Call it nostalgia, admission of defeat, lack of inventiveness or what you will: the ugly fact is that there is a strong trend among designers to dig up the Fifties for a fashion revival. Those were the days of the A-line, the tulip dress, Lurex and pleated skirts. If you are disturbed at a Fifties revival, so are we. We think it a period in fashion terms best forgotten, with one or two exceptions. If you don’t favour the fashion but fancy the authentic ambiance you’ll get the right idea at Mr Freedom’s restaurant, Feed’em, where we photographed. Here, written about in the Fiftie’s style, are some of the up-dated Fifties fashions on sale now.
At the same time as the Thirties and Forties were being raided by British Boutique designers, so were the Fifties (or Fiftie’s as so spectacularly put here) and it’s pretty hilarious to see the cynicism by the writer here (possibly fashion editor Sarah Drummond) – who had presumably been a young woman then. The cyclical nature of fashion is nothing new and nor is the disbelief when it’s happening in your own timeline!
On another note, it’s always lovely to see some new-to-me shots inside the legendary Mr Feed’em restaurant!
There is a licence to touch all the clothes on these pages. There is not a single trad, scratchy, thornproof tweed among any of the frankly tactile silks, angoras and flannels of autumn. Jerseys and pearls and sensible shoes were once the uniform of the WI. Now, (well) kept ladies whose fingers smell of “Cabochard” rather than cabbage, are pressing their flannel bags, having their pearls restrung and are wearing them with shirts so unbuttoned they could catch pneumonia – and heels high enough to rise above the muddiest farmyard. They are taking to pleated kilts, and cashmere sweaters so tight they’d enliven the dullest game of backgammon. Dinner dresses are back in style, and I do mean back down as far as you can go. Properly and provocatively dressed, a weekend in the country might be more fun than you think.
Hair arranged for all pictures by Carl of Molton Brown.
Vivien Neves is every man’s idea (at least twice a week) of what a woman should be, and most women’s idea (some of the time) of what they’d secretly like to be, could be, or – in a few cases – actually are. At twenty-three, Vivien is Britain’s top nude model. She’s the one who got everyone going in the electricity ad, sitting at a dressing table in slip and rollers. She’s the one who advertises cigars on television by slopping about in Caribbean waters in a T-shirt. And she’s the one who appeared full-page nude in an advert in The Times, forsooth – “people haven’t stopped talking about my nipples ever since.”.
Talk about Viven’s nipples must have stopped at some point, but that’s stil quite an achievement! This stunning photo illustrates an article about dangerously attractive women, also including Joan Bakewell and Edna O’Brien (just in case you thought it was all about nipples). Neves, who sadly died in 2003, was photographer John Kelly’s girlfriend at the time (they would later marry) and you can tell by the way he’s photographed her so beautifully here.
Photographed by John Kelly.
Scanned by Miss Peelpants from Cosmopolitan, May 1972
By Alice Pollock at Quorum*, 19gns. The settee is covered in the original William Morris Bird Design.
There’s a marvellously romantic feeling about the Pre-Raphaelite look. It starts with your hair…soft, natural, framing your face in a ripple of tiny waves. It touches your skin…pale, delicate, un-made-up looking. It colours your clothes…crepe, chiffons and satins in rich hues. Start wearing this great, romantic look today – who knows, he might just start being very romantic to you!
Scanned from Vanity Fair, May 1970. Photographed by John Kelly at Wightwick Manor.
*This is a misattribution, the dress is actually an Ossie.
Dress by Simon Massey, £15. Photographed against a Burne Jones tapestry.
Dress by Fashion Mouse, £22. Photographed against the Kempe stained glass windows.
Dress by Bus Stop, £5. Photographed against a painting by Rossetti pupil Treffry Dunn.