My Name Is Barbra in Emeric Partos

Barbra Streisand wore this grey sheath dress while singing “I Got Plenty Of Nothin’ ” in “My Name Is Barbra” (broadcast on April 28th, 1965). Regarding the special, Barbra recalled “I remember the experience of making this show as one of the most joyful of my career. That is until it came time to watch it. I’ll never forget, I was in Funny Girl on Broadway at the time and the whole cast had crammed into my dressing room to watch the first 15 minutes during intermission. Finally the big moment came, nine o’ clock, but there was no singing, there was no picture, I couldn’t believe it! My first television special and the engineer forgot to push the button to start the show. When it finally did come on it was in the middle of a sentence.” That same night, Bergdorf’s owners Andrew and Nena Goodman held a buffet supper in their apt over the Fifth Avenue store. TV’s were installed all around the 22 room penthouse for the occasion. Dinner was served when Barbra arrived from the theatre at midnight. 

Costumes for the Bergdorf Goodman portion of the special were designed by Emeric Partos (1905-1975), with hats by Halston. Barbra chose Partos for this sequence since she had been incredibly impressed by his designs after attending a show of his fur collection on Sept 28th, 1964.

The New York Times reported that “Barbra Streisand, the singer, loved the fur breeches. and long mink coat” Partos is credited with innovations to the fur industry like knitting with strips of fur, dying fur, and using pelts from unusual animals. The scenes at Bergdorf’s were filmed on March 21, 1965, since Sunday was Barbra’s day off from Funny Girl on Broadway. While filming that Sunday, Streisand remembered the first time she visited Manhattan, when she was 14. She had walked into Bergdorf’s wearing a trench coat. ”Everyone looked funny at me,” she recalled. Partos sense of theatre helped him enormously when working on this production. His creations photographed beautifully on Barbra and stand the test of time. 

This simple sheath dress was worn under a large fur coat and revealed during the song sequence. It was made from a cotton/poly/knit blend and originally had black fur trim, which was removed at some point before the dress went to auction. The front of the dress features a major signature which was popular in 1930’s fashion-an upside down V shape, creating an empire waist and two darts at the bust. There is a flounce hem, high jewel neck with tank straps which extend into a scoop open back. The dress sold at auction in 2004 for $1,140.00 USD. 

“My Name Is Barbra” clip-1965