Looking Back at “That 70’s Fashion Show”

jess james that 70s fashion showIt’s exactly one month past the fashion show I’ve been envisioning the past five months – That 70‘s (FASHION) Show inspired by Gucci S/S 2016. I spent the next few days returning clothing from the show, organizing the pre-show choas left in the wake of Shannon and I’s marathon styling session and back-to-back closet consults with new and old clients.

With pent-up anticipation and anxiety, I began packing for New Jersey to meet my mom for a long overdue across the pond visit with Brenda Downie, my host mum from my glory days during my semester abroad in London.

I woke up this morning with visions of Portabello Market, fireside chats with Brenda and the repetitive “Mind the Gap” complete with British accent running through my mind before my body sent me a jarring message: It’s time to BREATHE. Relax. And start taking care of myself again.

After a few paralyzing hours wondering if I would be able to move my back properly again, I am now seated (in far less pain) across the aisle from my mom 35,000 feet in the air en route to my happy place.

To me, London style (think Camden Market) represents some of the same devil may care spirit I instantly had an emotional response to in seeing the new Gucci (spearheaded by Creative Director Alessandro Michele) for the first time.

Gucci Creative Director / Designer Alessandro Michele

Gucci Creative Director / Designer Alessandro Michele

Legend has it, five days before the FW15 menswear show, Gucci predecessor Frida Giannini suddenly exited the iconic Italian house leaving an unexpected opening for Alessandro, who spent 13 years working behind the scenes. Gucci went from Giannini and Tom Ford’s highly sexualized, decadent ethos to an eclectic, romantic, androgynous and wonderfully surprising transformation – but all while still incorporating Gucci’s history: equestrian horsebit, signature stripes and of course, the interlocking G’s, which may be cooler now than they’ve ever been.

In the new issue of Porter magazine, writer Kay Barron says, “The new Gucci is warm and nostalgic, feeling both comfortably familiar and at the same time, completely original (with a) 1970’s meets Wes Anderson (vibe).”

No wonder I love it so!

jess james that 70s fashion show

Shannon Dunne, Amy Hammond, Jess James, Carly Forman, Kirsten Gravely

Caroline de Maigret can keep the cooler-than-thou French girl chic. And the reigning refined, minimalist aesthetic ushered in by Phoebe Philo at Celine in 2009? You can have it, along with stark white walls and perfectly curated Instagram photos.

I can appreciate the beautiful simplicity of an incredibly made garment with clean lines and as a style chameleon and vintage collector, I admit I sometimes crave a more modern silhouette.

However, I always seem to feel most at home – most like my true authentic self – in something with a hint of romance, fantasy, whimsy and a touch of the imperfect – much like Alessandro’s new Gucci.

Singer Florence Welch, who has also fallen under Alessandro’s bewitching sartorial spell says, “He is dream weaving, but it works in reality. He knows what we want to wear long before we do.”

In the days following That 70’s (FASHION) Show, I received a Facebook message from Adrienne Carey, who recently moved back to Wilmington from NYC and attended the show.

“I give you a lot of credit for pushing the envelope on trends in town!”

Entrepreneurial artist Amelia Hutchins shared that she was “surprised and impressed” that Shannon and I were able to capture the spirit of the “new” Gucci (via creative styling) featuring current offerings from only local boutiques.

Indeed, there were guests who arrived in 70’s costume party attire, missing the new-ness behind the show’s inspiration. But no matter, for we all connected over a shared enthusiasm for creative expression, romance and fantasy through fashion.

Special thanks to our Presenting Sponsor Simply Noelle, Hannah and her talented hair & makeup team at Beauty Bar, our wonderful local boutiques who embraced and supported this concept-based show, Legare of A Ribbon Runs Through It for creating a stunning Gucci backdrop for our runway, Shannon Dunne for bringing it at our marathon creative styling session, my love Joel for having to put up with hearing the word“Gucci” way more times than he’d like, Tommy Mills of Little Pond Catering for his 70’s inspired cuisine (corn dogs and gummy bears included!), One Hope Wine, Charleston’s craft soda company Cannonborough Beverage Company, Kristen Martinez for her beautiful illustration inspired by our fashion show art work (for sale now via Style Girl Vintage), 70‘s mix tape by DJ Brian Hood, backstage directors Tym and Amy Hammond along with our volunteer angels and Lisa Brown of Bella Rose Photography for such gorgeous images to help remember this special labor-of-love event.

More updates from London Town next week.
And remember – live playfully, authentic and free!

Jess James

jess james that 70s fashion show

jess james that 70s fashion show

One of our “best dressed” winners Nancy Burns in a vintage Japanese souvenir jacket + Gucci bag

jess james that 70s fashion show

Another of our “best dressed” winners Oz Nichols in Gucci

jess james that 70s fashion show

Hannah, Beauty Bar owner, beautifying everyone backstage

jess james that 70s fashion show

Colby as Bowie with his sweetheart, Ella

jess james that 70s fashion show

Ella’s barrettes & bows by Hannah at Beauty Bar

jess james that 70s fashion show

Lacing up backstage. Blue electric skates for sale at Style Girl Vintage

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Models off Duty: Baes backstage

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What I Wore to #that70sfashionshow – Vintage 1930’s emerald green blouse with gold stripes from Puttin on the Ritz in Eugene, Oregon (sadly heard this beautiful Victorian mansion vintage shop burned down several years after my visit), 1960’s @gucci skirt from @amtvintage + @31philliplim mules with gold chains

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The Simply Noelle girl gang! #squadgoals

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Illustration by Kristen Martinez

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Karyn Oetting of Second Skin Vintage (left)

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This vintage 1970’s dress (and SGV macrame bag) from Style Girl Vintage found a smokin’ hot new owner in Nnenne Terzian. Styled to disco perfection!

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Charlie (the hot pink mannequin) representing at the Style Girl Vintage booth

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Jess James

Hanging with our handsome doorman Joel Finsel (wearing 70’s garb with a vintage Gucci tie and Playboy brogues) with Illustrator / Graphic Designer Kristen Martinez.


Backstage beauties: Kaye (in Aqua Fedora + Style Girl Vintage), Ksenia (in Ziabird dress w/ SGV silk head scarf), Natalyn in a vintage butterfly jumpsuit from Rummy Vintage

Runway 1 Runway11




Special thanks to the beautiful & talented Lisa Brown of Bella Rose Photography for capturing the spirit of That 70’s (FASHION) Show with all these wonderful photos! xo

Photography: Bella Rose Photography Styling: Jess James + Shannon Dunne Hair: Hannah Lynne Milojevich of Beauty Bar Boutique

Featured Stores:
Aqua Fedora
Beanie + Cecil
Front Street Optometric Care
Hallelu Boutique
Lula Balou
Rummy Vintage
Second Skin Vintage
Soul Shoetique
Style Girl Vintage

Light Bites by Little Pond Caterers Inc.
Bakla-Vavoom by Kathy Parthemos Rayle
Wine from One Hope
Soda from Cannonborough Beverage Co.

All featured photography by Lisa Brown of Bella Rose Photography.
Event Design: Legare Simpson of A Ribbon Runs Through It

Caroline Simpson
Ella Richardson
Sarah Royal
Abby Oliver
Hannah Johnston
Chandler Brooke Russell
Kelly Tada
Ksenia Belanger
Christina Anthony
Lauren Pietrzykowski
Corinne Caputo
Natalyn Wallin Bachek
Zoë Jurusik
Morgan Doody
Kaye Kinnaird
Logan Brantley
Derrick Pace
Xan D’Auvray
Josh Robinson
Colby Burton


For full runway looks head over to Jess’s blog