Live Single and Love It

1970s, Andrew Logan, interior design, interiors, luciana martinez de la rosa, miss mouse, Over 21, Prudence Walters, rae spencer cullen, Tim Street-Porter, Ursula Yeardye
Rae Mouse

They say you can’t miss what you’ve never had, but you can. And, you can be very misguided about it. Take the time when you’re on that twilight trudge home from work and you pause, for a fraction of a second, in front of a lighted window to envy a couple immersed in conversation. It’s a moment of exquisite, self-indulgent, single-girl melancholy. A very wise person once said: “Be careful of what you want in life. You may get it.” Living in tandem comes to most of us in the end — but spend the intervening time merely waiting for this state and you’ll miss out on a period of absolutely justifiable, selfish please-yourself that is the unique bonus for being single, when you can choose, unfettered by any taste other than your own. You can paint the bathroom puce or lettuce green and have only your own hangover to tell you you’ve boobed. You can work out your own furnishing priorities — like a good, thick carpet to sit/lie on and some decent sound equipment — and cut down your food consumption drastically for a few weeks, or months, to achieve them. You can use the time you might have spent cooking doing something sensational to jumble sale jetsam. You can be poor in style, because time and energy can make a pretty good substitute for money. None of the single women on these pages has money. What they do share is a strong, single-minded sense of their own individuality .. . It’s something they take for granted, but it shows in their lives and in their homes.

Wonderful to get an insight into the home of the slightly mysterious Rae Spencer Cullen, and what a home! Then again, magpie that I am, I would happily live in any of these beautiful pads.

Interviews by Penny Ragord.

Photographed by Tim Street-Porter.

Scanned from Over 21 Magazine, October 1976.

Rae Mouse

Rae Mouse should be prescribed in small doses to anyone with single-woman blues. Small doses because what she gives out is strong stuff, and it’s not sympathy. “People make far too much fuss about their own per-sonal aggravations,” she says. “And they expect someone else to come along and rescue them. But no man, woman or child can do that, and the sooner they realise this, the sooner they’ll be able to get on with life and stop letting their hang-ups get in the way of having a good time.” This would be hard to take from someone who’d had it easy. Rae hasn’t. She is ‘Miss Mouse’, a fashion designer who, with one colleague, started her own design/ manufacture business from one room in 1970. For four years they managed to keep going, making everything themselves in the early days, and the ‘Miss Mouse’ label became very well known. Then came the slump, the bank manager lost his nerve and the business folded. But Rae didn’t give up. She got herself, and her name, bought up by a big manufacturer and carried on, in a posi-tion of considerably greater security and with her design free-dom very little diminished. But it’s still hard work. When we met, she’d been up since five for the umpteenth morning, working against a deadline to get 60 prototype designs completed. She works from her own home in Putney, just south of the Thames, in an amazing room that is sombre, rich and fantastical. It’s furnished with plum velvet sofa and chairs, dominated by a vast black tulip sculpture by Andrew Logan and crammed with religious statuary and knick-knacks, including an old harmonium hung with macabre, artificial arum lilies. “It’s not that I’m particularly religious,” she explains, “they’re simply beautiful in themselves as objects.” Her taste is obviously and totally individual — “although I’m very influenced by my friends, especially the creative ones. But,” she adds, “I’ve never found that having pretty strong ideas about what one likes causes any conflict. In fact, people rather like it. They know just where they are.”

