Liberty on the tiles

1970s, bill gibb, Elle, interior design, interiors, James Mortimer, liberty, liberty's, Sarah Campbell, Susan Collier, Vogue
The Countess Emma de Bendern’s dining-room and kitchen, left: Terrace wall and floor tiles to match cotton union curtains, green as green. Paint, Carson’s Grassy green no 7Q. Emma’s dress, a Liberty print Bill Gibb, to order from Elle, her hair cut by Karin of Derek Roe.

Liberty has covered another few indoor acres with flowers and trellis and the acres are acres of tiles made by Fired Earth. Refreshingly pretty as might be expected, with fabrics to match exactly or very nearly. The _project was initiated by the late Blair Pride, co-ordinated by Susan Collier, Liberty’s design consultant, who with Sarah Campbell produced the designs. Here they are in situ.

Photographed by James Mortimer.

Scanned from Vogue, May 1974.

Designer’s Liberty, above. Susan Collier’s Primrose tiled kitchen, the table set for an Easter tea party on matching Primrose Cloud cotton cloth. As her daughter Sophie said : “The kitchen’s so lovely I’m almost jealous of myself.”
The Collier house is Queen Anne, the oldest in Clapham, but the corner room, right, is a Victorian addition, with Kazak tiles, Karabag blind and cushions of luscious Mercury satin from Susan Collier’s Summer Dance Collection. All tiles in Liberty pattern by Fired Earth, 6 or 8 ins square, from £16.50 a sq metre four days delivery, from 102 Portland Rd, W.11. Fabrics from £2.45 a yd, 48 in wide, at Liberty.

Get-Up-at-Eight and Live-on-Air Dressing

1970s, bill gibb, charles jourdan, chelsea cobbler, david bailey, Gina Fratini, Jane Goddard, jean varon, john bates, Vintage Editorials, Vogue, zandra rhodes
Silk chiffon with shadow lilies in white and iced green, washed over with a few pearly shells. Big full skirt over petticoat, a sash of Edwardian peach satin. Zandra Rhodes , £160, petticoat, £26, at Fortnum & Mason. Opal choker, £210, N. Bloom. Long opaline rope, £12, drop mother-of-pearl earrings, £15, from range, The Purple Shop. Opal/diamond ring, £550, at Andrew Grima. Snakeskin sandals, £29.50, Charles Jourdan. Scent, Vivre by Molyneux. Hair by Michael at Michaeljohn.

Model is Jane Goddard.

Photographed by David Bailey.

Scanned from Vogue, April 1st 1974.

Quatrefoil layers of silk chiffon in melon, apricot, candy pink, frilling over the arms. By Gina Fratini, £244 , at Selfridges ; Lucienne Phillips ; Diagonal, Guildford and Lucinda Byre, Liverpool. Carnelian and silver gilt ring, £30, silver and gunstone ring, £18.50, Bakelite drop earrings, £3, all from range at The Purple Shop.
Crossover bodice of black silk crepe framed in lipstick red a full Liberty print silk skirt and enormous gathered pockets edged in stripes. By Bill Gibb, about £140, at ZigZag ; Chic of Hampstead ; Vicki, Cobham ; Julie Fitzmaurice, Harrogate. Scarlet high heels, £28 to order, at The Chelsea Cobbler. Pale sheer tights, Charnos. Scent, Audace by Marcel Rochas.
Polyamide georgette rainbow gathered from small brassiere top, one strap going straight over shoulder, the other angled to centre. By John Bates at Jean Varon, £49.95, Fenwick ; Earkers ; Kendal Milne, Manchester ; Campus, Oxford. Green hoop earrings, £2, from range at The Purple Shop. Scent, Fidji by Laroche.

