Inspirational Editorials: Who Needs Skirts?

1960s, british boutique movement, celia birtwell, chinoiserie, countdown, fulham road clothes shop, Inspirational Images, mary farrin, Mog, ossie clark, Peter Knapp, sunday times magazine, sylvia ayton, thea porter, vidal sassoon, Vintage Editorials, zandra rhodes

Satin trousers, matching jacket, 17gns by Ossie Clark from Quorum

Above is the notorious Lamborghini suit, most famously worn by Twiggy. I honestly love everything from this editorial. Except that the Lamborghini suit doesn’t suit me at all, and I am speaking from bitter experience there.

Photographed by Peter Knapp, carpets from Peter Jones.

Scanned by Miss Peelpants from The Sunday Times Magazine, December 1st 1968

Brocade chiffon three-piece outfit with harem pants, 20gns by Ossie Clark from Quorum.

Trouser suit trimmed with snakeskin by Mog, 16gns, Countdown.

Velvet waistcoat £20, and brocade harem pants £16, by Thea Porter Decorations Ltd.

Angora cat-suit by Mary Farrin, 22gns

Dungarees by Zandra Rhodes and Sylvia Ayton, £8 10s, Fulham Road Clothes Shop. Sweater by Laura, £18, Vidal Sassoon Boutique.

Inspirational Editorials: James Dean Rides Again

1970s, Boston-151, british boutique movement, charles jourdan, countdown, david montgomery, Henry Lehr, Herbert Johnson, Inspirational Images, Kansai Yamamoto, miss selfridge, mr freedom, The Westerner, vanity fair, Vintage Editorials, Wild Mustang Co., yves saint laurent

Jacket by Mr Freedom. Jeans by Male for The Pant House. Shoes at St Laurent, Rive Gauche.

Jeans, reclaimed from the bobby-soxer era, are back. True-blue jeans, given the Fifties treatment, rolled up to mid calf, revealing thick white socks and canvas sneakers, or totteringi high heels, clamped to the ankle with straps. It’s back to popcorn-and-ponytails, with angora sweater and beads or floppy blouses with belts, and shirts knotted self-consciously under Marilyn Monroe bosoms. It’s all fizz and fun and bubble-gum, just like High School kids used to be before politics and pollution, wars and recessions, drugs and permissiveness overwhelmed them.

Photographed by David Montgomery at Battersea Fun Fair and inside Mr Freedom.

Scanned by Miss Peelpants from Vanity Fair, July 1971

Photographed by the jukebox at Mr Freedom. Jacket by Kansai Yamamoto for Boston-151. Denim jeans from Countdown. Green and pink leather shoes by Yamamoto for Boston-151. Badges from Mr Freedom

Jacket by Henry Lehr at Miss Selfridge. Canvas boots at The Westerner. Denim jeans at The Westerner. Handkerchief at Herbert Johnson.

Blouse from Boston-151. Belt from St Laurent. Denim jeans by Wild Mustang Co. White leather shoes by Charles Jourdan.

Guide to Feminine London

1970s, biba, Boston-151, british boutique movement, carnaby street, countdown, crowthers, Emmerton and Lambert, Foale and Tuffin, Illustrations, Janet Ibbotson, just looking, laura ashley, marrian mcdonnell, Michael Farrell, mr freedom, rowley and oram, stirling cooper, stop the shop, Suliman, thea porter, universal witness, yves saint laurent

Illustrated by Michael Farrell. Click to enlarge.

Oh I do love a good map. Especially a fantastically illustrated map of all my favourite shops in London in 1971. It is the nearest I will ever come to being able to walk around them. Sadness ensues…

Scanned from Vanity Fair, July 1971.

Bagged!

1970s, aristos, art of bags, biba, british boutique movement, chelsea girl, countdown, crowthers, irvine sellars, jean varon, john bates, just looking, king's road, laura ashley, mr freedom, ravel, stop the shop, take 6

Aristos © John Hendy

I couldn’t resist following ‘Tagged!’ with ‘Bagged!’. The art of the carrier bag seems even less appreciated than the art of the hang tag, despite its importance in the history of advertising and consumerism.

On Simon Hendy’s incredible website “My Dad’s Photos“, Simon has scanned a mountain of original photos that his father took across six years of fashionable (and not so fashionable) people on the King’s Road in the late Sixties and early Seventies. It is truly a delight to sift your way through them. They are a true time capsule of ‘real’ people wearing ‘real’ clothes in a period where photo opportunities were frequently engineered and crafted (as brilliant as Frank Habicht’s ‘In The Sixties’ is, it’s a very well-crafted form of ‘candid’ photography). I will definitely post about them again, not least because I recognise so many bits of clothing from designers I love.

However, today’s post is about the carrier bag. For, as I was sifting through and starting to get a bit dizzy with the amazingness of it all, I started to notice the bags people were carrying. Biba, Aristos, Stop the Shop, Crowthers… These are truly ephemeral items. How many people bother to keep a plastic bag? You might, if you were lucky, have wrapped something up in one and plonked it in your loft for the past forty years. But these examples are few and far between. The iconic design of the original Biba bags has ensured that they are the most regularly found on eBay, but few of any other kind have slipped through the net.