Luciana Martinez della Rosa

“People who only see me at parties think I do nothing,” says Luciana Martinez della Rosa. This, in a roundabout way, is because she’s an extremist. Predominantly a painter (so far she’s exhibited in mixed shows in New York and Rotterdam), she also makes extraordinary and beauti-ful bead wigs on commission. And the reason people think she’s a very decorative do-nothing is because she buries herself at home, working for days and sometimes weeks on end, and then explodes into the much needed relief of a short, sharp, burst of social life. Her finances tend to be extremist too: long periods of scraping by on an over-draft until she suddenly sells a painting, pays back the bank and the rent — and spends the rest. It’s a very deliberately chosen way of life, and in some ways it’s a lot tougher than a stultifying but secure, nine-to-five job. “I could do things that would earn me a lot more money,” she says, “but then I wouldn’t have time for the most important thing, which is my work. Even a part-time job would break up my day and my concentration.” For the same reasons, anyone with whom she becomes involved, on an emotional level, must be as independent as she is herself. So she shares a house with another painter, Kevin Whitney. And she points out that being single and living alone are two separate concepts: it’s obviously good to have a friend around to sympathise with successes and disasters. But her part of the house has her own character and taste written large and uncom-promisingly across it. “People who work away from home, and then probably go out quite a lot in the evenings, seem to need less personal surroundings. But I spend a lot of time here, so it has to be very me.” Her bedroom says it all: scarlet, and over-flowing with Art Nouveau pieces, old fabrics and furs. She’s been a jumble sale addict since she was 12, and they’re still the major source of her wardrobe. “But they never look like old clothes,” she says. “Because of what I do to them. If I could, I’d have every-thing, clothes and furniture, made specially for me.” It was as a child that she started buying up all the Victoriana that no one else wanted. “My mother thought I was mad.” Not so mad now, because, although she swears that nothing in the room was expensive when she bought it (“Except the bed. That cost £40”), its contents would make a market stallholder weep with avarice. “I suppose some people might find it all a bit overpowering,” she says. “Especially a guy. Not too good for his ego. But I think you tend to gravitate towards people who like the same sort of things as you do. And anyway, I get a lot of pleasure from seeing other people’s places. I hope that it works both ways.”

Luciana Martinez della Rosa
Prudence Walters

Prudence Walters is Welsh, an only child with a convent up-bringing. At 18, she left home for art college in London, and she hasn’t really looked back since. In her time, she’s been a magazine fashion editor. Currently, she works as a stylist, freelancing for photographers who need the right look for a session. It’s hard work, and quite well paid — if and when people get round to paying. The big advantage is the free-dom, finance permitting, to organise your own working life: deciding to work every day for four months and then take two months off. Prudence lives in a basement flat, complete with cocktail bar, that is uncomprisingly set in the 1950s, a style that she genuinely loves. She obviously treasures her independence, seems to know exactly what she wants in life and to be very contented with what she’s got. This doesn’t preclude men, but they have to accept that her way of life is as important as their own. “I’m a bit ruthless,” she admits. “I have lived with people and I do like it. But I tend to get bored with people quickly and I don’t really like getting to know anyone too well.” The bit that gives her the real horrors is the extra housework that dual domesticity inevitably brings with it. “I probably wouldn’t mind doing it all if there were compensations, such as someone else keeping me in the standard of living I’ve been able to achieve for myself.” But since she can, if she chooses, earn as much as most of the men she meets, or more, the idea of being breadwinner, cook and bottle-washer doesn’t appeal to Prudence Walters at all.

Prudence Walters
Ursula Yeardye

Ursula Yeardye has been through two marriages and out the other side. At the moment, she’s very much biased towards the single life. “Somewhere,” she says, “there may be a man who doesn’t simply want to be looked after, and it would be nice to find one, but both my husbands merely wanted mothers. I tried to fulfil that role, modelling myself on my own mother. But it’s no good to either of you if you become a martyr. I’ve always needed my independence and there simply wasn’t enough of it. I had to get my conditioning about marriage through my system and then get out before I got too damaged and lost sight of my own potential.” Before her first marriage, she studied mime with Marcel Marceau in Paris and toured the States for two years with the company. Now she’s running a small commercial firm in London, but she’s started retraining as a keep-fit leader, studying modern movement and yoga, with the aim of teaching some time in the future. She knows the disadvantages of single life: “I like going to places by myself, but people still look at you strangely if you’re on your own in a restaurant or a cinema. They either steer clear of you or approach you, and both for the wrong reasons. The social structure is still against you. You’re swimming against the stream!” But the advantages are there too: “You have complete freedom. You go home, sit down and think, ‘What do I want to do next?’ And if you don’t want to go home, you don’t have to. There’s no one sitting in front of the ‘fridge, waiting for you to cook them a meal.” Since she’s been single, she cooks far less —except for entertaining, “and that’s cooking for fun, it’s really great”. She lives mostly on fruit and vegetables, and the money she used to spend on what she calls `man’s food’, she spends mostly on her home, which has become something of a symbol of independence. After rent, her salary leaves her enough to do a little more each week. She paints, sews, upholsters, renovates, and what she’s done to the top two floors of a rather dilapidated terraced building is quite remarkable. “It took me a long time,” she says, “to learn that it’s no good living for the past, or the future —always hoping that it’s going to get better. You must live for the present, and enjoy it as much as you can.”