How You Dress is an Escape

1970s, anne schaufuss, baccarat, belinda bellville, bill gibb, charles jourdan, chelsea cobbler, Chloe, christian dior, clive arrowsmith, Hair and make-up, jean shrimpton, Jorn Langberg, karl lagerfeld, kurt geiger, leonard, Moya Bowler, Nettie Vogues, pablo and delia, Savita, The Purple Shop, thea porter, Vintage Editorials, Vogue, zandra rhodes
DEPTHS OF EVENING CHIFFON,
CAFTAN AND DIRNDL DRESS
MERGED WITH GOLD AND VELVET
Above: Tobacco chiffon caftan with smoked gold leaves, hooded, boot-buttoned, Arabic sleeves weighted with tassels. Gathered from the waist with a twisted gold rope belt. Choker, The Purple Shop, 15 Flood St, S.W.3. Soft gold boots with open lacing, 22 gns, Kurt Geiger. Right: Black organza with a bib and skirt of brilliant panne velvet, red, green and yellow printed in ribbon bands, with bangles and cuffs of the velvet. Rings, Andrew Grima. Beaded black velvet choker, The Purple Shop. Black satin ankleboots, with bright passementerie, by Moya Bowler for Edouard Jerrold. Dresses, both pages, to order at Bellville Sassoon.

How you dress is an escape and an adventure in itself… never more so than the evening.

Hair by Leonard

Models are Anne Schaufuss and Jean Shrimpton.

Photographed by Clive Arrowsmith.

Scanned from Vogue, December 1970.

SHEER BLACK OF NIGHT,
WISPS PUT TOGETHER WITH
JEWELS, VELVET AND GLEAMS
Black chiffon blouse and skirt tiled with cut velvet mosaic. Blouse of velvet harlequins, bibbed with jet beads set in little studs of gilt; the skirt, striped with studded circles and squares. £184, at Thea Porter. Feather fan, to hire at The Purple Shop. Satin shoes, dyed to order, £18, dyeing, 21s, Charles Jourdan.
Black chiffon dress with a glittering apron tied around the skirt — turquoise and rusty velvet shapes shot with silver, with a striped hem, and cuffs to match. By Chloe, to order from Fortnum & Mason. Mirror necklace, £70, and gold sash clasped with turquoises, 140, both from Thea Porter. Rings, David Morris. Black velvet laced boots, 19 gns, from Kurt Geiger
KNICKERBOCKER BALLET ALL SURFACES RIPPLED WITH COLOUR AND SHINE
Grass green silk satin glossed with an intricate paisley of red, ink, black, tremendous sleeves and tunic gathered from a yoke over ballooning knee pantaloons. 85 gns; choker 25 gns, and belt, 58 gns, all at Savita. Green moire boots, 18 gns, at The Chelsea Cobbler.
Water markings, waves of colour pooled in a chiffon blouse honeycombed at the shoulders, antique tunic and panne velvet knickers. The tunic has a fitted bodice, full sweeping skirt. Blouse, £59, tunic, £75, knickers £24, heavy silver belt, £100, all Thea Porter. Burgundy velvet boots laced to knee, 19 gns, Kurt Geiger. Rings, Blooms. Chokers, The Purple Shop, 15 Flood St, S.W.3. Make up by Lancome, with Climat scent.
A NEW SLEEVE
CUT ACROSS NARROW FALLS
OF GOLD LACE
AND CLOUDY CHIFFON
Spun gold laced with mauve, the bodice cut wide into the sleeves. sashed with deep purple velvet above a basque and a gathered skirt. By Jorn Langberg from Christian Dior London. Amethyst string and brooch, at Blooms: rings. Hooper Bolton. Satin shoes dyed mauve. £18. 21s for dyeing at Charles Jourdan. Amethyst tights. Mary Quant. Make-up by Dior. with new Dioressence scent.
The bodice sleeve in chiffon, clouds of mauve blowing across. The top crossed low over the bosom and simply gathered at wrists. slight gathers in the skirt catchir the air. By Nettie Vogues, at Harrods: Hilda Hanson. Nottingham. Velvet choker. The Purple Shop at Antiquarius. Amethyst and diamond rings. Blooms; emerald and diamond ring. David Morris. Make-up by Orlane, with Jean d’Albret Casaque scent.
GLORIOUS NIGHT SHAPES.
TAPESTRY BELLS
AND SATIN PAGODA
Misty blue tapestry and gold leaves. left. edged with wide ribbons of sprigged tapestry. A gold thread laces the deep neck of a small jacket belling from the Yoke, with short arabesque sleeves. Fade-print chemise underneath, with full sleeves and crossed braid ; a slim bell for a skirt. By Bill Gibb for Baccarat, at Fortnum & Mason. Pearly black velvet choker, The Purple Shop at Antiquarius. Tangerine braid decorations, from Savita. Rings, Andrew Grima. Honey-gold and gilt velvet slippers, 20 gns, to order, The Chelsea Cobbler. Make-up by Eve of Roma, with the new Eve scent.
Sunset burst of satin, right, a pagoda of quilted tiers, wide sleeves set up to a bib bodice. Feather-print of celestial blue and of black for sun-rays. By Zandra Rhodes, at Fortnum & Mason. Diamond and blue enamel rings, at Blooms. Neck lace stringing pale beads and colourless feathers, by Pablo & Delia. Make-up by Mary Quant with P.M. scent.

