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Fashion Man of the Year

Fashion Man of the Year

Jan. 31, 1968:  The original Los Angeles Times caption says it best:

Rudi Gernreich unzips cover-up as bevy of beauties play statue in the barely-there swimsuits of slinky jersey and clear plastic at Los Angeles Fashion Group’s salute to Gernreich as Fashion Man of the Year.

This photo by former Los Angeles Times staff photographer Nelson Tiffany was one of five images published in the Feb. 2, 1968, edition with a story by Times Fashion Editor Fay Hammond. The article began:

Rudi Gerneich has been shaking up the fashion arts for nearly two decades; he’s used to making headlines, picking up awards right and left, even being knighted by Time magazine as 1967 Fashion Man of the Year. This week he made the big time on home ground – and the fashion establishment of Southern California may never be the same again.

It was the Los Angeles Fashion Group’s “Salute to Rudi Gernreich” in the Mark Taper Forum of The Music Center. Our boy came on like Renaissance Man in a space suit. Designers, devotees, celebrities and a smattering of social figures packed the theater.

Rudi staged and produced a new art form in fashion shows. It was a smash Broadway hit compared to those dreary runway parades that keep all the Grand Ballrooms in business.

He opened with a strip tease in tiger and cheetah prints – peel-off wardrobes that diminished from coats, helmets, skirts, tunics, tights and shoes to the world’s barest bikinis in a matter of seconds….

Rudi Gernreich died April 21, 1985. Even in death, his fashion — especially his 1964 monokini — created controversy, as reported in this 1985 Los Angeles Times article.

Jan. 31, 1969: Fashion designer Rudi Gernreich, center, on stage wearing zippered suit, with models sporting his minidresses during a program at the Mark Taper Forum. Credit: Nelson Tiffany / Los Angeles Times

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