Legs & Co. – Suspicion

Top of the Pops, 20 January 1977: Legs & Co. dance to Elvis Presley’s Suspicion.

What’s going on here? Legs & Co. covered up in big film-noir style trenchcoats and fedoras? The song’s called “Suspicion” so they’re playing suspicious private detectives, I suppose.

But wait: YMG’s third rule of TV choreography states:

“Whenever dancers first appear enveloped in large capes or overcoats: before the song has past the half-way mark, that big covering apparel will be discarded to reveal much smaller outfits underneath.”

…and so it comes to pass: the Philip Marlowe outfits are soon cast aside to reveal, er, em…

One of the problems I have with blogging regularly about dance routines is my staggering ignorance of the vocabulary of show business in general and the world of professional dance in particular. These oufits are a case in point: one piece, figure-hugging strapless costumes, they are an absolute classic mainstay of the performing arts since victorian times: worn by circus acrobats, magician’s glamorous assistants, chorus girls, cigarette girls in those films noir I was talking about earlier; even the women at wrestling matches holding up the numbers used to wear them. It beggars belief that there would be no industry jargon term for this ubiquitous item.

I’ve used “armless, strapless leotard” in the past. Too clumsy. I’ve also described them with the French word maillot, which is my best stab at it so far: indeed old Jules Léotard called his original outfit a maillot. But the most common usage of this word in English is for a woman’s one-piece bathing costume. And these lovely maroon velvet creations that Legs & Co. are wearing are certainly not for swimming in. Especially not accompanied by sheer black tights and heels.

So I’m putting out a call: can anyone with some showbiz savvy tell me what the heck I should be calling these gorgeous garments?

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