Who’s the virgin?

Foale and Tuffin, iain r. webb, mod, peter blake, the who, website listings

Up until Tuesday night, I was a Who-virgin. Now, thanks to Senti, Charley and Lola, I’ve popped my Who-cherry as well as my Albert Hall-cherry. I’ve worked there enough times, but never been to see anything.

It was amazing. In aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust (of which Roger Daltrey is a patron) they performed the entire Quadrophenia album from start to finish, with some stunning visuals from the archives, the film version and newly filmed inserts of Jimmy’s spoken parts.

Frankly I don’t know how they did it. It’s a toughie. But I’m just grateful that they did, and that I was there to see it.

Zak [Starkey] in a box

Then, hanging around fruitlessly at stage door afterwards, Charley spotted Peter Blake coming out and we decided to be geeky together and go and get his autograph. The other day I found myself sitting on a sofa at the Oxford Literary Festival, chatting to the truly amazing Sally Tuffin. (I couldn’t really spin that one out into a blog post of its own, unless I had recorded the entire conversation for posterity…which would be very rude.) Who would later mention her friend Peter Blake in her talk with Iain R. Webb.

It seems amusingly bizarre that I should be asking him (with chattering teeth) for his autograph after a Who gig less than a week later. Life is weird…

In honour of all this mod-ness, here is a rather fabulous red, white and blue striped jumper by ‘Gay Girl Knits’ just listed over at Vintage-a-Peel.

p.s Since some people complain that I never show what I am wearing to these things, I’m going to try and be a bit better about doing it. So here is me in my Celia Birtwell (for Topshop, I’m not an idiot. I’m not going to wear my Ossie Clark original to a Who gig!!) top and hair up. I don’t often put my hair up, but the rain was pouring and I was buggered if I was going to let it control my mood. So up it went!

John Bates = Happiness

grace coddington, jean varon, john bates, mod, moss crepe, personal collection, sixties, twiggy

You may (or may not…where have you been hiding??) know of my love for the work of John Bates. He’s a pretty important designer to me, and [via The Avengers and subsequent research] is a big part of why I have gone down this career path. I’ve met him twice and he has also, more recently, completely unwittingly and indirectly changed another part of my life. For which I’m very grateful, and which he will have no idea about.

Senti will be witness to the fact that I nearly fainted when I read what he had written in my copy of Richard Lester’s book about him. I had been wearing an early red chiffon Varon to the launch, and he wrote ‘Love the red chiffon and it fits perfectly!’. Perhaps that wouldn’t affect other, normal, people in the same way. But it was like a slice of heaven for me.

Lousy photo of a great dress.

Anyhoo. I don’t post a lot about my personal collection these days. To be honest with you, I’ve let go of a few things here and there. Other things need re-photographing. And several are still sitting in a no man’s land of ‘maybe I ought to sell this, really’. Hence I removed those sections from the website before I relaunched and haven’t reinstated them yet.

I am still trying to thin down the Bates collection. Which is hard. You can’t even imagine how much so. It’s easier to sell an Ossie, frankly, because I know I can get a fair market value for it. But Bates is still very ‘all over the place’ and I don’t want to gamble with such gorgeous frocks.

My plan is to have a comprehensive mid-Sixties array of his work. The varied, inspirational designs of his early years. Plus a decent selection of everything from then on, but minimalised greatly from what it has been. If I was having any doubts about this idea, they were swiftly removed by my most recent acquisition.

The really good, really early and representative Bateses don’t turn up very often. And you often forget that, for example, you’ve personally never seen an example of his panelled crepe work turn up. Or a dress with laced panels (which I also acquired last year, and need to photograph, sorry!). I’m very lucky to own a PVC example, and a dress with foil trim – those are pretty scarce as well. I love this dress. Passionately. I can’t find a direct photographed example, but it’s got to be from the same year as the Twiggy and Grace Coddington photos (below and at the top of the post).

Yes indeed. This dress makes me very happy.

The Icing on the Cake (or, The Bow on the Butt)

butt bows, mary quant, mod, sixties, website listings

Ahhhhh….you have to love a butt bow. I was rather surprised to see a butt bow on a Sixties Mary Quant mini dress, but surprised in a good ‘oooh, the girl done good’ kinda way. It’s an adorable dress anyway (and perfect attire for a mod french maid) but that’s just the icing on the cake; the bow on the butt. Anyway, it’s a new listing over at Vintage-a-Peel – please do check it out!

Fashion Icon: Maureen Starkey

fashion icon of the moment, maureen starkey, mod, ringo starr, sixties, The Beatles

This is a bit of an intimidating Fashion Icon post to do, because Senti is the doyenne of all things Mo. But she has very kindly sent me a pile of images with which to work. Thank you!

Maureen Starkey is by far and away the most admirable Beatle-wife, in my opinion. Not least because she had to put up with Ringo, but also because she was there from the very beginning. She wasn’t a model. She wasn’t an actress. She had been a hairdresser and was now a full time wife and mother, who still had to be the perfect accessory to her superstar husband. She performed this role beautifully, without ever overshadowing Ringo and never once looking like she would dearly love to thump the impossibly beautiful Pattie Boyd. Maureen was a woman’s woman. Kudos Mo!

Early on, her look was pure mod perfection. Immaculately coiffed hair, super sleek dresses and suits, and impeccably applied eye make-up to bring out her already quite spectacularly huge eyes. But Maureen was no follower. She was hugely experimental with her hair and make-up, especially in later Beatle years when her clothing also underwent a few gear changes. She did the maternity look exceptionally well in all eras, and was never afraid to try out different looks – particularly the notoriously hard-to-pull-off mannish suits and ties.

My personal favourite look is the hotpants, suede boots, [possibly] Mr Freedom t-shirt and bleached-end hair look, but there are lots to choose from. She probably tried every look you might dare to think of. Sometimes successful, sometimes not, but you’ve got to salute that haven’t you? Mo, you were truly awesome and you also helped give us the Hard Rock Cafe. We salute you!

Sh-sh-sh-shoe People…..

1960s, 1970s, biba, ebay listings, glam rock, mod, platforms

(Perhaps that title will mean nothing to anyone other than British kids who grew up in the 80s….but I can’t get the theme tune out of my head now!)

As an ever hopeful platform-loving girl who wears approximately a 6.5 in UK sizing, I find I end up with an awful lot of size 6s in my closet. I can get them on, but the question is whether I can actually survive a night out in them. I love my platforms, I really do…..but honestly, it’s time for a clear-out.

So coming up on eBay tonight is the first wave of my grand shoe sale. I have more to come, but since I don’t often sell shoes I think I’m just going to wait and see before I go delving back in for more goodies.

The sizing misfits in amongst this lot are the Biba platforms which my lucky, lucky flatmate has tried on and despite her horror at the height of them (she’s not a seasoned platform gal like I) assures me they feel like her fairly standard UK size 4. The listings will have measurements so please check them against existing shoes you already own. And now for the shoe candy……

Mod-tastic peeptoe and cut-out boots (Courreges copies by Lotus)
poor loves need some tlc and some new insoles – but aren’t they styling???

Rare original Seventies Biba platforms in pink and cream

Incredible red patent Seventies platforms by Young Colony

Satin wedge seventies babies by ‘Frolics’
(though I find I have a hard time frolicking in wedges….)

and finally some very wearable black Seventies platforms by Maria Elena.
They’re a bit rough around the edges, but with a little tlc they’ll be fit for stomping around in once more!