This is definitely the Season of the Midi, which involves a whole new set of fashion rules. Midis look best without an inch of leg showing, which means either long tight-fitting boots to take over where the midi finishes, or coloured tights matching clumpy-heeled shoes. So keep gulping; daily doses will keep you in the pink, fashion wise.
Aside from all the dreamy autumnal clothes and the fact that the blonde model is Charlotte Martin, it’s so lovely to see Terry de Havilland’s early and legendary three-tier wedges. As so often with Terry’s shoes, they are erroneously credited to the stockists (here ‘Jolly Boy’), but it’s still lovely to see them.
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.
Michael Szell is the Hungarian fabric designer who is introducing Iran to London via a new collection of designs, taken up by Thea Porter for her romantic and ravishing evening dresses. His own bedroom, opposite, is in rich emerald, turquoise and brown arabesqued linen, cool and grand by day but rich and warm by electric light, with 18th-century Eng-lish paintings and mirrors. His drawing-room, below, is turquoise with brilliant Persian prayer mats colouring the walls, 18th-century English botanical china, and a mixed forest of hyacinth and growing orchids, later bluebells and orchids. Iran runs through Michael Szell’s life like a thread. He began to visit friends and connections there while he was still a child, used every possible holiday to get there while he studied economics at Aberystwyth University, and later when he worked with Sir Nicholas Sekers. His love for Persian ceramics, buildings and woven carpets developed into a passion for early Islamic art in its formal, random, asymmetric period before it came to represent life in the 19th-century : a passion culminating in his opening his own furnishing fabric showrooms at 47 Sloane Avenue. He began selling silk signature scarves to Henri Bendel of New York in 1969 and has just produced his new Persian collection of fabrics. Thea Porter asked him to print his designs onto silk chiffon for her and made them in flowing evening dresses with yards of floating sleeve and skirt.
For the coronation of the Shahanshah and the Empress of Iran, Michael Szell designed curtains, chair-fabrics and an entire state banquet for the Golestan Palace. He has been asked again to help with the decorations for the great October celebrations—the twenty-fifth centenary of the founding of the Persian Empire. He will contribute designs for the interiors of houses and for some of the 500 tents that are planned, with their own marble bathrooms, for the royal and distinguished guests who will take part in the celebrations at Persepolis, the ruined city and ancient capital.
Mr Szell has also been asked to provide the fabrics for all the palace sets in the new Universal film Mary, Queen of Scots, starring Vanessa Redgrave as Mary and Glenda Jackson as Elizabeth. He has an unrealised ambition to produce an absolutely modern collection of very cheap fabrics “from chair covers to plastic shower curtains”.
There is nothing formal about these clothes even though a few years ago most people would have thought they were. They look exotic because the fabrics are either Eastern, or mixtures of Twenties silks and chiffons. Everything is quite simply cut and easy to wear; it is only the fabric combinations that are elaborate. There are many women who don’t like to admit, even to themselves, that clothes are of any importance in their lives — just because they are not striding around in shorts doesn’t mean that they lack style, they just don’t want to be instantly pigeon-holed by what they wear. The clothes shown here are perfect for all those women who “don’t care about fashion”.
Report by Valerie Wade.
Photographed by Sasha.
Scanned from The Sunday Times Magazine, April 4th 1971.
Take some bright reds, greens, yellows, pinks and blues – and blend them with spots and stripes, ribbons and frills. Add bangles, bead ribbons and flowers and finish off with sexy, high heeled shoes. You’ll be the star attraction… We chose some Italian designs from our favourite Italian company, Daily Blue. These are pricey but highly original, so that even if you can’t afford them you can profit from the idea.
For a Sunday by the river . . . just looking your prettiest. Snowy-white dress in broderie Anglais with a wide, square neckline, puff sleeves -a very demure air about it. By Simon Ellis, 72gns. Wide-brimmed hat in fine white straw by Otto Lucas, 88s. White organza parasol, to order from Harrods, 6 2 gns. White tights by Mary Quant, 18s : 11d. Paisley cushions and old-fashioned quilt from Cornucopia. More prettiness how-to : Almay’s range of hypo-allergenic make-up, specially formulated for difficult skins that usually don’t like any make-up at all. Soft Ivory Liquid Make-up, matching powder. Eye Shadow Aqua, Charcoal Brown Mascara; Pink Pecan Colour Moist Lipstick, And, a summertime scent, Mademoiselle Ricci by Nina Ricci.