Twiggy by Justin de Villeneuve

1970s, bill gibb, Inspirational Images, Justin de Villeneuve, petticoat magazine, twiggy

The dress is uncredited but it looks like a Bill Gibb to me.

Photographed by Justin de Villeneuve.

Scanned from Petticoat, 16th October 1971.

Back to the Drawing Board

1970s, Antonio, Bellini, bill gibb, countdown, Frances Vaughan, Illustrations, Kaffe Fassett, Lady Fingers, Vogue
Man’s smoke-grey kimono knitted in oriental patterns, rivers and islands fading up sleeves and hem, black to charcoal, ginger to peach. Stripe sash. 30 gns. Child’s plum red tunic in diamond design, purple and pale blue all over, violet and khaki, rose pink and blue on the edge. 5 gns. Woman’s long black kimono with a sky of blue and ginger stars, giant satellites of black, dark brown, plum red and violet circling. Black and grey stripe sash. 30 gns. All by Kaffe Fassett at Beatrice Bellini, 11 West Halkin St.

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.

Illustrations by Antonio

Scanned from Vogue, July 1970.

Peach and green tartan tweed. all set about and frilled with cotton lace tie dyed in the same summer pastels. A long and willowy suit with a long and willowy knife-pleated skirt. By Bill Gibb at Baccarat.
Long peach and golden tie dyed smock of lace, one beautiful big butterfly handpainted on the yoke. And a dress of natural linen billowing yard upon yard. threads drawn out by hand, panels of lace sewn in. All by Bill Gibb at Baccarat. Cotton lace tied and dyed by Valerie Irving. Apron and cap crocheted in string by Kaffe Fassett.
Natural linen shepherd’s smock and trousers. No boyangs but all traditional stuff with thick embroidery, smocking stitch, lazy daisies and paisleys almost everywhere. By Lady Fingers, 50 gns, to order, Countdown
Long grassy gingham dress and a long white cotton apron, pretty as a picture, sewn with birds and hedgerows, greens, pinks, deep dark blues. About 12 gns, 7 gns, to order, Frances Vaughan, 3 Munroe Terrace, S.W.10.

Softly Draping

1970s, bill gibb, Gina Fratini, Inspirational Images, lingerie, loungewear, norman parkinson, Vogue
Softly draping nighwear, dressed up for the boudoir. Cream Quiana jersey nightgown with lace halter and edges, the bib embroidered with coffee ‘leaves’. By Bill Gibb.

Originally published in Vogue, 1973.

Photographed by Norman Parkinson.

Scanned from Lingerie in Vogue, 1981.

Frill on frill of chiffon make a soft, dressy nightgown in forget-me-not blue and palest cream. By Gina Fratini.

Clothes for the Adventurers

1970s, bill gibb, clive arrowsmith, Jacob Schlaepfer, manolo blahnik, Piero de Monzi, Vintage Editorials, Vogue, zandra rhodes, zapata
Bill Gibb’s mixture of sequins, leather and silver chrysanthemums. Sequin hood and cowl, dolman blouse glistening under leather waistcoat, leather skirt flared from basque, printed with chrysanthemums. £54, £30, £86 at Lucienne Phillips. Sequined fabric by Jacob Schlaepfer.

The wilder shores of fashion

I was mainly scanning this spread because I’ve just listed a Zandra Rhodes dress which I think must be from the same collection over on Etsy, but thought I might as well put them here too – especially because of that iconic Bill Gibb photo (used for the cover of Iain R. Webb’s definitive book about Gibb, seemingly fetching a pretty penny on Amazon these days). These top-stitched jerseys were a signature look for her in this period and mine also has the Piero de Monzi label. Marc Bolan had a top version in various colours and levels of frilly extravagance.

