Stephen Burrows: When Fashion Danced
This unprecedented volume documents the revolutionary work of African American fashion designer Stephen Burrows—celebrating some of the most innovative and vibrant years in American Fashion.
In the late 1960s, New York was the epicenter of creative vitality and artistic expression, when, as Phyllis Magidson writes in this book’s introduction, “Clothing became a masquerade, Central Park’s Bethesda Fountain a costume party, weekends a perpetual Halloween.” This was the New York City that Stephen Burrows embraced as his own, and it would inspire him to create clothes that would help revolutionize American Fashion and further solidify its credibility abroad.
This unprecedented volume documents Burrows’ creative output during the formative and at once incendiary years of 1968 to 1983. Each of the book’s four essays offers a unique perspective into the work of an artist at the height of his creative powers: Daniela Morera presents a perspective from abroad focusing on a new kind of femininity characterized by the freedom of Burrows’ clothes—light and fluid fabrics and an instinctive sense of color, inspired by the music and dance culture of the ’70s and ’80s; Glenn O’Brien explores the reciprocity between Burrows’ designs and the New York City art scene, partying with Warhol and the Studio 54-going elite; how Burrows got from Newark to Fifth Avenue, and from Fifth Avenue to Seventh, is the subject of Laird Persson’s essay; while Magidson’s introduction is a vivid depiction of the renegade clothing environment of the New York City of the late 1960s, that is, the creative landscape in which Burrows began his career. Richly illustrated with effusive photographs and many never-before-seen drawings, the book also includes a rare interview between Burrows and Morera.