USA matches Paris high street style in 1962 –
US stores showing their ‘line for line’ copies of Paris fashion. Exhibited side by side with the originals, women shoppers are experiencing double vision. This is the time when an American woman pays her money and takes her choice of the new Paris styles. She can pay a fraction of the Paris price. Or occasionally she can pay more than the Paris original depending on what store she is shopping. But with a sharp eye she can procure a well made copy of a $1000 original for as little as $70 in volume stores like Macy’s or Ohrbach’s. As I write thousands of women are marching to battle among the dress racks. To the strong go the first few hundred copies, many with the fabric and trim as well as the lines of the original imports. The better held ladies find their copies retailing up to $375 in swankier stores like Saks Fifth Avenue. Finally in shops like Bergdorf Goodman, where the price may out-Paris Paris, it is possible to buy a made-to-order copy so exact and elegant that it would fool the French eye.
1.In Ohrback’s, they sell cash and carry basis with no returns allowed, but women fight to buy them at prices a slow as $40. Here, side by side are five sets of copies and originals of black cocktail and evening dresses from various European collections. In each pair, the copy is on the right. The originals cost $300 to $1200. The copies ( left to right) are: Fabiani high-waisted wool cocktail dress in original fabric, $90; daring low-backed crepe evening dress by Enzo,$40; Lanvin-Castillo silk organza full skirted dinner dress with petal neckline in original fabric,$99; St.Laurent strapless tunic dress in organza,$75; and slinky Balenciaga dinner dress, slit to knee in front, in original textured crepe,$195.
2. Saks Fifth Avenue shows its import copies in the better dress salon right along with top American designs at about the same prices. Above is a copy of a Nina Ricci full skirted suit in original hot pink wool with brass buckled belt. Copy costs $325, original $800.
3. Left: St.Laurent bare-backed dress and- Right: covering coat costs $1300 in Paris, but this meticulous copy in same fabrics is $535.
4. Bergdorf Goodman has been importing French originals to copy since 1914. One of this years prettiest is the draped polka dot chiffon dress above by Desses. Bergdrof not only uses the same fabric as the originals but has the same standards of fitting and hand labor. Its prices, like those in Paris, range up to $1000. Only for the well monied girl.
5. Yves St.Laurent‘s famous pea jacket, inspired from the humble sailor’s coat. The original sold for $800. Above are two copies. Left: by Ohrback costs $58. Right: from Reid & Reid is only $12.
6. Teenagers however have found a better buy by going back to the original Pea coat source of supply – the Army & Navy stores.The term pea jacket is derived from the Dutch word Pij, meaning course wool.
7. Copy of Lanvin-Castillo party dress swirls at Macy’s Fashion show next to the $1200 Paris original.
8. Copy of Givenchy reefer coat leads the $1000 original down the ramp. Fitted coats were the most popular ampong American buyers. The Macy copy here is in the same weight tweed but of larger ( and in our opinion prettier) check!
We leave you with some other fabulous outfits available this season from all the top American stores.
That’s all !
Photos Ralph Morse Life Magazine
Originally featured in Life Magazine 1962