That New York Look (circa 1969)


Vernon Merritt III, [Masked woman in lamé top and bell-bottom pants attracts attention from men on the street while grabbing lunch at a stand on Seventh Avenue, New York], 1969


Vernon Merritt III, [Woman in short dress talking with man in animal print outfit, New York], 1969


Vernon Merritt III, [Woman with long hair wearing mini skirt, lace top, and sandals, walking up street, New York], 1969

Forty-year-old fashion! Vernon Merritt III captured New York’s summer fashions for the August 22, 1969 issue of Life:

New York City is a costume party for the young this summer, a party that is taking place outdoors, on the streets, and in the parks. Long hair, long legs. The party is not always elegant, but it is completely alive. It isn’t really hard to tell the boys from the girls, even when they are both in bell-bottoms, and of course most boys don’t put shoe polish on their eyes. All are wearing what they want to wear, from the shortest skirts to the longest skins. How they look depends partly on where they go. The ferry is different from a Seventh Avenue lunch stand—and very different from Central Park. The look is not what New York calls sophisticated, but even so, it catches the eye. Many of the girls seem to get their kicks with makeup. They wear it anywhere—absolutely anywhere. The important thing is to express yourself. Depending on your talents you can do it with a 25-key soprano Melodica or a long cool stare. You choose. The New York look is a daily celebration of the self.

About erinbarnett

Director of Exhibitions and Collections at the International Center of Photography, New York
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