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Fred Astaire Flair: Designer Revives Hollywood Waistband Slack Astaire Dubbed His 3rd Dance Partner.
Drawing on archival film and studio stills that spanned the early-'30s to the mid-'40s for its inspiration, Stinson R. Ely's Astaire Collection revives the Hollywood Waistband slack designed and dubbed his "third dance partner" by Fred Astaire.
By: Stinson/R. Ely & Partners
No shrinking violet, the one-time brand image guru turned luxe designer, pinned his collection’s success – along with the future of his Stinson R. Ely brand -- on a sink-or-swim redux of the 1940s-era, Hollywood Waistband slack, an Americana fashion icon that hasn’t been voguish in 70-years.
Like Lauren’s own wide-tie wager, Stinson’s high-waisted, full cut slack gambit cuts against prevailing trends and pits his Hollywood Waistband slack against the opposite and still red hot, plain front, slim cut silhouette.
With pleats only now flirting at fashion’s edge, it’s Stinson’s aggressive, four-front-pleat, Astaire Collection, that ranks his boldest, and certainly most audacious, risk. Named for the legendary dancer, Stinson’s four-pleat Astaire Collection is modeled after Fred Astaire’s own re-design of the Hollywood Waistband slack, a pant he called his "third dance partner."
Once the signature of Hollywood’s most dashing, Silver Screen legends, thank the Hollywood Waistband’s physique flattering, sleight-of-hand knack for transforming the era’s most debonair cinema icons into slim waisted, long-legged, he-hunk Adonises for its movie star cachet and "Hollywood" sobriquet.
Inspired by the full cut slacks from the Duke of Windsor’s famed "Drape Suit," the Hollywood Waistband slack boast a high waist and full cut thighs stylishly enhanced by dropped belt loops. Absent a waistband, a fluid, uninterrupted drape sleekly tapers from its high waist to narrow, pegged cuffs. The figure flattering lines of its tall, streamlined, "V"-shaped silhouette creates an athletically masculine silhouette that magically slims the waist and adds the illusion of long legs.
Its heyday was also the salad days of song-and-dance musicals and tinsel town’s top "hoofers" – from Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly to Bill "Bojangles" Robinson – instantly made the Hollywood Waistband slack their own. Beyond its physique flattering look and illusion of longer legs , the slack’s one-piece design, pleated front and full-cut leg delivered an rivaled freedom of movement and comfort that dancers found irresistible. Fred Astaire, added his own twist: To its sometime one, but typically two pleat front, Astaire added still two more pleats; his totaling four front pleats, a hat trick that gave Astaire the freedom to work his legendary dance magic.
Drawing on two-decades of archival film and vintage studio stills that spanned the early-‘30s to the mid-1940s for its design inspiration, Stinson R. Ely’s Astaire Collection includes both a belted style and another, configured for braces, its tab buttons rigged outside ala Astaire's ‘30s style.
Astaire, tells Stinson, wore both styles with equal aplomb, favoring the added freedom of suspendered versions for suit scenes and belt loops for sport shirt shots. To these, Astaire, added yet another flair that became his personal signature: a silk four-in-hand tie threaded through his belt loops. Still another Astaire-created fashion twist, one that sparked its own craze, was a traditional belt buckled but at the side, rather than the front.
About Stinson R. Ely:
Stinson R. Ely’s debut collection boasts designs inspired by the Duke of Windsor and popularized by Hollywood’s dashing, silver screen idols.
J. Andy Stinson, co-designer
Bobbi Koller, associate designer
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Stinson/R. Ely & Partners is a 25-year-old, San Diego- and New York-based publc relations and publicity firm specializing in fashion designers and luxury-niched fashion brands. American brands and designers are the company's exclusive focus.