The men behind the frocks

1950s, digby morton, hardy amies, john cavanagh, john french, victor stiebel

John Cavanagh

Ahhhh, so I didn’t get a nomination for the Cosmo blog awards. I didn’t think I would, but I do wish that these lists would incorporate blogs with a bit more personality beyond whatever the PR companies are sending them this week. In case anyone objects to my slightly waspish tone, there is no one on the fashion list who is also on my reading list. Or who follows me, that I know of. Or who I’ve ever heard of. And I am prone to sweeping generalisations when I choose. My blog, my rules.

Me, I acquire paper cuts from 32-year-old fashion reference books just so I can bring you weird and wonderful photos of weird and wonderful clothes and people. I guess I’m a bit niche, which is totally fine by me. And I rarely show my face.

Other people who didn’t have much of a public face were designers of the past. Particularly the male ones who wouldn’t have looked much good in their own designs, unlike a lot of female designers. Before the cult of celebrity started to infect fashion designers, the likes of Hardy Amies and Victor Stiebel were happy to let their frocks do the talking. No eyeliner, eye-patches or black lace fans for them, oh no.

So it’s rather delightful when you come across a little feature such as this one, from Prudence Glynn’s In Fashion book from 1978. Three of the photos are by John French, and the Digby Morton is thrown in for good measure. I’m always fascinated to see the face behind the frocks; it can be rather astonishing to test out your own preconceptions.

Hardy Amies

Victor Stiebel

Digby Morton

8 thoughts on “The men behind the frocks

  1. I've got some 40s articals about Morton, russell, Stiebel et al with photos og the gents themselves which I have beeen meaning to post for ages, will try to get roundtoit, as you say it is fascinating.BTW I tried to vote for you but the voting had closed.

  2. Victor Stiebel looks like a Chemistry professor! As another 'niche' and non-posing operator, I thoroughly endorse your approach. *takes a look at Cosmo shortlist* Otherwise it's all just variations on 'Sartorialist' and the Sunday mag's 'what's in shops now'. Wait, what does Cosmo publish again?

  3. Lovely photos.I didn't even know about the Cosmo awards – I think their magazine is awful, so I haven't the slightest interest in their blog picks.I'm sensing an opportunity to set up a vintage blog award

  4. Awww, thank you Wendy and thank you Miss Rayne for trying to vote for me! I'm not really 'Cosmo'-style so it's probably as well. ;)Penny: That's a very good idea. I think the whole vintage blogger thing has been somewhat usurped and overshadowed by the high fashion blogging thing. He does look like a professor!!! I think he looks adorable, if a little grumpy.Miss Rayne: can't wait to see those articles!

  5. I much prefer these type of designers to the over-exposed ones we have now, but it has just been the way society has changed- Karl Lagerfeld was once a shy, retiring type with no clear style of his own who was unknown by all of the people who wore his designs. Its only been with the increase in media attention since the late 70s that he created this character, which has allowed him to stay in the game against much younger designers. Anyway, these photos are all fab.

  6. I was so suprised you were not nominated too! (Though I think it does you a favour in a way, Cosmopolitan is simply appalling). You truly have one of the most inpirational blogs around and I'm not even talking about the care and time you take to pick all your visuals. And for once a blog that doesn't revolve around an ego or brand sponsoring! Please keep it going, you deserve all the recognition in the world for your hard work 🙂

  7. Laura, I know! I came across a photo of Karl in some late 70s Vogue and barely recognised him. His clothes were better back then as well.Luxhedera, Wow. That's such a lovely thing to say, I actually feel a rather humbled by it. And will continue to blush heavily and hide behind a cushion or something. Thank you.

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