(If you’re interested in the Zandra Rhodes dress, click here to view it on Etsy.)

Photographed by Clive Arrowsmith.

Scanned from Vogue, September 15th 1972.

Zandra Rhodes’s waterfall of unfinished jersey. Dolman sleeved, with lettuce edges and ruching stitched in turquoise, blue and scarlet. To order from Piero de Monzi. Cream leafy leather shoes by Manolo Blahnik for Zapata.
Zandra Rhodes’s firebird chiffon decorated with satin lilies, frilled seams, the skirt many yards of lightest jersey gathered up here and there. At Piero de Monzi. Jersey by Racine. Bill Gibb’s curves of ivory jersey, gathered and split skirt and dolman blouse pinned with flowers, ribbons and ostrich feathers. £76 at Liberty. Sandals, £14.50, Manolo Blahnik for Zapata

Living up to a reputation

1970s, Alice Ormsby-Gore, amanda lear, Asha Puthli, bill gibb, british boutique movement, christopher mcdonnell, frederick fox, ika hindley, Inspirational Images, jean muir, jean varon, joanna lumley, john bates, mary quant, pat cleveland, Sally McLaughlan, telegraph magazine, Terence Donovan, The Sunday Telegraph Magazine, zandra rhodes

For some years now the London fashion designers have had the edge on their Paris rivals for ideas and innovations. Tomorrow evening a film on this subject will be shown on BBC1. Today we photograph the key London designers with their favourite clothes. What do they think of the London fashion scene? Where do we go from here?

Photographed by Terence Donovan. Fashion by Cherry Twiss.

Scanned from The Telegraph Magazine, May 25th 1973.

Zandra Rhodes originally trained as a textile designer; she began designing clothes in 1968. She does not have her own retail shop; her fabulous creations are made to order and sell through the big stores. “I think fashion in London is like a sea with lots of little islands, lots of different looks. I am my own couture island,” she says. “I don’t like committing myself to any one collection. I like adding to it as my ideas come along.” Pat Cleveland, top American model, is wearing Zandra’s “off-the-shoulder lily dress” .of printed grey and cream chiffon with satin-backed bodice and embroidery. From Piero de Monzi, 70 Fulham Road, SW3.
Mary Quant, photographed with her husband Alexander Plunkett-Green, became famous in 1955 when she opened the first “Bazaar” shop in the King’s Road, Chelsea. Now her business includes linen, make-up, tights and dolls as well as clothes, all bearing the unmistakable Quant touch. Of current London fashion she says: “I think the mood is classic, and I love it.” Amanda, a model who typifies Mary’s look, wears trousers, striped pullover and co-ordinating jacket, all in an angora and polyester mixture, and a pure silk shirt. Mary chose this outfit because “it is the epitome of my new collection -the best of everything. Modern classics in the right colours, subtle soft fabrics, elegance, chic – the sort of outfit you want to live in.” From Mary Quant’s new autumn collection, available in September.
Designer Jean Muir with Harry Lockart, her husband and business manager. She started the firm which bears her name in 1966; her distinctive clothes are available at all the major stores. Says Harry Lockart: “The London fashion scene has tremendous potential and on the design side is moving marvellously. It must need organising very professionally along Paris lines, with proper collection weeks, at times that do not clash, so that buyers can see everything.” Joanna Lumley is wearing an olive green two-tiered silk jersey dress described by Jean as “one of my favourites”. About £75 from Lucienne Phillips, 69 Knightsbridge, SW3, or Brown’s, South Molton Street, W1 . Jade necklace by Jean Muir, £15. Shoes, £24, by Charles Jourdan, 47 Brompton Road, SW3. Tights, Elle.
Designer John Bates (left) with John Siggins, Director who handles Publicity, Press and External Contracts. John Bates started the firm of Jean Varon in 1959; he thinks that “fashion in London is no different from anywhere else; but it is only just recently that it has been taken seriously”. Kellie, who is one of John Bates’s favourite models, is wearing a Tricel surah dress in a print by Sally McLaughlan exclusive to John Bates. About £55 from Dickins & Jones, Regent Street, W1 ; Barkers, Kensing-ton High Street, W8; Bentalls of Kingston; Kendal Milne of Manchester. Hat made to order by Frederick Fox, 26 Brook Street, W1.
Christopher McDonnell started his career early in 1967 and now sells his designs at his famous shop in South Molton Street. He thinks London is the most exciting place for evening wear, “but until the factories learn how to cope technically with good ideas for day clothes, the rest of Europe will remain ahead of us in this field.” The model is Ika, who, says Christopher, can interpret any look. She is wearing a cream silk suit with short skirt, £33 from Christopher McDonnell, 45 South Molton Street, W1 . White silk turban £9.50 from George Malyard, 3 King Street, WI. Bangles and choker from Emeline, 45 Beauchamp Place, SW3.
Designer Bill Gibb started out on his own in 1969 and was voted “Designer of the Year” in 1970. He now has a wholesale firm, and in fashion feels that “everybody makes a different sort of contribution”. Asha Puthli, singer and actress is wearing a peach double satin jacket and halter top embroidered and edged with black leather, and Lurex pleated skirt. About £200 from Chic of Hampstead, Heath Street, NW3, or Chases, Bond Street, Wl. Shoes £14.95 by Chelsea Cobbler, 33 Sackville Street, W1 . Tights by Echo. Alice Ormsby-Gore is wearing a plain and printed grey Lurex skirt and sequin embroidered top, £128. Turban by Diane Logan to order. All from Lucienne Phillips, or ZigZag, 100 New Bond Street, Wl. Shoes £14.95 from Chelsea Cobbler. Tights by Echo.

