Saturday, June 12, 2010

Karen Lynn Gorney in Saturday Night Fever (1977)

This is an iconic fashion movie of the bad sort. I think everything about Saturday Night Fever became cliché: the music, the clothes, the hairstyles.

But I think this film’s bad reputation is unfair. It is actually a fine film and much more serious than most people expect. This is really a story of upward mobility (or lack thereof), despair, and coping (in healthy and unhealthy ways).

How very different Karen Lynn Gorney’s career has been from John Travolta’s! I tried to find out what she has done since the film and the answer is: not too much. She done some TV (Law & Order, the Sopranos), some soap opera work, and lots of documentary style stuff commenting on Saturday Night Fever. This while John Travolta goes on to be one of the biggest male stars of recent years, who is still massively marketable today. She is at least as good in this film as he is, I think, both as a dancer and an actor.

Style-wise: This is a rare instance of the dress jumping out at me and taking me back to the film, rather than the film inspiring me to go out and look for the outfit. I was browsing the ModCloth website and this one literally said “Saturday Night Fever” to me. Then I took the movie poster to find the other details of this look.

Here is my interpretation:

Run-Down:Dress: Strawberry Shortcake Dress, ModCloth, $49.99
Pin:, White-Green Leaves Silk-Satin XL Flower Pin 5 inches by 5 inches, $37.50
Shoes: Michael Antonio Women's Shaw Sandal in Red, $27.47 via
Total: $114.96

And here is the Polyvore of it all together:

What I love about this look is its simplicity and thrift. It is three simple pieces: a dress, shoes and a rose pin and this is my cheapest look thus far. However, each piece speaks volumes and goes a long way, style-wise.

The dress is evocative of the 1970s: the red-orange color, the drapey part over the arm, etc. The short length of it keeps it modern looking. The price is great too, especially since this qualifies as a novelty dress. In the movie, Karen wears some red platform sandals with her dress. I wanted some bold red sandals with wide straps and I wanted something high heeled but not a dated looking platform. These red sandals from Endless worked just right. They reference the 1970s without being dated.

Lastly, Karen has a big white flower on one hip of her dress. I went to my favorite source for flower pins, Artemis Inc. They have a 5 inch by 5 inch flower pin in a white color that was gorgeous. It was $37.50 but since this is one of only 3 pieces, the price seemed worth it. The flower pin makes the outfit fit together and makes it something special. With it the look is too matchy-matchy and boring, even with the cute details on the dress.

I think this outfit is night out look. Date night, dinner with the girls or out to a club dancing are where I would wear something like this. But again, for a novelty look with limited wear-ability, the price is right. I think I could find ways to incorporate the flower pin and red sandals into other looks in my wardrobe but the dress would forever be a “going-out” novelty item. Do you agree?

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