What goes up, must come down. We’re talking hemlines here. After the thigh-baring Swinging Sixties, they dropped down low — HotPants notwithstanding — and became one of the defining silhouettes of the Seventies. But not everyone fell in love with the runways’ modest proposal. “Litany for Midi Heard Around U.S.” ran one WWD headline on September 30, 1970. The story reported on “death notices” for the midi appearing in newspapers across the country — from Buffalo, N.Y., to Tampa, Fla., to Dallas — that had been placed by retailers in opposition to the new calf-grazing hemlines. One store called The Sample, location unnamed, even displayed a casket, with a midi-sporting mannequin inside, on its main floor in protest.

“An additional campaign is being prepared by Rachele’s, a Cincinnati specialty shop which is building a promotion around a ‘funeral’ for the Midi,” added WWD. “Pallbearers will wear lengths ranging from mini to just below the knee and sing ‘Happy Days Are Here Again’ as the Midi is buried.” An ad for the event proclaimed “The Midi is Dead. The knee length and mini are alive and well at Rachele’s.”

This story first appeared in the December 2, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Then there was the notice placed by Green’s Department Store in Middletown, N.Y., whose previous promotion of the midi resulted in below-par sales. “To err is human, but to restock is divine,” the new campaign read. “What you will find is a fresh selection of above-the-knee, to-the-knee and just-below-the-knee fashions that you can buy and wear with assurance.”

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