- Diane Arbus
- National Junior Interstate Dance Champions of 1963, Yonkers, N. Y.
- Gelatin silver print
- 10 by 9 5/8 in. (25.4 by 24.4 cm.)
Diane Arbus (Aperture, 1972), unpaginated
Photography/Venice '79 (New York: Rizzoli, 1979), p. 337
Manfred Heiting, et al., At the Still Point: Photographs from the Manfred Heiting Collection in the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Volume II, Part 1 (Los Angeles and Amsterdam, 2009), p. 349
LIFE Library of Photography: Documentary Photography (New York, 1972), p. 209
Paraphernalia was opened in late 1965 by British entrepreneur Paul Young and clothing manufacturer Carl Rosen, and was based on the London boutiques of Mary Quant. Convinced that America's mod youth were being underserved, the partners created a unique shopping experience and design workshop with affordable psychedelic and Op-and-Pop-influenced clothing that was often disposable. Innovative young designers, including Betsey Johnson, Joel Schumacher (later a filmmaker), and Deanna Littell created limited-edition clothing and pioneered the use of new materials such as vinyl, Day-Glo gels, PVC, foil, and paper. Sleekly and minimally designed by Ulrich Franzen, Paraphernalia was more club than dress shop, with its blasting music, video displays, and stage for dancers. It was a necessary destination for anyone who considered themselves hip and fashion-conscious and who wanted to be part of the scene. With her interest in American subcultures—and her experience as a fashion photographer—Paraphernalia was just the sort of place to which Arbus would have been attracted.
The present owner of this photograph was one of the sales staff who embodied the Paraphernalia ideal. Slim, boyish, and above all, thoroughly au courant, they were essential to the store’s success. Playwright Wendy Wasserstein said that she thought that they ‘were the most sophisticated people in the world. I thought that just by working there, they were practically sleeping with Mick Jagger.’
Andy Warhol wrote, ‘Paraphernalia sometimes stayed open till two in the morning. You’d go in and try on things and ‘Get Off My Cloud’ would be playing—and you’d be buying the clothes in the same atmosphere you’d probably be wearing them in. And the sales people in the little boutiques were always so hip and relaxed, as if the stores were just another room in their apartment—they’d sit around, read magazines, watch TV, smoke dope’ (Popism: The Warhol Sixties, p. 116).
This signed and personally-inscribed print of Junior Interstate Ballroom Dance Champions is one of only a few extant lifetime prints of the image. In addition to the present print, only two other lifetime examples signed by the photographer are believed to have been offered at auction: in these rooms, in December 2014 and October 1990.