…never were there such devoted sisters…. I only have brothers so I can’t even imagine what it must be like to have a sister. I always wanted one when I was younger, mainly because my brothers seemed like a pain in the backside a lot of the time (as I’m sure I was to them). Although I love them both dearly, they always had each other and I felt deprived of such a partner in crime. But I guess I’ve also benefitted from never having that kind of competitiveness. This post is pretty much just an excuse to post pictures of a few glamorous famous sisters…
I’m often yapping on about the genius of James Wedge’s photography, but I have been meaning to share this very rare, very precious part of fashion history and of my personal collection for a while now. Wedge is one of those rare Renaissance-man types; successful in every new skill to which he turned his hand. He successfully ran his own boutiques (Countdown and Top Gear), forged a career in photography with no experience or working knowledge (trial and error often creates some of the best works of art) and, initially, he trained and worked as a milliner.
His hats were regularly featured in Vogue in the early to mid Sixties, often teamed with outfits by his friends Marion Foale and Sally Tuffin, and are some of the most perfect examples of mod ‘op-art’ ever created. But they weren’t being produced for long, or in any great quantity, so they are now incredibly rare.
This hat splits me in half. I cannot wear fur. I just can’t. Not particularly morally, I eat meat and wear leather quite happily, but the feel on my skin is like nails down a blackboard. Consequently, a hat made from rabbit fur is a thing of beauty aesthetically but I wouldn’t wear it even if I could squish it over my big head. However, I can’t quite bring myself to sell it just yet. I mean… it’s James Wedge?!
Down with lurgies and stress! Boo, and may I say, hiss. I haven’t felt much like posting here, or anywhere. I’m lining up some listings when I’m able though, and they should be up and running next week I hope. Until then, or until I have the energy to post properly again, here is a lovely, shiny post with lots of lovely inspirational images I’ve picked up here and there.
I was lucky enough to be able to attend ‘In conversation with Iain R. Webb’ at the Fashion and Textile Museum last week, in my inadvertent and faintly ridiculous new capacity as fashion book groupie. Iain is the kind of person who completely awes me into silence with his knowledge and experience, so it was nice to be able to just take a seat and listen to him for an hour or so – without feeling like a chump for being awed into silence.
If you don’t already have a copy of Foale and Tuffin, then why on earth not? Put it on your Christmas list! Buy yourself one as a treat! Hunt me down and steal my copy! I’ll whack you over the head with my copy of Arthur Marwick’s The Sixties (a nice, hefty tome which would be perfect for book-stealing blog-readers) but I’ll forgive you eventually.
When I first heard they were actually planning to do a book on those fabulous ladies, AND an exhibition, I nearly squealed in delight. I may actually have done so, but I was in a room with John Bates so there’s not a lot I can remember from that night (if you want to put me on mute, lock me in a room with John Bates and Iain R. Webb and you won’t hear a squeak out of me).
The book doesn’t disappoint. As I have heard many people saying, not least those behind the project, the most appealing thing about it is that it isn’t a simple biography of two people. It’s like a window into their friendship coupled with a luxury chocolate box selection of Important People who, cumulatively, give a valuable insight into a most intriguing and endlessly inspiring period in history.
You often come away from fashion books with a strong sense of one person’s life. One person’s view of a cultural revolution. Often you can barely find mention of other designers within its pages; throwaway references to models, movers and shakers and maybe the odd two line quote. But here, in Foale and Tuffin, you have small essays created from interviews with the likes of Jean Shrimpton, Jenny Boyd, James Wedge, Marit Allen, Molly Parkin….oh I can’t even prioritize them, they’re all so important. It’s like a proper documentary in book form. In fact, I’d be a very happy bunny if they had been able to produce this as a ‘Beyond Biba’ style film.
In between the photos and essays, there are excerpts from Webb’s interviews with the gals. Much like the Ossie Clark and John Bates books before it, you’ll probably flick through it a few times just to ogle the amazing photos and barely take in any of the detail. But eventually you’ll find a window of time, when you can snuggle down and ‘listen’ to Marion and Sally nattering away. I’ve had the good fortune to have witnessed this a couple of times in person (although only tiny vignettes of F&T-ness, really) and have heard even more by proxy, so I’m delighted that an almighty natter with the girls has been recorded for posterity.
Why can’t more books be like this?