The clothes of the Thirties were capricious, narcissistic and extravagant — the jazz of the Twenties turning soft, like swing – but with the wartime Forties they necessarily became austere and functional.
To compensate, the details kept their extravagance – shirred waists, sweetheart necks, floppy sleeves, Veronica Lake hair.
On this and the following pages we have a minor Forties revival – minor because these clothes are strictly 1968, when women want to dress both practically and frivolously.
I do not endorse this copy, because I would not agree about the clothes of the Thirties being ‘narcissistic’, but I do endorse the photos and the clothes.
It looks as if England has lost Jane Birkin forever … she is firmly entrenched in Paris with baby Kate, nanny and the lovely Serge Gainsbourg, living in sombre luxury in their newly acquired house. The interior is stark and dramatic, every room is decorated in black and white, with white doors and black marble floors or carpet. The furniture is also black and white—there’s a big black shiny piano in the lounge, and a black mink cover adorns the bed which is raised off the floor on a black perspex dais. Weekends are usually spent at a quiet retreat in the country, making a sharp contrast to the busy social life that they lead during the week. Since Jane landed in France she has never stopped working. Film after film has been completed and the success of the record she made with Serge, which was also written and composed by him, Je T’Aime … Moi Non Plus, has led to an LP also written by Serge. Her life is chaotic and busy, it seems as if the telephone never stops ringing. People phone her every day with offers of interviews and films, the next of which is still a closely guarded secret. It was whilst she was making her first film in France, Slogan, that she met and fell in lovewith Serge, an event which seems to have altered her life but through it all she remains the same—a waif of a girl, tall and lanky, in pullover and jeans, serving tea out of her treasured English teapot. Her wardrobe is noticeably small, consisting mainly of casual clothes like pullovers, T-shirts and jeans; with the occasional gipsy-type dress reserved for the evening and worn with gold chains, loop earrings and gipsy belts. She acquires most of her clothes by chance buying, rarely by intentionally setting out on a spending spree. Usually she just spots something she likes in a shop window and ends up by going in and buying it. In London she shops mainly at Countdown, Foale and Tuffin, and Quorum. She buys her jewellery from the Chelsea Antique Market. In Paris she favours the more trendy designers like Mia and Vicky or Jean Bourquin. Jane is perfectly happy spending hours hunting about in antique shops for interesting little knick-knacks, like the 18th-century doll’s house which she gave to her Serge for Christmas.
Bewitch: Try a bit of witchcraft, a bit of magical charm. Cast a spell or two with slinky black velvet, bedecked with sequins. Or glamorise in shiny coloured satins. But if you are going to bewitch you must…
Bother: to wear the same startling accessories. Wear strings of shiny necklaces, an interesting belt or sash. Tie a scarf the gipsy way, around your hips or head. For maximum effect shine your face with gold or silver powder.
And be wilder: in everything you wear.
Fashion by Sue Hone. Modelled by Madeline Smith and unknown model.
Blouse, waistcoat and skirt from Emmerton Lambert, Chelsea Antique Market. Boots by Sacha.
Welcome to my fashion brain as it is at the moment, particularly the first and last images. This spread is everything I love about late Sixties/early Seventies style, and more. No change is permanent, I still wake up in a different mood each day, but for the most part I am feeling the need to cover up, tune out and drift around…
“Take the whirl of lace petticoats and the swirl of countrified prints. Add gypsy flowers, baubles, bangles and beads. Find yourself a long, lazy spring afternoon, relax – and think nothing but beautiful…”
Photographed by John Carter. Scanned by Miss Peelpants from Petticoat, March 1970
Spotted crepe dress and shawl by Mary Quant’s Ginger Group
Dress by Clobber. Feather cape from Chelsea Antique Market. Printed chiffon dress by Pourelle.
Dress by Clobber. Slingbacks by Ravel. Shirt by Mexicana. Skirt by Alan Rodin. Shoes by Ravel.
Dress by Clobber. Shoes by Modaine. Blouse by Stirling Cooper. Skirt by Bernshaw. Boots by Sacha.
Dress by Marlborough. Feather cape from Chelsea Antique Market.