Wednesday, November 29, 1978 Page 41– By Rose Simpson Journal Reporter ( see info about Rose below)
Photograph, Jan Marshall, 24, a designer at Flash Cadilac, models purple slouch pants, made from a rubbery, shiny material that looks like leather, but Is a lot cooler. Klm Green, 18, shows off a shimmering block low-cut top with slouch pants. The high heels are a must..Linda in bottom corner photo.
Below, Nancy Cambareri, 19, a Flash salesgirl, models the Wonder Woman look. And on her right, Karen Cameron, 18, wears a tuxedo. Red vinyl corsets are big sellers this year. So are 10-karat gold false fingernails, and leopard-print pants. Tuxedos for women and zoot suits are THE Items on the New York dance floors, but Ottawa women aren’t exactly lining up to be the first on their blocks to own them.
Strippers, secretaries and disco queens looking for the unusual can usually find it at Flash Cadilac above Le Chateau on Rideau Street. There are clothes which range from the exotic to the erotic. Customers may pick up a sex aid while picking out a formal. And you can bet your silk pyjamas you won’t find your satin slit-up-to-the-waistline skirt anywhere else in town.
Flash’s clothes are made in the backroom by 15 seamstresses working under the eye of owner Linda Seccaspina.. Linda is Flash Cadilac. The 28-year-old designer who hails from Quebec’s Eastern townships dresses in the most outrageous fashions. She colors her hair (calls it Crazy Color) in the colors of the rainbow. She has a business that is growing so rapidly she says she can’t make clothes fast enough.
Outrageous fashions popular in conservative Ottawa? “Oh, I think New York is much more conservative than Ottawa,” she insists. “When I was in New York last time, I had purple hair. I wasn’t wearing anything too out of the ordinary satin running shoes, you know. But I couldn’t get a cab driver to pick me up. They all just stopped and looked, locked their doors and drove away. “They don’t do that in Ottawa.”
Linda’s father’s reaction to her mode of dress was similar to that of the New York cabbies. She says she has always dressed “different. As a dress designer, she began with more conservative firms but says she felt restricted. When she and partner Angelo Seccaspina opened Flash Cadilac, she began to cut it her own way. She has never looked back. She is now designing clothes for stores in other Canadian cities, but she maintains she wants the business to stay small.
She likes the intimacy she used to have with her old customers. She knew them all by. name when Flash Cadilac first opened its doors two years ago. “But you can’t just sell to a select group. You have to sell it to Joe Q. Public. Now I go out into the store and I don’t know anybody.” “It’s really kind of sad.”
Linda and Angelo have opened another store across the street called Flaming Groovies, which caters to a larger public. But she treats the two stores differently. “This one is my baby. Sometimes Angelo says ‘let’s send some clothes over to Flaming Groovies. I say no. I’m very possessive. I guess it’s because this is where it all started.”
Linda Knight Seccaspina- Flaming Groovies 1970s Rideau Street- Flash Cadilac was across the street Sheila Wallet Needham Photo— read The Stack Perm or the Disco Wedge ? 1970s Hair Fashion
Linda is planning to give Flaming Groovies a chance—for Christmas, Linda is designing a section of clothes all in emerald green to celebrate the opening of the movie The Wiz. She says she got the idea after seeing the movie previews, one scene Shows the characters , ; living In the Emerald City decked out in green. A large section of Flash Cadilac features lingerie In all shapes and sizes. Most of the underwear is as sheer as Saran Wrap. Linda says most of the strippers and dancers in town frequent her store because “we have a much bigger selection than most other places.” Much of it is brought from larger cities.
Linda is considering making her own exotic lingerie for the dancers because “even though we have the best selection, there needs to be more to choose from.”The underwear is bought by as many secretaries as dancers”, she says.
Corsets and garter belts are very popular with the buying public. “A girl comes here, you know, if she wants to buy a little something to surprise her husband with.” Linda attributes her success to the popularity of disco and disco dress.’ Disco Is non-verbal and outrageous. It is glitter and shine and satin. It is loose, and free-flowing with lots and lots of material. Flash Cadilac clothes have all those free-flowing qualities.
Linda says her gay customers have also helped her business, “They’re always the first to get in on a good thing,” she says.’They were the first with disco, and they were our first customers.”
Linda’s predictions for the winter —Black. Black and glitter is very big. Shiny, gold is definitely but in the states tuxedos are very popular; but the ones I have aren’t selling very well. “Slouch pants (pants baggy around the waist and tight at the bottom) are very big, too. Any dresses or shirts with lots and lots of material.
CBC Archives has just released an old documentary about Disco from 1978? that my good friend Jacki Alexandra sent me that not only worked for me and is a BFF.It’s all in french but if you were into Disco Viva etc you need to watch this. If you remember my store Flash Cadilac on Rideau Street in Ottawa at 15:28 until 21:00 you can see the store and hear me interviewed.. I had purple hair in those days.. dark purple so thats why its so dark…Enjoy
I was not happy having to open Flaming Groovies next to LUNA on Rideau Street. I had enough work with one store and I knew having two close together would not help. But Angelo insisted.
I wore one of the cowl tops in the photo to the local gay bar The Coral Reef which used to be under the Rideau Street parking lot on Nicholas. Someone said, ‘Who is that new drag queen?” I was actually honoured as my make up must have been done right. LOLOL
What happened to Ottawa journalist Rose Simpson?
The article was written by Rose Simpson in her Ottawa Journal days… Rose Simpson with her new book —BUY HERE click
or read her blog click