daisy gown could be a set from the group.

    there's also that set that DMC wore early on with the keyhole opening in the bodice. mostly i think we've only seen them in studio portraits. ironically the same photo session i think as the ones of DMC wearing the white gown i'm referring to with the jackets. and i think they also did the silver peacock gowns at this shoot. maybe the pink multicolor caftans too? they did a ton of photos early on with DMC. then seems like another big shoot when they got all of the designer outfits for Tennessee - the leotards with the breakaway skirts, the halter dresses, the chandeliers. but no daisy gowns from that photo shoot lol

  41. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    i thought the outfit cindy is wearing is the ones that were in the gown book - i think bought from Hudson's. had a small jacket with beading and fur cuffs. of course she skipped the jacket.

    what set out gowns are you referring to above with the 2 pics?

    maybe the girls were going to go "crazy" and break tradition by wearing different elegant gowns for the Tennesse finale? lol but the daisy gown could be a set from the group.

    there's also that set that DMC wore early on with the keyhole opening in the bodice. mostly i think we've only seen them in studio portraits. ironically the same photo session i think as the ones of DMC wearing the white gown i'm referring to with the jackets. and i think they also did the silver peacock gowns at this shoot. maybe the pink multicolor caftans too? they did a ton of photos early on with DMC. then seems like another big shoot when they got all of the designer outfits for Tennessee - the leotards with the breakaway skirts, the halter dresses, the chandeliers. but no daisy gowns from that photo shoot lol
    It looks similar to that set but it is actually a white beaded gown with a ruffle at the hem. This photo was taken at the Steel Pier in August 1967. I have a photo of DMF wearing these in 1966. LaVetta did tell me about a white beaded dress she designed for them and this may be what she's referring to.
    Name:  SteelPier67.jpg
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    The keyhole opening in the dress you are referring to were yellow beaded/sequin gowns on stretch wool. They were designed by Gene Shelly and bought at a boutique shop likely around the same time they purchased the silver peacock gowns as he designed those. Other than that photo session, I've only seen one live shot of them wearing them at an engagement Carter Baron Amphitheatre in June-July 1968.

    It wasn't uncommon for them to have several sets they only wore a few times and then no longer worn. Two sets I described above are examples of that. There could be various reasons why they didn't wear them - they could have been uncomfortable, they were hot, they didn't look as good onstage as it did in a photo studio, etc. But they were also constantly updating their style so the lifespan of some sets weren't very long.
    Last edited by bradsupremes; 05-29-2024 at 08:09 PM.

  42. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by bradsupremes View Post
    It looks similar to that set but it is actually a white beaded gown with a ruffle at the hem. This photo was taken at the Steel Pier in August 1967. I have a photo of DMF wearing these in 1966. LaVetta did tell me about a white beaded dress she designed for them and this may be what she's referring to.
    Name:  SteelPier67.jpg
Views: 373
Size:  67.8 KB

    The keyhole opening in the dress you are referring to were yellow beaded/sequin gowns on stretch wool. They were designed by Gene Shelly and bought at a boutique shop likely around the same time they purchased the silver peacock gowns as he designed those. Other than that photo session, I've only seen one live shot of them wearing them at an engagement Carter Baron Amphitheatre in June-July 1968.

    It wasn't uncommon for them to have several sets they only wore a few times and then no longer worn. Two sets I described above are examples of that. There could be various reasons why they didn't wear them - they could have been uncomfortable, they were hot, they didn't look as good onstage as it did in a photo studio, etc. But they were also constantly updating their style so the lifespan of some sets weren't very long.
    wow i don't think i knew about this white set! there's another to add to the excel file lol

    somewhere or other i heard a comment someone shared [[i think they referenced it to Jean?) that there were some outfits that worked better on tv than stage. on tv you have your "marks" and are limited in how much walking around you do. you're most stationary and therefore a more constricting gown isn't a big deal. but wearing something like that on stage in front of an audience could be quite an issue and not comfortable. I thought someone mentioned the pink feathered GIT gown was an example of this.

  43. #43
    I thought the I'm Living In Shame 2nd Love Child Sullivan performance "Rhubarb Creme" set were pant suits??? I like the 2nd show LC performance better than the first one....probably my 3rd fav ES shop performance...behind Forever Came Today and The Impossible Dream..

  44. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by reese View Post
    Diana's Simplicity designs.

    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    i'm not sure if it was an actual line or if she was just wearing examples of her Simplicty patterns. i don't know that it was all that huge. but given that Dynasty had a line of clothes for women to buy, i could see diana doing something.
    I think this was a great concept of Diana's , leading young ladies toward what was becoming a fast dying trend .... getting off one's ass and making one's own uniquely styled attire.

