WHAT KIND OF GIRL ARE YOU?

19 magazine, 1960s, alistair cowin, annacat, biba, bus stop, celia birtwell, Daniel Hechter, Foale and Tuffin, fulham road clothes shop, guy and elizabeth, hung on you, Inspirational Images, jean varon, john bates, Lawrence Corner, lee bender, liberty, liberty's, lilley and skinner, Maxwell Croft, ossie clark, Pierre D'Alby, quorum, ravel, Roger Nelson, Ronald Keith, sally levison, Stephanie Farrow, Susan Handbags, sylvia ayton, wallis, Weathergay, zandra rhodes
Cancer: Long Victorian styled dress with high neck in coffee cotton lace trimmed with white, by Annacat, 25gns.

Whether you believe in star signs or not, this lovely editorial is certainly fun to browse. Pretty happy with my Cancerian Annacat dress, modelled by Stephanie Farrow, but greatly envy the Aries and Scorpio threads.

(Also, please don’t shout at me about the furs. I don’t like them either but it would be weird to leave out Leo and Aquarius. Just pretend they’re fake…)

Photographed by Guy and Elizabeth

Scanned from 19 Magazine, January 1969.

Leo: Red fox knee length coat by Maxwell Croft, 259gns. Red wig from Beyond The Fringe.
Virgo: White jersey dress with brown snakeskin shoulders and belt by Sylvia Ayton and Zandra Rhodes, approx 8gns. Mottled chiffon scarf from Liberty. Brown leather boots by Lilley and Skinner, £6 19s. 6d.
Libra: Long brown crepe dresswith medieval claret-coloured velvet sleeves by Roger Nelson at 94, 9gns.
Scorpio: Metallic blue leather jacket with zip front by Ossie Clark for Quorum, 25gns. Chiffon scarf by Biba, 18s. Red jersey trousers by Wallis, £3 19s 11d. Leather boots by Lilley and Skinner.
Sagittarius: Fake horse jacket with leather elbows and trim, by Daniel Hechter for Weathergay 15gns. Herringbone trousers by Alistair Cowin at Grade One, £3 19s. 6d. Beige ribbed sweater 4½gns. Matching beret, 39s 11d. Both by Sally Levison Originals.
Capricorn: Beige rayon crepe trouser suit by Foale and Tuffin, 20½gns. Pink chiffon scarf by Biba, 18s 9d. Brown leather brogues by Ronald Keith, 6gns.
Aquarius: Maxi fur coat by Barbara Warner for Fab Furs, 150gns. Black hat by Biba, 25s. Worn underneath, black maxi jersey dress with snakeskin waistband by Sylvia Ayton and Zandra Rhodes, approx 8gns.
Pisces: Beautifully cut white raincoat by Foale and Tuffin, 16½gns. Boots to order by Ravel Studio, 19gns.
Aries: Brown suede fringed waistcoat, £7, with matching printed moccasins, £2. From Hung On You. Deep red satin blouse by Biba, £2 15s 6d. Brown cord trousers by Alistair Cowin at Grade One, 5gns. Narrow headscarf by Celia Birtwell for Quorum, 1gn.
Taurus: Blue rayon georgette, high-waisted dress with baby ribbon trim by John Bates for Jean Varon, 13gns.
Gemini: Green army surplus hat, 9s. 9d., and beige jacket, 11s. 9d., both from Lawrence Corner. Beige gabardine knickerbocker suit, by Pierre D’Alby, 14gns. Brown stockings from Mary Davies, 35s. Brown leather brogues by Ronald Keith, 6gns. Shetland Fair Isle beret, 25s. and scarf, 29s. 11d. by Lee Bender at Bus Stop. Leather shoulder bag by Susan Handbags, 7gns.

