Illustrated by Zelda G
Scanned from Vogue, May 1974.
Illustrated by Zelda G
Scanned from Vogue, May 1974.
A kebaya is the traditional organdie blouse which Malay and Indonesian women wear over their sarong. It is lavishly embroidered and trimmed with lace. No two are alike. Now available here, selling from £12.50 for plainer ones to £30 for the most elaborate, they provide summer’s latest exotic look. Worn with old jeans or peasanty skirts, pinned together with antique clasps, the kebaya is the sexiest thing in town.
Model is Uschi Obermaier.
Report by Michael Roberts.
Photographed by Willie Christie.
Scanned from The Sunday Times Magazine, July 7th 1974.
“When you wear fashion, it’s better to know what it’s made with.”
Illustrator unknown (but I love the very visible pen marks, it’s just glorious).
Scanned from Mademoiselle Âge Tendre, June 1972.
If you follow me on Instagram, you will already have read my tribute to the amazing John Bates, who died on the 5th of June aged 83. Here I have collated a few images of his work designing costumes for Diana Rigg as Emma Peel in her first season in The Avengers, and an accompanying article from Woman’s Mirror, October 1965. I have also updated an earlier post with clearer scans from Woman’s Mirror, May 1966 of a dress which wasn’t officially Avengerswear but being offered as a pattern for readers with a cover photo of Diana in the dress.
“WHEN people say, ‘Oh, she’s the new Avengers girl’ I know that’s not all I am,” says 27-year-old Diana Rigg. “I had a career in the theatre before this and I know I can always go back to it. I hate talking about The Avengers and what I’m like in it and how I differ from Honor Blackman. I would much rather people drew their own conclusions.
“I dread the prospect of all the attachments to being famous. I work here at the studios from seven in the morning until six at night and I feel that should be enough. The thought of being a public personality, opening shops, and not being able to answer the door in my curlers, horrifies me.”
But being the Avengers girl has its advantages. Not the least of them being the prospect of wearing a sizz-ling new wardrobe, designed specially for the series by John Bates of Jean Varon.
“John’s been absolutely smashing,” says Diana. “Like most actresses, I spend a lot of time studying myself for the stage, and so off-stage I tend to the casual. I really have no set ideas about clothes. First of all, John studied my figure, discovered my faults, used them, and made a virtue out of them.
“He’s emphasised my broad shoulders with cutaway necklines. He’s drawn attention to my big hips with hipsters and huge broad belts. I think that this is a far more realistic attitude than designing for some impossible ideal model figure.
“There’s a kind of swinginess about John’s clothes which really makes me move in a special kind of way. And they’re all interchangeable. In different episodes there will be different permutations of the same clothes and ideally, of course, this is just how a woman’s wardrobe should be.
In deference to the American market, which still thinks that leather is the sexiest thing out, Diana has one leather fighting suit. “Of course, leather isn’t sexy at all,” she says, “It’s far too rigid. My other fighting suit is in black, clingy jersey which is far sexier.”
Clingy jersey fighting suits are all very well, but they have to stand up to pretty stiff competition in the shape of some snazzy interchangeables.
In this week’s instalment set in a gloomy Scottish castle, Diana will wear ice-blue lace ensemble with ankle boots, hipster trousers, bare midriff, bra top and modesty jacket. For exploring dungeon and torture chambers, flesh lace catsuit under white chiffon negligee.
There’s no doubt about it. If the clothes are anything to go by, this ABC series of The Avengers is certainly living up to the boast of its associate producer . . “It’s still a kinky show.”
(This post was originally from 2011. I have updated it with better quality scans.)
John Bates loves short skirts, money, false eyelashes and Cilla Black. Hates English bras, big busts and any sort of foundation garment.
“Women are funny,” he says. “They heave their breasts up and out with tight padded bras and by the time they’ve finished squeezing everything in or pushing it out, they can look quite terrifying when they take their clothes off. Bras should just lightly cup the breast and tights are better than any girdle. Even the lightest suspender belt marks the skin. It’s muscles that matter – women ought to learn to use them properly.”
