THOUGHTS ON BEAUTY, FASHION AND LONGING FOR AN ERA GONE BY.
Byline: Etta Froio, January 1968
The absolute and frank truth is I’m lost when it come to fashion today.
“Ten years ago, women dressed well and looked dignified. Today, if you dress like a decent person, you are made to feel you’re a million years old. If you dress young, you look like an idiot. What choice is there?
“I am no judge…that’s not my place. But I don’t think the Sixties have done anything for anybody….
“If I had a child who was a hippie, I would be horrified. Again, it’s not the morality, but the physical ugliness and vulgarity. Looking at them rather makes me sick….
“In the last few years, fashion has not only been ugly, it also photographs ugly. All these women you see lunching at the best restaurants or at parties — this new fashion is not for them and not for me.
“If you wear a hat, you worry about your hair. If you don’t wear a hat and let your hair go casual, you look a mess. Our legs are too skinny or too fat for the short clothes.
“When a magazine like Vogue has to have help from society women and fill its pages with Nureyev, there really isn’t much fashion to photograph anymore. Diana Vreeland is one of the cleverest editors, but she has nothing to photograph.
“Clothes were beautiful before — the seams, the pleats, belts, decolletes, the lovely backs, the beautiful sleeves…you could fill pages with just sleeves alone. Now it’s a sack or something with just a few seams.
“To me, there is still only one couturier doing lovely clothes: Balenciaga. His changes are so subtle, not obvious, but when you put on his clothes, you know, you feel it is new and right. Men love you in his clothes. A woman’s job is to please a man+not a fashion editor.
“Everyone is talking about the film ‘Bonnie and Clyde’…I adored those clothes. I walked out in the middle of the film because I can’t stand brutality, but I am one hundred percent for those clothes — the skirts, the clinging sweaters, the berets. They made me so nostalgic — but the Thirties, I suppose, was my best time.
“I’m not a snob or blase. I’m just as excited about beauty today as I was 10 years ago. But there is so little today that is beautiful. Even the Venus de Milo is too fat….
“When I was young, I was supposed to be a beautiful young thing. But at 15 or 16, no one noticed age. There was nothing I longed for more than to become a woman of the world. The beautiful age for a woman is when she reaches her 30s. Why don’t magazines leave the 15- and 18-year-olds alone and show the accomplished?…
“Oh yes, I do a lot of reading. I don’t like pornographic literature… not because of the immorality but because, as a woman, I find it distasteful. I am reading ‘Remembering Maugham’ now, and I find it very amusing. And that book about Tolstoy is right next to my bed, but I haven’t started it yet. It’s so big.”