Thrift Shop Barbra Now High Style

April 20, 1965

Streisand designs

FASHION - WISE — Barbra Streisand sketched these original designs for costumes she wears in "My Name Is Barbra," a TV special on April 28. The designs have been executed with the collaboration of Bill Blass. The dress on the right has a low, narrowly-cut, neckline. Miss Streisand will wear one of the two designs on the left to open her show. One is an exaggerated version of Barbra's favorite middy style. The other is a blouse and jumper ensemble made of chiffon.

When Barbra Streisand, star of Broadway's "Funny Girl," first received stupendous raves pages of for her early nightclub appearances, she noticed that although the critics used every praiseworthy adjective in the book for her singing, they always added that she dressed "unusually."

Barbra admitted her shoes were antiques and her dresses were sometimes from thrift store shops. She wore a 69-cent-a-yard self-designed gingham gown at Hollywood's posh Cocoanut Grove. A long-sleeved blouse and wool suit at New York's niteries.

"Unusual?" Maybe.

"I don't like the slinky, gaudy gowns that many people expect 'singers' to wear." Barbra protests. "Besides, I have to spend half the evening in a drafty dressing room, not the reviewer!"

Today, Barbra Streisand is one of the most sought - after subjects for top fashion magazines. The 1964 Encyclopedia Brittannica selected her as one of America's two leading fashion trendsetters.

An eight-minute portion of Miss Streisand's 9—1 0 p.m. Wednesday, April 28, CBS - TV special, "My Name Is Barbra," was taped at New York's haute couture department store, Bergdorf Goodman. In this sequence, Barbra sweeps through the store wearing a fortune's worth of fashions.

Surely, Bergdorfs hasn't lost its buttons.

The truth is, Barbra has been "high fashion" ever since she won her first amateur singing contest garbed in second-hand clothes. "I was-wearing beautiful designer clothes from thrift shops. Maybe they were last season's, or 20 seasons ago — but they were beautiful originals. I couldn't afford the 1960 versions. And as far as the clothes being clean, I figure anybody that's rich enough to donate to a thrift shop, is rich enough to take a bath — know what I mean?"

Singled out two years ago by the fashion industry's pipeline, "Women's Wear Daily,'" Barbra has since been bejewelled, begowned and befurred on the pages of Life, Vogue, Time, Mademoiselle, Glamour, Ladies Home Journal, Town and Country, Show, Esquire, Seventeen and the upcoming May cover story of Cosmopolitan.

The five lavish outfits photographed at Bergdorfs, made primarily of fur, were designed by the emporium's top couturier, Partos, and famed milliner, Halston. She arrives at the store by coach, itself an antique from the Swedish Royal House.

The rest of the special, which is primarily singing both informal and in concert, is as closely wrapped up in fashion. Barbra will wear designs of her own creation, on which she collaborated with noted designer, Bill Blass.

"I like to mix fabrics. Brocade and wool. Naughty, naughty! Velvet and tweed, Mink and tapestry. I can always take down the drapes and make a dress."


Related: My Name is Barbra TV Show

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