Down-town Mo Bay is a riot of colour. Houses are made of wood and painted red, blue, green or yellow. There’s a different colour at every step, so a walk down any street is quite an experience. Then there’s the soul music which blasts out of every shop, so you’ve got to look cool. Hence our choice of fun clothes to catch the eye even with all that competition.
The incredible swagger is back. We all know you’ve seen it before, hidden away in mother’s wardrobe, but forget the mothball version and look out for bold stripes, zig-zags and checks in bright primary colours. The difference is that these coats have neat tight-fitting shoulders and wide swirling skirts which swing when you walk-surprisingly flattering and easy to wear. So let the wind blow, all you need is a flash of panache and a splash of colour.
Party wear for the getogether season takes all the best of blazers and pants and sleeks them up in satins and velvets… or cools off with the prettiest dresses ever.
Clearly Christmas 2020 is going to be a uniquely muted season as far as partying is concerned, but I often avoid the throngs of people anyway. Years of working in theatre over the festive season meant that when I had downtime I would prefer to lounge around in satins and velvets in the comfort of my own home. I’m just glad you’re all finally catching up with how nice it is! In all seriousness though, sometimes the smallest things can make us feel the nicest – so even if you don’t feel like getting togged up in satin and velvet, I highly recommend doing something you would normally find ridiculous for sitting around at home. Sparkly hair clip, red lipstick or those skyscraper platforms you can’t walk in.
Photographed by kind permission of Mecca Dancing at the Empire Ballroom, Leicester Square, WC1
Sunny Spain conjured up visions of hot summer days in picturesque surroundings, ideal settings for 19’s summer fashions. And we had a fantastic oppotunity when 4S Travel arranged a trip to Malaga and Torremolinos. We flew BUA Super Jet to stay at the Hotel Al Andalus, within easy reach of the mountains overlooking the Costa del Sol. Here we discovered quaint villages, sun-drenched and white-washed, their customs and dress crystallised in the past. No cars to be seen, only mules and donkeys. Our clothes echoed the feel of these places – colours stark black and white, brightened with touches of gayer hues, clean hot printed cottons, soft peasant blouses, sandals, light fishnet shawls, casual sun hats. The garments are easy to take care of, and enhance a tan – midi skirts that button to above the knee and give alluring glimpses of brown thigh, and large brightly printed squares of fabric which can be used as shawls, or skirts tied at the side.
Making me yearn for a proper holiday. The closest I’ll get is looking at this editorial whilst sitting on the balcony, trying to avoid all humans for the time being. I hope it brightens your day as well…
If you can’t tango, simply steal into the spotlight in these flamboyant rumba dresses. The slipped shoulder strap, the bared midriff and the full-blown flouncy skirts all spell out the sexiest numbers for summer.
The main difference between the content of a magazine like Honey, as opposed to Vogue or Queen, is that the designers tend to be the more intriguing and less well-known of the period. If you want names like Miss Mouse, Granny Takes a Trip or Antony Price, these magazines should always be your first port of call. This shoot alone features one of my Holy Grail pieces by Granny Takes a Trip: the ruffled tie front top and skirt ensemble designed by Dinah Adams. Previously a designer for two other cult London boutiques, Mr Freedom and Paradise Garage, painfully little is known about Dinah Adams (misattributed as ‘Diana’ in the original credits). Which is why it’s always lovely to see her work represented anywhere.
Also shown here is a frothy, frilly delight of a frock by Miss Mouse, a.k.a Rae Spencer-Cullen. A personal favourite of mine, the Miss Mouse aesthetic is precisely why this early Seventies period is my favourite for fashion. Her work was heavily Fifties-inspired, quite ahead of the curve in the scheme of things, but always with a novel twist. Spencer-Cullen is yet another designer whose life remains something of a mystery, despite being a part of a hugely influential circle which included artists Duggie Fields and Andrew Logan. It seems that this anonymity was (at least initially) intentional, as an article from the Glasgow Herald in 1976 declared.
“At first, six years ago, when presenting her quirky designs on fashion, she seemed shy and utterly retiring. Miss Mouse could not be contacted easily by the press. She was elusive, hazed in shadows, a real mouse about publicity in fact. The only evidence of her entire existence was her clothes.”
In a world where we are so used to having information at our fingertips, there is something quite enchanting about this; tiny scraps must be stitched together to create a flimsy silhouette of a creative genius.
Photographed by Roy A Giles.
Scanned from Honey, July 1973.
(Please note – this blog originally appeared in 2016 on Shrimpton Couture’s ‘Curated’ blog project which has since been removed. It seemed a shame to let the posts disappear completely so I hope to eventually repost all my work here.)
