Dec 18, 2006

The original dreamgirls

The Supremes

Diana and the girls brought glamor to girl groups.
Under the dictatorial watch of Berry Gordy, the legendary hitmaker and chief of Motown Records, the group polished its image, setting a standard for sophistication and dazzle that still holds up, even among all the overly handled, hyper-invented stars of today. To this day, it is rarely rivaled on the concert stage.

Gordy’s objective “was to transcend what every other previous girl group had been,” by conceiving a signature style for the group, said Howard Kramer, the curatorial director of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, which did a retrospective of Supremes costumes two years ago.

“Before the Supremes, the look was smart and simple, like the Shirelles; sassy and sexy like the Ronettes, or tomboyish and provocative like the Shangri-Las,” Mr. Kramer said. “But no one had ever done cocktail classy or set out to utilize certain visual signifiers that made them palatable to a white audience.”

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