Fashion Goes Into Purdah

1970s, cherry twiss, Crocodile, deborah and clare, Inspirational Images, jean muir, kurt geiger, Sacha, Savita, Suliman, telegraph magazine, The Sunday Telegraph Magazine, thea porter, universal witness, Vintage Editorials
Savita’s orange and red printed muslin hot skirt and balloon sleeved midi top. The latticed rust suede hat and scarf are from Suliman.

After the systemic strip of the West’s liberated women comes a longing for the romance and mystery of the East. The newest clothes reflect this mood with suggestive gauzes and clinging crepes. We took some to Bahrain, where the women are still heavily veiled and pass secluded lives in the harem.

A textbook example of the trend towards ‘exotic’ inspiration in the fashion world of the late Sixties/early Seventies. Most famously by Thea Porter, of course, but also with lesser known labels such as Suliman and Savita. Another strand of the post-Sixties backlash against the minimal and the space-age, along with the period romanticism of Laura Ashley and the more kitschy retro Rock’n’Roll stylings of Glam Rock.

As an aside, I always feel a little uncomfortable posting these ‘location’ shoots when they involve local characters, because it can feel a little exploitative. But at the same time, I don’t want to censor the past and think it’s important to remind ourselves of how fashion needs to be less exploitative and culturally ‘acquisitional’, even now.

I was also very entertained to note that a variation on the first image was used as part of the hilarious series of Smirnoff adverts and that I scanned back in 2015. There are only a few months between the two and I’m fascinated to know whose decision that was!

Fashion by Cherry Twiss.

Photographed by Sacha.

Scanned from The Daily Telegraph Magazine, 2nd July 1971.

White banlon dress by Simon Massey.
Flawless blue silk crepe jersey dress by Jean Muir. Gold sandals by Kurt Geiger.
Butter muslin shirt from Deborah and Clare. Striped satin skirt from The Universal Witness. The harem pants were made in the local souk.
Lace skirt and jacket by Thea Porter. Sequin cap from Crocodile.
Black crepe bloomer dress by Jean Muir.
Bronze slipper satin dress by Thea Porter.

Choli Choli

1960s, Inspirational Images, Queen magazine, Savita, Stephen Bobroff, Vintage Editorials

choli choli 1

The waist is the place to expose for summer 1969. For dancing, for the beach, for anywhere. (But do count calories carefully!) Savita has designed a range of bared-waist outfits to set you dancing endlessly, endlessly. The tops are based on the classic Indian Choli — the small, tight top worn with the sari. Skirts can be short or long — but every time, they’re skirts to swirl and swing and sway.

Photographed by Stephen Bobroff.

Scanned from Queen, June 1969.

choli choli 2

There’s a big round scoop out of the back. Sleeves are below-elbow and tight, border pattern goes round the sleeves, the hem. The fabric is hand-loomed Indian cotton, which is washable and crease-resistant. Both versions cost 50 gns; both at Savita

choli choli 3

Short skirts, bare waists, little tight Choli tops, and fluttering, floating butterfly sleeves. All-over print or border print on handloomed Indian cotton, either costs 25 gns, at Savita, 30 Lowndes Street, SW1.

choli choli 4

choli choli 6

Long skirts to flip flippantly, and the classic tight Choli bodice with tight elbow length Choli sleeves. Handloomed Indian cotton — one in a print of green and blue, the other in green and yellow and red. Both versions, 35 gns, at Savita

choli choli 5

Inspirational Editorials: The New Exotics

1960s, david montgomery, de Valesco of Tangier, Inspirational Images, Pucci, Savita, Vintage Editorials, Vogue

Diaphanous glistening crepe. Billowing Turkish trousers. Diamond-shaped minimal top with rhinestone pendant. 250 gns from Pucci.

Diaphanous glistening crepe. Billowing Turkish trousers. Diamond-shaped minimal top with rhinestone pendant. 250 gns from Pucci.

Photographed by David Montgomery. Scanned by Miss Peelpants from Vogue, July 1967

Polo necked harem pyjama dress. Striped chiffon, all colours of a rainbow. 68 gns from Savita.

Polo necked harem pyjama dress. Striped chiffon, all colours of a rainbow. 68 gns from Savita.

Japonica pink and ebony black rayon. By de Valesco of Tangier, about 56 gns at Simpson

Japonica pink and ebony black rayon. By de Valesco of Tangier, about 56 gns at Simpson