A Peek at the Boutique: Howie

1970s, Boutiques, british boutique movement, harpers and queen, Howie, Howie Diffusion, Mensday, menswear, Mrs Howie, Steve Campbell

‘Casual clothes for men.’ The phrase used to mean T-shirts and jeans. But since Paul Howie opened his shop at 352 Fulham Road, SW10, the phrase has taken on a new meaning: ‘soft, comfy, easy-to-wear looks; clothes that you can just put on and look good in without trying’. That says it all. Nearly all the clothes are exclusive to Howie, but Paul (in the picture) wears a light brown tie-belted raincoat by Deardon & Fay; £68.

Photographed by Steve Campbell.

Scanned from Harpers and Queen, November 1974.

Your Mother Wouldn’t Like It

1970s, british boutique movement, Cars, Great Gear Trading Co, Inspirational Images, sunday times magazine, Vintage Adverts

Superb advert for the MG Midget, photographed in front of The Great Gear Market at 85 Kings Road. Some of the best photos of boutiques have popped up, inadvertently, in adverts. From my archive there is Che Guevara in an Opel advert and Quorum for cigarettes.

Scanned from The Sunday Times Magazine, 7th May 1972.

Cathee Dahmen in Gurney Slade

1970s, Annette Green, british boutique movement, Cathee Dahmen, Chelsea Antiques Market, Gurney Slade, Inspirational Images, kensington market, Vogue

Visiting London friends, and working for Vogue’s June issue, Cathy [sic] Dahmen took a turn around the square wearing delicious soft chamois leather smock shirt and laced shorts, above, £12 and £7, and wraparound dressing-gown coat and trousers, left,. £30, £20. From Gurney Slade, who have a brand new stall in the Kensington Super Store and the Chelsea Market. They make to order, too.

Photographed by Annette Green.

Scanned from Vogue, April 1971.

Beauty from Biba

19 magazine, 1970s, barbara hulanicki, Barbara Hulanicki, beauty, biba, british boutique movement, hair, Hair and make-up, Make-up

As with everything Biba creates, its newly opened Beauty Parlour in the Kensington store hits that striking note of sparkling originality.

It has 19’s stamp of approval. because it is a genuine beauty parlour, in the true, old-fashioned sense of the word. The Parlour welcomes you into a relaxed, spacious and luxurious, ‘Thirties’ world of cream and black decor, bedecked with dark green palms. It is the brain-child of Barbara Hulaniki— Biba’s creator—and Regis, a brilliant and inventive make-up artist and hairdresser.

Before Regis showed us around, we asked him to tell us about his past.

Looking every bit as dashing as Valentino himself. he said: “Call me a man with no past. Although I trained and worked in many leading salons, I don’t want to be attached to anything I’ve done before or The Parlour to be compared with others.”

The Parlour offers the services of a modern establishment (from haircutting to leg waxing) which it executes in a novel way. Here you are not a number with a gown—you are treated as an individual with individual needs. In true Biba tradition, on arrival, you are fitted out with a fabulous gown—either a long black satin one (if you are having your hair done), a black velour robe (for the guys) or a super black towelling robe (if you are going into the beauty room). Even the hair nets are pretty— black and silky.


The seating is so cleverly designed in the curved and pillared room that one client hardly sees another and, although each hairdresser—and there are three, plus Regis— has his own ‘corner’, all the involved treatments, such as tinting, bleaching, high-lighting and perming. are done in private cubicles.

Biba carries every conceivable shade of hair colouring and hasn’t just confined The Parlour to all the well-known branded names. Regis virtually combed the earth to find special formulas and effects.

Henna treatments are very popular and Biba uses several varieties—Black Henna, for dark heads; Neutral Henna, for blondes; Henna Wax for dry, split hair; ordinary henna, for a rich, red glow and a special henna, which can be used with a perm—normally you cannot perm hair which has henna on it. (Henna treatment costs from £6: tinting from £6.50; perming from £10.) Regis has fixed ideas concerning shampoo.

“A good shampoo is the most important step in the whole process. because if you use a bad one. then you can forget about doing an original style. Dull, horrible hair can never look good, however hard you try.”

