Imagine the location of Brig-a-doon as your backdrop, or the intimacy of a private country cottage as your studio with the prospect of photographing a selection of 20 beautiful English maidens. All this in your own time and, on top of this, making a profitable career out of such a desirable assignment.
The pursuit of a playboy or the pleasurable hobby of a titled aristocrat perhaps? In fact, it’s the dream of a qualified engineer with no professional training in photography. Canadian John Xavier has achieved such a desirable vocation…
Gradually he found he was marketing more of his own work and selling numerous pictures to a variety of men’s magazines. More recently he has been involved in the production of his first book. Entitled Every inch a lady, it is a photographic tribute to five of his most remarkable models...
I must admit to having a major soft spot for late Seventies/early Eighties vaseline-smeared David Hamilton-esque photography. The more over-the-top romantic and saucy the better. This superb set of photos were printed in one of those ubiquitous photography magazines of the time, accompanying an article about John Xavier. I think one of the models might possibly be Sylvestra le Touzel but I can barely see through the Vaseline I’m afraid.
Sunny Spain conjured up visions of hot summer days in picturesque surroundings, ideal settings for 19’s summer fashions. And we had a fantastic oppotunity when 4S Travel arranged a trip to Malaga and Torremolinos. We flew BUA Super Jet to stay at the Hotel Al Andalus, within easy reach of the mountains overlooking the Costa del Sol. Here we discovered quaint villages, sun-drenched and white-washed, their customs and dress crystallised in the past. No cars to be seen, only mules and donkeys. Our clothes echoed the feel of these places – colours stark black and white, brightened with touches of gayer hues, clean hot printed cottons, soft peasant blouses, sandals, light fishnet shawls, casual sun hats. The garments are easy to take care of, and enhance a tan – midi skirts that button to above the knee and give alluring glimpses of brown thigh, and large brightly printed squares of fabric which can be used as shawls, or skirts tied at the side.
Making me yearn for a proper holiday. The closest I’ll get is looking at this editorial whilst sitting on the balcony, trying to avoid all humans for the time being. I hope it brightens your day as well…
In this age of mass-production, finding clothes that have an individual look is becoming more and more difficult. But a few enterprising minds in London have got round the problem by buying old clothes, in beautiful prints that one doesn’t see these days, and remaking them in today’s styles. Though the styles are repeated, the materials are different and each garment is quite unique. If you don’t live in London, don’t despair. Look around for a clever seamstress who can copy the styles for you. Then, it’s a matter of combing jumble sales, or looking among granny’s cast-offs, for unusual prints. Don’t, however, cut up clothes in good condition. You’ll get a good price for these in London markets. And if you do come to London, go round the markets instead of the stores and boutiques – there’s a lot to be picked up!
An extraordinarily styled and photographed editorial featuring Van der Fransen, Emmerton and Lambert and Essences, all of whom were trailblazers in the world of vintage and recycled fashion.
This shoot also manages to answer two of my most frequently asked questions: what is your favourite editorial and what do you think the future of fashion will be. The former is probably a moveable feast, although this one is definitely up there with my other favourite, but the latter is still something I believe strongly. Especially in a post-pandemic landscape, I am not sure (and definitely hopeful) that we will ever see the same levels of mass production post-2020. Not for want of desire by the high street shops, but because people have maybe recognised that, actually, they don’t need armfuls of cheap synthetic, single-use garments. Perhaps the aesthetics and principles of these recyclers of the Sixties and Seventies will finally be adopted as our default? We could stop producing new clothes and fabrics right now and probably never reach the end of the piles of recyclable materials. And that’s not even taking wearable vintage garments into account. Do you feel your shopping habits have changed permanently?
If you can’t tango, simply steal into the spotlight in these flamboyant rumba dresses. The slipped shoulder strap, the bared midriff and the full-blown flouncy skirts all spell out the sexiest numbers for summer.
The main difference between the content of a magazine like Honey, as opposed to Vogue or Queen, is that the designers tend to be the more intriguing and less well-known of the period. If you want names like Miss Mouse, Granny Takes a Trip or Antony Price, these magazines should always be your first port of call. This shoot alone features one of my Holy Grail pieces by Granny Takes a Trip: the ruffled tie front top and skirt ensemble designed by Dinah Adams. Previously a designer for two other cult London boutiques, Mr Freedom and Paradise Garage, painfully little is known about Dinah Adams (misattributed as ‘Diana’ in the original credits). Which is why it’s always lovely to see her work represented anywhere.
Also shown here is a frothy, frilly delight of a frock by Miss Mouse, a.k.a Rae Spencer-Cullen. A personal favourite of mine, the Miss Mouse aesthetic is precisely why this early Seventies period is my favourite for fashion. Her work was heavily Fifties-inspired, quite ahead of the curve in the scheme of things, but always with a novel twist. Spencer-Cullen is yet another designer whose life remains something of a mystery, despite being a part of a hugely influential circle which included artists Duggie Fields and Andrew Logan. It seems that this anonymity was (at least initially) intentional, as an article from the Glasgow Herald in 1976 declared.
“At first, six years ago, when presenting her quirky designs on fashion, she seemed shy and utterly retiring. Miss Mouse could not be contacted easily by the press. She was elusive, hazed in shadows, a real mouse about publicity in fact. The only evidence of her entire existence was her clothes.”
In a world where we are so used to having information at our fingertips, there is something quite enchanting about this; tiny scraps must be stitched together to create a flimsy silhouette of a creative genius.
Photographed by Roy A Giles.
Scanned from Honey, July 1973.
(Please note – this blog originally appeared in 2016 on Shrimpton Couture’s ‘Curated’ blog project which has since been removed. It seemed a shame to let the posts disappear completely so I hope to eventually repost all my work here.)
The time: mid-morning coffee-break The place: The Post Office Confravision Studios, Euston Tower* The clothes: At last, working gear (you’ll be delighted to see) to cope with both formal and permissive working environments. The fabric: calico, strong and hard-wearing, cotton-based, so it’s comfortable for over-heated offices. Add a dash of towelling, team it with crocheted string vests, scarves, tights and bags for a little wit. The colour: cream—soothing and harmonious for worn executives. Enliven it with a touch of colour here and there (and to pick you out from beige office walls — remove if you need the camouflage).
* One of five office studios provided by the Post Office for its conference-by-TV service. Designed by Kenneth Grange of Pentagram.
An incredibly apposite photoshoot featuring the Post Office’s futuristic ‘Confravision’ studios. To read an original brochure, click here.
Intriguingly styled editorial from 1978, with the latter two images rather suggestive of the Westwood ‘Pirate’ collection that came a mere three years later. Also featuring some shoes by Manolo Blahnik under his ‘Zapata’ brand. I’m also surprised to see them still using the name ‘Jungle Jap’, which had been changed to Kenzo around 1976 I believe, but perhaps Jungle Jap was still the preferred name in the UK.
Oh to be out of England now that April’s here, and whether you are planning on Majorca, the far-flung Bahamas or the Isle of Wight this year, now is the best time to shop for holiday clothes. And having just stepped out of a QANTAS jet that took Cosmo island-hopping via Bermuda to the Bahamas, I have a slight tan and a strong feeling that summer’s fashions will be as refreshing, bittersweet and highly coloured as that tropical drink, Planter’s Punch.
Oh to be anywhere but home, quite frankly. I shall have to recreate these styles on the balcony and dream of even going as far as the Isle of Wight…
All jewellery by Adrien Mann. Fashion by Deirdre McSharry.
Spring has taken on a romantic air – with light dresses, billowing skirts and full sleeves. The fabric for day is cotton, especially voile. For evening, crepe is a great favourite. The lines are seductive – wear low v-necks, hats with lots of veiling and an antique brooch. Find an old shawl or crochet your own. If you’ve time to hunt you needn’t spend much money.
Some of my favourite designers, my favourite looks, one of my favourite photographers and two of my favourite models: Charlotte Martin and Mouche. Perfection.
Pattie Harrison looking like summer… her hair brushed into tumbling curls by Herta at Vidal Sassoon, her complexion glowing from her vegetarian diet and country life. Straw hat by Betty Gubbay, Jap check lawn blouse, pink beads from Butler and Wilson.