Inspirational Editorials: Legs Go Under Cover

1960s, british boutique movement, Browns, celia birtwell, chelsea cobbler, Flora Boutique, fulham road clothes shop, Gina Fratini, Harpers Bazaar, Harri Peccinotti, Inspirational Images, Ken Lane, kurt geiger, molly parkin, mr fish, ossie clark, Piero de Monzi, quorum, sylvia ayton, thea porter, Vintage Editorials, zandra rhodes
Left to right: White crepe bolero and trousers by Gina Fratini. White shoes by Kurt Geiger / Satin trousers and matching chiffon top in print by Celia Birtwell, both by Ossie Clark at Quorum. Red leather shoes by Chrystal of Copenhagen. / Black silk organza shirt and trousers in Bianchini's black silk organza flocked with velvet, both from Thea Porter. Cord belt from Piero de Monzi. Wide jewelled belt and double chain and green stone belt from Ken Lane. Black satin shoes by Kirt Geiger. / Black cire trouser suit from The Fulham Road Clothes Shop. Black letaher boots by Thea Chelsea Cobbler. Black and cream silk scarf from Thea Porter

Left to right: White crepe bolero and trousers by Gina Fratini. White shoes by Kurt Geiger / Satin trousers and matching chiffon top in print by Celia Birtwell, both by Ossie Clark at Quorum. Red leather shoes by Chrystal of Copenhagen. / Black silk organza shirt and trousers in Bianchini’s black silk organza flocked with velvet, both from Thea Porter. Cord belt from Piero de Monzi. Wide jewelled belt and double chain and green stone belt from Ken Lane. Black satin shoes by Kirt Geiger. / Black cire trouser suit from The Fulham Road Clothes Shop. Black leather boots by The Chelsea Cobbler. Black and cream silk scarf from Thea Porter

Everyone is tired of hearing that the mini skirt is on the way out.
Nearly as tired as when they heard it was on the way in.
These things in fashion die a very slow death,
but in this case one reason has been the lack of alternative.
Designers made too great a leap with the maxi,
and too indefinite a move with the midi.
After extremely short skirts,
something flapping around mid calves did feel extremely frumpish.
This was tied in with the fact that no boot manufacturers at
that time were making them with high enough heels,
essential with a longer skirt,
and it was very difficult to find feminine unclumpy
shoes which gave enough of a lift.
Now footwear is changing.
Boots are tall and beautifully fitting.
l-ligh-heeled shoes — very high — are pretty,
well proportioned and extremely flattering.
And so one branch of fashion may well be influencing another.
ln the end everything is a matter of proportions.
When skirts went up, heels came down.
The high stilettos we used to hobble around in so painfully,
not really that long ago,
looked far too tarty with hemlines halfway up the thigh and even
worse with trousers, especially tight ones.
Since most women feel their legs to be too short,
and the wearing of the heel as very necessary to a feeling of femininity,
this cancelled out the wearing of trousers for a very large number.
Until a short time ago trousers were being worn by,.
apart from men of course,
women who looked like men — that is, girls with no curves.
Lean hips. Long legs — in flat shoes.
Now for the first time comes the alternative to the mini skirt. Trousers.
That is, until hemlines decide exactly how far they will drop.
As drop they will.
Footwear has helped provide the solution.
It will comfort many to know that the models in the
pictures which follow, averaging 32″-35″ hips, still have
to choose, very carefully, shapes which suit them.
Their legs are long but still need the added inches that a high
heel gives them. Their shapes are slim, but female.
Still sometimes round enough to need the camouflage of a long jacket,
cardigan or tunic. They show that closely fitting
trousers can be sexier and will also make you look fatter.
They show that a small waist is made smaller by a high
cut rather than a hipster style.
Most of the trousers for evening lit well over the hips but flare out
in a very feminine, flattering way.
They are glittery, shiny, and see-through.
Beautiful in fact; better than ever before.

