Midnight Blue: Redux

1970s, british boutique movement, Inspirational Images, john cowan, Kelly LeBrock, midnight blue, Peter Burden, Vintage Adverts

A while ago, I posted a remarkable advert for a shop called ‘Midnight Blue’. Scanned from a copy of Ritz, I had never heard of Midnight Blue before or since. Like many posts, it passed into the archives without much fuss. Until I received a comment the other day from the man behind the shop; Peter Burden. Rather than letting the information disappear (with the original post) into the mists of blog history, I thought I should repost the image with the comment from Peter.

Dear Miss Peelpants,

Great to see this shot aired. Coco Fennell, designer daughter of Theo (with whom I used to throw buns around Meridiana (resto designed by Enzo Appicella) in the early 70s) spotted this and sent it to my daughter Alice, because she thought it might be something to do with me. I’m the geezer in the white leather spider jacket at a shoot we did in 1977 somewhere near Oxford. I started Midnight Blue – jeans for trendy toffs – in 1975. We were open until midnight, and our own brand jeans (mostly Fiorucci rip-offs) had a good following for a while. This ad in RITZ magazine was cropped from a landscape poster. David Litchfield who ran RITZ had a room in our building in the Fulham Road. My own fashion instincts were not especially strong, but I tried to find interesting off-centre designers. All the clothes in this shot (by John Cowan) were by a lovely eccentric woman called Carol Lee who lived in Lincolnshire. I don’t know what’s happened to her and I don’t have a stitch of her stuff left. Of interest in the shot, sitting on my left is 17 year-old Kelly Lebrock, just before Leonard remodelled her hair into a kind of gamine, and Clive Arrowsmith shot her for the front of Vogue (or was it Harpers?) She went to Hollywood and starred in Gene Wilder’s Woman in Red. In the poster but out of this shot is Pandora Stevens (d. of Jocelyn) now Delevigne, mother of Poppy and Cara. (I could email a copy of the poster if you like.)

(One of our first posters was by Bob Carlos-Clarke – his first commercial job I believe – using a technique he’d learned from James Wedge. It’s in one of his early books.)

I moved on from the rag trade, and became a writer. My first novel, RAGS, published by Weidenfeld in 1987, was based on my fashion experiences in the 60s/70s, focussing on a fictional BIBA store. The back cover shot in the Roof Garden was by Jill Kennington, one of the models in Antonioni’s BLOW -UP, which was shot in John Cowan’s studio in Pottery Lane, and which starred David Hemmings, whose autobiography I wrote (2004). My tenuous links with fashion are maintained through my lover – soon to be wife – Nina Hely-Hutchinson, a very knowledgeable and instinctive vintage fashionista. She has a place in Ludlow called 55 Mill Street (qv facebook)

Best Regards,
Peter Burden

Vintage Adverts: Midnight Blue

5 thoughts on “Midnight Blue: Redux

  1. Loved reading about the life behind the picture. I remember seeing Kelly LeBrock in Lady in Red in the 80’s and thinking she was beautiful. That makes me feel old… Also remember watching Bruce Willis in “Moonlighting” when he had a full head of hair and wanting more than anything to go to the States. Memories… I was in Top Shop not long ago and told the girl at the till that I remembered neon leggings the first time around, and she was suitably underwhelmed. It was the first time I’d experienced the fashion wheel turning full circle in my lifetime and it didn’t sit well with me! Ah the 80’s. Good times. Em x

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