Inspirational Editorials: Legs Go Under Cover

1960s, british boutique movement, Browns, celia birtwell, chelsea cobbler, Flora Boutique, fulham road clothes shop, Gina Fratini, Harpers Bazaar, Harri Peccinotti, Inspirational Images, Ken Lane, kurt geiger, molly parkin, mr fish, ossie clark, Piero de Monzi, quorum, sylvia ayton, thea porter, Vintage Editorials, zandra rhodes

Left to right: White crepe bolero and trousers by Gina Fratini. White shoes by Kurt Geiger / Satin trousers and matching chiffon top in print by Celia Birtwell, both by Ossie Clark at Quorum. Red leather shoes by Chrystal of Copenhagen. / Black silk organza shirt and trousers in Bianchini's black silk organza flocked with velvet, both from Thea Porter. Cord belt from Piero de Monzi. Wide jewelled belt and double chain and green stone belt from Ken Lane. Black satin shoes by Kirt Geiger. / Black cire trouser suit from The Fulham Road Clothes Shop. Black letaher boots by Thea Chelsea Cobbler. Black and cream silk scarf from Thea Porter

Left to right: White crepe bolero and trousers by Gina Fratini. White shoes by Kurt Geiger / Satin trousers and matching chiffon top in print by Celia Birtwell, both by Ossie Clark at Quorum. Red leather shoes by Chrystal of Copenhagen. / Black silk organza shirt and trousers in Bianchini’s black silk organza flocked with velvet, both from Thea Porter. Cord belt from Piero de Monzi. Wide jewelled belt and double chain and green stone belt from Ken Lane. Black satin shoes by Kirt Geiger. / Black cire trouser suit from The Fulham Road Clothes Shop. Black leather boots by The Chelsea Cobbler. Black and cream silk scarf from Thea Porter

Everyone is tired of hearing that the mini skirt is on the way out.
Nearly as tired as when they heard it was on the way in.
These things in fashion die a very slow death,
but in this case one reason has been the lack of alternative.
Designers made too great a leap with the maxi,
and too indefinite a move with the midi.
After extremely short skirts,
something flapping around mid calves did feel extremely frumpish.
This was tied in with the fact that no boot manufacturers at
that time were making them with high enough heels,
essential with a longer skirt,
and it was very difficult to find feminine unclumpy
shoes which gave enough of a lift.
Now footwear is changing.
Boots are tall and beautifully fitting.
l-ligh-heeled shoes — very high — are pretty,
well proportioned and extremely flattering.
And so one branch of fashion may well be influencing another.
ln the end everything is a matter of proportions.
When skirts went up, heels came down.
The high stilettos we used to hobble around in so painfully,
not really that long ago,
looked far too tarty with hemlines halfway up the thigh and even
worse with trousers, especially tight ones.
Since most women feel their legs to be too short,
and the wearing of the heel as very necessary to a feeling of femininity,
this cancelled out the wearing of trousers for a very large number.
Until a short time ago trousers were being worn by,.
apart from men of course,
women who looked like men — that is, girls with no curves.
Lean hips. Long legs — in flat shoes.
Now for the first time comes the alternative to the mini skirt. Trousers.
That is, until hemlines decide exactly how far they will drop.
As drop they will.
Footwear has helped provide the solution.
It will comfort many to know that the models in the
pictures which follow, averaging 32″-35″ hips, still have
to choose, very carefully, shapes which suit them.
Their legs are long but still need the added inches that a high
heel gives them. Their shapes are slim, but female.
Still sometimes round enough to need the camouflage of a long jacket,
cardigan or tunic. They show that closely fitting
trousers can be sexier and will also make you look fatter.
They show that a small waist is made smaller by a high
cut rather than a hipster style.
Most of the trousers for evening lit well over the hips but flare out
in a very feminine, flattering way.
They are glittery, shiny, and see-through.
Beautiful in fact; better than ever before.