Ursula Yeardye.

Go on – we dare you!

1970s, alkasura, biba, Brave New World, Britannia Land of Plenty, bus stop, che guevara, Conspiracy, Derber, Electric Fittings, Frocks, gillian richard, gordon king, Great Gear Trading Co, Inspirational Images, Leicester Shoes, let it rock, Marcia Brackett, miss mouse, mr freedom, petticoat magazine, Pinocchio, rae spencer cullen, ravel, Richard Green, Roger Charity, Sacha, Sheilagh Browne, stirling cooper, Vintage Editorials, wallis
He wears: Velvet coat, £19.95, pants, £7.95 and satin bow tie, £1 all at Mr. Freedom. Stirling Cooper shirt, £5.75 at Peter Robinson. Biba shoes. She wears: left: Lurex jacket, Bus Stop, £8.95. Wallis pants, £6.95. Stirling Cooper top, £3.95 at Peter Robinson, W1 Biba shoes. She wears: right: Black net skirt, £10.50 and top, £7.50, Miss Mouse at Peter Robinson.

Extra special for a special season — some of the most outrageous party clothes to be seen since the golden days of Hollywood and the silver screen left us open-mouthed in amazement. The Sundown, Charing Cross Road, WC2, is where to find glamour 1972 style — that’s where we took clothes, models and hairdresser Michael Strum from Crimpers. It was amazing too, why not try it some time?

Fashion Marcia Brackett.

Sounds from The Sands of Time.

Photographer is, unusually for Petticoat, uncredited but I think it is probably Roger Charity.

Scanned from Petticoat, 16th December 1972.

He wears: Tee shirt from Let It Rock, Velvet Oxford Bags, Mr. Freedom, £7.95. Biba shoes, £7.25. She wears: left: Crepe dress, Brave New World, £14.50. Biba earrings, £1. Bus Stop brooch, £1.25. Mary Quant diamante shoes, £7.50. She wears: right: Lurex shirt and dungarees, Frocks, £18, at Mr. Freedom, Sacha shoes, £8.99.
He wears: Satin Bags, £6.95 and bow tie, £1, both Mr. Freedom. Shirt, Alkasura, SW3, £8. Shoes by Topper, SW3. She wears: left: Black dress with grey bodice, Shelagh Brown for Coopers. Britannia Land of Plenty Cape, £1.00. Leicester ankle shoes, £10.99. She wears: right: Satin top and pants, Miss Mouse, £20 at Peter Robinson, W1. Sacha shoes, £8.99.
He wears: Biba shirt, £6.95. Brave New World suit, £27, 5 Monmouth Place, Monmouth Road, W2. She wears skirt and top. Richard Green, £13.50 at Pinnochio, Fulham Rd., SW5. Ravel shoes. £10.99. She wears: right: Lurex suit, Electric Fittings, £16 at Conspiracy. Biba earrings, 20p. Stars, Britannia Land of Plenty.
He wears: shirt £7 and satin jacket, £24, both Alkasura, Kings Rd., SW3. Mr. Freedom pants, £7.95. She wears left: Satin dress, Britannia Land of Plenty. SW3. Brave New World bolero, £17, at Che Guevara, W8. Anschell bracelet, £250. Ravel shoes, £10.99. She wears: right: Gordon King trouser suit, £17.95 at Conspiracy, W8.
He wears: Velvet Oxford bags, £7.50 and lurex shirt, £7 both Alkasura, Kings Rd., SW3. Mr. Freedom bow tie, £1. Canvas boots, Great Gear Trading Co., £13.25. She wears: left: Miss Mouse shirt, £9.95 at Peter Robinson, Pants, Wallis shops, £5.50. Ravel shoes £6.99. She wears: right: Gillian Richard dress, £8.80 at Pinnochio, Fulham Rd., Britannia Land of Plenty, comb, shoes by Derber.

