Designer Focus: Bibette Wainwright

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Bibette Wainwright

On beads and bibelots . . . and 23-year-old BIBETTE WAINWRIGHT, below, who wears them and makes them. Bibette, incidentally, spent three years at Bristol University and took a degree in psychology. Slim and delicate, with pale blonde hair and pre-Raphaelite looks, Bibette is a great health food fanatic, eats only macrobiotic foods. She works in her large studio-cum-bed-sit, bare save for the Larry Smart posters of Jimmy Hendricks [sic] and a motley wardrobe of granny dresses, silk pyjamas and fur coats, hung round the walls and collected from the antique markets which she spends hours exploring and which is where she first became interested in Victorian jewellery and beading. Tucked away under the window is her collection of beads. Clustering in boxes, beautiful glass beads — opaque Victorian glass, brilliant shining modern crystals. These she strings by hand into chokers and bracelets, belts and headbands. The designs are adapted from Japanese and Indian motifs, but sort of have a ’20s feel about them — and Bibette will design to order. From about 2½gns to 10gns, they are available from a selection at Thea Porter, 8 Greek Street, W1 or to order direct from Bibette at 26 East Tenter St, E1.

Photographed by Bill Holden.

Scanned by Miss Peelpants from Harpers Bazaar, April 1970

Designer Focus: Alistair Cowin

19 magazine, 1960s, alistair cowin, british boutique movement, Designer Focus, John Carter
Alistair Cowin photographed by John Carter for 19 Magazine, April 1969

Alistair Cowin photographed by John Carter for 19 Magazine, April 1969

You might not have heard of Alistair Cowin before. Like many other superbly talented designers in the 1960s and 1970s, he has rather fallen off the radar in recent years. But all it takes is a little article from a contemporary magazine, and an original garment, and I’m hooked. I’ve just listed this dress over on Vintage-a-Peel, and it’s a beauty. A vision in white chiffon, and very reminiscent of designs by his contemporaries John Bates and Gerald McCann. I only have one other piece by Cowin so far, so I think it’s safe to say his work doesn’t show up very often. And how often does a wearable collectable piece, in a non-teeny tiny size ever pop up?

Available now over at

Alistair Cowin 1960s chiffon mini dress at Vintage-a-Peel

Alistair Cowin 1960s chiffon mini dress at Vintage-a-Peel