Before Jean Paul Gaultier designed for Madonna and Roberto Cavalli created costumes for Christina Aguilera, Berry Gordy dictated the style for three then-unknowns—Diana Ross, Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard. When the Motown chief executive signed the trio in 1961, he also took control over their look. After he changed their name from the Primettes to the Supremes, the rest was history.
Now, nearly 50 years later, the darlings of Detroit are known almost as much for their coordinating costumes adorned with feathers and fringe as they are for their chart-topping hits like “Baby Love,” and “Stop! In the Name of Love.” And fortunately, Mary Wilson has saved all those fabulous outfits.
“I have kept these dresses in storage for over 30 years; it was my dream that I could share them with the world,” says Wilson. Her vast archive from live performances, album covers and television appearances makes its first trip abroad in May, to London’s Victoria & Albert Museum.
More than 50 dresses are on display, including original gowns from their days as the Primettes, couture costumes from Bob Mackie and—fittingly, for their London debut—the sequined numbers the three wore when they met the Queen Mother in 1968. The exhibit also explores the rise of Motown, the role the Supremes played as black role models in the Sixties, and their influence on the fashions of modern day divas (cue Destiny’s Child). After London, the collection will tour the U.K., making stops in Birmingham and Bristol, before heading back home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland.
The Story of the Supremes from the Mary Wilson Collection May 3–Oct. 19 Victoria & Albert Museum Cromwell Road London +44.207.942.2000 vam.ac.uk
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Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews