If you can’t buy it anywhere else, you’ll probably stumble on it in a craft shop — from the most punctiliously-made tapestry, reeking with tradition and the skills of centuries, to crazy little things like corn-dollies and earth mothers. The name Women’s Home Industries’ conjures up all the right kind of pre-Women’s Lib craftsmanship. The work still goes on, and every type of hand-knitted clothing is still sold from their re-christened shop, Beatrice Bellini Handknits, 11 West Halkin St, SW1.
Their bright, stripy, over-the-knee socks in various colours, or to order; £5.50. The lovely floppy beret comes in matching colours, and costs £3.50. The WHI Tapestry Shop, 85 Pimlico Road, SW1 sells hand-painted canvases for anything from a specs case to a large rug, and will copy your sketches on to canvas.
Think of a tile floor, and needlepoint it: tapestry rug in twelve squares, joined as you like, repeated as you like. Designed by Kaffe Fassett for Beatrice Bellini of Women’s Home Industries’ Tapestry Shop, 85 Pimlico Rd; each square with enough Coats Tapestry wool, £12, complete border with sufficient wool, £75. Dark brown cotton caftan, £6.60 at Medina Arts. Photograph taken at the house of Mr and Mrs William Ellsworth-Jones. Just published, the new “Vogue Guide to Needlepoint Tapestry” (Collins in association with Conde Nast, £1.75)
Fashion constantly starts afresh and now it has travelled far back into the imagination, retuned to the basics of craft and design. Grass roots is the mood for this summer and the look is handwoven, hand painted, handknitted, handstitched. Here is how appliqué was recreated and a shepherd’s smock came in from the fields. How lace came to be painted with butterflies and sewn onto tartan, how knitting grew into something remarkably new.
Not only does leather feel good, it smells delicious, like a trip out West. Suede and chamois are even better than leather because they are so much softer and easier tow ear. They’re not as expensive as they used to be. Cheap they will never be if you want value for your money. Leather, properly looked after, lasts for age; in fact, the more beaten up and old it looks the better. So when it comes to buying remember that and invest in something safe – like the clothes photographed on these pages. Thy are not desperately in fashion but, on the other hand, they are not out and never will be…
Fashion by Caroline Baker. Photographed by Harri Peccinotti.
Needlepoint waistcoat by Kaffe Fassett for Beatrice Bellini, £25 to order, Women’s Home Industries’ Tapestry Shop. Suede gauchos, fine jersey shirt, both by Jean Muir. Perspex belt by Nigel Lofthouse for Jean Muir. Ghillies by Christel at Elliott. Panne velvet muffler by Veronica Marsh for Jacqmar.
Gauchos remain one of my favourite looks at the moment. Indeed, I am wearing a pair of tweed Chelsea Girl gauchos as I write this. It’s one of those looks which will, inevitably, make a comeback, and I will be tiresomely reminding people that ‘I was doing it ages ago!’. As it is, I am just continuing to enjoy wearing them, enjoying the curiousity and comments, and educating people to call them ‘gauchos’ rather than ‘culottes’. Then I will just have to move onto knickerbockers…
Photographed by Norman Parkinson.
Scanned by Miss Peelpants from Vogue, September 1970