The Soft Touch

1970s, annacat, Ballantyne, Buckle Under, C&A, coopers, cosmopolitan, Deirdre McSharry, Fenwick, Herbert Johnson, Ian Knipe, Inspirational Images, irvine sellars, Janet Ibbotson, Jasper, jean varon, Jenny Harrington, john bates, John Craig, john kelly, Samm, Spectrum, terry de havilland, The Purple Shop, Trille, Turnbull & Asser, Vintage Editorials
Just the jacket, for interviewing the gardener… if he’s as handsome as Ian Knipe. Trille does the Lady Bountiful bit in yellow and a romantic hat. Jacket C&A £9.95, felt hat by Herbert Johnson, pearls by Ciro. Yellow angora sweater by John Craig, £2.10.

There is a licence to touch all the clothes on these pages. There is not a single trad, scratchy, thornproof tweed among any of the frankly tactile silks, angoras and flannels of autumn. Jerseys and pearls and sensible shoes were once the uniform of the WI. Now, (well) kept ladies whose fingers smell of “Cabochard” rather than cabbage, are pressing their flannel bags, having their pearls restrung and are wearing them with shirts so unbuttoned they could catch pneumonia – and heels high enough to rise above the muddiest farmyard. They are taking to pleated kilts, and cashmere sweaters so tight they’d enliven the dullest game of backgammon. Dinner dresses are back in style, and I do mean back down as far as you can go. Properly and provocatively dressed, a weekend in the country might be more fun than you think.

Hair arranged for all pictures by Carl of Molton Brown.

Fashion by Deirdre McSharry.

Photographed by John Kelly.

Scanned from Cosmopolitan, October 1972.

Give into the call of the wild, but come on softly in silk, angora and flannel. Jenny Harrington sends Ian Knipe slightly wild in her silk shirt, £15, flannel bags £16.50 by Annacat, and angora cardigan, John Craig £5. Fish pendant by Ciro. Ian’s camelhair sweater Ballantyne, £11.50. (Inset: The smoothest tweed in the softest shape will make you want to throw away your old trench. A great way to look for opening bazaars – and coping with Mellors. Coat by Coopers £33, hat by Herbert Johnson, £8.95.)
What would the WI say? Trille lolls about in cashmere sweater, skirt and pearls- -and shoes too high for country lawns. Sweater £11, skirt £30, both by Ballantyne. Pearls by Ciro. Shoes by Samm, £7.50.
Who’s for backgammon? Trille and Jenny get down to it (right) in necklines that ought to fetch the men from their port, on the double. Trille in red jersey dinner dress, John Bates for Jean Varon £16.75, shoes by Terry de Havilland £15.95, pearls by Ciro. Jenny in cream satin shirt by Coopers, £8, and pleated plaid skirt, Gor-Ray f11.95. Red shoes by Samm, £7.50.
The sporting life means quick repairs on the run. Jenny puts back the paint, stays ladylike in powder soft suede and silk. Jacket and skirt by Janet Ibbotson; the jacket costs £38, the skirt £33.50. Silk shirt Fenwicks, £11.50. Jewellery and shagreen compact from The Purple Shop. Shoes by Samm, £7.95.
Long weekends can lead to explosive situations – Jenny ignites something in her cashmere and kilt. Sweater by Ballantyne £13.50, skirt by Gor-Ray £11.95, shoes by Terry de Havilland £15.95. Pearls by Ciro. Ian in ruffled lawn shirt, Turnbull and Asser £11.75, check trousers Irvine Sellars £5.95.
By dawn’s early light a lady likes to relax. Ian wears C & A velvet suit £28; Trille in taffeta skirt and blouse, £5.50 each from Spectrum. Rose 84p from Spectrum. Shoes by Terry de Havilland, £12.99.
The softest touch of all is this mohair sweater (right), and a far cry from the clumpy rustic knits we used to wear. Jenny puts the new country clothes together gently—pink sweater, Buckle Under £12, pink wool skirt, Spectrum £6.95, hat by Herbert Johnson £7.50. Ian’s shirt by Jasper £5.50, check trousers £6.95 by Irvine Sellars. (Inset: Soft again —cream flannel blouse and satin trousers whipped up with beads and roses. Jenny’s blouse £5.50, trousers £5.50, flowers 84p, all from Spectrum. Ian’s blue shirt by Mr Harry £7.65.)

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