Down-Town

19 magazine, 1970s, Adrian Mann, Ann Reeves, Antiquarius, biba, Bombacha, Dolcis, Essences, Essenses, Gamba, Harri Peccinotti, Inspirational Images, Mary Graeme, miss mouse, rae spencer cullen, stirling cooper, strawberry studio, van der fransen, Vintage Editorials
Circular skirt, printed with leopard skin and roses, and matching sun top, from Miss Mouse, £18.95. Gold dancing shoes, from Gamba, £13. African necklaces, from a selection by Peter Adler, from £10. Bangles from a selection at Chimera from £2.50. Scarf, worn as a sun top, from a selection at Essences, from £2. Cotton leopard-skin printed shorts, by Miss Mouse, £5.95. Embossed leather stiletto shoes, with wooden heels, from a selection at Smith and Simpson, from £5. Drop earrings, from a selection at Chimera, from £1.50.

19 AND airJamaica GO DOWN -TOWN

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.

Photographed by Harri Peccinotti.

Scanned from 19 Magazine, July 1974.

Green satin halter top, with red tulip print, £5.95. Matching gored skirt, £6.95. Both from Biba. Pink stiletto shoes, from a selection at Smith and Simpson, from £5. Green shawl, from Bombacha, £5.20. Bag from Biba, £1-95. Multi-coloured glass necklace, green glass necklace and green glass bracelet from a selection at Chimera. Brown and gold halter neck, with rust tulips, £5.95. Matching skirt, £6.95. Both from Biba. Gold dancing shoes, from Gamba, £13. Shawl from Bombacha, £5.20. Bag from Biba, £1.95. Long necklace and rust necklace from a selection by Adrien Mann. Blue glass necklace, from a selection at Chimera, from £2.50.
Palm-tree-print sun top, with matching skirt, from Strawberry Studio, £11.75. Wooden stiletto shoes, from a selection at Smith and Simpson at Antiquarius, from £5. Blue earrings, blue and cream necklace and gold bracelet, all from a selection at Chimera at Antiquarius. White sunglasses, from Bombacha, £.1.50. One-shoulder dress, in green crêpe with yellow floral print, from a selection at Van Der Fransen, £16. Straw wedge shoes, with painted flowers, from Dolcis, £5.99. Blue paisley-print scarf, from a selection at Essences, from £3. Green and yellow bangles, from a selection at Chimera at Antiquarius, from £3 each. Sunglasses from Bombacha, £2. Pink palm-tree-print sun top, with matching skirt, from Strawberry Studio. £13.75. Pink stiletto shoes.from a selection at Smith and Simpson at Antiquarius. from £5. Pink necklace, multi-coloured necklace, pink and clear bangles and pearl bracelet, all from a selection at Chimera at Antiquarius. Sunglasses from Bombacha. £2.
Yellow jungle print shirt, with cotton sleeves and collar in floral and seaside print, £5. Floral shorts, with patch pockets, £4-50. Both from a selection at Van Der Fransen. Gold strappy sandals, from Gamba, £2-54. Blue and white straw belt, from Biba, £4-70. Blue earrings from a selection at Chimera, from £1.50. Jungle print shirt, with crêpe de Chine floral print sleeves, £5. Matching crêpe de Chine shorts, with cotton pockets, £4-50. Both from a selection at Van Der Fransen. Gold flat dancing shoes, from Gamba, £2-54. Embroidered blue and red belt from a selection at Peaches at Antiquarius. Yellow, pink and green bangles, from Chimera, from £2.25.
White, red and black printed bra top, with matching skirt, with two pockets, by Strawberry Studio, £14. Leather shoes, with wooden stiletto heels, from a selection at Smith and Simpson, from £5. Multi-coloured glass necklace and blue plastic bangle, from a selection at Chimera. Sack bag, with cockerel printed on front, from Domidiom, 61p.
Button-through, seaside print shirt, by Miss Mouse, £7.95. Green, pink and blue button-through skirt, with side pockets, from Lily, £9.50. Green and black art deco belt, from a selection at Peaches at Antiquarius, from £6. Blue earrings and bracelet from a selection at Chimera. Seaside print shirt, by Miss Mouse, £7.95. Multi-coloured floral skirt, from Lily, £9.50. Scarf, in pocket, from a selection at Essences, from £2. Belt from a selection at Peaches at Antiquarius, from £6. Multi-coloured necklace and pink and blue floral bangles from a selection at Chimera.
Old Brighton sea-front print halter top, with matching skirt, by Ann Reeves, £13. Black snake-skin shoes, by Mary Graeme, £9.95. Scarf from a selection from Essences, from £2. Sack bag, with cockerel printed on front, from Domidiom, 61p. Earrings, multi-coloured glass necklace and bangles, from a selection at Chimera. Yellow floral cotton shirt, £6.95. Matching floral skirt, in blue, £8.95. Both from Stirling Cooper. Red snake-skin shoes, by Mary Graeme, £9.95. Sack bag, from Domidiom, 61p. Multi-coloured necklace, and clear perspex bangle, with flowers inset, from a selection by Adrien Mann. Small flower brooch, from a selection at Chimera, from £1.50.