Alas, now that mini skirts are accepted just about everywhere.
we have to warn that trousers, for women that is, aren’t.
An appalling number of top London hotels
still hold fast to outdated rules about them.
Officially they are not allowed in, even to drink,
let alone to dine or to have lunch.
ln the Dorchester they can’t even have tea!
In the Mirabelle: Ofhcially, trousers are not admitted.
The question does not arise much at lunch—tirne
as there are never very many women there.
ln the evening the rule has now been relaxed and you
would be permitted to dine in trousers.
Talk of the Town: Certainly you may wear trousers.
Savoy: They now allow very dressy evening trousers in public rooms
but no daytime trousers at all.
Wearing them to private functions in private rooms
is left to the discretion of the organisers.
Dorchester: You would not be served anything
when wearing a trouser suit.
This applies to all public rooms,
but for banquets and other private functions it is up to the organisers.
Connaught: Officially not allowed at any time in the bar or restaurant,
but it is a decision left to the manager.
Carlton Tower: Trousers are not encouraged in the Rib or
Chelsea Rooms, but they are coming to accept them.
They prefer lunch-time trousers to evening ones.
Westbury: Trousers are not allowed in the bar or restaurant;
this applies to evenings too.
However, this rule, like others, is relaxed from time to time,
eg, when Brigitte Bardot arrives in trousers from the
airport – or Lord Snowdon arrives for dinner in a roll-neck shirt.
Hilton: Officially no trouser suits in the Roof Restaurant.
Unofficially you could get away with it if it’s
a very beautiful catsuit or something similar.
At private functions it depends on the organisers.
Ritz: No rule for the daytime, it just depends on the trousers!
Usually it is permitted to wear trousers
in the evening, but again it depends . . .
Claridge’s: Very strict,
definitely no trouser suits in the public rooms,
though they say you can wear what you like in private!
Crockford’s: They don’t object to them at all.
Coq d’Or: They much prefer to see a lady dressed as a lady.
During the day they prefer skirts
but don’t object to trousers in the evening at all.
White Tower: lf the woman looks elegant and well-dressed she is let in,
otherwise she may be told that the restaurant is full.
Brown’s: No objections at all for either day or evening
in either restaurant or bar provided the wearer looks neat and tidy.
Les Ambassadeurs: Don’t mind couture—cut or evening trouser suits,
but don’t like anything untidy like blue jeans.
Caprice: Quote from the reservations man:
‘l am sure we can have no objections.
women eat here in trousers all the time’

Words by Molly Parkin. Photographed by Harri Peccinotti.

The eagle-eyed among you may have spotted the Ossie Clark ensemble which won Dress of the Year in 1969. For an item which won such a prestigious award, it’s always amazed me that I haven’t seen more contemporary images of it. I suppose it’s quite ‘out there’, even by late Sixties standards, but thankfully Molly Parkin was always pretty way out there.

If you can make your way through all the text, it’s a pretty impressive and important insight into the attitudes towards women in trousers in late Sixties Britain. It’s easy to forget how scandalous it could be, even in 1969 – a good four years after we first saw Emma Peel in John Bates’s trouser suit designs in The Avengers, for a woman to wear trousers. People obviously did it, you see enough fashion spreads to know that, but the list of swanky hotels and restaurants who still would refuse entry and service to a woman in trousers is quite extraordinary.

Scanned by Miss Peelpants from Harpers Bazaar, April 1969.

legs go under cover 2

Left to right: White voile peasant shirt and wide pink, blue and turquoise brocade belt with gilt buckle, both from Thea Porter. Trousers in shell pink silk chiffon with sequins by Gina Fratini / Cyclamen silk shirt with full extravagant sleeves and purple trousers in Warner’s silk damask furnishing fabric, both by Thea Porter/ Brocade belt with gilt buckle by Swordtex from a selection at Mr Fish. / Gipsy bolero in silk brocade and cream organdy trousers, both from Thea Porter. Long orange and yellow scarf wound around waist from Flora Boutique. Chain belt studded with flowers from Browns. More jewelled belts and chains from a selection at Ken Lane.

Inspirational Images: Fringes and feathers

1960s, british boutique movement, clive arrowsmith, fulham road clothes shop, Inspirational Images, janice wainwright, simon massey, Vogue

Fringed jumpsuit by Janice Wainwright for Simon Massey, 9½ gns. Silk scarf with fringes from Fulham Road Clothes Shop, £3.

Fringed jumpsuit by Janice Wainwright for Simon Massey, 9½ gns. Silk scarf with fringes from Fulham Road Clothes Shop, £3.

I must have flicked past this image so many times in the past, but the most recent time I stopped and stared because – somewhere in between then and now – I have acquired this jumpsuit in black. I’m still waiting to give it an outing, but I will be sure to show you when I do. Although I can’t promise the befeathered head, or companion…

Photographed by Clive Arrowsmith. Scanned by Miss Peelpants from Vogue, March 1969

Inspirational Editorials: Who Needs Skirts?

1960s, british boutique movement, celia birtwell, chinoiserie, countdown, fulham road clothes shop, Inspirational Images, mary farrin, Mog, ossie clark, Peter Knapp, sunday times magazine, sylvia ayton, thea porter, vidal sassoon, Vintage Editorials, zandra rhodes

Satin trousers, matching jacket, 17gns by Ossie Clark from Quorum

Above is the notorious Lamborghini suit, most famously worn by Twiggy. I honestly love everything from this editorial. Except that the Lamborghini suit doesn’t suit me at all, and I am speaking from bitter experience there.

Photographed by Peter Knapp, carpets from Peter Jones.

Scanned by Miss Peelpants from The Sunday Times Magazine, December 1st 1968

Brocade chiffon three-piece outfit with harem pants, 20gns by Ossie Clark from Quorum.

Trouser suit trimmed with snakeskin by Mog, 16gns, Countdown.

Velvet waistcoat £20, and brocade harem pants £16, by Thea Porter Decorations Ltd.

Angora cat-suit by Mary Farrin, 22gns

Dungarees by Zandra Rhodes and Sylvia Ayton, £8 10s, Fulham Road Clothes Shop. Sweater by Laura, £18, Vidal Sassoon Boutique.

Inspirational Images: Fulham Road Clothes Shop, 1969

1960s, annacat, Arnaud de Rosnay, british boutique movement, corocraft, fulham road clothes shop, Inspirational Images, sylvia ayton, Vogue, zandra rhodes

Drifting gypsy dress in early morning sea colours. Scarf, top and trousers, 11gns, at the Fulham Road Clothes Shop. Silver chaining over the head by Carlton Payne, about £10, at Annacat. Silver rings by Corocraft.

Superb piece by all-too-scarce design duo Sylvia Ayton and Zandra Rhodes for the Fulham Road Clothes Shop.

Featured in Vogue, May 1969. Photographed by Arnaud de Rosnay.

Inspirational Images: Lipstick print trousers, 1969

19 magazine, 1960s, fulham road clothes shop, personal collection, sylvia ayton, zandra rhodes

I showed off my beloved Fulham Road Clothes Shop trousers, by Sylvia Ayton and Zandra Rhodes, the other day. But I’ve been waiting to show you the original photograph I have from a copy of 19 Magazine, July 1969.

Pop Pop Pop

1960s, fulham road clothes shop, jean varon, john bates, lloyd johnson, mr freedom, pop art, seventies fashion, sylvia ayton, zandra rhodes

John Bates for Jean Varon crepe panelled dress

I have finally found a moment to blog about the Pop Art exhibition at The Lightbox in Woking, which is only open for a short while longer. The Lightbox is a tremendous space; airy and light, quiet and tranquil, and it has been transformed (briefly) into a repository of incredible Pop Art paintings, sculptures and….things. The ‘things’ are what I’m most interested in; as the exhibition draws you into the central space in the gallery, you are shown the influence of Pop Art on everything from clothes, to homewares, right down to the groceries you could buy from Sainsbury’s in the Sixties.