April Flower Evenings

1970s, belinda bellville, bill gibb, Gina Fratini, Inspirational Images, john bates, oliviero toscani, Rayne, Richard Sharah, Sue & Helen, thea porter, Toscani, Uncategorized, Vintage Editorials, Vogue, yves saint laurent, zandra rhodes

April Flower Evenings 6

Primrose silk georgette camisole top and handpainted satin jacket by Bellville-Sassoon.

Delicate flower evening dresses, in silks and chiffons… Beauty far beyond the English flower garden…

Photographed by Toscani. Make-up by Richard Sharah.

Scanned from Vogue, April 1975.

April Flower Evenings 1

Honey coloured silk dress by John Bates. Sandals by Saint Laurent Rive Gauche.

April Flower Evenings 2

Silk chiffon by Zandra Rhodes. Pink sandals by Rayne.

April Flower Evenings 5

Banana silk georgette printed with apricot flowers by Yuki.

April Flower Evenings 4

Pale peach silk chiffon with sheer sleeves by Thea Porter.

April Flower Evenings 3

Snow orchid chiffon by Sue & Helen. White sandals by Rayne.

April Flower Evenings 7

Drift of frilled white silk organza printed with snowdrops by Gina Fratini. Sandals by Rayne.

April Flower Evenings 8

Blackberry printed organza by Gina Fratini.

April Flower Evenings 9

Cream lace jacket and skirt by Bill Gibb.

April Flower Evenings 10

Palest pink silk chiffon by Bill Gibb.

Hang ’em on the wall

1970s, bill gibb, Carin Simon, Christine Martin, cosmopolitan, david bailey, Graham Watson, Inspirational Images, interior design, interiors, Janni Goss, Kaffe Fassett, Oliver Hoare, Pip Rau, Razzmatazz, ritva

hang em on the wall 1

Photographed by Carin Simon.

Scanned by Miss Peelpants from Cosmopolitan, March 1975.

Sarah Drummond talks to six talented people about their highly original hang-ups.

