When fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert set about to produce a runway show called Le Grand Divertissement à Versailles in 1973, her mission was simply to bring American and French fashion designers together with socialites and philanthropists in a grand gesture to raise money to help restore the Palace of Versailles in France. But what happened that night became a seminal moment in fashion history — a tale that is told in Versailles ’73: American Runway Revolution, a documentary that shares the mostly unknown story of how a fashion show revolutionized international couture culture.
“It’s Paris; it’s New York; it’s groundbreaking fashion, the breaking of color barriers — it’s innovation,” says Deborah Riley Draper, the film’s writer, director and producer. It was also America’s brazen introduction to the fashion scene — including a cadre of now-famous supermodels like Pat Cleveland, Bethann Hardison and China Machado. In fact, with this show, Lambert ended up pitting American designers Oscar de la Renta, Bill Blass, Halston, Anne Klein and Stephen Burrows against French mainstays like Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, Hubert de Givenchy, Pierre Cardin and Emanuel Ungaro.
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Part of the Sie FilmCenter’s DocNight series, tonight’s screening of Versailles ’73 will be followed by a Q&A with Riley Draper and Cleveland, famed cat walker and America’s Next Top Model guest judge. The show starts at 7 p.m. at the Sie, 2510 East Colfax Avenue. Tickets are $7 to $10 and can be purchased at the box office, online, or by calling 303-595-3456. For more information, visit www.denverfilm.org.
Thu., Jan. 31, 7 p.m., 2013