The Party Dazzlers

1970s, Alana Collins, Anne Turkel, biba, Blades, bus stop, corocraft, cosmopolitan, Dana Gillespie, Deirdre McSharry, edina ronay, Eva Reuber-Staier, Feathers, Fiona Lewis, Hildebrand, Inspirational Images, jeff banks, just men, mary quant, Nancy Bleier, norman eales, Peter Bubb, Peter Finley, platforms, polly peck, Sally McElvin, sandie shaw, Stephanie McLean, terry de havilland, Vintage Editorials, yves saint laurent
Dana Gillespie, the bosomy (43 in., actually) Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar, is the most modest of party girls. At the show’s opening night party she turned up in her old gipsy skirt and a t-shirt, happily flashing her gold and jewelled snake rings. “Sometimes I feel like being outrageous – I just wish there were more parties to entice me out. When I was on my own I went to parties to see more people so I wouldn’t be on my own.” Alone only for the picture, Dana wears her snake collection, backed by a velvet dress and jewelled jacket, designed by her friend Sally McElvin. Pop designer Sally makes one-offs only, from £20.

In the words of Noel Coward, every girl ought to be able to say the morning after, “I’ve been to a mah-vellous party.” A little champagne does not go amiss, but this winter the clothes alone will put a gleam in your eye. There are enough sequins, crystal beads and glittering fabrics to guarantee you are the star attraction. To clinch the deal, I’ve asked some of the most stunning party girls around to give their definition of what constitutes a marvellous party and to put the most dazzling party frocks to the test…

Fashion by Deirdre McSharry.

Photographed by Norman Eales.

Scanned from Cosmopolitan, December 1972.

Ann Turkel is the 5ft 10in. tall New Yorker who steals the limelight from the stars at film premieres, so parties are just kid’s stuff. “Parties? That’s when I know no other woman in the room can ‘top me’. I make a real effort – my mother has dresses made up specially in New York and ships them over – I never wear the same dress as any other woman. I know I’m a success when the photographers start crowding me. I like a man who appreciates when you are looking great.” Ann, who likes to move in a cloud of Youth Dew by Estee Lauder, comes on diamond bright in sequins and taffeta. Jacket by Biba £20. Red dress by Mary Quant £12.60.
Eva Reuber-Staier is the ex-Miss World turned TV personality who helped present BBC1’s Animal Stars. She’s cool, poised and gregarious. “I love parties, the kind with pretty girls and clever men. I prefer big parties; there’s more of a choice. I got to at least two parties per week.” The best one she says was given by some Cambidge dons. “Clever, but sexy with it, and could they dance!” Would she make the first move if she fancied a man at a party? “Fortunately I don’t have to.” Cleverly draped, sexy dress by John Bates for Jean Varon £36. Roses by Spectrum. Shoes by Terry de Havilland £13.99. Pop singer Gary Hamilton, star of Hair and several horror films says, “It’s the quiet girls who catch my eye.” Gary in satin trousers by Blades.
Alana Collins is tall, blonde and blue-eyed. “At parties back home in Nacogdoches, Texas, the boys used to call me the Duchess because I love to get dressed up. That was the original one-horse town, but in London I still like to cause a stir. There’s such a variety at parties – long and short hair. I go for the man who is paying total attention to one woman. And if you give him all yours, that clicks.” A lady who watches her strategy. Alana is the perfect Cosmo party girl in pink draped jersey by John Bates for Jean Varon £27. Sheos by Yves Saint Laurent £19.50.
Sandie Shaw sings for her supper. Her husband Jeff Banks, designs for his. United on most fronts, the Banks are divided on parties: “I hate them,” she says. “I love ’em,” he leers. Then they go on remember half a dozen great parties they’ve given including one in a char-a-banc to Southend; another on a river boat and a third at Madame Tussauds. “My idea of a good party is mostly fellas,” says Sandie, “but I don’t like him to look posh. The thing is, he loves me dressed up.” Dolled up for “that great party no one ever seems to give,” as Jeff says, is Sandie in a Banks special, suitably glittery in green and gold gauze. Sandie’s hair by Smiles. Jeff’s clothes by Blades.
Nancy Bleier, a bouncing brunette model import from Milwaukee, prefers her parties on the small size. “Just a few intimate friends, a quite dinner and dancing at Tramp or Annabel’s,” says Nancy who keeps her party figure by taking modern dance lessons. Nancy makes her eyes up like Sophia Loren, wears a lot of scent and generally sticks to trousers at parties. “My French boyfriend says: ‘Darling why don’t you ever wear a dress?’ He offered to buy me one – but never did.” Not downcast, Nancy dresses up for Swiss model Reto in a 1000 watt lime glitter outfit from Biba, top £14, skirt £15.25. Reto’s dinner suit from Just Men, £45.
Edina Ronay, the actress and model says: “A good party is when Warren Beatty murmers ‘call me tomorrow’. Actually the best parties are the ones I give myself – straight and freaky, champagne and – uh – cakes. The people look at each other and enjoy the difference. What happens afterwards – that’s what counts about parties.” Edina, who had her hair hennaed in Morocco, gets ready for her Christmas party in crushed pink velvet and feathers. Dress by Biba £15, boa and ‘diamond’ ring by Bus Stop, £6.50 and £1.95. Robert wears sequined jacket by Dior and ruffled shirt by Just Men.
Stephanie McLean, at 5ft 10in., is the kind of status blonde most men hope to meet at parties. And it was at a party where her husband, a photographer who specialises in nudes, met her. Says Stephanie, “Now when we go to parties we separate – otherwise why bother to go out at all? – but I keep my eye on him. I prefer relaxed, informal parties and almost always wear jeans. Sometimes I get dressed up and he says ‘you look fantatic, we’ll go out.'” Looking dressed up in a glittery silver and black taffeta dress by Polly Peck £12.85. Peter Finley the model who prefers parties for two, wears black satin trousers from Blades.
Film actress Fiona Lewis has the sophisticated face of the Seventies, so it’s not surprising that her idea of a party is simple – and expensive. “Lots of drinks and lots of people, never punch which is a bore and bad for your digestion. Simple things like smoked salmon and chilled white wine are best. And I prefer to wear fantasy clothes which I run up myself from scarves. I ask dishy men and tell them to bring their friends.” Fiona adds her own glitter to a black and white taffeta halter dress, Hildebrand about £18.50 and also a floating red chiffon dress aove right, at Feathers £25. Peter Bubb the model wears velvet dinner jacket by Just Men £35.

Inspirational Images: Taking the wrap in Bus Stop

1970s, Berndt Brenken, Blades, bus stop, cosmopolitan, Inspirational Images, lee bender

Photographed by Berndt Brenken

Scanned by Miss Peelpants from Cosmopolitan, September 1975