The Renaissance of Elegance

1960s, cherry twiss, florence, Inspirational Images, italy, ken scott, Pucci, Robert Freson, telegraph magazine, The Sunday Telegraph Magazine, Vintage Editorials
Ognibene-Zendman: silk culotte pyjamas, in the Palazzo Orsini, Rome.

Paris in recent seasons has seemed to be more interested in the line of a dress than whether it enhances the body. So Weekend Telegraph turned to Rome and Florence, where the emphasis is still on elegance and femininity, to report on this year’s Spring and Summer Collections.

Fashion by Cherry Twiss.

Photographed by Robert Freson.

Scanned from The Weekend Telegraph Magazine, February 24th 1967.

Ken Scott: matching floral prints, in the Villa Ombrellino, Florence.
Pucci: chiffon tent, crepe trousers, Villa Ombrellino.
Mila Schön: beaded tube, in the Villa Lante, Bagnaia.
Forquet: lace poncho over jewelled leggings, in the Palazzo Orsini.
Barocco: laminated silk tunic dress, in the Palazzo Orsini.

You can take a White Horse anywhere.

1960s, menswear, observer magazine, Vintage Adverts

Make mine a double and I’ll take the green jacket on the left as well please!

Advert for White Horse whiskey.

Scanned from The Observer Magazine, 20th April 1969.

A python in her room

1960s, 1970s, Art Kane, Inspirational Images, Margrit Ramme, Queen magazine, thea porter

“You love your boyfriend and he’s left you. You’re alone in a big city and an empty apartment.” Kane had not yet picked up his camera, but Margrit Ramme was working on the sadness. She was also scared of the snake. The editors of Queen magazine had asked for an entire issue to be called “Art Kane’s New York,” including fashions, and he had said all right—but don’t expect to see laughing girls running down Fifth Avenue. He had just divorced his second wife, had not yet met Jean Pagliuso or photographed Larry Rivers, and felt fairly bitter.

If you want to call it Art Kane’s New York, he told Queen, you’ll have to accept pictures showing that the place right now is kind of empty for me. Righto, they said.

He left the studio and rummaged around for real-life locations. He had found the apartment on Gramercy Park, and decided to shoot the fashions there before the furniture came in. Truth is, he wasn’t motivated entirely by a desire to display his mood. Not only does training as an art director make him look for a theme when he has space for an essay, as against a bunch of random shots that just present the merchandise; Art Kane loves almost more than anything else to tell a story.

He also loves snakes. The first boy scout in the Bronx to get a Reptile Study merit badge, he kept 32 of them at home despite a mother who tried to make him flush the first one down the toilet.

This story would reflect the dilemma of a lovely woman—always beautifully dressed, of course—searching for a man, for identity, for something. A snake would be not only an obvious male symbol but also a reminder of a Garden of Eden to start it off. Since Kane had given, his collection to the Bronx Zoo when he was drafted, he called All-Tame Animals, a pro-vider of non-human performers in New York. They referred him to a snake owner in one of the city’s residential hotels, asking that he be discreet; she would be evicted if the manage-ment discovered that she kept a boa constrictor and a python in her room. So Kane was Uncle Joe when he called to ask about Cousin Bea: “She must be a really big girl by now. Oh, six feet six, that sounds good.” And Patricia? “Over eight feet tall? My goodness.” He went over to see them. Their owner showed him the boa in her bathtub and pulled the python out of a closet. “Terrific,” he said. “Bring them up to my place at 10 o’clock tomorrow.”

When she arrived with the snakes in a laundry bag, Kane was moving white window shades up and down, studying the way they filtered the natural light he would use all day. Morning light came softly through the west-facing windows of the living room. He arranged the python, then stood back to peer through a Nikon. Moving forward, back, left, right, he kept the model close to the center of the frame. He was using a 24mm lens, not only for depth of field that would keep the picture sharp from front to back but also to make objects near the edges seem to lean away, focusing attention on the center.

“Okay, Margrit, you’re unhappy, unaware, the two of you can never really come together. . . .” Bracketing—one shot at a normal exposure, one above, one below—he redesigned the picture as he moved. “That’s it, keep it, keep it,” he told her when he liked what was happening. “Now, hold every pose for three clicks and then change … Beautiful. Now keep that until I say stop. I want to explore this until we’ve eaten it up.”

