Janis was a jangling, pulsating pastiche of color, texture, and sound. For her stage persona ("Janis Joplin in a box," she called it), she created an image that defined her every bit as well as her gravel-voiced shrieks. As her fame increased, so did the glitz factor. She moved from corduroy to cut-velvet granny dresses to the beaded, bangled, befeathered look which garbed Janis Joplin, superstar.
Shopping in friends' closets and Goodwill stores evolved into custom-made costumes and fur coats. You already know how she looked. Here is what she wrote our family about her outward metamorphosis from beatnik to high priestess of rock (all excerpted from my book "Love, Janis")."I have a new pair of wide-wale corduroy hip-hugger pants which I wear w/borrowed boots. Look very in. On stage, I still wear my black & gold spangley blouse w/either a black skirt & high boots or w/black Levi's & sandals. I want to get something out of gold lame. Very simple but real show biz looking. I want audiences to look at me as a real performer, whereas now the look is 'just-one-of-us-who-stepped-on-stage." August 1966
"And a friend of mine gave me a dress & cape to wear for the occasion-a wine-colored velvet, from a Goodwill store, but beautiful Queen Anne kind of sleeves & a very low & broad neckline. Really fantastic."
August 1966 "FASHION NEWS: I went out & bought myself a $35 pair of boots. Oh they are so groovey!! They're old-fashioned in their style-tight w/buttons up the front. Black. FANTASTIC! When I get back, I'm going to rent a sewing machine & make myself some sort of beautiful/outlandish dress to go w/them." September 1966
"Yes, folks, it's me wearing a sequined cape, thousands of strings of beads & topless. But it barely shows because of the beads. Very dramatic photograph & I look really beautiful!! I'm thrilled!!! I can be Haight-Ashbury's first pin-up." April 1967
"I have an old lace curtain-very pretty that I want to use for sleeves & make some sort of simple dress to go w/them." March 1967
"One of the merchants on Haight St. has given all of us free clothes (I got a beautiful blue leather skirt) just because 1) she really digs us & 2) she thinks we're going to make it & it'll be good publicity." April 1967
"I'm having a few clothes made for me now-had a beautiful dress made out of a madras bed spread & now she's working on one of green crepe with a very low V neckline. I've been making things out of leather lately. Made a beautiful blue & green Garbo hat & pair of green shoes." April 1967"She's working on something now to end all. Some Indian material, soft silk chiffon, floral blues, greens and purples covered w/a gold thread sewn on in intricate floral patterns-cost me $18 a yd., but it'll be beautiful-pants very full at bottom, see-through belled very full at wrist sleeves all lined in purple w/gold piping. Just gorgeous." 1968