Alas, now that mini skirts are accepted just about everywhere.
we have to warn that trousers, for women that is, aren’t.
An appalling number of top London hotels
still hold fast to outdated rules about them.
Officially they are not allowed in, even to drink,
let alone to dine or to have lunch.
ln the Dorchester they can’t even have tea!
In the Mirabelle: Ofhcially, trousers are not admitted.
The question does not arise much at lunch—tirne
as there are never very many women there.
ln the evening the rule has now been relaxed and you
would be permitted to dine in trousers.
Talk of the Town: Certainly you may wear trousers.
Savoy: They now allow very dressy evening trousers in public rooms
but no daytime trousers at all.
Wearing them to private functions in private rooms
is left to the discretion of the organisers.
Dorchester: You would not be served anything
when wearing a trouser suit.
This applies to all public rooms,
but for banquets and other private functions it is up to the organisers.
Connaught: Officially not allowed at any time in the bar or restaurant,
but it is a decision left to the manager.
Carlton Tower: Trousers are not encouraged in the Rib or
Chelsea Rooms, but they are coming to accept them.
They prefer lunch-time trousers to evening ones.
Westbury: Trousers are not allowed in the bar or restaurant;
this applies to evenings too.
However, this rule, like others, is relaxed from time to time,
eg, when Brigitte Bardot arrives in trousers from the
airport – or Lord Snowdon arrives for dinner in a roll-neck shirt.
Hilton: Officially no trouser suits in the Roof Restaurant.
Unofficially you could get away with it if it’s
a very beautiful catsuit or something similar.
At private functions it depends on the organisers.
Ritz: No rule for the daytime, it just depends on the trousers!
Usually it is permitted to wear trousers
in the evening, but again it depends . . .
Claridge’s: Very strict,
definitely no trouser suits in the public rooms,
though they say you can wear what you like in private!
Crockford’s: They don’t object to them at all.
Coq d’Or: They much prefer to see a lady dressed as a lady.
During the day they prefer skirts
but don’t object to trousers in the evening at all.
White Tower: lf the woman looks elegant and well-dressed she is let in,
otherwise she may be told that the restaurant is full.
Brown’s: No objections at all for either day or evening
in either restaurant or bar provided the wearer looks neat and tidy.
Les Ambassadeurs: Don’t mind couture—cut or evening trouser suits,
but don’t like anything untidy like blue jeans.
Caprice: Quote from the reservations man:
‘l am sure we can have no objections.
women eat here in trousers all the time’

Words by Molly Parkin. Photographed by Harri Peccinotti.

The eagle-eyed among you may have spotted the Ossie Clark ensemble which won Dress of the Year in 1969. For an item which won such a prestigious award, it’s always amazed me that I haven’t seen more contemporary images of it. I suppose it’s quite ‘out there’, even by late Sixties standards, but thankfully Molly Parkin was always pretty way out there.

If you can make your way through all the text, it’s a pretty impressive and important insight into the attitudes towards women in trousers in late Sixties Britain. It’s easy to forget how scandalous it could be, even in 1969 – a good four years after we first saw Emma Peel in John Bates’s trouser suit designs in The Avengers, for a woman to wear trousers. People obviously did it, you see enough fashion spreads to know that, but the list of swanky hotels and restaurants who still would refuse entry and service to a woman in trousers is quite extraordinary.

Scanned by Miss Peelpants from Harpers Bazaar, April 1969.

legs go under cover 2

Left to right: White voile peasant shirt and wide pink, blue and turquoise brocade belt with gilt buckle, both from Thea Porter. Trousers in shell pink silk chiffon with sequins by Gina Fratini / Cyclamen silk shirt with full extravagant sleeves and purple trousers in Warner’s silk damask furnishing fabric, both by Thea Porter/ Brocade belt with gilt buckle by Swordtex from a selection at Mr Fish. / Gipsy bolero in silk brocade and cream organdy trousers, both from Thea Porter. Long orange and yellow scarf wound around waist from Flora Boutique. Chain belt studded with flowers from Browns. More jewelled belts and chains from a selection at Ken Lane.