Ninety minutes later he had eaten up the male-female situation (above) and moved to the bedroom (below) to set up an identity problem. A second model had arrived. “You’re clothed and you’re naked,” Kane said, “you’re really the same woman, trying to figure out who you are.” This time he wanted to stretch the image more alarmingly toward the edges, so he put on the 21mm lens that he had used to shock the editors of Vogue on his first fashion assignment.

Images originally published in Queen magazine .

(date not given but looks circa 1969/70 to me, especially given Queen merged with Harpers Bazaar in 1970).

Clothes are uncredited here but both look like Thea Porter to me.

Photographed by Art Kane.

Scanned from Art Kane: The Persuasive Image, 1975.

Victoria Tennant (and Afghan)

1960s, british boutique movement, Kenneth Vard, patrick lichfield, Victoria Tennant, Vogue

Victoria Tennant, an Afghan hound and a jacket of real patent leather, caramel brown and shiny. She is a drama student at the Central School. The jacket, 39 gns, was made with wide lapels and a belt, by a new boutique, Kenneth Vard, 90 Marylebone High Street, W.1, who makes anything in any colour and any suede or leather.

Photographed by Patrick Lichfield.

Scanned from Vogue, May 1969.

The Cover Up Look for Spring

1960s, Harpers Bazaar, Inspirational Images, Sarah Moon, yves saint laurent
The cover up look for Spring by Yves Saint Laurent (fabrics by Abraham, Brossin de Mere) in a multi coloured rainbow skirt that sweeps the floor.

Happy International Women’s Day! Here is one of my favourite covers, from the glorious Harpers Bazaar (before they merged with Queen and lost this lovely deco typeface, that 5s makes me swoon for some reason) and by one of my favourite photographers, Sarah Moon.

Photographed by Sarah Moon.

Scanned from Harpers Bazaar, April 1969.

New Scene Baby Dolls

1960s, Babydoll, Hair and make-up, Illustrations, Make-up, Rave, Vintage Adverts

“Wake up to new make-up”

There is always wonder and joy when I find another of these Woolworths Baby Doll make-up adverts. But there is also always eternal frustration that I don’t know who illustrated them.

Scanned from Rave magazine, July 1969.

Streaking So It Barely Shows

1960s, barry lategan, charlotte martin, hair, Hair and make-up, leonard, Make-up, The Purple Shop

Naturally mouse hair is usually limp so it needs extra life, extra lift, extra bounce. All this can be achieved by very, very fine highlighting. Keep away from obvious streaks, let your hair look instead as if it’s just come out of the sun. An expert will know exactly which colours to choose for you, exactly the right depth and contrast of highlighting. You can have water-rinse streaks or permanent; you can have your own hair coloured, or your hairpiece. The subtly streaked hair, left, is controlled at the top, combed into waves, then frizzed into a soft cloud at the shoulders. The make-up has the same romantic, pre-Raphaelite look with Orlane’s Satilane beige no. 4 with brush-on rouge no. 3. Eyes: cream pearl shadow in Bleu Perle, Bleu Marine roll-on mascara. Lipstick: beige-pink Paprika. Necklace: an eagle from the Purple Shop, Chelsea Antique Market. Hair colour, here, and in the picture, above, by Daniel, styling by Leonard, both from the House of Leonard.

Modelled by Charlotte Martin.

Photographed by Barry Lategan.

Scanned from Beauty in Vogue, 1969.

Design for Avenging: Sisters Under The Skin

1960s, avengers, avengerswear, David Gittings, diana rigg, emma peel, frederick starke, honor blackman, Inspirational Images, jean varon, john bates, meriel mccooey, Meriel McCooey, Paul Blanche, Selincourt, sunday times magazine, the avengers
Diana Rigg in buckled snakeskin coat made by Paul Blanche.

On Thursday evening at 8 o’clock The Avengers comes back. Viewers in London, Scotland and the South will see it, other channels will have to wait until October 2. The new show lacks one vital element. Honor Blackman, who played Cathy Gale, that female gauleiter with a heart of gold, has left television for films and the arms of James Bond.

She is replaced by rangy, redheaded Diana Rigg, an actress already blooded for knock-about violence in shows like King Lear and The Devils with the Royal Shakespeare Company. She plays the new Avenger woman Emma Peel, who is described by A.B.C. television as “the youthful widow of an ace test pilot, daughter of a wealthy shipowner, and an internationally educated symbol of the jet-age female”.