Summer dressing is Overdressing

1970s, anello and davide, biba, Buckle Under, caroline baker, Charley's Stall, Emmerton and Lambert, Foale and Tuffin, gillian richard, Harri Peccinotti, Inspirational Images, laura ashley, miss mouse, nova magazine, rae spencer cullen, Richard Green, Vintage Editorials
Embroidered calico voluminous blouse and slim-fitting shirt by Buckle Under; cotton lacy antique petticoats from a selection at Charley’s Stall.

One of the finest editorials of all time, from the dream team of Caroline Baker and Harri Peccinotti at Nova. You can’t help thinking about the clear influence of the Impressionists, such as Renoir, on the aesthetic, but also about how this shoot must itself have been influencing other people for years afterwards. For example, Picnic at Hanging Rock was released a mere three years later and the petticoats, parasols and lace-up boots can’t help but remind you of that.

As a side note, but a pretty impressive one at that, the ‘nursery print’ Miss Mouse dress featured here has also just gone into my Etsy shop. So you can pretend it’s 1972 and you’re ‘shopping the look’.

Photographed by Harri Peccinotti.

Fashion by Caroline Baker.

Scanned from Nova, July 1972.

Flowered Liberty-print square neck frilled blouse and long skirt, both by Foale and Tuffin.
Embroidered muslin smock and gathered skirt by Buckle Under. White cotton lacy antique petticoats from a selection at Charley’s Stall.
Cheesecloth smock blouse and wrap-around skirt by Richard Green.
Nursery print cotton camisole dress and petticoat skirts by Miss Mouse. Lace up boots at Anello and Davide.
Cotton jersey jumpsuit and frilled cotton voile petticoats, all at Biba. All antique parasols from a selection at Emmerton and Lambert, Chelsea Antique Market. White cotton stockings at Anello and Davide.
Long-sleeved calico blouse with gathered neck; skirt and cotton satin petticoat, all at Laura Ashley. Lace up boots at Anello and Davide.
Nursery print cotton pinafore dress by Gillian Richard. Cotton satin petticoat at Laura Ashley. Lace up boots at Anello and Davide.
Antique cotton and lace liberty bodice and antique cotton petticoat dyed sugar pink with Dylon, all from a selection at Charley’s Stall. Cotton petticoat at Laura Ashley.

Tutti Frutti

1970s, biba, corocraft, Fenwick, Honey Magazine, Jean Howell, Joseph, liberty, miss mouse, moss bros, outlander, Roger Charity, Russell & Bromley, Sacha, Suzuya, Vintage Editorials
Striped chenille sloppy joe, Suzuya from Joseph. Trousers from Miss Mouse. Scarf from Fenwick. Mules from Russell & Bromley. Poppy earclips from Corocraft.

Ski pants, socks and hot tops – a fresh look for the future with a little help from the past.

Photographed by Roger Charity.

Scanned from Honey, May 1975.