The numbers that The Moodies perform are firmly anchored in the Fifties and Sixties and ignore the current pop obsessions for necrophilia, drugs, suicide and the like. But under their bizarre make-up they are entertainers of the Seventies, rather than a group of decadent kids living off the nostalgia for ‘golden oldies’. On a good night, when the audience is firmly on their side, they create an atmosphere more like that of a private party than a sterile public performance; they earn their laughs through the juxtaposition of songs, their eccentric make-up, their idiotic props and their energetic dancing.
About a month ago, when they were playing at the tiny Moderna Theatre in Munich’s Schwabing district (surely the cleanest ‘quarter’ in the world), we noticed that the audience of all ages, shapes and sizes, were neatly dressed to the last man and woman; even their jeans had the knife-edge creases of an expensive boutique — the complete opposite of the people they had come to watch, who were described recently in Time Out as “looking like half a dozen friendly whores after a hard night in the Reeperbahn”.
“Everyone here tries to get us to mend our sweaters, they feel sorry for us. They think a hole is a sign of poverty. They wear the gear but they don’t understand what it’s about.
Perhaps that’s why we appeal to them,” said Anne Bean, who is a deceptively homely-looking girl off-stage and a powerhouse of energy on. She is one of the leaders of the group, though she denied that anyone actually led : “We are totally democratic -not that there is such a thing.” All art students at Reading, it was the second time they had played Munich. They banded together to play professional dates after they had sat their finals; they all passed except for buxom Suzy Adderley, who is on one year’s leave of absence and goes back soon to complete her course. They tried their luck at the Edinburgh Festival along with the rest of the Fringe: this was successful enough to land them their first book-ing in Munich.
“Actually, we were offered an Arts Council grant but we turned it down as we thought that it might restrict us,” said Rod Melvin, the pianist and the only man in the group. They still don’t have a pro-ducer, director, manager or agent. The only non-performing person to travel with them is Mickey Ekers who is a stage-manager-cum-electrician-cum-prop-master.
In the early days there were six girls, Anne Bean, Marianne Holliday, Polly Eltes, Suzy Adderley, Annie Sloan and Becky Bailey, but Becky Bailey deserted the group to paint. Anne Bean explained: “We really did the show as part of our finals.” Did this help them pass ? “Quite the contrary. It nearly sank us.”
At the start they followed the traditions of what was happening in pop music at that time: “Even the names we chose were just send-ups of those currently fashionable girlie groups like Lulu and the Luvvers and Martha and the Vandellas” said Anne Bean. “At one time we called ourselves Frank and the Furters” (she looked suitably ashamed) “then Lulu and the Lesbians, then prior to becoming The Mooches we were The Menstrual Seven.”
Before returning to Munich they had been playing at the Theatre at New End, Hampstead, where they had become quite a cult with late-night audiences. The group do num-bers like Gingold’s and Chevalier’s duet Ah Yes, I Remember It Well from Gigi and some of the more aggressive Presley songs, but they interpret these rather than imitate the originals. They make no announcements and use no words in spite of ‘gag fur gag’ written on the pink stars advertising the show. And they are very funny. Thank You For Being An Angel sung with melancholic grace by Rod Melvin became farce as the angel who drifted around stage shedding sequins at every step turned out to be a cross between Mae West and Jayne Mansfield. (Melvin is a talented pianist; the rest of the group are not musicians, but rely instead on improvisation and innovation.)
The make-up is startling. Polly Eltes said: “I really don’t quite know how we arrived at this present look. We started off quite simply looking brown and rather natural with perhaps blue eyelids, but gradually we progressed to what you see now.” They wear water-based wet-white foundation and then draw their features on to these masks. Anne Bean takes it the furthest by banding strips of coloured feathers to her eyebrows, while Rod Melvin, with his great carmine mouth and black sad eyes, looks somewhere between a clown and a Kabuki artist.
“I suppose we do reflect fashions, but I think it’s quite unconscious,” said Annie Sloan. “When Germaine Greer’s book came out (The Female Eunuch) we all wore strict little mannish suits, but somehow we have come to this.” ‘This’ is fishnet tights (with holes), gold-painted lace-up boots, long gloves and clothes they say they make themselves (which no-one would challenge). During the performance they swap clothes so that they look different but don’t use more costumes.
“I suppose that what we wear might seem eccentric and exaggerated; everyone marvels at Rod’s shoes but they came from Dolcis and mine came from Biba’s, so we are only picking up what’s around.” They admit that their art training and observations have probably influenced their act — the masks they wear at one point are exactly like those shown on some of John Davies’s sculptures shown at the Whitechapel Gallery a couple of years ago : “But we don’t want to intellectualise what we do,” said Annie Sloan, “or we might become self-conscious and unable to perform.”