A strong-arm widow, born with such disadvantages, couldn’t fail to be an interesting autumn draw, but the new girl will find it hard work to oust the memory of Cathy Gale from the spot she kicked out for herself in these shows. For, as Cathy Gale, Honor Blackman was mesmeric. Male viewers turned to pulp in their armchairs as she hurled opponent after opponent through plate glass windows, and their TV dinners turned to dust as she half-nelsoned men twice her size.

Women were fascinated too, but for different reasons. They sat glued to their sets wondering what it was she had, that they hadn’t. Her slightly sinister but wholly fathomable allure had little to do with her natural assets ; her toughness, the purring reassurance of her voice, her earthiness ; her blonde hair and wide mouth. Cathy Gale’s real appeal was firmly laced into the shiny black leather of her fighting suits.

The black leather fighting suits she wore, now generally referred to as ‘kinky clothes’ were designed by Frederick Starke. They proved such a success both here and in the U.S.A., where the last series was sold, that the American business men controlling the sales insisted that these clothes should be retained for the next series. This was a mistake. Fashion moves much faster than most business men, and the feeling for black leather was on the wane, long before the last episode was off the screen. But A.B.C. agreed to the American conditions, and Emma was togged up in black leather and boots, looking just like Cathy Gale in a long red wig.

Before the new series was half-way through, the planners realised that some fairly startling changes were taking place in the fashion world. Skirts were getting shorter and women appeared to be crossing their thighs, not their knees. Leather was out. All sorts of animal skins, from snakes to zebras, were in. And op and pop art were having an explosive effect on textile design.

This series is the first to be made on film instead of videotape, which means it could be running in different countries all over the world for the next five to ten years. It would be pushed to keep its con-temporary smack with a limping gimmick like black leather. At this point, with half their film in the bag, A.B.C. called in fashion co-ordinator Anne Trehearne, an ex-fashion editor of Queen magazine, and asked designer John Bates of Jean Varon to plan a new wardrobe for Emma Peel to wear during the last 14 episodes. John Bates is the man who made the now famous daisy dress which 25 red-faced debutantes wore to the same ball.

Designing a wardrobe for a preconceived image is no easy task, but he succeeded in doing this and more besides. His clothes are 100 per cent. modern. He has shortened the skirts (in spite of tough opposition in certain quarters at A.B.C.), re-designed the black leather fighting outfits into modern, one-piece jump-suits, introduced tailored snakeskin and a whole range of op art furs.

In all there are 35 garments with complementary accessories. And for the first time the whole collection will be sold in the shops. (Frederick Starke did sell some of Cathy Gale’s wardrobe, but only selected items.) Over 12 well-known manufacturers, like Edward Rayne, Paul Blanche and Kangol, are co-operating with John Bates at Jean Varon and are making the shoes, the skin coats and the berets under licence; Echo are even making the amusing ribbed sheer nylon stockings. They will all be in the shops in October.

Both the clothes and the series are now saleable properties. It will be interesting to see which proves the biggest draw to interested buyers the striking new clothes or the shiny new girl.

Photographed by David Gittings.

Story by Meriel McCooey.

Scanned from The Sunday Times Magazine, September 26th 1965.

In short snakeskin blazer made by Paul Blanche and ribbed sheer nylon stockings.
Leather jumpsuit with clasps made by Paul Blanche.
Black and white bunny coat made by Selincourt. All designed by John Bates.

Rigg Outs

1960s, alun hughes, avengers, avengerswear, Bata, Dannimac, diana rigg, Don Silverstein, edward mann, emma peel, old england, Selincourt, Sirela, the avengers, Thomas of Mayfair, Vintage Editorials, Woman's Own
Cotton pique raincoat in cream with top seaming by Dannimac, £8 19s. 6d. Matching barrow boy cap by Edward Mann, who make all hats for the series. Exotic watch on wide patent strap, by Old England about £5. Beige stretch stockings with single stripe by Echo 9s. 11d.

Where do I begin? You don’t need another rundown of her incredible career and life. You don’t need to be told what a breathtaking actor she was. I think I just need to express what she meant to me, except I’m not even sure I can do that adequately.

