For some years now the London fashion designers have had the edge on their Paris rivals for ideas and innovations. Tomorrow evening a film on this subject will be shown on BBC1. Today we photograph the key London designers with their favourite clothes. What do they think of the London fashion scene? Where do we go from here?
Photographed by Terence Donovan. Fashion by Cherry Twiss.
Scanned from The Telegraph Magazine, May 25th 1973.
Zandra Rhodes originally trained as a textile designer; she began designing clothes in 1968. She does not have her own retail shop; her fabulous creations are made to order and sell through the big stores. “I think fashion in London is like a sea with lots of little islands, lots of different looks. I am my own couture island,” she says. “I don’t like committing myself to any one collection. I like adding to it as my ideas come along.” Pat Cleveland, top American model, is wearing Zandra’s “off-the-shoulder lily dress” .of printed grey and cream chiffon with satin-backed bodice and embroidery. From Piero de Monzi, 70 Fulham Road, SW3.
Mary Quant, photographed with her husband Alexander Plunkett-Green, became famous in 1955 when she opened the first “Bazaar” shop in the King’s Road, Chelsea. Now her business includes linen, make-up, tights and dolls as well as clothes, all bearing the unmistakable Quant touch. Of current London fashion she says: “I think the mood is classic, and I love it.” Amanda, a model who typifies Mary’s look, wears trousers, striped pullover and co-ordinating jacket, all in an angora and polyester mixture, and a pure silk shirt. Mary chose this outfit because “it is the epitome of my new collection -the best of everything. Modern classics in the right colours, subtle soft fabrics, elegance, chic – the sort of outfit you want to live in.” From Mary Quant’s new autumn collection, available in September.
Designer Jean Muir with Harry Lockart, her husband and business manager. She started the firm which bears her name in 1966; her distinctive clothes are available at all the major stores. Says Harry Lockart: “The London fashion scene has tremendous potential and on the design side is moving marvellously. It must need organising very professionally along Paris lines, with proper collection weeks, at times that do not clash, so that buyers can see everything.” Joanna Lumley is wearing an olive green two-tiered silk jersey dress described by Jean as “one of my favourites”. About £75 from Lucienne Phillips, 69 Knightsbridge, SW3, or Brown’s, South Molton Street, W1 . Jade necklace by Jean Muir, £15. Shoes, £24, by Charles Jourdan, 47 Brompton Road, SW3. Tights, Elle.
Designer John Bates (left) with John Siggins, Director who handles Publicity, Press and External Contracts. John Bates started the firm of Jean Varon in 1959; he thinks that “fashion in London is no different from anywhere else; but it is only just recently that it has been taken seriously”. Kellie, who is one of John Bates’s favourite models, is wearing a Tricel surah dress in a print by Sally McLaughlan exclusive to John Bates. About £55 from Dickins & Jones, Regent Street, W1 ; Barkers, Kensing-ton High Street, W8; Bentalls of Kingston; Kendal Milne of Manchester. Hat made to order by Frederick Fox, 26 Brook Street, W1.
Christopher McDonnell started his career early in 1967 and now sells his designs at his famous shop in South Molton Street. He thinks London is the most exciting place for evening wear, “but until the factories learn how to cope technically with good ideas for day clothes, the rest of Europe will remain ahead of us in this field.” The model is Ika, who, says Christopher, can interpret any look. She is wearing a cream silk suit with short skirt, £33 from Christopher McDonnell, 45 South Molton Street, W1 . White silk turban £9.50 from George Malyard, 3 King Street, WI. Bangles and choker from Emeline, 45 Beauchamp Place, SW3.
Designer Bill Gibb started out on his own in 1969 and was voted “Designer of the Year” in 1970. He now has a wholesale firm, and in fashion feels that “everybody makes a different sort of contribution”. Asha Puthli, singer and actress is wearing a peach double satin jacket and halter top embroidered and edged with black leather, and Lurex pleated skirt. About £200 from Chic of Hampstead, Heath Street, NW3, or Chases, Bond Street, Wl. Shoes £14.95 by Chelsea Cobbler, 33 Sackville Street, W1 . Tights by Echo. Alice Ormsby-Gore is wearing a plain and printed grey Lurex skirt and sequin embroidered top, £128. Turban by Diane Logan to order. All from Lucienne Phillips, or ZigZag, 100 New Bond Street, Wl. Shoes £14.95 from Chelsea Cobbler. Tights by Echo.
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Thank you for sharing this wonderful article. I just came across it and enjoyed your lovely illustrations. Sad to read that Barney Wan had passed away.
I’d love to meet you on my next visit to London. Absolutely love your site and your aesthetic sensibility.