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Designer Spotlight: Stephen Burrows

Posted by Natali on Jul 16th 2014

Stephen Burrows is an American fashion icon whose work in the 1970s continues to influence designers today. Burrows made a name for himself in the 1970s as one of the few African American designers, paving the way for many to follow in his chic footsteps.

stephen burrows

Burrows got his start with the launch of Stephen Burrows’ World Boutique within the Henri Bendel store in 1970. He became known for his use of color blocking and fluid design of sexy separates that defined the 1970s woman. Though his career has had its ups and downs, his superb design concepts have been constant over the years.

In his most iconic work, Burrows was able to capture both a comfortable and sexy look with his clinging jersey dresses. He embodied 1970s design with his Native American themes, bold color schemes, use of jersey material with exposed seams, and the nonchalant appearance of his puckered lettuce edging. This period of fashion echoed the youthful culture of the era and the desire to return to the basics.

Stephen Burrows' collection for Henri Bendel in Central Park (1970)

Stephen Burrows’ collection for Henri Bendel in Central Park (1970)

After Henri Bendel was sold in 1982, it seemed that Burrows’ career was over. But, after a twenty year hiatus, Burrows made one of the biggest fashion comebacks with a revitalized Bendel boutique and subsequent fashion shows. The resilience of Burrows original design concepts was noted by The New York Times in 2013 with the fact that “every decade or so Mr. Burrows has a moment”.Stephen Burrows Gray Jersey Dress

To celebrate the superb design work of Stephen Burrows, Back In Style features a couple of his dresses, which highlight the hight of his career. A perfect example of Burrows in his prime is this Vintage 1970s Stephen Burrows Gray Jersey Dress. The jersey drapes beautifully and creates a sophisticated and sexy silhouette. The unique silvery gray color makes this dress an elegant option for your next formal affair. When wearing this dress, keep accessories minimal to avoid detracting from the distinctive 10-06draping of the front and back.

For a more summery look, try this Stephen Burrows Coral Jersey Dress with Draping Back, also from the 1970s. The bold color, the V neckline, and wide shoulders make it the ultimate dress for understated elegance. The unexpected back vent reveals the fun of the design concepts of this time period. The dress is fitted through the body with more room for movement below the hips, so feel free to dance the night away in this vintage Stephen Burrows piece.

Be sure to check out these fabulous, vintage dresses at!

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