Tag Archives: disco

Glitter Shine and Satin – Ottawa Fashion 1978 – Flash Cadilac

Glitter Shine and Satin – Ottawa Fashion 1978 – Flash Cadilac
The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
29 Nov 1978, Wed  •  Page 40

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 Photoread 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

One gal/model had to quit working for me the day after this came out in the Ottawa Journal as her family said she had disgraced the family by posing.

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

The Best Adult Brownie Recipe with a side of the Vice Squad — A Flash Cadilac Story

Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac — A Hello and Goodbye Hawaiian Short Story

Stayin’ Alive — Reconnecting With the Friends of Flash Cadilac

Flashy Memories of Pandora’s Box ETC — Oh Ottawa Behave!

Remembering Nash the Slash at The Black Swan Pub

or read other stories available in the book below on the Amazon’s of the World

Donna Summer Last Dance at 63


Posted by Linda Seccaspina on May 17, 2012 at 12:00pm

A little piece of my heart broke this morning as I just heard that Donna Summer has died at the age of 63. I saw her once back in the disco days in Ottawa and fell in love with her beauty and talent. So enamored of her I used a lot of her music in the first Disco fashion show ever done in the Ottawa/ Hull area at Saks Disco Bar in the 70’s.


Saks was filed to capacity that night and people were standing on beer cases to see the stage, yet when her music came on everyone swayed and sang together. There has not been a week that I have not played her music and until I die my tradition will not stop.

Donna’s real name was actually LaDonna Adrian Gaines born in December of 1948 just barely hours away from the New Year. Influenced by the great gospel singer Mahalia Jackson she began singing in the church choir.

In the 60’s Summer and her sister and cousin formed a musical group imitating her fave Motown groups comparing themselves to The Supremes. However, that was short lived and she joined a band called The Crow attempting to sound like Janis Joplin. In 1968 she tried to join the Broadway musical Hair and lost out to singer Melba Moore for the part of Sheila. When the musical went to Europe she got chosen and ended up in Germany for a few years doing German musicals

While singing as a backup for the 70’s band Three Dog Night she met music producers Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte. In 1975, Summer approached Moroder with an idea for a song she and Bellotte were working on for another singer. She had come up with the lyric “love to love you, baby.”

Although some radio stations refused to play it due to its suggestive style, “Love to Love You” found chart success in several European countries, and made the Top 5 in the UK and the rest is history.


The icon died today at the age of 63 and is understood to have battled lung cancer that she believed she contracted by inhaling toxic particles after the  9/11 attacks. Sources told TMZ she had attempted to keep the extent of her illness from fans and was recently trying to finish up her latest album in Florida at the time of her death. Summer was was a 5-time Grammy winner who shot to stardom in the ’70s and people like me bought and played hits like “Last Dance,” “Hot Stuff” and “Bad Girls” and will miss her greatly.

Summer is survived by her husband Bruce Sudano, their daughters Brooklyn and Amanda, as well as her daughter Mimi from her previous marriage

Donna, you may have died today but you will never be a “Last Dance” in my heart. I will meet you in MacArthur Park some day Donna, I promise.


Linda Seccaspina 1978

Thanks to Wanda Rudd! Wanda, you are a Disco historian!

Love and hugs to: Jacki Koupri Armstrong, Michael LaFleur, Dennis Charlebois and the late Disco Viva in Hull, Quebe.

Clothing design by Linda (Ducharme) Seccaspina from the late Flash Cadilac Clothing Co. in Ottawa Ontario. 

Photos of Disco Viva, Hull, Quebec  by DJ Don Tremblay

Buy Linda Secaspina’s Books— Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac and 5 others on Amazon or Amazon Canada.

Stayin’ Alive — Reconnecting With the Friends of Flash Cadilac



For years I never thought about my stores without sadness, so I completely blocked them out of my mind. Then Webb Dan, former early 90’s Algonquin student, and Facebook’s Lost Ottawa got me going again, and I finally wrote a book about Flash Cadilac. This month it seems like it has been old home week, reconnecting with some of my book’s characters like: Catherine Landry, Kris Ronzoni, and her mother, legendary Assunta, former Le Caprice owner–not to mention a host of other people. A month ago, Jim Goyette and Ron Beasley began to PM me on Facebook to come to their home for a party.

As most people know, since the stroke, I no longer drive anywhere out of a 10 mile boundary. But, I was going to try and drive to Kanata to see my friends. After Leslie Hodge died last week it became a personal mission, as her death affected me like no other. A reminder to us all never to put off reconnecting with people you love. As the day approached, I began to freak out, as Jim gave me directions, and after going to Google maps, I really began to sweat. Jackie Koupri was driving in from Kingston so she offered to pick me up. Whew!


Last time people saw me I was like maybe 30 something, and now I am like, ahh, almost ? But as they say, getting older ain’t bad especially when you consider the alternatives. I knew that Angelo was there with me in spirit as our oddness made him laugh, and just fascinated him some how. Not to mention the last time I had seen Jim and Ron Ange was in the middle trying to stop one of their legendary fights in our back yard. No matter what has gone on these two have been together for almost 40 years and they could write their own book. Gotta love them!


Some of the friends that gathered were the customers and staff that remembered the beginnings of the store on the second floor, not when it became a ground floor store. There was talk about Sarah Clothes, Paddlin Madlins, Ragtime, and Bagel Bagel. We spoke of fashion shows Flash Cadilac did at Sac’s Disco Bar and Reflections (Old Embassy Hotel) and life in general. No one talked about their aches pains and wrinkles, because at this moment in time they did not exist. Disco music constantly flowed by a cyber source and I remarked last time we had gotten together records were involved.


We also talked about sex and AIDS and how life changed after that. Who was doing what and with whom, and ceasing  the rumour that Michael LaFleur had not dropped dead of a brain aneurysm on Queen Street years ago and was indeed live and well in Vancouver. Michael did reply on Facebook that if you were going to die– Queen Street might be the perfect location. We talked about everyone: Wanda, Dennis C, and remembered that before Denis La Violette left us for the shining Broadway lights of NYC he was indeed a manager at McDonald’s in Ottawa.

Great food, fantastic people, and even though we had been apart for decades we remembered what we once and still do mean to each other– no matter what has passed down the river of life. I don’t think there was anyone there that had not been through some tragedy through the years, but no one really talked about it, because it didn’t really matter.As Ron lamented, none of us wears sz 26 pants anymore (did we ever?), but by God we are still alive, and life would always be La Vie en Rose. It was an afternoon that I will never ever forget. Thank you!

Flash Cadilac Book available on Amazon or Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street in Carleton Place


Apologies to those who pictures are not here as I am a notoriously bad photographer with my iPhone– Example Marion Godwin and her husband Bobby.


Thrift Store Shopping — Did Your Clothes Survive the Disco Inferno? – Zoomer



Thrift Store Shopping — Did Your Clothes Survive the Disco Inferno? – Zoomer.