Director of fashion documentary Versailles '73 on the runway show that changed history
From the interviews in the film, it is conveyed that the American designers chosen to be a part of this fashion show was a touchy issue. But in the end, there couldn't have been a better representation of what America brought to the runway -- like Anne Klein's sportswear and Stephen Burrows' wild maxi dresses. Burrows's work, especially, seems to me to have led the way for what we see at Fovever 21 these days.
Stephen is really the god of what you see in places like Forever 21. All the places that, if you're a young fashionista and you want to hold on to your youthful spirit while wearing something that's flirty and fun -- that's Stephen. That is still Stephen. It's what he is.
Cher used to wear a lot of his wrap dresses and maxi dresses. She was a big Stephen Burrows fan; she was so tall and loved that kind of long, sexy wrap thing.
The models used by American designers in the Versailles '73 show really represented a full spectrum of women - the models weren't all white. In fact, they were a diverse array of skin tones and ethnicities. Was that intentional from the get-go?
It wasn't intentional. It was kind of budget-related? In the film, you see a big list -- Lauren Hutton, Angelica Houston - certain people didn't want to do it, because it was only three hundred dollars (pay) for the whole weekend. They were thinking, I could make that in a day. I'm not wasting four days flying to Paris to make 300 bucks.
That left them with lesser-known names -- outside of the ones Halston paid personally, because he wanted them to be in the show, like Marisa Berenson and China Machado. But the other girls -- like Karen Bjornson who would go on to become a super model in the '80s. At that moment in 1973, she was happy to work for three hundred bucks for the weekend.
Pat (Cleveland) said she was more than happy to take the money -- because she hadn't become "Pat Cleveland" at that moment. Alva Chinn hadn't become the face of Valentino; it was that show that Valentino saw her when he was in the audience. That was how she got to work for him in Italy in ten straight years.
That show changed their lives -- the black models, the white models. That show had an impact on everyone.
Versailles '73: American Runway Revolution shows Thursday night, January 31, at the Sie Film Center in Denver. Tickets are $7 to $10 and include a post-showing Q&A with the director and model Pat Cleveland. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (303) 595-3456 or visit the Sie Film Center's website.