I did, however, find a ‘Jean Varon’ bag on eBay very recently, which has now taken its place in my collection of weird and wonderful ephemera.

Simon has kindly allowed me to link to his photos from my blog. I know it’s hard to keep such things under control in this age of tumblr etc, but I would appreciate if you would also ask him if you would like to repost his images somewhere else. He has spent many hours scanning these photos, photos which (unlike magazine scans) would not be available otherwise – from anyone else. Thank you!

Unidentified (possibly Mr Freedom at the back?) © John Hendy

Selfridges © John Hendy

Mates by Irvine Sellars © John Hendy

Guys and Dolls and C&A © John Hendy

Unknown © John Hendy

Fancy That © John Hendy

Chelsea Girl © John Hendy

Crowthers © John Hendy

Just Looking © John Hendy

Kids in Gear © John Hendy

Take 6 © John Hendy

Countdown © John Hendy

Ravel © John Hendy

Unknown (Mantra?) © John Hendy

Strides © John Hendy

Stop the Shop © John Hendy

Laura Ashley © John Hendy

Weekend whiz around London

biba, bus stop, countdown, Honey Magazine, Illustrations, london, ossie clark, quorum

The past, eh? It was just better.

Scanned from Honey, August 1968

Wear your art on your sleeve

countdown, deborah and clare, hans feurer, liberty's, lyn and mary, menswear, mr fish, mr freedom, pablo and delia, seventies fashion, sunday times magazine

Designed by Lyn and Mary, available at Deborah and Clare

Incredible spread from August 1970, showing the best of the exquisitely hand-painted and printed textiles around at the time. Highly covetable and just about the most perfect styling ever. There’s even a token piece of menswear!

The Sunday Times Magazine, August 1970. Photographed by Hans Feurer. Scanned by Miss Peelpants.

Faces reprinted by Roger Riley (art student at Liverpool Polytechnic) onto voile shirt.

Mr Freedom, 430 King's Road

Jumpsuit by Marsh and Armstrong, to order from Countdown 137 King's Road. Shirt by Biba, boots by Mr Freedom

Shoes decorated by Pablo and Delia. Shawl from Imogens, 274 Fulham Road.

Dress and eyeshade by Pablo and Delia. To order from Mr Fish, 17 Clifford Street.

Designed by Lyn and Mary, available from Deborah and Clare

Silk dress by Lyn and Mary from Deborah and Clare. Hat and boots by Biba.

Shirt made specially by Liberty's from French hand-painted panne velvet.

Pat Booth

british boutique movement, countdown, james wedge, pat booth, seventies fashion, top gear, Vogue

Somehow I missed that Pat Booth passed away in 2009. Alongside her then boyfriend James Wedge, Booth helped “create” the Chelsea fashion scene in the Sixties and Seventies with the boutiques Top Gear and Countdown. She had started out as a model, before and during the boutiques’ lifespans, and would become both a photographer and a novelist in later years. She was married twice; first to psychiatrist Garth Wood and second to advertising guru Sir Frank Lowe, a short year before her death from cancer. Pattie Boyd and Cliff Richard were the only attendees.

The reason I was looking her up was because I found and scanned this lovely shot of her from Vogue Boutique, February 1971. I’m still posting it, but I feel a bit sad to know that another key figure from the period has gone.

“Pat Booth strides out, left, in front of the recharged Countdown, 137 King’s Road, wearing the striped shorts she has made for the shop. All colours, 5½ gns, sweater the same, cape about 25 gns.”

James Wedge the Milliner

british boutique movement, countdown, Foale and Tuffin, hats, james wedge, jenny boyd, moyra swan, Pattie Boyd, sixties, susannah york, top gear, Vogue

James Wedge the Milliner

I’m often yapping on about the genius of James Wedge’s photography, but I have been meaning to share this very rare, very precious part of fashion history and of my personal collection for a while now. Wedge is one of those rare Renaissance-man types; successful in every new skill to which he turned his hand. He successfully ran his own boutiques (Countdown and Top Gear), forged a career in photography with no experience or working knowledge (trial and error often creates some of the best works of art) and, initially, he trained and worked as a milliner.

 James Wedge hats in Vogue

James Wedge hats in Vogue

His hats were regularly featured in Vogue in the early to mid Sixties, often teamed with outfits by his friends Marion Foale and Sally Tuffin, and are some of the most perfect examples of mod ‘op-art’ ever created. But they weren’t being produced for long, or in any great quantity, so they are now incredibly rare.

This hat splits me in half. I cannot wear fur. I just can’t. Not particularly morally, I eat meat and wear leather quite happily, but the feel on my skin is like nails down a blackboard. Consequently, a hat made from rabbit fur is a thing of beauty aesthetically but I wouldn’t wear it even if I could squish it over my big head. However, I can’t quite bring myself to sell it just yet. I mean… it’s James Wedge?!

James Wedge the Milliner