Penelope Tree by Avedon

1960s, avedon, Hair and make-up, Inspirational Images, Make-up, penelope tree, Vogue

Penelope Tree, nineteen, daughter of Mr Ronald and the Hon. Marietta Tree – the look of a dreamy Petrouchka. “I am all make-up,” she once said: she sees her face as a canvas, brushing on colour to strange, beguiling, sometimes extraordinary effect. While the effect on other people can be startling, she remains totally serene. Her imaginative face-painting began when she was thirteen. “I did it first to get attention, now I don’t notice it.” With a bright acquisitive mind that absorb countries, people, books, her heroes are Mailer and Nabokov, aesthetics and politics her life, and she takes a beautiful picture. This one, with bird feather eyes, by Avedon.

Photographed by Richard Avedon.

Scanned from Beauty in Vogue, 1969.

Double Take

1970s, Cecil Beaton, david bailey, Inspirational Images, leonard, ossie clark, penelope tree, quorum, Vogue

Beautiful Tree with the mysterious Mexican Datura lily, right. Black panne velvet suit with great gathered Edwardian sleeves, a cowl and long panelled skirt; to order from Ossie Clark at Quorum.

Cecil Beaton took pictures of Penelope Tree wearing new Ossie Clarks in his Wiltshire winter garden and David Bailey filmed them both, below. Double take—like a scene from the film with Cecil Beaton as the star that David Bailey is making and everyone can see in colour on ATV early next year. When I Die I Want to Go to Vogue was Bailey’s idea of a title: nobody agreed with this. For one thing it would only reflect one aspect of the Beaton legend writer, of more than twenty books; painter, with at least five major exhibitions; designer, of just about everything—opera, ballet, theatre, film—and one-man commentator, whose eye has always focused unerringly, and wittily, on the moment—this moment.

“An epic with a cast of thousands,” says Bailey about the film. There’s Mick Jagger, Jean Shrimpton, Lord David Cecil, Nureyev, Twiggy and many, including Sir Frederick Ashton, Dr Roy Strong, Sir George and Lady Weidenfeld, David Hockney, Patrick Procktor, Ossie Clark, Celia Birtwell, Mrs Anne Fleming, Lord and Lady Harewood, Lady Antonia Fraser and Edna O’Brien, who came to the now famous party that Cecil Beaton gave, and David Bailey filmed, in his London house. “I told everyone beforehand that there would be cameras and told them not to come if they minded. Nobody did mind.” “The worst moments,” says a guest, were when you knew the cameras were not on you.” And Beaton added, It was a mixture of people all looking very interesting in their new autumn clothes. Many looked beautiful.” Beautiful Tree with the mysterious Mexican Datura lily, right. Black panne velvet suit with great gathered Edwardian sleeves, a cowl and long panelled skirt; to order. Black crepe dress, side-buttoning collar, then split, long split skirt with pleated panel, 17 gns. Both at Quorum. Victorian silver choker, Sarah Dwyer and Tony Giorgi, The Chelsea Antique Market. Hair by Celine of Leonard.

Above photographed by Cecil Beaton. Below photographed by David Bailey.

Scanned by Miss Peelpants from Vogue, December 1970.


Black crepe dress, side-buttoning collar, then split, long split skirt with pleated panel, 17 gns. Ossie Clark at Quorum.

Happy St BryanGod Day

amanda lear, brigitte bardot, bryan ferry, celia birtwell, david bailey, david bowie, diana rigg, Foale and Tuffin, kahn and bell, oliver reed, ossie clark, penelope tree, Serge Gainsbourg

Yes, it’s that time of year again. St BryanGod Day. Never heard of it? Pah.

To celebrate, here are some favourite couplings. Some romantic, some creative, some fictitious…

The Beautiful People

david bailey, grace coddington, marit allen, michael chow, penelope tree, Vogue

Occasionally I go and gorge myself stupid over at the magnificent Youthquakers site. They make no pretence of scanning perfection, which means they can bombard you with a tonne of amazing Vogue scans at any one time. I feel exhausted just looking at it. It also means that a complete Brit-fashion geek like me (with more magazines than I can cope with) can take a look at copies of US Vogue, which I can rarely justify getting hold of myself.

I spotted this brilliant piece in a February 1970 US Vogue. Mrs Chow was, of course, Grace Coddington and Mrs ‘Liberson’ was, in fact, Marit Allen. Fashion journalism legend and boutique collector extraordinaire. She was the wife of Sandy Lieberson (tsk! tsk!, US Vogue fact checkers…), who was a film producer and to whom I am extremely grateful for bringing That’ll Be The Day, Stardust and Rita, Sue and Bob Too! into my life.

Also, Penelope Tree. Yay!

Random Picture Spam: Eyeliner

amanda lear, eyeliner, Françoise Hardy, Make-up, marianne faithfull, maureen starkey, natalie wood, pamela des barres, peggy moffitt, penelope tree, sandie shaw, sixties

I’m far too tired, achy and discombobulated to post anything too long and rambly tonight, so here’s a random picture post so I can attempt to maintain my unusual prolificacy at the moment….

