The Young St. Michael range power-packed with its new mid-May collection.
The Young St. Michael range is only available at Oxford Circus. Glasgow, Brighton, Liverpool and Manchester at the moment.
Curiously, I have the scarf she’s wearing in the top photo and I had always assumed it was authentic 1930s – as it was sold to me. Now I look closer, I can see the faded signature of Chester Martin. Whilst I’m disappointed that it’s not actually as old as I thought, I can’t resist a documented bit of vintage!
Ten years ago, the British woman was bound to her cardigan. Then, in a feverish review of fashion, the cardigan was shelved for the jacket. Now, it’s back in circulation, not as the rather insipid number of yesteryear, but renewed in a long wrap-around version — the sort you cuddle into when it’s cold outside, the sort you wear over dresses, jeans or even suits. Cardigans like this are the most practical knitwear created for ages and the Paris Collections, if they spell excitement to you, were full of them.
All jewellery in feature from a selection at Marie Middleton and Susan Marsh at Chelsea Antique Market. Gold-rimmed glasses from any good optician.
There is a licence to touch all the clothes on these pages. There is not a single trad, scratchy, thornproof tweed among any of the frankly tactile silks, angoras and flannels of autumn. Jerseys and pearls and sensible shoes were once the uniform of the WI. Now, (well) kept ladies whose fingers smell of “Cabochard” rather than cabbage, are pressing their flannel bags, having their pearls restrung and are wearing them with shirts so unbuttoned they could catch pneumonia – and heels high enough to rise above the muddiest farmyard. They are taking to pleated kilts, and cashmere sweaters so tight they’d enliven the dullest game of backgammon. Dinner dresses are back in style, and I do mean back down as far as you can go. Properly and provocatively dressed, a weekend in the country might be more fun than you think.
Hair arranged for all pictures by Carl of Molton Brown.
This is the moment for evening clothes that feel as delicious as they look… they’re soft voile or fine jersey or crushed muslin, they’re cut out over suntanned backs and arms, they’re crisp cotton printed with cottage curtain flowers, they’re as easy to wear as nightdresses: and some of them are.
Photographed at Lake Windermere and the Beech Hill Hotel, Cartmel Fell.
The main attraction of this summer’s printed dress is their little-girl, Sunday-best quality. The star fabric is floral crepe-de-Chine, now beautifully revived, featuring softly shaped skirts, Peter Pan collars and puff sleeves.
Another flawless example of early Seventies nostalgia for the Thirties and Forties, which might seem frivolous or twee if it wasn’t in the talented hands of Mr Peccinotti.
Slip a shawl over summer and dream the days away in a land of your imagination. There couldn’t be a more beautiful way of letting a long sticky heatwave slip by than with these gentle colours made by a bleaching sun and these homespun clothes in soft country shapes. Whether you make it all the way to a shady plantation or just as far as the nearest cornfield, the scenery around any home this summer should look pretty good. Build up layers of cotton checs, sand suede overslips and warm rainbow knit waistcoats because even the sun can havee tantrums sometimes. Pack a pair of laced sandals and one huge-brimed straw hat.
This autumn there are bags everywhere: Oxford ones on your pins and clutch ones in the hand. The return of the straight trouser has brought with it wing lapelled jackets with padded shoulders and neat waistcoats. Underneath, a feminine touch to soften the butch look, blouses with floppy painters’ bows. And don’t forget your clutch bag tucked neatly under your arm.
Leather and fur get more expensive every year. It’s not only the taxes and rising costs of production. It’s just that there aren’t enough good animal skins for leather around to meet the consumer demand. Furs are there in quantity for the fabulously rich. Luckily a good substitute has been found – the nylon-spun, man-made sort. Some, especially in the leather field, are so like the real thing the only way you can tell the difference is by the smell. Take the white coat on pages 46 and 47. It’s fake and costs about £50. It has a double in real fur and leather for £270. Made by the same people who have duplicated most of their collection this way and it takes an eagle eye and nose to tell the difference. Others are just furry, woolly fabrics, obviously not imitating some four-legged friend, which is one of the nicest things about them. This fur fabric is now getting the treatment it deserves. Nairn Williamson (more famous for their Vinyl floor and wall coverings) were the first to see its potential and got six designers to use their Velmar fur fabric in their winter collections. Jane Whiteside for Stirling Cooper (new label getting famous fast for their beautiful jersey co-ordinates) was the cleverest of them all. She used the best sludgy colours, mixed it with needlecord to make a group of jackets and coats to go with trousers, skirts and blouses. Borg (American originated and the pioneers in England of this deep pile fabric) has been around for a long time, mostly on the inside of duffle and raincoats but it’s on the outside as a normal fabric that it looks its best. Next winter there will be a lot more of it around, now that designers are getting less snobby about plastics. Not only is it as warm as fur, it is, of course, much cheaper and you don’t smell like a wet dog when you come in from the rain, either. So you can wear it herding sheep on lost weekends, or in town queuing for the cinema without any guilt feelings about ruining your assets.
Insert obligatory ‘I don’t agree with the thrust of the argument for fake furs as just a financial consideration here’ caveat from me, your content provider. Don’t shout at me, basically. But it’s an interesting insight into the mindset of 1970, and the proliferation of fake furs and skins at that time. It’s also a breathtakingly styled and photographed work of art from Caroline Baker and Jonvelle.