CHRISTINE MARTIN hangs shawls in her shop Razzmatazz (12 North End Rd, London W14, 01-603 0514) where she sells ‘Twenties and ‘Forties clothes, and also in her home. Both places are diminutive, but that doesn’t stop Christine from fanning shawls on walls, canopying them over lamp-shades, draping them as bed curtains. “I like shawls because they’re dramatic —but they can be overpowering, too; you must be careful. I like variety, which is why I change them about all the time. I like to make different moods. If someone comes to dinner for the second time, I’ll certainly swop the shawls about for them. I’ve never hung pictures—they’re too expensive. and too many other people hang them. My husband Christopher is an antique dealer specialising in icons so, of course. I hang them. I hang handbags sometimes. too.” Most of Christine’s shawl collection is nineteenth-century oriental, heavily embroidered, made in the East specifically for the European market, not to wear, but to cover pianos and tables. Christine also buys cut velvet shawls. “… and I’m just reaching the stage where if I really like something I don’t want to sell it.” Where do the Martins pick up their stock? “Oh anywhere, everywhere … we’re always tooting about in junk shops. I’ll pay up to £40 for a good shawl now I’ve got the bread.”

hang em on the wall 2

KAFFE FASSETT makes needlepoint hangings of magical intricacy and originality. If you see a handsome bearded young man doing petit point on the tube. it’s bound to be Kaffe. His creative energy is astonishing: currently he is working on an exhibition of his paintings to be held in New York, designing knits for Bill Gibb (a job he’s ‘done gloriously for the last six years) and for Ritva. And he’s doing knitting and tapestry designs and patterns for Women’s Home Industries and Tapestry Bazaar—and designing the needlepoint hangings which are made at Weatherall Workshops (Coleford 2102) in Gloucestershire. The day I saw Kaffe. a half-finished jacket was hanging pinned to his studio wall, chrome pins keeping an outstretched arm in place next to the body of the jacket, the pattern infinitely more complex than any piece of marbled paper, all plummy earthy tones. “I’m working it on fourteen needles: it’s good to see the balance of the design, feel how it’s going, and seeing it unfinished spurs me on to continue.” Kaffe is relatively new to actual needlework, though he’s been designing tapestries for some time. “Pamela Harlech who writes for Vogue asked me to design some slippers for her, and they looked great stitched up. Suddenly I thought I’d have a go. I’d always imagined those tapestry chairs you see took a lifetime —I was amazed how easy and how quick needlework can be.” To prove his point, he designed and worked backs and seats for a set of three winged chairs. marvellously mysterious in misty shades of grey, blue and green, based on forests and corals. As we talked Kaffe was stitching a doll’s-house chair, another exquisite forest design, which would set you back £10. whereas a big scale wallhanging could cost up to £2,000. “I’ve always been terribly influenced by the Orient,” Kaffe says. “I can look at patterns on some rugs for hours. Scotland has influenced me, too: there’s an affinity between Scotland and the Orient somewhere.”

hang em on the wall 3

JANNIE GOSS is an Australian model, who has lived for the last eight years in London with her architect husband, Ian, their eleven year old daughter. Mini, and a cat. Their flat in Camden Town is big and airy, with white walls. high ceilings and potted geraniums twelve feet tall. Jannie hangs her jewellery on the walls: the effect is bold and beautiful. It’s also highly practical. “The great thing about pinning up jewellery is that I can find it so easily—it’s not just for show: of course I wear the stuff, too. I used to keep my necklaces around a mirror, hopeless because everything became knotted. and you couldn’t get at it in a hurry …I like organised clutter—great areas of space, then areas of things; it makes dusting easier, too. And Ian and I are both keen on a functional as well as decorative environment. I move my jewellery about, to change the shapes and patterns they make, which is fun. I just use ordinary pins. the very long dressmaking ones—anything heavier, like a nail, would mark the walls. I’m a collector by nature, I was buying up Art Deco jewellery before it became fashionable, when it only cost a few bob. I’ve never bought from the antique market, but sometimes at Portobello Road and Oxfam shops; mostly I just nose about in junk shops and jumble sales. People say I’m clever at finding things but for every four looks, only once will You find a piece you really like and want to buy.