I wish it were profligacy though; I love how I have to really think about which word I want to use. Ah well, that will come soon enough when I’ve recovered from the multitude of stresses which are upon me at the moment. And when it does, I will be wearing lots of eyeliner and lashes and drinking a lot of brandy. So just you watch out!

Well there you go, I was a bit rambly. Ha!

Who’s Wearing What: Penelope Tree

british boutique movement, david bailey, Foale and Tuffin, mary quant, ossie clark, penelope tree, petticoat magazine, sixties

I adore Penelope Tree; her hair, make-up, style, the fact that she still looks amazing (without having had surgery…at least that’s what it looks like), the fact that she survived being with Bailey, the fact she doesn’t feel the need to whore herself around for fame and fortune…..

I particularly love this article from the June 14th 1969 issue of Petticoat magazine.

In New York Penelope Tree is a top fashion model. You can’t open American Vogue or Harpers without seeing her dripping furs, jewellery. In England she’s more well-known for being Bailey’s Bird. What sort of clothes does she wear to please herself?

I got off to a good start by losing my pencil, every time I delived in my bag to find it I got butted in the bottom by Smudge, Penelope’s enormous English sheep dog. “And he’s still only a puppy,” she said apologetically, whacking him. I gave up looking, and she handed me a pencil. We sat either end of a vast black leather Chesterfield, surrounded by ‘naive’ paintings, Mickey Mouse and stone sculptures of sorts.

“I go six months without ever buying clothes, because I hate it more than anything else. I think I’m going to get all paranoic in the shop, specially Department Stores, I think I’m going to throw-up or something. I’ve been buying clothes for myself since I was 12 years old and it still gets me. When I do see something I like, I usually buy a lot. This dress, I bought at Maryon about a year ago. I liked it so much I bought three.”

She was wearing a full-length, green cotton dress, sprigged with tiny daisies, topped with a short black velvet vest, “a bit from a Tuffin and Foale trouser suit, I think” and thick brown brogue boots.

Apart from looking very individual and super, she looked as if she’d just stepped out of a trail-blazing Western film. “I refuse to spend a lot of money on clothes, I’d rather spend it on paintings. I haven’t got much money; you know I don’t earn any money in this country at all, and anyway clothes aren’t made well enough. The most I’ve ever spent on one garment is an Ossie Clark Snakeskin coat.”

“To the ground?” I queried.

“Oh yes, short clothes look terrible now, one is always inhibited about the way one sits, walks and runs down the street. I like to forget about what I’m wearing, not worrying about – are my knickers showing. It’s all right if you don’t worry, but I’ve been conditioned to worry about it.”

I sat there worrying if my knickers were showing, and feeling very butch in my short skirt.

With that, David Bailey walked in, bumping into a bounding Smudge, who rushed over to give a friendly lick.

“Bailey do you know Suzie?” Penelope introduced us and we exchanged sickly smiles. I always feel about two year old, being called Suzie, and surnames only always have a ‘God’ like ring to them. Bailey put on a record and we all listened in silence to Brute Force and his four letter word song. “That’s why it can’t be released,” Bailey explained.

I broke the magic by asking Penelope if she liked French clothes. “I hate French clothes, I hate the principle of the couturier. I used to love Yves St. Laurent clothes, only he started giving out this black thing and being in mourning for Vietnam. I think it’s the most hypocritical thing I’ve ever heard of, he doesn’t do anything about Vietnam, but make money out of it. Black’s okay if you have a figure problem. English clothes were wonderful five years ago, now they’re terrible and very expensive. Ossie Clark is the only revolutionary now, he makes pretty clothes, only they’re not particularly well made.”

“Can I quote that?” I interjected.

“Oh yes, I’ve told him so. Marshall McLuham says: ‘Fashion is a product of mass media, presenting ourselves as a showcase’. I think clothes just need to be comfortable. My wardrobe’s full of bits and pieces, I hate to throw anything away, I always think they’ll go with something. I really only wear about five things.”

I’d read she wore masses of make-up, literally painting it on every morning, but she hardly had any on.

“Oh sometimes I wear gobbs and gobbs, it just depends how depressed I feel in the morning. I think Mary Quant is best, but really best of all is stolen make-up, not stolen really but borrowed. Somebody else’s is always better than yours.

“I’m always amazed that all the individual, successful people ‘do their own thing.'” Penelope even cuts her own hair…”unless someone offers to trim it while I’m modelling”. I asked her why she wasn’t modelling in this country and she mumbled something about the tax man and then said: “I’m giving it up, I don’t want to hang about and become a has been.” Then she added much to my surprise: “I’m not in great demand. I started to write a book, then realised in the middle I didn’t really know what I was talking about; it was on the subject of Hinduism. I might go into films.”

With that Mary Quant, Alexander Plunket-Green, Bailey and Smudge came in and it looked like my interview was ended. We wandered down to the basement and spent half an hour searching for a picture of her. “Bailey hardly ever photographs me unless it’s work!” Sue Steward