Her strength and confidence was, and continues to be, instructive to me as a woman in search of strength and confidence. I think it’s safe to say that I wouldn’t be the person I am today if Diana Rigg hadn’t been the person she was and portrayed women in the way she did. I quite literally wouldn’t be where I am because she piqued my interest in John Bates and his work. I wrote my degree dissertation on Emma Peel and began my love affair with British boutique clothing, which in turn started my business and gave me my ridiculous eBay username. I first met my partner at the launch of Richard Lester’s monograph on John Bates, twelve years ago next month.

I was fortunate enough to see her in Mother Courage and Her Children and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, thanks to an adventurous Theatre Studies A-level teacher, and later in Suddenly Last Summer and All About My Mother. I travelled up to Sheffield for the former, and briefly met her afterwards. I couldn’t really have translated all that she meant to me into anything coherent, so I just got her autograph and told her I thought she was amazing or something (I don’t remember). She smiled kindly and said thank you. I don’t know, I probably hoped she might adopt me. But she didn’t.

There is profound sadness in her no longer being in the world but always joy in her body of work. Which I shall enjoy revisiting. And I shall make an effort to rescan a lot of my archive for the new era in my life. Thanks to her, as always. Because I always come back to, what would Emma Peel do? And without Diana, there’s no Emma.

Today is a feature on the Avengerswear range designed by Alun Hughes (who took over from John Bates for the colour episodes). Tomorrow will be John Bates Avengerswear. Enjoy!

The Avengers are back! And the fashion world’s buzzing with the great news of Diana Rigg’s new wardrobe. Here’s the low-down: ABC Television have seen to it that all Diana’s clothes can be bought, budget-priced, from big stores up and down the country. And you’re the first to see them in their true colours. Suzanne Grey has picked these five top-sellers, photographed exclusively for Woman’s Own readers.

Photographed by Don Silverstein.

Scanned from Woman’s Own, January 14th 1967.

Designed by 25-year-old theatrical designer Alun Hughes, an action dress in Celon jersey; sizes 10-16, also in natural/yellow/orange stripes, about 9gns. by Thomas of Mayfair. Hair by Allan McKeown of Here and There. Bata are making Diana’s Avenger shoes.
Fighting catsuit, with stretch an movement in navy crimplene with mustard side-stripes Echo are making these up-not only for fighters, more for apres-skiers- for 8gns. Selincourt are making Avenger furs; suede and leather togs come from Sirela.
“I love this,” says Diana Rigg. “It’s the kind of thing I wear in ‘real life’. All the new Avenger things are.” Stunningly simple crepe dress and jacket by Alun Hughes for Thomas of Mayfair, sizes 10-16, about 12gns. Larger-than-life watch by Old England, about £5.
‘Litting-nothing’ dress, epitomizing the new Avenger fashion thinking. “No gimmicks,” says Alun Hughes, “just elegant, modern clothes to counter-balance an Emma Peel-type life. Girls on the move can’t be bothered with bits and pieces..” By Thomas of Mayfair, about 8gns.

Landscape in Leather

1960s, Adrian George, elton john, Gervase, Jim O'Connor, Julian Cottrell, Mensday, menswear, mr freedom, ossie clark, patrick procktor, Tommy Roberts, Vogue
Simply sky, cloud, tree and grass sewn on the back of a brief bright jacket, pilot shape, all leather, buttoned both sides, worn with high-waisted trousers, sky blue silk shirt.

The RCA’s School of Fashion is a great forcing ground for young designers. This year’s show proved the point again, with looks both space-age and romantic, the best in fashion for men… the man in the landscape is Gervase, pop singer with new release, “Pepper Grinder”. And the man responsible for the leather landscape, Jim O’Connor, made a gold lurex evening suit that could outshine Elvis Presley; a memorable droopy satin dressing gown and pyjamas silk-screened in rainbow colours with the words “there will never be another you”.

I would walk over hot coals for that jacket. Jim O’Connor would go on to design for Tommy Roberts’s Mr Freedom boutique and created the legendary winged boots (as worn by Elton John) amongst many other iconic designs.

There’s not a huge amount out there about Gervase Griffiths, what there is mainly relates to his time with Patrick Procktor and those creative circles (see here where there is also a connection to Ossie Clark), but here’s a link to the aforementioned Pepper Grinder which is all the baroque psychedelic whimsy you would expect from 1968.

Photographed by Julian Cottrell-Adrian George.

Scanned from Vogue, September 1968.