Biba has 17 kinds of shampoo to choose from, ranging from ‘Almond’ and ‘Strawberry’ to ‘Henna Gloss’ shampoo, which doesn’t actually colour the hair but, with constant use, produces marvellous red lights. There are also three biological shampoos: one for greasy hair, one for dry and one for dandruff sufferers. (A shampoo and set costs £3, no matter which shampoo you need to use.)

Other Biba specialities are the after-washing, pre-setting goodies. Regis’ favourite is the Champagne Rinse, which gives a remarkable gloss and softness. The Henna Conditioner is good and there are Frictions, too, which are spirit-based hair perfumes, to make your hair smell beautiful, as well as look good. (Frictions are something mothers and grandmothers know all about. but which had disappeared from our lives—until now.) These cost 50p. each, and you can choose from ‘Orchid’, `Fougere., ‘Eau de Cologne’, ‘Passionate’ and ‘Gardenia’.


Blow-drying is virtually non-existent at Biba.

“We want girls to look truly groomed and feminine again.” said Regis. He believes in the old-style training and he and his staff use rollers (but not heated ones), Marcel Wave tongs, wave clips. small tongs and irons, and do lots of exacting pin-curling.


The Beauty Room is run by a very efficient lady and practically anything is done. There are treatments to help acne problems; waxing to remove unwanted hair; massage including a deep-back massage. with an infra-red lamp; spot reducing with Slendertone and eye treatments, which include eyebrow shaping, eyelash dyeing and the application of Permanent lashes. (This costs £4. and replacements later on cost 10p. a lash.)

The manicures and pedicures are superb. If it is just a plain one you want, then, of course, they will oblige. But if you want something for a special occasion then they can do fantastic combinations of colours, patterns and designs on nails and toes, too, if required. (Ordinary manicures cost £1: the special kind. £2.50.)

As far as make-up is concerned. Regis will create a fantastic new look for you and will advise on form-ulas, colours and applica-tion. (Cost £5.)

The Parlour opens at 11am., on weekdays, and last appointments are at 6.30pm. On Saturdays. opening time is 9.30am. and last appointments are at 4pm.

It’s sobering to remember that about seven months after this article appeared, Biba was closed forever.

Photographer(s) uncredited.

Scanned from 19 Magazine, February 1975.

Smart Things

19 magazine, alice pollock, british boutique movement, Digby Howard, Harri Peccinotti, Inspirational Images, manolo blahnik, ossie clark, quorum, sheridan barnett, Vintage Editorials, zapata

A 19 SPECIAL PREVIEW OF AN EXCITING DESIGNER’S COLLECTION

Sheridan Barnett, pictured above, is the young designer who gave Coopers such a good look and who has now joined the Quorum label, with Ossie Clark and Alice Pollock. At twenty-six, he has established himself as the most exciting designer in London, with a fabulous first collection for Quorum that left them clapping in the aisles. Women’s Wear Daily, the fashion bible of America, devoted an entire double-page spread to his collection, previously unheard of for an English designer. He designs with his girlfriend, a ballet dancer, in mind, and ladies like Grace Coddington, model Eija and Liza Minnelli: “Girls who are individual and chic, interesting, attractive and with oomph . .” and likes them to look alluring, classy and sexy. At the moment, his clothes are expensive but we are hopeful that, later on, they will be available in the cheaper Radley range as Ossie Clark’s clothes are. Meanwhile look out for similar lines.

My slightly belated tribute to the great Sheridan Barnett, who died in November. He is one of those many British designers of the time whose work doesn’t really get the attention he deserves; as you can see here his tailoring was exquisite.

All clothes by Sheridan Barnett at Quorum.

Shoes by Zapata. Hats by Digby Howard.

Hair by Ricci Burns.

Photographed by Harri Peccinotti.

Scanned from 19 Magazine, September 1973.

Sylvie Winter in Sweetheart

1970s, Boutiques, british boutique movement, mr freedom, Sweetheart, Vogue

German actress Sylvie Winters (sic) seems to be the new mood of Munich. She buys her clothes from Sweetheart, Leopoldstrasse 54, in the Schwabing/Chelsea district. Sweetheart is run by its two designers; amongst wall-sized posters and giant-sized carrot tins they sell fantasy chiffons and pop satin zip suits.