hang em on the wall 4

OLIVER HOARE‘s house gives you the feeling you’re in the Middle East. You are surrounded by carpets—kelims, to be precise—a dazzling juxtaposition of highly organised patterns and colours. Divans, steps, floors, cushions and wall are all covered with oriental rugs. When people hear about it, they imagine that so many patterns and colours clash. They don’t,” says Oliver. He’s right: the rugs harmonise, like music, and one of the reasons is that all the kelims’ colours are vegetable dyes, so the tones are constant—lots of brick and all the earthy colours. Oliver used to work at Christie’s where he ran the carpet department, but this summer set up on his own to sell Islamic works of art to the Middle East. and Far Eastern objets to Europe and America. “I was brought up with carpets, my father bought masses in Constantinople in the ‘Twenties, and always hung them up. Although I wasn’t terribly interested, something about them had rubbed off on me, and when I went to Christie’s I was immediately put into the carpet department. I became fascinated. I like kelims best of all. These are flat woven rugs, which have always been made by tribes, and it’s a tradition that hasn’t been interfered with or commercialised.” Buying carpets of any kind in the Middle East is an immensely ritualistic business: potential buyers sit for hours in carpet shops sipping tiny cups of Turkish coffee and tea endlessly. Bargaining goes on all day. Although Oliver enjoys this ritual. his business methods are Western. His dealing life means he must travel constantly though he spends as much time as he can in Iran where his caravanserai, on the old silk route, has just been nationalised by the government. Kelim prices have shot up, particularly now that so many are going back to their countries of origin. “Five years ago. you used to buy the really good kelims for £30 or £40. Nowadays, the best are £1,000 or £2,000 —but you can find decorative kelims for between two and three hundred pounds.”

hang em on the wall 5

GRAHAM WATSON makes bead curtains that swish exotic-ally as you pass through, like a ‘Twenties shimmy dress, beaded strands trailing in your hair and on your shoulders. His beads can depict your portrait. a fantasy landscape, cinema curtains, an old poster—whatever you want. The curtains are hung in doorways. on walls, around baths. Graham’s clients in-clude Chris Squire of the rock group Yes, photographer David Bailey, and film director Joe Losey. “I started off bead-work when I was at drama school . . . act-ing’s an overcrowded profession, and I found it demoralising,” Graham explains. “I saw a play on television one night, and in the background there was a beaded curtain that looked as though it had some-thing painted on it, I couldn’t quite see. But it intrigued me.” . . . To the extent that the very next day Graham started threading beads him-self. But beads are hard to find in England. and Graham traced the best bead sources to Germany (for wood) and Czechoslovakia (for glass). He declared himself a registered company, and went to work three years ago. “I still import the beads, but we dye most of the colours our-selves, otherwise you’re landed with all the shades you don’t want. I often mix glass and wooden beads, because glass alone is too heavy.” Currently, Graham is working on a huge black and silver portrait of Buster Keaton, and he’s planning a three-dimensional number. If you want a curtain made, and they cost around £120 (door size), you can reach Graham Watson at 13c Cunningham Place. London NW8 (01-286 0891).

hang em on the wall 6

PIP RAU is hooked on folk tradition, on the embroideries, colours, prints and patterns of Central Asia and the Middle East. Home is like a bazaar, her shop like a souk where she sells dresses, waist-coats, robes, great pieces of faded cloth, incredibly bright embroideries. Her walls are jam-packed with treasures. and Pip’s body is covered with clothes of tribal designs, too. “I’d never put up pictures.” she says, “hangings do so much more for a room. They’re vibrant and vast and warm. Infinitely cheaper, too. I’ve been collecting ever since I can remember. I love markets. I lived in Israel for ten years. I was married to an Israeli. and travelled all over the Middle East. and now we’re separated I’ve come back to live in London.” So it seemed a natural move to open a shop (Rau Gallery, 36 Islington Green, London N1, 01-359 5337) selling all the things she loves, and it means she can justify her passion for travel. “I plan to go away three or four times a year to find stock,” she says. “My last trip took six weeks; I drove all through Eastern Europe, buying in Romania and Yugoslavia, and on to Turkey and Iran. and then Afghanistan. There are always difficulties at frontiers—you need all the invoices and endless bits of paper. Prices are going up and up. sources are drying up, too, as increasing numbers of people get interested. My customers are very mixed—specialist collectors, or people who fall in love with something. I don’t think clothes like these should ever be altered. Just buy what fits.” Pip hangs dresses and the lighter hangings with drawing pins, and uses tacks for anything heavier. Dresses can cost as much as £50 —an antique, hand-woven heavily embroidered Palestinian wedding dress, for example—and wallhangings vary enormously from small Persian cottons at £4 to kelims and Bokharas (large-scale embroideries on silk) at £230, or kelims for £400.