On the occasion of the 75th Anniversary of the opening of L.A.'s grand Union Station, we bring you a psychedelic flashback from the building's 31st year, when the editors of The Los Angeles Times' "Home" section sent a trio of Boho-fabulous models (and a puppy) to the Station for a holiday pictorial entitled
And by all accounts, these pretty youngsters do. Languid in double-knit, tweed and suede, they lounge against the cool, sound-baffling wall panels (made, they say, of corn) and in the broad brown armchairs, and caper trackside on a luggage cart.
Dresses by Alvin Duskin from Bullock's Wilshire. Menswear from Joseph Magnin. Photos: Jean Pagliuso. Copy by Alan Cartnal, whose California Crazy didn't "play" in New York, but what does New York know of the West? Listen:
"Give an elegant lady a train station and she knows what to do with it. Anna Karenina knew. Carole Lombard knew. Eva Marie Saint knew. And in more recent times, Barbra Streisand knew. Train stations have class. And thanks to the return to popularity of all aspects of the American panorama, the young have rediscovered the style of Union Station. It's not just a "Brief Encounter"–but the current craze for old movies with ultra-romantic themes leads us back to where the romance started–in a train station. We may be living in a city on four wheels, and in an era when a trip to the airport can end up an international incident, but at the Union Station you encounter a world away from protest. Architectural students aside, the eclectic mixture of styles in the station, the laziness of the Mission architecture, the luxury of the lavishly upholstered chairs, the musical comedy "big number" proportions of the monumental hallways, the graphics of a streamlined "pardon me boys" type of world, recall a time that has been replaced by Autopia. And the people of Union Station. The red caps. The ticket agents. The women who still remember it all and who sit elegantly, their elbows propped "just so" on the warm wood of the arms of their chairs, heads tilted back, cigarettes lighted, the smoke drifting to the art deco ceilings. It all seems like something out of the stylized illustrations in Harper's Bazaar and Vogue of the '30s–it is. And with every designer heralding a return to that style, Union Station seems more fashionably romantic and ready for a renaissance than ever. You'll love it because it seems to have been done out of love. Out of times when presidential candidates toured the country and paused at every "whistle stop." When peroxided blonde movie stars crossed the country, inviting reporters to a special news conference about the 20th Century Limited. Of the boys returning from World War II meeting families and sweethearts at the Union Station. Strangely enough, in a city which is supposed not to have history, Union Station has history. And it makes it as warm as its almost-Rembrandt lighting, with the sun sifting through its rococo windows playing games that just don't happen with utilitarian design. It's a pre-buttoned-down Los Angeles. And to those who want a taste of history–the young–a meeting place with times gone by. A mood that is just right for fashion tastes that remember what Richard Avedon did for Audrey Hepburn with just a little steam from an El Capitan. People on the screen who have had anything to do with trains have enjoyed themselves. They didn't need a message, because they had a medium. The Union Station is the ultimate ambience for a fashion age of "anything goes"–the heralding of a neo-romantic feeling for a return to the style of the '30s."
What's so marvelous about this pictorial is that it could have been shot last week. Timeless then, as now, as on the day it was dedicated, it is the last of the great American train stations, and the best part of Los Angeles. Happy anniversary, baby. Please don't ever change.
Scroll down for bonus holiday gift ads from this Christmas 1970 edition.