Fashion Goes Into Purdah

1970s, cherry twiss, Crocodile, deborah and clare, Inspirational Images, jean muir, kurt geiger, Sacha, Savita, Suliman, telegraph magazine, The Sunday Telegraph Magazine, thea porter, universal witness, Vintage Editorials
Savita’s orange and red printed muslin hot skirt and balloon sleeved midi top. The latticed rust suede hat and scarf are from Suliman.

After the systemic strip of the West’s liberated women comes a longing for the romance and mystery of the East. The newest clothes reflect this mood with suggestive gauzes and clinging crepes. We took some to Bahrain, where the women are still heavily veiled and pass secluded lives in the harem.

A textbook example of the trend towards ‘exotic’ inspiration in the fashion world of the late Sixties/early Seventies. Most famously by Thea Porter, of course, but also with lesser known labels such as Suliman and Savita. Another strand of the post-Sixties backlash against the minimal and the space-age, along with the period romanticism of Laura Ashley and the more kitschy retro Rock’n’Roll stylings of Glam Rock.

As an aside, I always feel a little uncomfortable posting these ‘location’ shoots when they involve local characters, because it can feel a little exploitative. But at the same time, I don’t want to censor the past and think it’s important to remind ourselves of how fashion needs to be less exploitative and culturally ‘acquisitional’, even now.

I was also very entertained to note that a variation on the first image was used as part of the hilarious series of Smirnoff adverts and that I scanned back in 2015. There are only a few months between the two and I’m fascinated to know whose decision that was!

Fashion by Cherry Twiss.

Photographed by Sacha.

Scanned from The Daily Telegraph Magazine, 2nd July 1971.

White banlon dress by Simon Massey.
Flawless blue silk crepe jersey dress by Jean Muir. Gold sandals by Kurt Geiger.
Butter muslin shirt from Deborah and Clare. Striped satin skirt from The Universal Witness. The harem pants were made in the local souk.
Lace skirt and jacket by Thea Porter. Sequin cap from Crocodile.
Black crepe bloomer dress by Jean Muir.
Bronze slipper satin dress by Thea Porter.

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