"So-called fashion rises from the black neighborhoods, is taken up by flamboyant gays and then processed by Madison Avenue!"
So went the handed-down wisdom which tried to explain the rise of "Hippie Chic" in the late '60s and '70s when so-called creative and "protest" fashion began to change things forever.
I have often written in my columns about my friend in Essex, Conn., -- one Colette Harron. She now works with Sotheby's and became a big factor in real estate by selling the famous Katharine Hepburn house in the exclusive little resort enclave of "Fenwick."
I ran into Colette some years ago in an art shop in the picture-perfect small town of Essex and she reminded me that we'd known one another in the '60s/'70s days of early rock ... Andy Warhol ... Mrs. Vreeland's Vogue ... the clubby Arthurs, and all that.
I liked to tease this Moroccan-born stunner by taunting her about the "good old days" when everybody was trying to out-shock and out-do everybody else by things they wore, what they said, the music they craved. I knew she had memories of the outrageous rock king Jimi Hendrix, but now she had graduated from being Colette Mimram to a long, happy marriage to photographer par excellence Peter Harron.
Anyway, I have Colette to thank for turning me onto something I had missed entirely, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston's collection of 45,000 textiles and Lauren D. Whitley's magic book from same -- "Hippie Chic."
Colette herself is in this book on page 13 in a stunning yellow Ossie Clark outfit with fringe galore. Other luminaries wearing "Hippie Chic" are Barbra Streisand, our own New Yorker Gloria Vanderbilt, the Rolling Stones, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, the Beatles, their wives, Jean Shrimpton and on and on, gorgeous young things in magnetic colors, fabrics and poses.
This smaller coffee-table book that the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston is selling of their collection can be obtained at http://www.mfa.org and this glorious work is priced at $35. It is a dazzle of a thrill. What a gift it would make for anyone following how people dress. I wish I could show all my readers the photo examples, but you can call up the newyorksocialdiary.com and see them.
I'm no fashionista, but this is a book of recent history still influencing us all today. And I know I'm old-fashioned but "Hippie Chic" seems so much more attractive to me than people going around town with no clothes on.
I think nudity in civilized places is silly and distracting.
When two of the biggest names of show business, theater, movies, TV news come to see you in a Lincoln Center drama -- well, you have a treasure to keep for all time, after they come backstage to congratulate you.
Before actress Holland Taylor closed her limited run of the play she wrote herself about the late governor of Texas, Ann Richards -- she received such a visit from director Mike Nichols and Diane Sawyer, ABC's top ace on "World News." This thrilled her.
Taylor, a Tony nominee, will re-mount her play "Ann" in Los Angeles at a later date. Meanwhile, after her visitation from Nichols and Sawyer, she flew back to Hollywood to make several more episodes of "Two and a Half Men." (She has already shown herself to still be the randy real estate worst-mother-of-all-time to whoever is playing "the men" these days. In this ever-changing TV series, she has already bedded a shocked Ashton Kutcher.)
Holland will soon return to the East Coast for she has taken a place here to rejoin the growing crowd of actors who crave live theater.
Just for the record, I asked how she feels about losing the Tony Award to distinguished actress Cicely Tyson and she laughed. "I feel fine! She is the greatest and all of us nominees knew and felt she should win. None of us had a chance!"
Holland gave me a photo of herself paying obeisance to the oldest actress ever to win the Tony Award. It is sweet.
By the way, congratulations to Mike Nichols and Diane Sawyer. He is opening a limited remount of the Harold Pinter drama, "Betrayal," which will be a hot ticket beginning Oct. 27 at the Barrymore Theatre in New York.
Diane, meantime, has put "World News" over the top and over NBC recently with her stellar select cast of hard-working reporters and group of pros behind the scenes, backed by ABC News president Ben Sherwood.
And to think, I knew Ben when he was just a best-selling author. Who knew?
In the new Architectural Digest, one notes that most of the houses, mansions and apartments offered are owned by same-sex couples. So I'll add a recent wedding note, which most people applauded.
The popular Ashton Hawkins, who once toiled at the Metropolitan Museum and is now a consultant to Christie's, has married his longtime lovable guy, Johnnie Moore. We wish them happiness and much love and success!
(E-mail Liz Smith at MES3838@aol.com.)