John, who is 29, created fashion dynamite with his sizzling clothes for Diana Rigg in The Avengers. He believes that skirts are going to get even shorter and that everyone under 40 should be pinning up hems. He says clothes look best on slim girls, but furnishes his flat with curvaceous statues and pictures of rotund Rubenesque beauties. He makes a lot of his own clothes, thinks that hipsters suit both sexes and most sizes, and always wears them himself. He’s now designing shoes, stockings and planning his new collection as well as designing clothes for men.
“And I always design something special for my mother at Christmas. Last year she set her heart on an Avenger op art fur coat. She’s well over 60 and I said, ‘Honestly love, it won’t suit you,’ but she said, ‘What’s good enough for Diana Rigg is good enough for me.’
“Usually I don’t listen to anybody. I’ve had my years of being told what to do. Now I don’t accept advice from anybody.”
Born in Newcastle, the son of a miner, John started at the bottom. “I’m no art school protégé. I picked up pins, embroidered, did the cleaning and had every rotten job that was going flung at me. I came to London because it’s the only place to work in the rag trade. I got on the train with a Newcastle accent and when I got off at London I’d lost it. I spoke very slowly for a long time, but it’s really the only way to do it.”
John Bates and model photogrphed by John Carter.
Diana Rigg cover photographed by Don Silverstein.
Scanned from Woman’s Mirror, 28th May 1966.
And joy! The magazine’s owner never sent off for the dress (which is sad), but this means that the form is still in tact (which is rather fabulous). Now where’s that time-travelling postbox I keep requesting?
A holiday necessity—to entice your gigolo, or simply preserve decency on the terrace for lunchtime drinks — is a cover-up. We’ve looked around, found the nicest ones in town and had them sketched here by Caroline Smith. Some you tie Polynesian style (remember Blue Lagoon?) round you; others you lie on, or in; others are like the simplest dress slipped over your head to demurely cover you up (don’t shock the curé) for church-seeing.
1 Du-Du at 95 Parkway, NW1 are in for a sell-out this summer with their ‘Kangas’. Kangas, for the uninformed, are long pieces of cotton in a huge variety of colours and patterns. They come from Africa and act like a sarong ; they cost about £3 and pack to the site of a handkerchief. 2 Foale & Tuffin‘s new swimsuit will take you right back to Nanny and the sand-pit. White and orange spotted seersucker with a shirred bodice and bloomers ; £7.50, from Countdown, 137 Kings Rd, SW3; Lucienne Phillips, 09 Knightsbridge, SW1. Proving that the cottage industry is thriving, Christopher Morris and his wife Lera, with a friend, Hazel McKenzie, recently opened Habari at 39 Sussex Place, W2. Christopher designs all the clothes, while Lera and Hazel dye the fabric and screen-print it into luscious patterns. They also sell things like the small basket shown below. It’s in brown and cream string and really pretty; £4.25. The dress has a hessian bodice and a low back (or front —depending on how you wear it) with a short voile skirt: £18-50. Peeping out from under the dress on the extreme right of this page you can see their leather sandal, shaped like a trapezium ; £4. 4 Le Bistingo Boutique at 93 Kings Rd, SW3, have gone to town on the Piz Buin collection of swimwear. Its made of polyester fabric —see-through and also tan-through. The designs are rather Tahitian with bright colours and bold flower prints. There are sarong skirts to match the bikinis and make you more respectable. If these still aren’t enough, the bikinis do also come in a less revealing material. The bikini is £7.80, the skirt £10.90. Le Bistingo have also latched on to another idea … if you find that by some strange quirk of fate you need a different sized bikini top and bottom, ‘Huit’ ) now make them separately up to 38″ bust ; £5.50 the set at Le Bistino. 5 Equinox in Antiquarius (135 Kings Rd, SW3) is owned by David Scott and James Goldsack who have got together a fantastic conglomeration of stock from all over the world. It’s a haven for all Indian enthusiasts, as there’s a jolly collection of Navajo Indian carpets and jewellery. You can also buy Spanish crockery which is very, very ‘earthy’ looking, or if you prefer to sit on a prayer mat and sip your tea out of a little Chinese bowl, then Equinox can cater for both these needs as well. So as not to stray too far away from the point of this month’s Shopping B, they also do a very nice line in beach cover-ups ; this one is Mexican and hand-embroidered on cotton, £20. 6 Guaranteed to keep off sunstroke : pretty red straw hat with tanan ribbon ; by Buckle Under about f6.50; from Harrods, Knightsbridge and Darlings, Bath. 7 Essential beach bag to hoard biros and postcards — in canvas, comes in various colours (this one is green). £4.95, Escalade, 187 Brompton Rd, SW3. 8 If you like long skirts and dresses beautifully embroidered, and soft cheesecloth skirts with appliqués, then the place to go is Forbidden Fruit at 352 Kings Rd, SW3. We chose a long cheesecloth skirt with dark brown embroidery around the hem and a matching shirt with shirring round the waist and neckline. Very soft and feminine; sold together, £15.