The group pool their money; so much goes on running expenses, the rest on food and necessities. They were scheduled for seven more weeks on the road, ending at the Schiller Theatre in East Berlin. “When we are out of work we all do other things. I model, though I’m not much good at it,” said Polly Ekes. “I can’t really take it seriously, so when I go for jobs I mostly get turned down.” Rod and Anne teach, and sometimes Rod plays the piano for a girl singer and Marianne does typography and pho-tography. It is doubtful whether they will stick together : one has the feeling that they are enthusiastically filling in time before they move on to some-thing else.
Photographed by Hans Feurer. Report by Meriel McCooey.
Scanned from The Sunday Times Magazine, June 23rd 1974
Black panne velvet hat from Feathers. Exotic black floor length beaver-look Borg fur fabric coat by Ossie Clark at Quorum.
The title of this editorial reminds me of being in Dublin earlier this year. Just arrived, walking along trying to find our hotel, I was wearing a Seventies brown nappa leather trench coat (it was February and freezing). A girl strode past and without pausing to wait for a reaction or looking me in the eye she just said ‘Great coat’ and carried on walking. I decided I loved Dublin right there and then.
This spread features the stunning Charlotte Martin and was photographed in Austria. I’m still in love with my brown leather trench coat but I wouldn’t say no if any of these coats (particularly that Quorum stunner above) were to land in my lap this winter…
Photographed by John Bishop.
Scanned from 19 Magazine, December 1970.
Black panne velvet hat by Feathers. Long chocolate jersey top with tight buttoned cuffs. Grey and rust mock Gonk shoulder cape. Both from Biba.
Hat from Feathers. Dark brown and black Forties-style mock chipmunk jacket with self tie belt. Black wool pants with turn ups. Both from Biba. Wet-look boots from Dolcis.
Plum Borg-lined jacket with leather elbow patches and trimmings by Daniel Hechter of Paris. Green barathea midi skirt by Gladrags. Tan leather leace up boots from Russell and Bromley.
Plum felt hat from Feathers. Pure wool shirt. Skirt in different prints panels of pure wool. Pure wool paisley printed waistcoat lined with fake fur. All by Foale and Tuffin. Browny-plum wet look lace-up boots from Dolcis.
Brown felt hat from Feathers. Brown Borg zip-front coat with tie belt by Marielle. Brown lace up boots by Dolcis.
Mock hamster pull on hat from Biba. Chocolate Shetland sweater by Hogg of Hawick. Suede gauchos from Bus Stop. Mock hamster wrap over coat from Biba. Lace up boots from Dolcis. // Mock hamster pull on hat from Biba. Black crepe shirt by Poole at Shape. Mock hamster belted jacket from Biba. Black velvet gauchos from Bus Stop. Lace up boots from Dolcis.
Mid brown Shetland sweater by Hogg of Hawick. Chocolate Borg-backed fly fronted jersey jacket with hood, cuffs and patch pockets by Weathergay. Black jersey knickerbockers with bootslace ties by Angela at London Town. Brown wet look boots by Dolcis.
Brown panne velvet hat from Feathers. Chocolate Shetland poloneck sweater by Hogg of Hawick. Suede gaucho pants from Bus Stop. Brown striped hooded floor length wool coat lined with fur fabric by Foale and Tuffin. Belt from Bus Stop.
Floppy Treebark crepe trouser suit with wide straight trousers, waist sash and large frilled collar, by Foale and Tuffin.
Run barefoot through the grass or dance under the stars. Shades of Isadora Duncan* and free, flowing movement. Long, lithe limbs leaping through loose chiffon. Wild intensity in dramatic falls of fabric. The romance of long dresses, of floating frills in transparent fabrics is yours for the asking. Come, do a moonlight flit with us…. *Isadora Duncan. who moved in high society, and whose dancing shook Edwardian England, initiated free dance movement clad in clothes which emphasised her point. We can still thank her for the romantic-looking, drifting dresses inspired by the film revival of her life story — on release in the Autumn, starring Vanessa Redgrave.
Photographed by Al Vandenburg. Hairstyles by Derek Roe.
Scanned from 19 Magazine, August 1968.
Dress in yellow embroidered voile by Biba.
Transparent black and white spotted dress from Biba. Shoes by Ronald Keith.
Tight waist-skimming jacket and knee length skirt in yellow crepe by Foale and Tuffin. Orange shoes by Elliotts.
Flocked yellow full-skirted Dacron dress by Shelana.
Romantic white lawn dress by Gina Fratini. Silver shoes by Dolcis.