The fabulous Katherine Higgins has co-curated Pop Art, and very kindly got in touch with me about loaning some pieces. Well now, I can’t resist an exhibition and I can’t resist a good rummage in my personal collection and so I delivered four pieces (and a bonus extra which I just happened to have on me at the time). The fourth and final has only just been put on display this very day, and so I do hope you are able to go along to The Lightbox and have a look. It really is an incredible collection of works by some undeniably iconic British Pop artists; including Pauline Boty, Allen Jones, Peter Blake and, now rather poignantly, Richard Hamilton.

Mr Freedom halter neck skater outfit with hidden surprise...

Saucy! (I'm allowed to do this because it's mine, but you might get told off!)

Fulham Road Clothes Shop trousers with Zandra Rhodes lipstick print (please note the perfect pattern placement on the crotch)

Foale and Tuffin 'Chrysler' mini dress c.1966

Last minute addition: Original plastic lip sunglasses

There are some covetable clothes (as well as mine, of course), including the legendary Mr Freedom baseball suit, several Ritva sweaters, a superb Lloyd Johnson jacket and the most adorable novelty print Mr Freedom dungarees loaned by Jan De Villeneuve. Who, I’m afraid, has now been scuppered in her alphabetical superiority because of my earlier omission. Sorry Jan!

 

Pauline Boty

Richard Hamilton: 'Swingeing London'

Sweaters by Ritva

Jacket by Lloyd Johnson

Allen Jones

Grocery packaging

Inspirational Images: Charlotte Martin in Ayton and Rhodes

1960s, charlotte martin, fulham road clothes shop, Inspirational Images, petticoat magazine, sylvia ayton, zandra rhodes

Photograph by Karl Ferris. Modelled by Charlotte Martin. Petticoat Magazine, March 1969.

Clothes by Sylvia Ayton and Zandra Rhodes at The Fulham Road Clothes Shop.

Vogue’s Own Boutique

alice pollock, british boutique movement, chelsea cobbler, fulham road clothes shop, ossie clark, quorum, sixties, sylvia ayton, Vogue, zandra rhodes

A conversation with M last night got me thinking about the origins of the idea of ’boutique’. If it was a somewhat posthumous term applied to the era by fashion historians, in the same way that ‘Renaissance’ would not have been understood by anyone living through the Renaissance.

But then I remembered the veritable goldmine of information featured in Vogue in the late Sixties called ‘Vogue Boutique’ or variations on that phrase. So, I guess, no would be the answer. They did call it ’boutique’. This gem (featuring an outfit by Alice Pollock and another by Zandra Rhodes and Sylvia Ayton) is from July 1969. More to come, as and when I remember them…..

Holiday? Perhaps…. & The Marit Allen Sale

fulham road clothes shop, john bates, marit allen, sixties, zandra rhodes

I have just been musing over on Twitter (yes, I succumbed…) about how, in this job, one never really feels able to have a proper break. Even when torn from the bosom of the broadband connection and thrown into the beautiful countryside, there’s always that niggling niggle at the back of your head. Have five people bought the same thing? Does someone (heaven forbid!) not like their frock? Will everyone forget about me in the space of a week?

I’ve been quiet the last week or so, but not because I’ve been on holiday. No, I’ve been doing costume work interspersed with my usual vintage-ing. So no blogging, alas. It’s the first thing to suffer, but I promise you not for much longer.

I am, however, on holiday as of this evening. Nothing particularly exotic, unless the Norfolk Broads are considered exotic by anyone (I can’t imagine it, somehow), but a break nonetheless.

So I’ve tried to tie up all loose ends before leaving, but I thought I ought to come here and apologise in advance about any unanswered emails….and obviously I will be unable to perform post office duties until Monday the 14th. Coincidentally, this is the day before the Marit Allen collection is sold by Kerry Taylor in London.

I had the pleasure of meeting Marit once, and I do find it a shame that her incredible collection is being split up. However, it’s also an amazing opportunity for people to acquire some pretty damn incredible examples of John Bates’s work from the mid-Sixties.

And on top of that, there’s a Teddy Bear print Zandra/Sylvia blouse. Rare as you could hope for. Go, buy!!