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Band of Beads, Bell-Bottoms

THE MOVIE: “The Doors.”

THE SETUP: California in the ‘60s, where a young, confused Jim Morrison finds The Doors, and flowers into the poet, rock star and “breakthrough” icon.

THE LOOK: Costume designer Marlene Stewart lived through the fashion freedom of the ‘60s and early ‘70s. “This era was perhaps the first time in this century when feelings were expressed through what people wore; there was rebellion, but mostly it was about fun and personal expression,” she says. Along with her own memories, Stewart relied on photographs from the period. Civil War uniforms, vintage ‘20s and ‘30s dresses and hats, denim, see-through tops and skirts, lace-up detailing and bead necklaces were all mixed; people made themselves up as they went along. Morrison, for example, shifts in dress from unself-conscious knit shirts buttoned all wrong to imposing black leather and vinyl, poet shirts and concho belts.

THE LABELS: To dress the 20,000 extras, Jim Morrison (Val Kilmer, pictured), Pam Courson (Meg Ryan, pictured) and the band members, Stewart scoured JC Penney and Sears catalogues of the era, spent weeks sifting through the Aardvark warehouse for authentic hippie garb and made Morrison’s leather pants, poet shirts and tapestry tunics. Pam’s Guatemalan bare-back, bare-midriff top, sheer Indian skirts and tops, vintage velvet coat, Moroccan jacket and hip-hugger bell-bottoms, were either custom made or found in vintage stores. “Pam was my Twiggy/Janis Joplin character. She had a boutique on La Cienega where The Stones, Joplin and others used to shop. She was really into the mixture with no rules, no boundaries.”

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THE PAYOFF: A look at the era in which the rules were thrown away and total freedom-in-dressing was born. Denim, black, transparency, textural combinations, color and the anything-goes look started back then and still make fashion headlines. Says Stewart: “Morrison was ahead of his time. People are still dressing like him today and considered hip.”


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