Sounds like the German version of Mr Freedom! It’s always fascinating to see how far and wide the boutique trend had spread, I just wish there were more photos of the interior.

Photographed by Pat York.

Scanned from Vogue (‘Vogue’s Own Boutique’), September 1971.

Piero de Monzi

1970s, Boutiques, british boutique movement, Cerruti, Chloe, Piero de Monzi, Vintage Adverts, Vogue
Clothes by Chloe and Cerruti at Piero de Monzi. Painting by Robert Cottingham from the DM Gallery. Furniture and Fendi luggage at Condotti.

Advert for the Piero de Monzi boutique in Fulham Road.

Scanned from Vogue, April 15th 1975.

Victoria Tennant (and Afghan)

1960s, british boutique movement, Kenneth Vard, patrick lichfield, Victoria Tennant, Vogue

Victoria Tennant, an Afghan hound and a jacket of real patent leather, caramel brown and shiny. She is a drama student at the Central School. The jacket, 39 gns, was made with wide lapels and a belt, by a new boutique, Kenneth Vard, 90 Marylebone High Street, W.1, who makes anything in any colour and any suede or leather.

Photographed by Patrick Lichfield.

Scanned from Vogue, May 1969.

“Whatever she selects has taste…”

1970s, alice pollock, british boutique movement, cosmopolitan, ossie clark, quorum, Random Ossies in Adverts, Vintage Adverts

Obviously I do not condone the message as regards the product being advertised here, but what an amazing, ephemeral capture of the Quorum boutique window with Ossies on both the model and the mannequin (‘Bridget’ and ‘Cuddly’ respectively). I also think that might possibly be the ghostly figure of Alice Pollock in the background.

Scanned from Cosmopolitan, November 1973.

Must See Vintage Films: The Long Goodbye

1970s, british boutique movement, films, Films, laura ashley, Nina van Pallandt, zandra rhodes

Quite apart from Elliott Gould being a very worthy successor to Humphrey Bogart as Philip Marlowe, and the faded-but-magnificent Art Deco buildings which feature throughout, Robert Altman’s The Long Goodbye (1973) is also well worth watching for Nina van Pallandt’s wardrobe.

First appearing in what looks like Laura Ashley:

Then a less identifiable dress of a similar ‘peasant’ style but rather less traditionally English in the use of pattern and colour (possibly by Mexicana, Georgia Charuhas or a similar brand):

You can see more clearly in this publicity shot that the bands of lace are transparent:

Then Laura Ashley again:

Slightly clearer albeit black and white in this publicity shot:

By this point, I started wondering if this wardrobe was perhaps that of the actress rather than of the character. Nina van Pallandt was a successful Danish singer (with husband Frederik van Pallandt, they were known as ‘Nina and Frederik’) and would have spent a great deal of time in London. It otherwise seemed a bit odd that she was wearing clearly British-made clothes, albeit in a style which wouldn’t seem too dramatically out of place in early 1970s California. It certainly sets her apart from the few other women in the film, including Marlowe’s doped up neighbours (who are rarely clothed at all), and gives her a dreamy, other-worldly quality.

Then, as if by magic, she then appears in the most spectacular Zandra Rhodes gown. A gown which will, I’m afraid to say, eventually end up soaked through with sea water and very likely ruined.

Again, a proper publicity shot provides a clearer view of the classic Zandra squiggle print:

Afterwards, still pondering this, I hunted around for film stills and eventually came across this photo of Nina wearing the exact same dress in an earlier television performance. Bingo! I don’t know if it was just a small budget or a fussy leading lady, but I can only presume the entire wardrobe of her character was her own. One of those little things which seems to satisfy a curiosity in me, and I feel the need to share with the world.

Photograph by David Redfern.

I think this might be a piece from Zandra’s earliest collection as the hood and sleeve style is very reminiscent of this piece worn by Natalie Wood in 1970. I hope it was able to be rescued from its salty fate and is still out there somewhere.