Watching Circus of Fear, a very enjoyable B-movie from 1966 with Christopher Lee and Leo Genn, I noted that the luscious Margaret Lee was briefly seen wearing a piece of John Bates-designed Avengerswear.
This black and white crepe catsuit was worn by Diana Rigg in The Avengers and modelled by Jean Shrimpton (with stunt man Ray Austin) for Vogue in 1965. It was, like all the Avengerswear, available to buy from the shops but these pieces are so rare and I have yet to find this catsuit in all my years of searching.
I am now extremely curious to know whether this was something from Ms Lee’s own wardrobe which she bought herself, or whether the wardrobe supervisor (Charles Guerin) found it – oblivious to the fact that it was already a costume tie-in, or simply hoping that no one would notice. Or an even wilder theory is that it was the actual costume worn by Diana Rigg and already in circulation as a hireable costume. I suppose we may never know, but I thought it worth preserving for posterity.
I have just listed some stunning new pieces over at Vintage-a-Peel, but the real star of the show has got to be this incredible Lee Bender for Bus Stop skirt and halter top set. For it is identical to the one worn by Joanna Lumley in a photocall for The New Avengers in 1976. Deliciously bright and saucy, and the one thing which might distract the world from your pudding-bowl haircut!
Photos and links to other newly listed items follow underneath…
Late Sixties cord jacket (click to view listing)
Murray Arbeid 1980s turquoise cocktail dress (click to view listing)
Terry de Havilland 1970s gold glitter shoes (click to view listing)
Norman Hartnell early 1960s chiffon and soutache evening gown (click to view listing)
Annacat 1960s blue velvet jacket (click to view listing)
Harold Ingram 1970s knitted top (click to view listing)
Polly Peck 1960s white cotton blouse (click to view listing)
Chelsea Girl 1970s stripe jumper (click to view listing)
Tom Bowker for Jean Varon 1970s silver lamé top (click to view listing)
It’s of the greatest frustration to me that nobody has yet bought this beautiful skirt by Catherine Buckley. Made from antique fabrics, patchworked into a maxi skirt, it is a key piece of this designer’s work and a beautiful garment to behold.
I knew she had designed clothes for Joanna Lumley as Purdey in The New Avengers, but it had been so long since I watched the episodes, I didn’t remember many individual outfits. Even so, it was highly unlikely that the super-active Purdey would have been wearing a patchwork maxi skirt. Or so I thought. Seems Ms Buckley designed a split midi version for the episode ‘House of Cards’ which Joanna wears to perfection in an action sequence.
Here are some stills, and here is a link to the skirt. Buckley’s work is rare enough, and these patchwork pieces even rarer.
I came across this series of photos ages ago, and there’s something about the sheer volume of them which entertains me greatly. She looks like she’s having a jolly good time, larking around with the random chaps she has been thrown together with in the studio. I think they were mainly promotional photos for her outfits so, other than costume designer Alun Hughes, I guess the guys were just there for slightly unhinged, eccentric, Avengerland good measure…
Diana with British boxer Billy Walker
Diana with Avengers stunt coordinator Ray Austin (left)
Diana with jockey Josh Gifford
Plus rogue bottom-spanking photo with unidentified gentleman…
So, perhaps this is bad timing because I can’t get anything posted out before I leave on my little trip…unless I lugged everything down to Brighton tonight. But I set myself last night as a deadline to get eight new listings up and running over at Vintage-a-Peel, and even if it took til the mornin’, I was going to bloody well manage it. Even in the face of technological adversity! So I leave you with eight beautiful pieces. Apologies that I can’t send them til next week, but remember it’s first come, first served so if you’ve fallen in love, let me know and I can reserve (or you can buy and rest assured you’ll get your package ASAP!).
There’s Biba, John Bates for Jean Varon, Frederick Starke (another designer who ended up dressing an Avenger lady, this time Honor Blackman as Cathy Gale), Harold Ingram, Jessica’s Gunnies (aka Gunne Sax), David Silverman, Ann Green and a beautiful keyhole Donerica cotton maxi. Phewwwwww…..see you all on the other side!
I was aghast to read recently that Old England was being ‘relaunched’ as a brand. This isn’t entirely surprising, given my usual reaction to such endeavours, but I was particularly cheesed off because I was still awaiting my very own original Old England timepiece. Ever since I knew about their collaboration with The Avengers, in the Alun Hughes-era rather than John Bates, I have been wanting one of my very own. I have extremely skinny wrists, and I either need something very delicate and barely there or I need some ridiculously big statement. Old England watches are perfect for the latter…
Diana Rigg in an Avengerswear mac by Dannimac, hat by Edward Mann and watch by Old England.
Patrick Macnee and Twiggy. Twiggy is wearing an Avengerswear Old England watch
Now it’s around her ankle!
Miniature versions in 1968
So imagine my delight when I peered into a cabinet in a delightfully ramshackle antiques shop in Bexhill and spied this acid green confection. A wind and a few gentle shakes by the shop owner got it started after goodness knows how many years in the cabinet. It’s missing one of the strap bars across the back, but for £10 how could I say no?
I’m frequently wittering on about Emma Peel, John Bates, Avengerswear…blah blah. But I have continuously forgotten to scan and post this fabulous double page spread from Vogue (October 1968) of a range of knitwear ‘inspired’ by Linda Thorson’s Tara King character and produced by Ballantyne. I’ve never heard of any Tara Avengerswear gear before or since, perhaps because her wardrobe was pretty dreary half of the time – thanks Alun Hughes, and it’s always struck me as rather sad that she didn’t get her own ‘range’. Even Honor Blackman as Cathy Gale had a range designed by British couturier Frederick Starke!
So it’s awfully nice to know she at least had her own line of cashmere knits. Hurrah!
p.s I am terrible at identifying models, but I love love love her hair.
Sadly, I do not have initialled luggage (wouldn’t E E look rather splendid on the side of some white vinyl cases?….*hint hint*….ahem) and I certainly wouldn’t be wearing a real fur coat and bonnet, but I intend to make like Emma and Steed this week on a stylish little jaunt. It’s going to be in a rather special location, but I won’t tell you where until I return. But I will tell you. Promise!
Anyway, I’m going to try to avoid emails and internet as much as possible so I will pick up any orders when I return. See you on the other side and stay warm, dear readers! It’s grotty out there…