Guy Day: What I Want in a Wife

1970s, Mensday, mr fish, oliver reed, peter wyngarde

Gyles Brandreth; David Broome; Mark Caine; Robert Carrier; Max Clendenning; Tom Courtenay; Roger Collins; Brian Strange; Michael Fish; Benny Hill; John Hurt; Simon Jenkins; Eddie Kulukundis.

Your eyes do not deceive you. A ‘What I want in a wife’ article is not a natural place you might expect to see either Peter Wyngarde or Ian McKellan’s face, but… this was 1972, so here they are.

As for Oliver Reed? Well, let’s just say I’m not surprised…

Femininity is important. I hate the bull-dyke Women’s Lib type of bird. The best women for me are those who have plenty of drive but in the end like to be dominated. I like a girl who can understand and then tolerate me and, above all, she must have good knockers.”

Scanned from Cosmopolitan, April 1972.

John Lill; Lord Lyell; Ian McKellan; Ron Moody; Tim Nicholls; Simon Oates; Brian Patten; Lance Percival; Jimmy Saville; Ned Sherrin; Sidney Shipton; Johnnie Silvo; Joachim Stein; Dave Cash; Max de Trense; Derek Underwood; Jack Wild; Oliver Reed.

John Bentley; Earl of Lichfield; Georgie Fame; John Pitman; Victor Behrens; Karl Green; Michael Whittaker; Peter Wyngarde; John Peel.

 

Inspirational Images: Gabrielle Crawford in Miss Fish

1960s, Inspirational Images, Michael Crawford, mr fish, patrick lichfield, Vogue

Gabrielle Crawford in an Elizabethan pageboy blue and green striped silk shirt from the new Miss Fish collection, 15 gns to order. She’s just back from Rome where her husband Michael has been starring in The Games. Miss Fish is the latest addition to the Mr Fish family, 17 Clifford St, W.1.

Scanned from Vogue, June 1969. Photo by Patrick Lichfield.

The most nostalgic clothes of all…

1930s, barbara daly, barbara trentham, gala, ginger rogers, harpers and queen, hollywood icons, maureen o'hara, mr fish, ossie clark, patrick procktor, rosalind russell

Rosalind Russell wore this soft grey georgette evening dress with cross-draped bodice, for The Velvet Touch.

[Proving that nostalgia is nothing new…]

You are forgiven if you think the pictures on these pages are fashion circa 1971. In a sense, they are; but in fact, these are original Hollywood – the clothes of the stars, people like Bette Davis, Katherine Hepburn, Olivia de Havilland, Jean Seberg, Shirley Temple — worn in their films, coming up for a gala auction at Sotheby’s Pantechnicon in Motcomb Street at 7pm on December 1.

The man who made it possible is Michael Fish — Mr Fish, no less — who bought the whole collection of 30s, 40s and 50s creations from Max Berman & Son of Hollywood, and is putting them to auction in aid of Immigrant Community Services. So you could help to provide a new children’s playground in Brixton, say, while treating yourself to a great fashion original . . . like Jane Russell’s navy pleated chiffon coat over crepe culottes ; Bonita Granville’s pink chiffon dress with Alencon lace and fine pleating; not to mention the original mini worn by Betty Hutton in Annie Get Your Gun. 

Patrick Procktor is contributing to the programme for Mr Fish’s ‘frock fantasy’. Ossie Clark’s sensational model, Gala, will wear some of the clothes, as she did for us in company with Barbara Trentham. Make-up here by Barbara Daly; hair by Smile; location, Mr Paul Hamlyn’s house. 

Harpers and Queen, December 1971. Photographs by Tim Street-Porter

Square-shouldered 40s suits, as worn by Maureen O’Hara and Ginger Rogers.

Agnes Moorehead starred in this vampy black crepe dress with sequins and a matching shoulder cape fastened with jet.

