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.
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.
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.)
You can take the summer’s pastels just the way you want. When you’re not wearing neat and co-ordinated nursery prints, try pink and blue in peasant style. You’ll find a pettiness you thought had vanished.
It’s the girl who still looks slinky by the time it’s light again who gets taken home by the Prince. We’ve found eight party frocks which look amazingly ritzy into the dawn when other night-birds have wilted.
A rescan from 2010, partly because it deserved it anyway but also in tribute to the legendary and much-missed Terry de Havilland, whose tiered snakeskin wedges make an early appearance here (credited to Rowley and Oram, who stocked his shoes).
Photographed by Francois Lamy and Malcolm Scoular.
Chunky fake fox Borg jacket with orange satin lining and shiny satin trousers both from Wallis Shops. Feather embossed crepe de chine shirt by Ronnie Stirling at Stirling Cooper. Dog brooch by Corocraft. Rings by Adrien Mann. Flocked peaches and cherries both by Adrien Mann.
Add a bit of extravagance to your life with freaky shaggy jackets in flamboyant fur fabrics — everything from bold plaids and curly poodle wools to mock animal prints. Dress up everyday skirts and trousers with short boxy boleros and bottom-skimming jackets with wide 40s shoulders. Best of all, go vampy with shiny satin trousers or shorts and add a final sparkling touch of diamante.
Photographed by Brian Downes.
Scanned by Miss Peelpants from Honey, November 1971
Long haired brown Acrylic jacket with plain straight from by Gordon King. Scarlet satin trousers from Wallis Shops. Black and white orchid print blouse by John Craig. Diamante comb by Adrien Mann. Musical note brooch and doggy brooch by Corocraft. Other jewellery by Bus Stop.
Scarlet and navy Courtelle plaid bolero jacket and black satin shorts both from Martha Hill. Cherry red and multi coloured cotton voile shirt by Jasper from Stop the Shop. Sheer tights by Sunarama. All jewellery by Bus Stop.
Furry tiger printed Courtelle bolero jacket and pale lemon, coffee and white coin spotted cotton satin Oxford bags, both from Martha Hill. Rust and black confetti spotted blouse by John Craig. Cherries and bangles by Adrien Mann.
Boxy Borg jacket with scarlet satin lining and satin trousers both by Sujon. Bubble printed silk shirt by Jasper. Cherries and other jewellery by Adrien Mann.
Shaggy Courtelle jacket by Maudie Moon from Che Guevara. Slinky satin trousers from Wallis Shops. Crepe de chine blouse by John Craig. Star brooches by Adrien Mann. Diamante musical note brooch by Corocraft.
Square shouldered shaggy jacket by Sheridan Barnett for Simon Massey. Slippery sati shorts from Martha Hill. Floppy crepe de chine by John Craig. Butterfly brooch by Adrien Mann. Other jewellery by Bus Stop.
Dirndl skirt and bolero by Sportaville. Boots by Anello & Davide.
Currently inspiring me (as someone who doesn’t enjoy stripping off in the much-awaited heat…) is this photoshoot from Honey, April 1970. Pretty much perfection, as far as I am concerned. Astonishingly, there is no credited photographer for any of the photoshoots in this magazine, so I’m afraid they will have to remain anonymous…
Dress by Martha Hill.
Dress by Miss Impact.
Shirt by Aristos. Trousers by Gordon King. Skirt by Alan Rodin. Boots by Sacha. Hat by Herbert Johnson.
Harem pants and bare-midriff top by Angela at London Town.
Peasant shirt by Baltrik. Trousers by Clobber. Skirt by Alan Rodin. Boots from Anello & Davide.
Dress by Ricki Reed
Dress by Simon Ellis
Dress by Shelana. Boots by Dolcis. Hat by Herbert Johnson.