Arnold Scaasi Costumes
“In September 1968, I received a letter from Robert Evans, the head of Paramount Studios, saying that Barbra wanted me to do her modern clothes for the film On A Clear Day You Can See Forever,” designer Arnold Scaasi (that's “Isaacs” spelled backwards!) wrote in his memoir Women I Have Dressed (And Undressed). Scaasi revealed he was paid $25,000 as a design fee, with the cost of the clothes themselves charged to Paramount Pictures.
“Before actual shooting began ... I would fit some of the clothes when Barbra was in New York. Later, I would fly to Los Angeles almost every week and we would fit the new things. Usually the head of the Paramount wardrobe department was with us.”
“I did lots of mini-skirt jumpers that buttoned down the front, some with patch pockets. These were paired with textured cotton white shirts. One of my favorites, in fact, the first thing we see Daisy in, is of chocolate brown thin wool.”
“I designed a high-waisted flared taupe wool coat lined in pale pink silk worn over a pale pink wool crepe dress that Barbra wore in a long scene,” Scaasi explained. “The matching taupe tights had to be dyed three times to get the exact shade. As with mostly every costume in the movie, Barbra wore monochromatic handbags, gloves, and shoes (usually from Fiorentina).”
“A pivotal costume that we agonized over was the dress she would wear singing the lament ‘What Did I Have That I Don’t Have Now?’ I felt it had to be a dark dress to emphasize the mood of the song. But as the scene was filmed in Dr. Chabot’s paneled office, it couldn’t be black or brown. I decided on a deep bottle-green in the shape that was so good for Barbra, with the double-pointed cut under the bust line. It was finished with a white collar and cuffs and black satin soft bow tie (the star’s then trademark).”
The paisley vest (pictured below) was made from a shawl that Scaasi bought in an antique shop. “[Barbra] liked it so much we decided to use it,” he said. “It works well with these crepe pants and full-sleeved blouse in silk crepe.”
Streisand's sailor outfit was accesorized by Scaasi himself. “I bought the red scarf for myself,” he said, “but Barbra liked it so well I gave it to her. She has a shirt style she likes and wears a lot. This is a copy in white silk. The pants are heavy cotton.” Scaasi also designed the shoes. “The idea was a shoe that had a heel yet looked sporty. Tongue and heel are red, to add color.”
Finally, the orange wool dress worn in the final scene by Daisy was Streisand's idea. “Two days before the scene was shot Barbra had the idea to change the dress — bring back the orphanage theme. It worked,” Scaasi said.
Scaasi and the Academy Awards
Perhaps Scaasi's most famous creation for Streisand was the outfit she wore to the Academy Awards—a Clear Day costume that was never filmed.
In his biography, Women I Have Dressed (And Undressed), Scaasi explained the see-through pantsuit:
Barbra and I finally agreed on a sketch I had done, using the black net, clear-sequined see-through fabric. The bell-bottom trousers were exaggerated and had many godets flaring out widely from the knee down, almost giving the appearance of a trumpet-shape evening skirt when she stood still. The top was a straight overblouse of the sheer embroidered fabric with two patch pockets covering her breasts. It was finished with the basic white collar and cuffs and black satin bow at the neckline...
Below: Streisand with Scaasi on Oscar night, before the ceremony.
(Above: Elliott Gould and Barbra Streisand — with her press agent Lee Solters (right)— depart her Hollywood home for the Academy Awards, on the afternoon of April 14, 1969.
More from Scaasi on the Oscar pantsuit:
Though we had taken every aspect of the sequin outfit into consideration, we did not know that the flashbulbs used by the press would wipe out the flat surface of the black net. The headlines the next day proclaimed STREISAND, NUDE UNDER SEE-THROUGH OUTFIT! Of course, she wasn't. Next morning Barbra was on the phone to me, laughing about the whole episode. The headlines helped make the star's outfit the most famous Academy Award costume ever!
“I didn't realize the outfit was so see-through,” Streisand told InStyle Magazine. “You couldn't tell that in the dressing room, only under the bright lights.”
On A Clear Day pages on this site: