Above: (Top) Today show host Barbara Walters advocates on behalf of the midi while a mini-skirted midi detractor and James Brady of Women's Wear Daily look on. (Bottom Left) A soap star issues her silent protest against the new skirt length sweeping the nation--and her wardrobe department (Bottom Reft) A woman in the formerly fashionable mini holds up a midi-length skirt in the mirror. (via Life, 1970)
1970 was a big year. Angela Davis was fired from UCLA for being a communist, bicycles were finally permitted to cross the Golden Gate Bridge, and the mini skirt was declared totally and utterly dead by the editors of Women's Wear Daily. In its place emerged what would become known as the 'midi' (or, as many would have it, 'the worst thing to happen to women's legs since the Birkenstock'). Despite the appearance of such anti-midi groups as GAMS (Girls/Guys Against More Skirt) and FADD (Fight Against Dictating Designers), designers and department stores pushed forward with the trend, secure (apparently) in the knowledge that desperately fashionable women would help them weather the storm of resentment. As Marshall Field President Charles W. Folds condescendingly put it in a 1970 Life interview, "There'll always be that strange woman, God bless her, who wants to be the first out of the hen coop with the latest oddity. She'll go to any length to be au courant and we make a lot of money because of her."
(Kinda makes you crave a Virginia Slim, don't it?)