San Diego Hysterical Society

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San Diego Fashion Industry Exposed

by Amy Littlefield

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San Diego fashion houses had secured their places in international fashion circles by never doing anything different. Being no threat to the industry, San Diego designers were welcome everywhere. This cozy relationship ended in 1958.

Model puts on brave front in a crowd of men
- Frontless Suit Sticks Out in San Diego's Downtown -

Designer Ral Cortez, founder of the House O' Cortez, turned San Diego's fashion industry around 180 degrees with his introduction of the "180 " line of clothes.

In a television interview, Ral said that he was "…sick and tired of backless this and backless that. It was time to look at things from a different side." Ral developed the Frontless Look.

For the next four seasons San Diego fashion houses turned out frontless dresses, suits and jackets. The summer sensation was the frontless swim suit. In June it was the frontless wedding gown. The trend continued well into San Diego's warm winter months with frontless sweaters, but the rest of the nation by then had grown cold and blas to the style.


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