Sunday, February 10, 2013

Diahann Carroll - Fox Fashion Show

Just two months shy after "Julia" premiered, the California Fashion Creators, the Wool Bureau and 20th Century Fox hosted one hundred visiting members of the fashon press on one of the studio's soundstages where "Hello Dolly" was currently in production. 

They sure do know how to butter up the press in Hollywood!
Dining on prime rib in the $600,000 "Harmony Gardens" set where Barbara Streisand descended the red staircase singing the film's title song in a lavish ten-minute production number, reporters were instead treated to shows by several California designers.

Since "Julia" was filmed on the Fox lot and Travilla's Spring collection featured many of the same outfits in various colors and fabrics (including wool) worn by Carroll on the show, it was she, not Streisand who came the staircase after Travilla's introduction*.

"Seldom does a designer ever find a true inspiration for which to create. I have dressed most of the beautiful women of the world including Loretta Young, a fashion image, Marilyn Monroe, a sex symbol. In Diahann I have found what I truly believe to be the very image of being a woman."

Wearing a white wool crepe pajama outfit with flared legs, long sleeves, cuff neckoine and Travilla's concept of the "naked belt" - a three-inch bared midriff accented with vertical stripes of rhinestones.

Two publicity photos from that day!
Two variations on Travilla's "nude belt" concept for his label.
Following Carroll was "a train of models wearing Travilla's jacket and dress costumes, coats and suits, and flowing pleated chiffon evening dresses - all scene stealers." according to the Corpus Christi Texas reporter.

Enlargement from first photo. Travilla in red jacket far left.
Dress that appears on model in photo and also second from right in fashion show above. 
In the photo above the model on the left is wearing what became known as the "Julia" dress as Carroll wore it for several episodes of the series. A gown made of grey silk organza with rich brown Venitian Lace on the bodice and upper sleeves as well as trimming the cuffs. On a 1979 episode of the Dinah (Shore) talk show, Travilla told how he created a version for his daughter Nia to wear to her high school graduation.

The "Julia"
As with other designs, Travilla created several variations changing the fabric and bodice/trim material. Carroll would wear one on the cover of TV Guide as well as other Travilla fashions accompanying the interior text.

The far right sketch is the one for the dress below. Made with fully-lined silk and intricate beading, it weighs several pounds. Actress Julie Sommars from "The Governor and J.J.," another series Travilla was designing for models the gown, which might have been worn on her series or for a fashion photo shoot.

*Carroll would also serve as mistress-of-ceremonies for Travilla's annual benefit fashion show for the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and as hostess for a "Fashion in Future" event featuring her friend among several other designers.

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