Tightly waisted cotton canvas jacket with bamboo fastenings and cotton canvas tapered trousers both by Miss Mouse. Printed silk scarf from Fenwick. Leather wedge heeled mules from Russell & Bromley.
Ice cream coloured finely striped sweater with slash neck and sleeves and tightly ribbed waist by Outlander. Navy cotton canvas trousers with red contrast stitching by Miss Mouse. Shocking pink kerchief from Liberty. Bright pink knitted ankle socks by Jean Howell. Black suedee and cork wedge sandals with embroidery by Sacha.
Blue and pink striped velour slash-neck top with batwing sleeves and plum leather belt with oval wooden buckle, both from Biba. Scarlet stretch ski pants from Moss Bros. Navy leather wedge mules from Russell & Bromley. Long striped scarf from Liberty. Gilt flower earclips from Corocraft.
Loose cotton short sleeved blouse from Liberty. Jet black ski slacks from Moss Bros. Shocking pink chiffon scarf from Biba. Knitted ankle socks from Jean Howell. PAtent peep toe wedge heeled shoes from Russell & Bromley. Poppy earclips from Corocraft.

On the Rocks

19 magazine, 1970s, Camarilla, marc o'polo, marshall lester, miss mouse, Nick Brokensha, Nik Nik, rae spencer cullen, strawberry studio, Vintage Editorials
Bright red vest and shorts by Camarilla.

Manly beach, Australia. Rock pools, sea, magnificent scenery. If yours is going to be a clambering holiday, these T-shirts, shorts and fun tops are just the job.

Photographed by Nick Brokensha.

Scanned from 19 Magazine, July 1975.

Black cotton sun top and matching shorts by Miss Mouse.
Royal Blue T-shirt with red and white border and Nineteen motif by Marshall Lester.
Print shirt, with ‘Thirties scene, by Nik Nik.
T-shirt with 36 motif, by Marshall Lester.
Navy cotton shirt, with Marc O’Polo motif in white, by Marc O’Polo. White cotton shorts by Strawberry Studio.

Peasant in the Sun

1970s, Bata, Bermona, biba, Britannia Land of Plenty, Buckle Under, chelsea cobbler, clobber, Diane Logan, Elliott, hampstead bazaar, Inca, laura ashley, Marielle, mary quant, miss mouse, Pamela Dennis, petticoat magazine, rae spencer cullen, ravel, Richard Green, Roger Charity, Russell & Bromley, Souk, Splinters, Sue Hone, van der fransen, Vintage Editorials
Mary Quant pinny worn over cheesecloth dress at The Souk. Britannia Land of Plenty silver armband. Buckle Under hat. Ravel shoes / Cheese cloth shirt and matching skirt by Richard Green. Woolworths hairnet. Buckle Under hat. Russell and Bromley shoes.

Summer’s peasant clothes come in brightly frilled cotton or in soft layers of cheesecloth with a bazaar of sunny straws and beads.

Fashion by Sue Hone.

Photographed by Roger Charity.

Scanned from Petticoat, 6th June 1972.

Souk pinny. Calico shirt with starry ribbon trim from Splinters. / Embroidered smock at Inca. Richard Green cheesecloth skirt. Waistcoat from Inca. Ravel suede sandals.
Miss Mouse seeksucker dress. Diane Logan boater. Biba false flowers. / Miss Mouse gingham dress. Bermona straw boater. Chelsea Cobbler wedge sandals.
Embroidered dress by Souk. Buckle Under Bowler. Britannia Land of Plenty shoulder bag. Elliotts sandals. / Midi skirt and cheesecloth dress at Souk. Inca wool belt. Buckle Under crochet cap. Bata sandals.
Long embroidered skirt with gathered waist from Hampstead Bazaar. Cheesecloth top by Clobber. Embroidered beret from Britannia Land of Plenty. Elliotts sandals. Straw bag from Inca. / Long checked cheesecloth dress by Marielle. Glass flower brooch from Van der Fransen.
Laura Ashley skirt. Calico smock by Pamela Dennis. Forbidden Fruit belt. / Laura Ashley top and skirt. Silk shawl from Britannia Land of Plenty. Shoes by Ravel.

Last Tango in Tijuana

1970s, antony price, che guevara, Dinah Adams, Dolcis, gillian richard, granny takes a trip, Herbert Johnson, Honey Magazine, Ian Batten, Inspirational Images, jean junction, Martha Hill, miss mouse, polly peck, rae spencer cullen, Roy A. Giles, Russell & Bromley, Samm, Spectrum, stirling cooper, Vintage Editorials, wallis

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.)

