Courrèges in a snit. Sprouse in a spot. St. Laurent in an art book.

“THE MANNEQUIN LOOKS LIKE a filling station attendant in a room at the Ritz. . . . She is a peach, an apple. . . . She is a modern girl who has journeyed through ancient Sparta!” The year is 1965, the place is Paris, the speaker is Violette Leduc, leftist intellectual and best-selling author now on assignment for Vogue, and the subject is a fashion show. Not just any fashion show, though: this one belongs to André Courrèges, the man who—and it’s 20 years ago, remember—is determined to revolutionize haute couture, to usher it into the space age, to blur forever the distinction between socialite and socialist, between runway and moonwalk, with his relentlessly constructed yet ultimately guileless jump suits, miniskirts, and white vinyl boots. Leduc, like a lot of other intellectuals, takes a look and decides she loves it. A Courrèges woman, she sums up, "is an apricot that has a mental life!’

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