Mensday: Chick-Appeal Pants

1970s, just men, ken scott, Mensday, menswear, mr fish, nova magazine

Nova, December 1970. Photo by David Reed.

I didn’t know Mr Fish did undercrackers as well! I have to agree with Caroline Baker about the unpleasantness of the bikini pant for a man. My preference (which is all that matters, of course) is for tight boxers. Can’t be dealing with too baggy, or too skimpy!

“And when he pulls his frilly nylon panties right up tight, He feels a dedicated follower of fashion.”

Mensday: Mr Fish

london aktuell, Mensday, menswear, mr fish

Ahhhhhh. Another dose of fabulous from the same great Youtube uploader who gave us the Ossie, Biba, Mary Quant and Mr Freedom (and then a whole other bunch) ‘London Aktuell’ videos. Mr Fish introduces his own collection, filmed in a deserted street with creepy mannequins and perfectly dressed dandies…

Wear your art on your sleeve

countdown, deborah and clare, hans feurer, liberty's, lyn and mary, menswear, mr fish, mr freedom, pablo and delia, seventies fashion, sunday times magazine

Designed by Lyn and Mary, available at Deborah and Clare

Incredible spread from August 1970, showing the best of the exquisitely hand-painted and printed textiles around at the time. Highly covetable and just about the most perfect styling ever. There’s even a token piece of menswear!

The Sunday Times Magazine, August 1970. Photographed by Hans Feurer. Scanned by Miss Peelpants.

Faces reprinted by Roger Riley (art student at Liverpool Polytechnic) onto voile shirt.

Mr Freedom, 430 King's Road

Jumpsuit by Marsh and Armstrong, to order from Countdown 137 King's Road. Shirt by Biba, boots by Mr Freedom

Shoes decorated by Pablo and Delia. Shawl from Imogens, 274 Fulham Road.

Dress and eyeshade by Pablo and Delia. To order from Mr Fish, 17 Clifford Street.

Designed by Lyn and Mary, available from Deborah and Clare

Silk dress by Lyn and Mary from Deborah and Clare. Hat and boots by Biba.

Shirt made specially by Liberty's from French hand-painted panne velvet.

Mensday? Mednesday? Whatever. It’s Menswear Wednesday!

david bailey, Mensday, menswear, mr fish, rupert lycett green, sixties, Vogue

I’m thinking of turning Wednesdays into Menswear days; something tasty to cure the midweek blues. But I can’t decide if ‘Mensday’ is just too cheesy, even for me? Regardless, here is Mr [Michael] Fish wearing one of his own pieces, alongside one of Rupert Lycett Green’s flamboyant creations for Blades. Dribble….

Vogue, January 1968. Photos by Bailey.

Vintage Fangirl Squee: Ossie Threads in Bowie Vids

1960s, british boutique movement, celebrities in vintage, celia birtwell, david bowie, mr fish, ossie clark, vintage fangirl squee

It’s not often you’ll get a vintage fangirl squee out of me (I guess cult TV fans will know what a squee is…..otherwise, just imagine a squeal and much hand clapping and excitement), usually only when I spot a frock I have in an old magazine or film, but when a friend sent me a link to these Bowie ‘videos’ from his Love You Til Tuesday film, I squealed like the Ossie-snuffling-pig that I am.

I’m not really sure it gets much better than Bowie in Ossie. Everyone knows Jagger in Ossie frocks and jumpsuits. But I’m not really a Jagger girl, not like I’m a Bowie girl anyway.

As an entertaining postscript, he seems to have adored that chinoiserie print shirt because I’ve found two more clips of him wearing it over the next year (and those are only the ones on youtube). Those were the days my friend, when you didn’t care if you wore something more than once because damn! it’s an Ossie and it’s fabulous. I find I still take that attitude about vintage pieces, you can wear something everytime you go out but you’ll still always find someone new will compliment you on it.

To end, and just because I feel like it, here are Flight of the Conchords with their truly, truly excellent Bowie tribute…