Aside from the Continental Mark coupes (MkII thru MkV), Lincolns had only come in one size after WW2, and when Cadillac launched the “newer, smaller” Seville in 1975, it had to respond. The hastily-created #Lincoln Versailles, heavily (and obviously) based on the Ford Granada/Mercury Monarch, didn’t do to well, and Lincoln was caught out again in late 1979 when Cadillac replaced the original Seville with the dramatic “Bustleback” fwd second generation. With it’s stylistic origins supposedly in a Hooper-bodied 1950s Rolls, the sloping rear of the Seville made for poor cargo room, but got lots of attention. Lincoln dropped the slow-selling Versailles in 1980 and set about designing another “small” Lincoln to battle the Seville, but this time with less obvious connections to Ford and Mercury sedans. The result was the 1982 Lincoln #Continental - a confusing choice as the name was concurrently applied to the larger Continental MKVI sedan and coupe. The new “little” Lincoln rode Ford’s ubiquitous rwd #Fox platform, but aside from the relatively narrow width of the car - the narrowest and smallest Lincoln ever made at that time - the connection was not cosmetically obvious. #Ford aped the sloping “bustleback” of the Seville (and the contemporary Chrysler Imperial) directly, but of the three the Lincoln had the most room and was the most practical. But the #Bustleback came a bit too late - #Neoclassic touches were en vogue in the late 70s, but gave way to the “aero look” in the 80s. Even after a facelift to give it a more aerodynamic front, the little Conti struggled to sell, only hitting 30,000 units a year once, in 1984. The 302 V8 was standard, but Lincoln’s first V6, a rarely ordered 3.8, was offered in 1982 as a no-cost option, and later, there was a Diesel (a BMW unit shared with the 524TD) option for ’84-’85. Aside from the troublesome air suspension, the Fox Continentals were durable and comfy, and all the performance parts for Fox Mustangs could be applied. The Bustle gave way to a lozenge-shaped fwd version for 1988.
We were saddened to hear of the passing of couturier Azzedine Alaïa over the weekend. A genius in womenswear, Alaïa first got his start in 1957, working for big fashion houses in Paris such as Dior, Guy LaRoche, and Thierry Mugler, until he opened his first atelier in the late '70s. In 1980 he showed his very first ready-to-wear collection - it was celebrated throughout the fashion industry and helped bring attention to his name. His rise to fame, however, did not change his approach to fashion or his work ethic. Alaïa rarely participated in the industry's scheduled fashion weeks, but rather hosted shows on his own schedule, usually with hardly any publicity involved. He preferred to take his time when designing clothing, only revealing his work when he felt it was ready. He did not follow trends, and only cared about designing beautiful clothing that was timeless, empowering, and a celebration of women's bodies.
This morning in the FSC, a 1980s Azzedine Alaïa shirtwaist dress. The real interest in this dress comes from the back - folds and tucks in the bottom half allow for volume, and combined with the cinched waist, give the back a bustle-like appearance.