Rose-strewn wrapover cotton bolero and long frilled skirt from Spectrum. Raffia and cotton tie belt by Herbert Johnson. Right: Tightly ruched off-the-shoulder top and long skirt with deeply riched waistband from Wallis.
Ritzy ruffled satin bolero top with frilled skirt by Dinah Adams for Granny Takes a Trip. Wavy leather sandals by Samm. Right: Slinky spotted Tricel dress by Ian Batten at Stirling Cooper. Crackly taffeta long flounced skirt by Antony Price for Che Guevara. Wooden and patent sandals by Russell & Bromley.
Flouncy black and white gingham off-the-shoulder dress printed with orange and lemon flowers by Gillian Richard. Canary yellow sandals by Samm. Embroidered cummerbund by Herbert Johnson.
Swirling striped cotton skirt by Jean Junction. Off-the-shoulder pleated blouse by Martha Hill. Polished leather boots from Dolcis.
Black cotton ruched and flared rumba dress printed with multi-coloured flowers and birds by Miss Mouse. Apple green shoes by Russell & Bromley.

Left: Crisp cotton gingham blouse and flounced skirt both by Martha Hill. Oval bead choker and bangles by Paul Stephens. Right: Ruffled cotton check blouse and tiered skirt by Polly Peck. Cummerbund by Herbert Johnson. Shoes by Russell & Bromley.

Sunday Best

19 magazine, 1970s, alkasura, anello and davide, Bermona, Bilbo, bus stop, edward mann, Inspirational Images, John Bishop, laura ashley, lee bender, miss mouse, rae spencer cullen, Spectrum, stirling cooper, Travers Tempos, Vintage Editorials
White felt cloche hat by Bermona hats. Pale cream floral waisted shirt by Stirling Cooper. Long white cheesecloth skirt by Alkasura. White lace up boots by Anello and Davide. / Straw panama hat by Bus Stop. Pale green and dark green print sailor suit by Laura Ashley. Boots by Anello and Davide. / Chipped straw hat by Edward Mann. Yellow dress with stripes by Spectrum. White boots from Bilbo. / White hat with ribbon by Spectrum. Blue and white gingham shirt and skirt by Spectrum. White boots by Anello and Davide. / Peanut straw hat from Edward Mann. White cheesecloth shirt and skirt by Spectrum. Boots by Anello and Davide.

Summer is the time for romance. It’s the time for walking in the woods or by the water’s edge, and for having those delicious picnics. It’s the time for looking soft and feminine in long, flowing dresses and picture hats. So we’ve chosen some of the prettiest dresses, skirt and hats we could find, to help you look your best when you while away those sunny days.

Photographed by John Bishop.

Scanned from 19 Magazine, June 1972.

White piqued cotton hat from Bus Stop. White seersucker dress trimmed in red by Miss Mouse. Sunglasses model’s own. / Straw hat by Edward Mann. Pink, yellow and blue gingham dress by Travers Tempos. / Straw bowler by Edward Mann. Red and white spoted dress with red buttons by Miss Mouse. / Straw hat by Edward Mann. Cream calico smock and skirt by Laura Ashley. / Red straw hat by Edward Mann. Long blue cotton dress with toning panels by Travers Tempos.

Razzmatadvertising (Pt II)

1970s, brighton, City Lights, Gilles Ben Simon, Honey Magazine, Inspirational Images, marshall lester, miss mouse, Vintage Editorials
Plunging halter-neck Martini printed waistcoat with white cotton collar and pencil slim button through skirt both by Miss Mouse. South Sea Island printed cotton 50s dress with tight straight skirt by Miss Mouse.

Further to yesterday’s post, and as promised, here are the photos taken on Brighton Pier for the same editorial. With clothes by Miss Mouse and City Lights Studio, they were worth waiting for – weren’t they?

Photographed by Gilles Ben Simon.

Scanned from Honey, May 1973

Swirling peacock blue fan-pleated crepe skirt by City Lights Studio. Sugar pink and white striped halter-neck knit vest by Marshall Lester.