The Seventies weren’t all about disco. In 1976, a new genre emerged on the music scene, much to the horror of The Establishment and parents everywhere. With a sneering lead singer named Johnny Rotten (so-called because he supposedly didn’t brush his teeth) and attitudes to match, The Sex Pistols were the first punk band to rise to prominence because they were so “in your face” (they also had a manager, Malcolm McLaren, who was a PR whiz). But the genre had been germinating since at least 1974 with bands like The Ramones and The New York Dolls (incidentally, also briefly managed by McLaren, who subsequently returned to London and put the Sex Pistols together).
Punk was the antithesis of disco. It was loud, often violent, and always shocking. Although the Sex Pistols were the most notorious of the bunch, they weren’t the most technically proficient when it came to the music. But they influenced a generation of young musicians and led to the establishment of truly memorable bands who put musicality before shock value, such as The Buzzcocks, the Clash, and The Saints.
As with all kids, when I was young my mom bought my shoes for me. But my mom wouldn’t buy me a pair of Candies in 1979. As an adult looking back on it more than thirty years later, I can’t really say that I blame her. To be honest, backless stiletto sandals weren’t really practical for the seventh grade, nor were they age-appropriate, though that didn’t matter to me at the time. To make matters worse, the Candies corporate headquarters building was one town away from mine, and across the road from the ice-skating rink where my sister and I went skating with our friends. It mocked me every time I went ice skating. But even if I didn’t have a pair of Candies, my friend Marie did. Her mom was cool! (Did you hear that, Mom?). Whenever I went over to her house, I wore her Candies shoes all day until it was time to go home. When I walked around in them, I felt grown up, sophisticated, and really, really tall.
Today, I have for the most part given up on very high heels in favor of more comfortable shoes – not that I’m ready for orthopedic shoes, mind you. But thinking about Candies has rekindled my desire to own a pair. I don’t need my mom to buy my shoes for me anymore, and the vintage Seventies sandals that I coveted so long ago are available on eBay and Etsy. So I purchased these fabulous vintage Candies online.
I now have the height that I didn’t have in 1979, but with Candies maybe I can finally attain the glamour and sophistication that have eluded me all these years. Of course, now that I’ve bought them, I’m not sure what to do with them. They’re still a bit “dangerous” to me, because even though I’m no longer that awkward seventh grader who coveted them, I’m now the grown woman who doesn’t have the lifestyle that Candies would complement. Unless Studio 54 reopens. Then I’d be all set.
When I was 10 years old I had the “Rock and Roll Love Letter” album by the Bay City Rollers, the Seventies Scottish quartet. Upon reflection, I don’t really see how they were Rock and Roll, since they were pretty tame, but I loved this song. This video, in which they’re lip-syncing their hit to a live studio audience, reminds me of how much polyester, tartan, and hair were a large part of the the Bay City Rollers’ look. Scotland still hasn’t lived it down.
Fashion Fair is a line of makeup that specifically caters to the needs of African American women. In the Seventies, most makeup companies didn’t offer foundation shades for deeper complexions. Fashion Fair rectified that. An article from the Monday, June 29, 1970 edition of Time Magazine reflected on the new cosmetic lines created to address the problems women of color faced when purchasing cosmetics. An ad from 1976 shows Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin, then “just a soul singer from Detroit,” extolling the virtues of Fashion Fair makeup. Both Fashion Fair and Aretha Franklin would become icons within their respective industries.
Fashion Fair cosmetics was started in 1973 by Eunice Walker Johnson. Eunice was the wife of publisher John H. Johnson. Together Eunice and her husband founded Ebony magazine in 1945 to cater to the interests of African Americans. A sister publication, Jet, was started in 1951. In 1956, Eunice started the Ebony Fashion Fair, a fashion show featuring haute couture fashions from around the world. It started as a fundraiser for a hospital and quickly became an annual traveling show to benefit many charities. The show used only African American models, and also featured upcoming African American desigers such as James Daugherty and Stephany Burrows. The Ebony Fashion Fair ran from 1956 until 2008. There were plans for a 2009 show, but the show was abruptly cancelled, a casualty of the poor economy. Eunice Walker Johnson died in 2010 at the age of 93.
I thought a song by a band called Climax would be appropriate for a Valentine’s Day Music Monday. Their 1972 hit “Precious and Few” has become such a quintessential example of a Seventies love ballad that it was used in an episode of “The Simpsons” during a flashback to Marge and Homer’s prom.
Check out the lead singer’s long hair, huge flares, and shirt with deep V-neck, exposing lots of chest hair. I love the long fringe on the sleeves too. You can’t get more Seventies than that.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Musk oil sure was big in the Seventies. Jovan, Bonne Bell, Coty, and Cutex all made musk fragrances, just to name a few. I remember radio commercials that might have been for Faberge’s Macho Musk Oil, but I’m not sure. I just remember the annoying jingle sung by a male chorus, who just repeated the words “Mucho macho” before breaking into the chorus:
“That man is mucho macho.
That man is mucho macho.
That man is mucho macho.
Mucho macho man!”
Does anyone else remember that commercial?
And what’s with the phallic logo and matching man jewelry? I can imagine the graphic designer coming up with that one: “It spells ‘m-a-c-h-o,’ but it’s shaped like a penis!” The ad says to try Macho Musk Oil on “your next encounter,” which I’m thinking took place in the public men’s room in Central Park. There is something to be said for subtlety, you know.
Things happen when you wear Eleganza. What kind of things, you ask? Snickers of laughter behind your back immediately come to mind. It’s hard to believe anyone wore clothes like these. They look more like something from “Space 1999” than contemporary fashion. Seriously, what were they thinking? But the gentlemen in these ads exude the confidence that can only come from wearing the most fashionable eye-catching slacks, big flares, and doubleknits money can buy. And I’m sure the ladies loved it, because every girl’s crazy ’bout a sharp-dressed man.
The word “Eleganza” reminds me of RuPaul’s Drag Race, as in “Prepare to gag on my eleganza!” One thing’s for sure, this Eleganza certainly triggers my gag reflex.