Funny Googles: Style on Trial

1950s, 1960s, john bates, paraphernalia

“why is stuart maconie presenting style on trial?”

Why indeed dear reader, why indeed. I’ve asked myself the same question, many times.

Has anyone else in the UK been following the programme? The Fifties episode was an absolute car crash of an hour (no offence to Kerry Taylor who is lovely, and knows her stuff. But David Sassoon? That over-excited blonde woman??) They clearly ran out of things to talk about roughly 20 minutes into the programme, and then simply wittered on about Paris, Paris, Paris. London got a hard enough time, but at least it got a mention. But America? Only your style icons got a mention, none of your designers. Where was McCardell? Where was Galanos? Honestly, it’s the most poorly researched piece of fluffy nonsense I’ve ever seen.

Then the Sixties one was only really interesting because of Mr Bates. They [frustratingly] skirted around the mini issue, admitting only that he was doing the shortest, and Mary Quant’s name only got a tactful silence from Bates even when the others were waxing lyrical. Although I did get my chance to have a good giggle when they were discussing the Parisian designers doing the ‘space age’ look, only to have JB murmur ever-so-politely, and I’m paraphrasing slightly here, “Well, I did it first”.

I did wonder why he wasn’t sitting in the centre of the two ladies, as had happened on the previous two shows for the male contingent of the panel. Then I noticed that it would have meant having Ms. Quant’s beeg heed right behind him and in shot every time the camera was on him. That illicited a smile from me as well.

But I certainly learned nothing of any note. Except two things from JB.

1. Mr Fish designed the frilly dress and trousers Mick Jagger wore in 1969 (like many, I suspect, I was under the misapprehension that this was an Ossie).

2. I should never, under any circumstances, wear an Afghan coat in the presence of Mr Bates. Not that I actually own one, or aspire to own one, but it’s a good thing to know.

Again they also spectacularly failed to mention any of the iconic American designers. Gernreich wasn’t mentioned, neither was the Paraphernalia boutique….they simply dismissed America as being massively behind London and Paris and seemingly worthless of any comment. Now I’m very much a British-orientated vintage fashionista, but I’d much sooner have a Gernreich/Paraphernalia piece than a Cardin/Rabanne/Courreges piece. Perhaps that’s strange, but I find their approach more interesting.

4 thoughts on “Funny Googles: Style on Trial

  1. No Gernreich?! Are the *insane*?!?!!!Haven’t watched it yet. The series is recorded on mum’s fancy digital player whatsit fo me to watch en-masse when I’m over there….I described the Rayne shoes over the phoen to her BTW, and she’s heading over to ebay as I type!

  2. Not that I heard, but then it’s possible I was so distracted by various visual treats or Mary Quant’s beeg heed that I missed something. I may watch again on iPlayer just to make sure….

  3. I did not see this show as I live in the U.S. and also am currently living in 1955, but how could they not mention Edith Head for the amreicans. The styles that woman created for film in the fifites were wonderful. I mean Funny Face is like a wonderful fashion extravaganza. I like your blog.

  4. I spent the whole 60s one awaiting vast Peggy Moffitt images. They never came. Bizarre! And they trashed the style of boot I love and crave more than any other boot. …admittedly I want the Anello copies rather than the Courreges originals. And I had a mild paddy over Anello and Davide actually. They are *not* just the place to go to get cheap footwear! They are creators of handmade perfection. They made *the* Beatle Boots for *the* Beatles with super high cuban heels (hurrah!) and stilettoes for Marilyn Monroe, and the boots on the bridal section of their website are to ****die**** for. *faints*…and mother spent the whole programme trashing the lack of style of the woman from Honey Magazine because apparently mum has hated her lack of hairstyling and tendancy to dress behind fashion for *forever*.Am confused as to why people can’t wash and comb their Afgans like I can with my multitude of fake ones, but then I have little understanding of dead things in fashion seeing as I’m a lover of synthetics. …but will also try to remember to refrain from wearing them around Mr Bates. Am now relieved I wore my purple 80s coat for the do!The turmoil of opposing emotions caused by the whole show leaves me breathless really.

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