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They Made Music; They Made Qiana

May 08, 1997|MICHAEL QUINTANILLA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Hi. Remember me, the disco boy who boogie-oogie-oogied, rocked your boat and shook his groove thing some years ago on these very pages?

Well, here I go again, flaunting the scars of my 20-year-old polyester burns. (Hey, fashion hurts.) Only this time I come to you on the heels of the Bee Gees' induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Yes, on Tuesday the brothers Gibb--Barry and twins Robin and Maurice--and their pulsating music were honored in Cleveland. But today, we're here to celebrate their fashion legacy: big hair, moussed and sprayed into a helmet; clothes so slick and tight that the only place for perspiration to go was south: down our legs and into our platform shoes; gold chains with cupcake-size dangling medallions.

In heebie-jeebie Bee Gee appreciation, I command us all to pinch our noses and in a falsetto repeat: "In my John Travolta white-vested suit and black Qiana shirt, I flex my knees and point to my creator in gratitude."

Let the mirrored ball spin. Yes, the Bee Gees were behemoths. I have no "Shame, Shame, Shame" in saying I was--still am--a fan. I know there are "More, More, More" of you with the fervor for the "Saturday Night Fever" look.

The Bee Gees gave us more than just Grammy-winning music. For sure, their dance tunes spearheaded the disco craze of the 1970s. We battled for dance spots on lighted floors, escaped into the hot samba-frenzied music to rejoice in another day of "Ah, ah, ah, ah, Stayin' Alive, Stayin' Alive."

But, being the clotheshorse that I was--er, still am--the Bee Gees, in their Mr. Clean outfits--turtlenecks, jumpsuits, unbuttoned-to-the-navel petroleum-based shirts with collars rivaling the wingspan of a 747--were my fashion icons.

"Bee Gee Orlando" they called me, acknowledging the Tony in me. I splashed on Aramis, strutted in floral body shirts, flared gabardine pants and 3-inch-high, zippered-to-the-shins platforms that my friends affectionately nicknamed "spark plugs."

In the man-made fog, I danced with my steady partner Elsa, in her favorite magenta disco pants and matching Danskin top. (Her only accessory was the hairbrush she carried everywhere.) We liked to watch others parading their variations on disco style as they were--how shall we say--getting down. The ladies in swirling faux silk dresses, guys in impeccable poly pants that showed off every tendon and wreaked havoc with one's equipment.

The music made you want to dress the part. Just be grateful that my editor (no doubt a closeted discoid herself) wanted me to keep this testimonial short. Or I'd expose you all. I have names. I have phone numbers. I have photos.

And that's no "Jive Talkin'."

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