Suddenly this summer the shops are selling masses of hats that before would have only been dug up for garden parties, weddings, sports days or camping it up. For years magazines and designers have shown their clothes with hats, but they don’t usually turn up in the street. Fashion editors often feature ‘picture hats’ like those on the previous page posed in some romantic setting or framing an immaculate new make-up, but one never actually sees them on a number 19 bus. Now hats have gone the way of all clothes; there are no rules; you can wear anything with anything. Any hat, whether it’s wide-brimmed and floppy with half a haberdashery department stuck over it, or a small crocheted cloche pinned with a bunch of plastic fruit, i fine with either nostalgic Forties’ dresses or a dirty old pair of jeans. And you can still wear it to a wedding if you want to.
Modelled by Jean Shrimpton.
Photographed by Hans Feurer.
Scanned from The Sunday Times Magazine, June 20th 1971.
The numbers that The Moodies perform are firmly anchored in the Fifties and Sixties and ignore the current pop obsessions for necrophilia, drugs, suicide and the like. But under their bizarre make-up they are entertainers of the Seventies, rather than a group of decadent kids living off the nostalgia for ‘golden oldies’. On a good night, when the audience is firmly on their side, they create an atmosphere more like that of a private party than a sterile public performance; they earn their laughs through the juxtaposition of songs, their eccentric make-up, their idiotic props and their energetic dancing.
About a month ago, when they were playing at the tiny Moderna Theatre in Munich’s Schwabing district (surely the cleanest ‘quarter’ in the world), we noticed that the audience of all ages, shapes and sizes, were neatly dressed to the last man and woman; even their jeans had the knife-edge creases of an expensive boutique — the complete opposite of the people they had come to watch, who were described recently in Time Out as “looking like half a dozen friendly whores after a hard night in the Reeperbahn”.
“Everyone here tries to get us to mend our sweaters, they feel sorry for us. They think a hole is a sign of poverty. They wear the gear but they don’t understand what it’s about.
Perhaps that’s why we appeal to them,” said Anne Bean, who is a deceptively homely-looking girl off-stage and a powerhouse of energy on. She is one of the leaders of the group, though she denied that anyone actually led : “We are totally democratic -not that there is such a thing.” All art students at Reading, it was the second time they had played Munich. They banded together to play professional dates after they had sat their finals; they all passed except for buxom Suzy Adderley, who is on one year’s leave of absence and goes back soon to complete her course. They tried their luck at the Edinburgh Festival along with the rest of the Fringe: this was successful enough to land them their first book-ing in Munich.
“Actually, we were offered an Arts Council grant but we turned it down as we thought that it might restrict us,” said Rod Melvin, the pianist and the only man in the group. They still don’t have a pro-ducer, director, manager or agent. The only non-performing person to travel with them is Mickey Ekers who is a stage-manager-cum-electrician-cum-prop-master.
In the early days there were six girls, Anne Bean, Marianne Holliday, Polly Eltes, Suzy Adderley, Annie Sloan and Becky Bailey, but Becky Bailey deserted the group to paint. Anne Bean explained: “We really did the show as part of our finals.” Did this help them pass ? “Quite the contrary. It nearly sank us.”
At the start they followed the traditions of what was happening in pop music at that time: “Even the names we chose were just send-ups of those currently fashionable girlie groups like Lulu and the Luvvers and Martha and the Vandellas” said Anne Bean. “At one time we called ourselves Frank and the Furters” (she looked suitably ashamed) “then Lulu and the Lesbians, then prior to becoming The Mooches we were The Menstrual Seven.”
Before returning to Munich they had been playing at the Theatre at New End, Hampstead, where they had become quite a cult with late-night audiences. The group do num-bers like Gingold’s and Chevalier’s duet Ah Yes, I Remember It Well from Gigi and some of the more aggressive Presley songs, but they interpret these rather than imitate the originals. They make no announcements and use no words in spite of ‘gag fur gag’ written on the pink stars advertising the show. And they are very funny. Thank You For Being An Angel sung with melancholic grace by Rod Melvin became farce as the angel who drifted around stage shedding sequins at every step turned out to be a cross between Mae West and Jayne Mansfield. (Melvin is a talented pianist; the rest of the group are not musicians, but rely instead on improvisation and innovation.)
The make-up is startling. Polly Eltes said: “I really don’t quite know how we arrived at this present look. We started off quite simply looking brown and rather natural with perhaps blue eyelids, but gradually we progressed to what you see now.” They wear water-based wet-white foundation and then draw their features on to these masks. Anne Bean takes it the furthest by banding strips of coloured feathers to her eyebrows, while Rod Melvin, with his great carmine mouth and black sad eyes, looks somewhere between a clown and a Kabuki artist.
“I suppose we do reflect fashions, but I think it’s quite unconscious,” said Annie Sloan. “When Germaine Greer’s book came out (The Female Eunuch) we all wore strict little mannish suits, but somehow we have come to this.” ‘This’ is fishnet tights (with holes), gold-painted lace-up boots, long gloves and clothes they say they make themselves (which no-one would challenge). During the performance they swap clothes so that they look different but don’t use more costumes.
“I suppose that what we wear might seem eccentric and exaggerated; everyone marvels at Rod’s shoes but they came from Dolcis and mine came from Biba’s, so we are only picking up what’s around.” They admit that their art training and observations have probably influenced their act — the masks they wear at one point are exactly like those shown on some of John Davies’s sculptures shown at the Whitechapel Gallery a couple of years ago : “But we don’t want to intellectualise what we do,” said Annie Sloan, “or we might become self-conscious and unable to perform.”
The group pool their money; so much goes on running expenses, the rest on food and necessities. They were scheduled for seven more weeks on the road, ending at the Schiller Theatre in East Berlin. “When we are out of work we all do other things. I model, though I’m not much good at it,” said Polly Ekes. “I can’t really take it seriously, so when I go for jobs I mostly get turned down.” Rod and Anne teach, and sometimes Rod plays the piano for a girl singer and Marianne does typography and pho-tography. It is doubtful whether they will stick together : one has the feeling that they are enthusiastically filling in time before they move on to some-thing else.
Photographed by Hans Feurer. Report by Meriel McCooey.
Scanned from The Sunday Times Magazine, June 23rd 1974
The style’s the same, but no two shirts are identical – they are made from 1930s remnants: £8 10s from Emmerton Lambert, Chelsea Antique Market, 253 King’s Road, London SW3.
Edina Ronay modelling some incredible pieces by Emmerton Lambert, one of the cult labels which emerged from the Chelsea Antique Market in the late Sixties. A classic example of the plundering of the 1930s by designers of the time but unlike those creating garments ‘in the style of’, they were instead using period fabrics to create a new, thrown together, patchwork kind of look. I think these have become my favourite kinds of pieces in recent years: perhaps because there’s a tangible link to both periods when you handle them.
Photographed by Hans Feurer.
Scanned from The Sunday Times Magazine, June 14th 1970.
Flashy rodeo look: all from Emmerton Lambert, Chelsea Antique Market.
Sundress in deep blue rayon crepe with matching shorts by Stirling Cooper. Bikini in hand by Alistair Cowin. Sandals by Ravel.
Simply wizard playsuits. Sundresses with slightly flared shorts. Plenty of straps crossing bare backs. Lots and lots of buttons. Super colours. Cotton, crepe and jersey. Wish you were here and looking like this.
Photographed by Hans Feurer.
Scanned by Miss Peelpants from Vogue, May 1971.
Playsuit in chocolate jersey, ginger edged. By Copper Coin. Straw hat by Buckle Under. Shoes by Ravel.
Sunsuits in Madras patch cotton by Marielle. Sunhats by Titfers. Canvas shoes by Masotti. Right: Playsuit by Bus Stop. Sandals by Ravel.
Playsuit in canary yellow on dark brown cotton by Alistair Cowin. Shoes by Ravel.
Playsuit in Liberty print by John Marks. Liberty flower hat by Titfers Shoes by Ravel.
Plunge-necked green shaded Trice! crepe dress, by John Bates for Jean Varon, approx. 14gns.
What is she really like? Very much a domesticated and warm-hearted girl, she is preparing to set up home with the man she loves. Although she usually favours clothes collected from Antique supermarkets, 19 chose these daringly-cut dresses to emphasise the underlying tiger in her make-up.
At twenty-three, and with five feature films to her credit, Miss Charlotte Rampling is now engaged in what is seemingly her most important project to date – setting up residence in a fashionable Westminster two-storey house with film-maker Tommy Weber, and his two shaggy-haired sons, Jake, aged nearly six, and Charlie, aged four. Charlotte has been with Tommy for a year now, and when his divorce comes through, they plan to marry. Charlotte feels this will be ‘mostly for the children’s and my parents’ sake’.
She returned to England from Madrid four years ago, when she received her first film offer, landing a starring role in a Boulting Brothers comedy, Rotten To The Core. Following this movie, Charlotte appeared as Meredith, the super-shrew of Georgy Girl – and probably produced the totally misconceived image as a girl much like the one she played.
Charlotte describes Meredith as a real bitch’ of Georgy she says; “She was pathetic, but two-faced – not an admirable character.” Lyn Redgrave, however, was ‘absolutely beautiful’, and the film set was a happy one.
Charlotte has recently completed two films; Three, directed by Jim Salter, from an Irwin Shaw story, is spoken of with less than relish. What apparently started out as a free, flowing movie about three students bumming their may across Europe, ended up as a contused, under-budgeted affair, in which the hardships outnumbered the freedom.
Her most satisfying film to date, The Damned, is still being shot under the direction of Italy’s Luchino Visconti and she feels this was an invaluable experience. It is the story of the Krupp family, who rose to power in Hitler’s Germany.
Charlotte Rampling is now in the enviable position of having completed a major role, and possessing the chance to choose what she wants for the future.
Photographed by Hans Feurer.
Scanned by Miss Peelpants from 19 Magazine, May 1969.
Ribbon-trimmed plunge-necked blue shaded Tricel crepe dress, by John Bates for Jean Varon, approx. 13gns.
Culotte dress in shaded beige to bream 7-ricel crepe, with tiny bodice and trans-parent nylon organza back, by John Bates for Jean Varon, approx. £17 6s. 6d. Gold sandals, by Ronald Keith, 5gns.
Silk jersey black tie top and layered skirt, by Lizzy Carr, approx. 71/2gns. each.
Bolero of pearly circles, with pearly petals making a brassiere. By Felicity Bosanquet for Vendome, to order from Marian McDonnell, 45 South Molton Street, W1
Coming in, pearls in quantities to make an oyster shrink. But never well-bred strings, Felicity Bosanquet’s idea of wearing pearls is lavish. She loops and circles them into a bolero, a skirt, slings them monster-sized around her waist. Try pearls. They’re good for you. Cleopatra took hers internally, like a Disprin.
Photographed by Hans Feurer.
Scanned by Miss Peelpants from Queen, 25th June-8th July 1969
Big pearls make a belt with dangling silvery tassels. By Felicity Bosanquet for Vendome, from Marrian McDonnell. Pearl ropes wound round and round the leg – by Adrian Mann, £125 each, at Liberty’s.
Skirted in pearls (You could slip a body-stocking on underneath, if you think it necessary). Swinging big and little circles, separate strings, by Felicity Bosanquet, to order from Marrian McDonnell.
Crepe skirt and printed chiffon blouse both at Quorum. Pink patent shoes at Elliott. Tights from Bus Stop.
If you are prepared to forsake the mini this summer for the midi or maxi, you will find that designers have compensated for covering the legs by boldly slashing the skirts at the front, the back and the sides. Photographed at The Chelsea Drug Store.
This is a fascinating editorial for a few reasons. Firstly it is photographed at the legendary Chelsea Drug Store, showing off the incredible interior to perfection. It singularly fails to credit Ossie Clark and Celia Birtwell with their garments for Quorum (an odd oversight given their fame at the time…). It is also a glorious insight into the mini/midi/maxi debate of 1970 and shows us the transition between late Sixties style and the early Seventies. The clothes are familiar as early Seventies, but the shoes are not yet platform and still stuck in a low block heel.
Photographed by Hans Feurer. Styled by Cherry Twiss.
Scanned by Miss Peelpants from The Telegraph Magazine (exact date unknown, Spring 1970)
Cream jersey dress at Marrian McDonnell. Gold sandals at Elliott. Onyx and silver ring from The Purple Shop.
Printed voile dress by Mary Quant. Suede granny shoes by Elliott. Victorian pendant at The Purple Shop, Chelsea Antiques Market.
Orange crepe dress at Bus Stop. Orange suede sandals at Elliott.
Dress by Radley Gowns from Quorum. Shoes from Kurt Geiger. Victorian pendant from The Purple Shop.
One of my favourite images from a Vargas-inspired spread in Nova, photographed by Hans Feurer. I will scan the others in time, but they all deserve solo appreciation. I think I would actually give my firstborn for those Chelsea Cobbler shoes. Red leather AND stars? Fetch my smelling salts!
I’ve said it before, and I will say it again, there is something about the Seventies take on Forties style (and particularly pin-ups) which I find infinitely more appealing than the originals or the tired current trend for such things.
It takes all the glamour and sauce, but gives it that subversive, pop art-esque treatment so typical of designers like Tommy Roberts, Terry de Havilland and Rae Spencer-Cullen for Miss Mouse (amongst so many other Vintage-a-Peel favourites). The models look quirky, confident and very knowing; I never get a sense of exploitation or submission. Even the tagline ‘exploitation can be fun’ is perfectly pitched and mocking both the exploiters and the prudes. Viva la Seventies!