    Sure beats wearing some worn torn dress somebody threw out ....

  45. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by gman View Post
    I thought the I'm Living In Shame 2nd Love Child Sullivan performance "Rhubarb Creme" set were pant suits??? I like the 2nd show LC performance better than the first one....probably my 3rd fav ES shop performance...behind Forever Came Today and The Impossible Dream..
    no you're right. I think in the rapidity of my typing I just happened to type dress instead of pants.

  46. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    I think this was a great concept of Diana's , leading young ladies toward what was becoming a fast dying trend .... getting off one's ass and making one's own uniquely styled attire.

    Sure beats wearing some worn torn dress somebody threw out ....
    so many of us crazed fans have all of the original vinyl albums, picture sleeves. many collected the various magazine covers with the girls. But here's a whole additional set of things!

    how many official sets of patterns were released? do any fans have all of them? how many actually made outfits?

    also with the Mego Diana Ross doll in the late 70s, there were doll fashions. the company also made a Cher doll, Laverne & Shirley, Farrah. while the outfits were interchangeable, i believe the outfits weren't generic. meaning they released "official" doll outfits for Cher but they also fit Diana Ross. and visa versa. So how many outfits were "officially released" for the DR doll?

  47. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    so many of us crazed fans have all of the original vinyl albums, picture sleeves. many collected the various magazine covers with the girls. But here's a whole additional set of things!

    how many official sets of patterns were released? do any fans have all of them? how many actually made outfits?

    also with the Mego Diana Ross doll in the late 70s, there were doll fashions. the company also made a Cher doll, Laverne & Shirley, Farrah. while the outfits were interchangeable, i believe the outfits weren't generic. meaning they released "official" doll outfits for Cher but they also fit Diana Ross. and visa versa. So how many outfits were "officially released" for the DR doll?
    Years ago, I was at a thrift store and spotted a Diana Ross MEGO doll, still in the box. They wanted $75.00 for it, which I thought was a bit steep. I passed.

    That night, ALL I COULD THINK ABOUT was that doll, LOL. So I went back the next day and ta-da, it was half price day. Didn't have to think twice. I think they're in the hundred dollar range these days.

    Makes an interesting topic: what's your rarest or most exciting piece of Supremes/Diana memorabilia?

  48. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by marybrewster View Post
    Years ago, I was at a thrift store and spotted a Diana Ross MEGO doll, still in the box. They wanted $75.00 for it, which I thought was a bit steep. I passed.

    That night, ALL I COULD THINK ABOUT was that doll, LOL. So I went back the next day and ta-da, it was half price day. Didn't have to think twice. I think they're in the hundred dollar range these days.

    Makes an interesting topic: what's your rarest or most exciting piece of Supremes/Diana memorabilia?
    Not gonna lie, I thought there was going to be some sort of Twilight Zone twist ending to your story there Mary.

    Where you tossed and turned all night thinking about the doll and when you woke up the next morning you found the doll sitting in a moving rocking chair by the window.

  49. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by floyjoy678 View Post
    Not gonna lie, I thought there was going to be some sort of Twilight Zone twist ending to your story there Mary.

    Where you tossed and turned all night thinking about the doll and when you woke up the next morning you found the doll sitting in a moving rocking chair by the window.
    Like BURNT OFFERINGS!

  50. #50
    Quote Originally Posted by marybrewster View Post
    Years ago, I was at a thrift store and spotted a Diana Ross MEGO doll, still in the box. They wanted $75.00 for it, which I thought was a bit steep. I passed.

    That night, ALL I COULD THINK ABOUT was that doll, LOL. So I went back the next day and ta-da, it was half price day. Didn't have to think twice. I think they're in the hundred dollar range these days.

    Makes an interesting topic: what's your rarest or most exciting piece of Supremes/Diana memorabilia?
    i have 2

    1. one of the bread bag wrappers
    2. a sequin! was at the R&R hall of fame museum and they were displaying the butterfly gowns from TCB. they were on a raised, circular platform with a robe around them. as opposed to being in a glass case. you were able to go completely around the display and see the gowns from all sides. it was beautiful as they had the arms of the mannequins stretched out so the capes were on full display! anyway on the carpet near the velvet robe was a random sequin. i'm guessing it fell off the gown but i don't really have any way to prove it was from the dresses. who knows - maybe some Gary Glitter outfit had been there previously. So i picked it up and it's in a plastic baggie in my souvenir box. there wasn't anyone to give it back to and i didn't want the janitor to just vacuum it up

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