Stephen Burrows will be receiving a special CFDA award this year, and it's about time.
Burrows, an African-American designer who became famous in the 70s, basically invented the disco dress. That would be the disco dress that went to Studio 54 and was allowed to jump the line to party with Halston & Andy, not the disco dress worn to "Saturday Night Fever" brawls in the 'burbs.
Burrows signature look was a silk jersey dress with "lettuce" edging, like the gorgeous mango number pictured. Everybody (including moi) wanted to wear his clothes, and evidently everybody still wants to wear his clothes because when I went looking for vintage Burrows online there were very few, and many, like the gorgeous mango number, were already sold. And take a good look at the price -- $1350.
As creative and honored as Burrows was (hello! dress in the Smithsonian!), he ran into financial difficulties in the 80s, and basically disappeared from the scene for 20 years. He's made a comeback recently, with Henri Bendel, the store that originally offered his clothing, reopening a Burrows boutique. His spring 2006 runway show was great, but alas, he did not have a fall 2006 show. I hope that was out of choice and not out of necessity.
Swank Vintage has a nice summary of Burrows' life and career. The Washington Post has a story about his comback here, along with a picture of a new gorgeous mango number.
If you should find a vintage Burrows dress, hang on to it. If you wear it, it'll make you happy and beautiful; if you sell it, it'll make you rich.