Riding on the Hot Side

1970s, Anna Beltrao, benny ong, body shop, charles jourdan, Inspirational Images, Lucienne Phillips, norman parkinson, paris, shuji tojo, telegraph magazine, The Sunday Telegraph Magazine, Vintage Editorials
Most revealing body suit of the season costs £40. Trench coat worn over it, £86. Cummerbund is £6.50; all by Benny Ong.

Would you dare to wear it? The body suit is what top designers have dreamed up for dancing this summer – to be worn with the barest excuse of a skirt, or a floating piece of chiffon. Norman Parkinson photographed some of the most exciting ideas in the modernised Paris Metro.

I would never have thought of sweltering on the Paris Metro as some kind of ‘normal’ experience I would aspire to, but here we are.

Shoes from Charles Jourdan and Walkers.

Fashion Editor Penny Knowles.

Photographed by Norman Parkinson.

Scanned from The Telegraph Magazine, Number 125 (February) 1979.

Looking romantic in the rush hour are blue and white striped organza dresses by Anna Beltrao, complete with body suits: fun but expensive at £200 each.
White satin body suit comes with wrap-around skirt in broderie Anglaise: £200. Demure white satin cap, £20. All by Anna Beltrao, from Haya 1, 12 Grafton Street, London.
Body suit for disco dancing all year round is striped red and black: £14.95. Red satin skirt, £16.95. Both available in other colours. By the Body Shop, 239 King’s Road, London.
Shocking pink body suit with red V comes with matching skirt. By Shuji Tojo, £98 from Lucienne Phillips, 89 Knightsbridge.

Inspirational Editorials: We like Paris Fashion when it sizzles

1970s, alice springs, cacharel, christian aujard, cosmopolitan, Deirdre McSharry, kenzo, paris, sonia rykiel, Vintage Editorials

"Paris is different, it is full of people in search of one another," says Louise. "Any girl is sexy when she's in love," says Christiana. Pink tank top and red skirt both by Sonia Rykiel at Browns. Striped sweater by Kenzo at Jap.

“Paris is different, it is full of people in search of one another,” says Louise. “Any girl is sexy when she’s in love,” says Christiana. Pink tank top and red skirt both by Sonia Rykiel at Browns. Striped sweater by Kenzo at Jap.

Those famous twenty-five million Frenchmen can’t be wrong. They fancy French girls a lot (a recent L’Express opinion poll revealed that the average Frenchman makes love to 11.8 women in his life). What is it about French girls that makes them so special? They aren’t so pretty as most English girls, but they try harder. They smell sexier, exude more confience, put themselves together better. Think of Bardot, Anouk Aimee, Catherine Deneuve. For all the GB girls who’d like to look like BB and AA the fashion buyers flock to Paris in search of the real “style francais”: sweaters for a movie star profile, trousers to give the bottom a lift, dresses that pay for their dinner in chic. A French label gives cachet although the price tag is not cheap. But it’s worth every penny — when he’s in the mood for l’amour. Just add Beaujolais and serve. We like Paris fashion when it sizzles … this little lot almost burns the pages and you can buy them all here.

Three Paris types. Two blondes and a tough in black leather. Is France all Gauloises and love in the afternoon? Louise, Roberto and Christiana wear the new clothes and give us their views.

Photographed by Alice Springs.

Fashion by Deirdre McSharry.

Scanned by Miss Peelpants from Cosmopolitan, February 1973

cosmo alice springs paris feb 73 b

“Love is an art in France,” says Christiana. “We live it.” Roberto comments: “French girls look like they are going to be dynamite, but they are not.” Blue pleated dress by Cacharel.

cosmo alice springs paris feb 73 c

“French girls rely on their personality not on their beauty,” says Louise. “I don’t dig that coquette bit,” retorts Roberto. Dotted red dress by Christian Aujard.

cosmo alice springs paris feb 73 d

“How old am I? I never know. Age is not important here,” says Christiana. Says Roberto: “I’ve had a dozen French girl friends. After the third they were all alike.” Vanilla shirt suit in flannel and green shirt by Cacharel.

Inspirational Illustrations: Paris in the ’70s

1970s, christian dior, Illustrations, leslie chapman, Louis Feraud, paris, petticoat magazine, Sue Hone, Torrente, ungaro

Left to Right: Ungaro, Torrente, Ungaro, Feraud, Feraud, Dior, Feraud and Dior

This is Paris, Spring ’70, though to the uninitiated it might look more like the Wild West than the Right Bank. Some designer are familiar, some so beyond the fringe as to pass without comments, and some so beautiful that you’ll stop at nothing to get your hands on them. High on the wanted list are suedes with Aztec-Indian embroidery and tiny, chin-knotted scarves and long-line boots. There are extra-bulbous knickerbockers with tunic tops that halt firmly at the buttocks, midi-length satin or silk-jersey, pintucked or slit way to the waist, spotted suede, squaw fringing, lace-up sleeves — in every length from mini to maxi!

Fashion by Sue Hone. Illustrated by Leslie Chapman.

Scanned by Miss Peelpants from Petticoat, 4th April 1970

Père Lachaise (Or, How I learned to share my birthday)

abelard and heloise, brasserie balzar, brian jones, jim morrison, paris
Rare non-grinning photo of me. My birthday outfit of Fifties rustic print cotton skirt and plain black strapless top, crochet shawl and vintage carved bone bracelet. Photo courtesy of Mr Brownwindsor.
We decided that my birthday should be a peaceful, wandering kind of day. And when you’re in Catholic European countries, often the most peaceful places to wander can be cemeteries. I find the architecture and atmosphere to be utterly intoxicating and spiritual; prompting the darkest and lightest thoughts in turn. I had only been to Montmartre before now, so we decided to take a turn around Père Lachaise. I knew Abelard and Heloise were re-buried here, and I’m rather fond of their story, so we sought out their grand tomb. Unfortunately, and as you can see below, it was covered in scaffolding. I’m sure it’s for a good reason, I just hope they get it sorted quickly.

That morning, as we discussed whose graves we would most like to visit, I expressed a distinct lack of interest in the real ‘destination’ graves, such as Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison. Not that I don’t like either gentleman’s work, but I’m not enough of a super-fan to wish to pay my respects. It then dawned on me. I’m more weirded-out by the glorious Brian Jones having died on my birthday, exactly ten years before I was born. But somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew Jim had also rather inconveniently breathed his last on the 3rd July. Those pesky rock stars. Then my mind wandered again to the fact that he died two years after Brian. Errr. That means he died forty years ago. Oh. God.

We decided that the cemetery was large enough to contain a horde of Doors fans and us, without either party meeting for very long. We just needed to avoid his section. Right? Well, Abelard and Heloise are buried near enough to Mr Morrison to ensure that we could hear the strains (literally, straining sounds) of people murdering his music. It was irresistable.

It was very tempting to stand in the middle of them all and have a ridiculous tantrum about the fact that Jim Morrison has stolen my birthday thunder, but I decided that they might not get the joke. So I learned to share, absorbed the strangeness, signed someone’s book, posed for a photo (let me know if anyone ever spots it online) and then we wandered off to find some more interesting graves.

After chucking out time, we headed over to the Quartier Latin and (having decided we weren’t going to be able to find anywhere open or half-decent on a Sunday evening) ended up having a delicious meal at Brasserie Balzar. This establishment has been serving the intellectuals of The Sorbonne since 1886 and has, more recently, become something of a destination brasserie for tourists. I don’t feel too bad about the latter aspect, because we didn’t set out to eat there at all – it was positively accidental. We had a wonderful Kir Royale to celebrate (me, not Jim Morrison!) outside, while they freed up a table inside, and then demolished a wonderful meal. Special mention must go to the Îles flottantes I had for dessert. Lighter than air, I’m amazed they stayed put on the plate.

Photo courtesy of Mr Brownwindsor. I live in my crochet shawl during summer evenings… The one thing you can’t see in these photos is the beautiful pendant I was given that morning. I will give it its own special blog post soon!
Then a romantic, if occasionally stinky, walk by the Seine (complete with early Nineties dance music pumping out from someone’s ghetto blaster. Did we find some kind of wormhole in time? If so, I’d prefer it to be a good twenty years earlier, thanks.) and back to our lovely apartment on the Rue de Dunkerque.
I feel like we did loads, but I also worry that we were too lazy and didn’t see enough exhibitions (I would also highly recommend the Stanley Kubrick exhibition at the Cinémathèque Nationale, only open until the end of the month!) but that’s fine. We’ll just have to head back over very soon. Which is the best kind of holiday, always leave yourself wanting more.
Merci Paris!

Closest I could get to birthday-thunder-thief Jim Morrison

I’m sure this happens a lot. I still couldn’t help myself though.
Petit Serge!!!

It may not be Florence, but I still require a room with a view!
If you don’t buy my gear, one day I’ll probably take it for myself. Case in point, this dress has been on my site for ages and I finally caved in and wore it myself. I am going to keep it now. I love the colours and the cut (although it’s hard to see here). My ‘first day’ outfit. Photo courtesy of Mr Brownwindsor (whose photography skills are clearly superior to mine…).

Madame Grès

fifties fashion, forties fashion, madame grès, musee bourdelle, paris, seventies fashion

I am returned from Paris! It was all perfectly wonderful, plenty of wandering (some aimless, some not…), drinking, eating and all other lovely things. I will blog a little more about events on my birthday, but I thought I would start off with the visual feast that was the Madame Grès exhibition at the Musée Bourdelle. Everything about it was a treat. The museum itself is a fantastic space; a mixture of old studios and purpose built exhibition spaces. The Grès pieces have been inserted within the permanent exhibition, and also in larger dedicated sections. You weave your way through the numbered rooms, which seem to go on forever (which is wonderful, unless you’re slightly concerned about catching your Eurostar back home…but we still managed to soak it all up!).

I have to emphasise how much of a honour it was to be able to see the dresses up close. I mean, really up close. Everyone was respectful of the ‘do not touch’ signs, so often a problem in the UK I fear, and it shows off the dresses to perfection. Grès was a designer who was all about the detail, the finest pleats and the most delicate of stitching. I couldn’t stop snapping; quite frankly, I think I forgot that I wasn’t photographing listings for my website (I should be so lucky!).

My favourite designers are always those who rarely move with the winds of fashion. Idiosyncrasy is my favourite word. The exhibit cleverly juxtaposes her early pieces with the later ones, as well as with Bourdelle’s sculptures – since sculpture was her inspiration and, I think, her vocation. I should have made more notes about dates, but I can tell you that the one immediately below this text is from 1980 (just before she went bankrupt, her House was sold and her archives destroyed). At the top of the page, the two tomato-red jersey dresses are twenty years apart in production. It’s extraordinary, and to be admired. Her skill was unmistakeable, it didn’t need to follow trends or chase notoriety and scandal.


Dreamiest coat in the world

Shades of grey

Choir of angels

I can’t resist a buffle

Can you believe this dress is from 1946?

Inspirational Images: Dungarees and Rabbits

19 magazine, miss mouse, paris, platforms, seventies fashion, universal witness
Sundress by Universal Witness. Shoes by Sacha. Bag by Miss Mouse.
Scanned from 19 Magazine, May 1972. Photographed by Franz Gruber.
I am currently en Paris with Mr Brownwindsor, celebrating my impending doom birthday tomorrow! I wish I had the Miss Mouse bunny bag, but I’m hoping to wear my nursery print Miss Mouse dress while I’m there. I’ll show you all when I return!