Illustrated by Caroline Smith.
Scanned from Harpers and Queen, July 1972.
You may hate to be tied down by your possessions, but naturally you get attached to them. For a more flexible life-style, learn from Dominique Depalle and choose furnishing that moves where she does.
If you’ve spent longer in France than a weekend, you’ve probably noticed that most French girls have a greater sense of style by the time they are twenty than the rest of us will ever acquire. Instead of always trying to beat those clever ladies in the style stakes—and not quite succeeding — we should swallow our English pride and learn from them. Take Parisian Dominique Depalle, for instance, who has cunningly transformed a drab studio flat—the equivalent of a big-city bedsit or rented flat in a dingy Victorian house—into a warm, feminine home that looks as though it might have cost a fortune, but didn’t, thanks to Dominique’s experience as an antique dealer. She has a sharp eye for spotting bargains in junk. Dominique recently gave up her job in advertising to turn her hobby—collecting antiques—into a full-time occupation. Like Dominique, most girls in their late teens and twenties expect to swop flats, jobs, even cities, several times. Dominique decorates on the sensible principle that if she’s going to move on, she should be able to take all her favourite possessions with her when she goes. There’s not a fitted carpet, built-in cupboard or roll of wallpaper in the place. Dominique chooses every item with infinite care because she knows that each object will last a lifetime… like the Victorian bath, which could easily be transported with the help of a friendly lorry driver, and replumbed in another flat ; the huge tiger wall-hanging, not as practical as tiles, maybe, but then you can’t start taking down the tiles every time you have an altercation with your landlord. A bundle of small objects—baskets, ornaments and framed photographs—will pack easily into a suitcase. And by keeping walls plain wherever she goes, Dominique can be certain that her intricate wall-hangings, pictures and flowery bed-coverings will blend with every setting. Dominique dreams of eventually having a proper house—with a staircase, a loft and a cellar for apples and wine. Meanwhile she longs for adventure in her life and is thinking of going to live in Africa for a few years. If you, like Dominique, get itchy feet after more than a few months in the same place—but still want somewhere pretty to come home to —remember that your possessions should be as mobile as you are.
Photographed by Michael Boys.
Scanned from Cosmopolitan, July 1977.
A double whammy of surrealist collage and his trademark hand-tinting from the wonderful Mr Wedge, this image accompanied an article about hand and nail care.
Photographed by James Wedge.
Scanned from 19 Magazine, April 1972.
Scanned from Cosmopolitan, April 1979.
As promised, the follow up to yesterday’s post featuring a stunning image of all the prizes which were available in this competition. A satin Biba lounging outfit, Janet Reger underwear and a dozen bottles of Laurent Perrier champagne is probably still my idea of covetable luxury!
Modelled by Jane Goddard.
Photographed by David Anthony.
Scanned from 19 Magazine, July 1974.