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High Fashion

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A mixed (male/female) trio that was the brainchild of Guadeloupe-born producer Jacques Fred Petrus, who moved to Bologna with dreams of becoming the Gamble & Huff of Italy; (while that didn't occur), he did produce noted disco albums by the B.B.&Q. Band, Change, the Ritchie Family, High Fashion, and others. Petrus molded High Fashion (New Yorkers Alyson Williams, Me'lisa Morgan, and Eric McClinton) after Chic. Williams and Morgan first met in 1977 when both competed in Hal Jackson's Talented Teen International Scholarship Competition created for young women around the world 13 to 17 years old to display their intelligence and talent while networking with peers and competing for scholarships. High Fashion debuted on Capitol Records in 1982 with Feelin' Lucky. It spawned one little disco hit, "Feeling Lucky Lately." A second LP, Make Up Your Mind, dropped in 1983; sales were embarrassing, Morgan booked, and by 1985, High Fashion disbanded. A remake of Prince's "Do Me Baby" earned Morgan a number one R&B hit in 1985 for Capitol; she notched two more Top Ten R&B singles: "Do You Still Love Me?" and "If You Can Do It: I Can Too" before moving on to Arista Records in 1987 and hitting with a duet with Kashif ("Love Changes") that reached the number two spot (R&B). After Arista, she went with Pendulum Records. Williams, the daughter of bandleader/trumpeter Bobby Booker, joined the Affair after High Fashion; before High Fashion, she was a sought-after session vocalist and worked on a long list of projects. A Def Jam single in 1987 began a solo career that ran out of gas in the late '90s. On Def Jam, in addition to solo work, she paired with Chuck Stanley ("Make You Mine Tonight") and Oran "Juice" Jones on "How to Love Again." McClinton, whose masculine vocals accented High Fashion's sound, has been the least-active of the trio. He contributed backing vocals to Petrus' sessions, including the B.B.&Q. Band's She's a Woman LP. Jacques Fred Petrus met an untimely end: He was found weighted down in waters outside of Mexico City in 1986, the apparent victim of a mob hit. ~ Andrew Hamilton

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