A Peek at the Boutique: John Stephen and Lady Jane

1970s, british boutique movement, carnaby street, john stephen, lady jane

John Stephen boutique. Image © Len Fernandes.

Many, many thanks once again to the wonderful Len Fernandes, who provided us with a fantastic image of the Pussy Galore boutique on Carnaby Street (from 1971) back in April. He has now sent two further images: one of John Stephen’s many boutiques at number 33 and also of Harry Fox’s Lady Jane.

Again, these give us precious glimpses of the somewhat wilted locale; a few years before the rot set in completely, but a good few years after its mid-1960s heyday. Proof that it is always a good idea to photograph seemingly unimportant scenes and buildings, even if the importance may take a few decades to become apparent.

Please do not repost these images without full credit to Len, thank you.

Lady Jane of Carnaby Street. Image © Len Fernandes.

Guide to Feminine London

1970s, biba, Boston-151, british boutique movement, carnaby street, countdown, crowthers, Emmerton and Lambert, Foale and Tuffin, Illustrations, Janet Ibbotson, just looking, laura ashley, marrian mcdonnell, Michael Farrell, mr freedom, rowley and oram, stirling cooper, stop the shop, Suliman, thea porter, universal witness, yves saint laurent

Illustrated by Michael Farrell. Click to enlarge.

Oh I do love a good map. Especially a fantastically illustrated map of all my favourite shops in London in 1971. It is the nearest I will ever come to being able to walk around them. Sadness ensues…

Scanned from Vanity Fair, July 1971.

British Design Hero: Tommy Roberts

1960s, 1970s, british boutique movement, carnaby street, City Lights, glam rock, Inspirational Images, king's road, kleptomania, mr freedom, pop art, Tommy Roberts

Mr Freedom interior. Photograph: JON WEALLEANS

The lovely Paul Gorman very kindly sent me some sneaky peeky previews of his much-awaited new book about Tommy Roberts (Kleptomania, Mr Freedom, City Lights etc). From what I’ve seen and read so far, this is going to be quite a ‘must have’ book for anyone interested in Sixties and Seventies fashion – and specifically, the British Boutique scene in London at the time.

Cheeky and freaky, Mr Freedom clothes are amongst my very favourites of their kind. The bright, brash shapes, colours and logos have long since moved beyond pop-art irony and into the realms of the iconic themselves. This is the first, and I’m sure will remain the only, definitive look at the life of Roberts and his various other boutiques and projects … and I actually cannot wait to have a hard copy in my hands! I will give it a full review eventually, but until then…

Rock on Tommy, rock on…

You can pre-order Mr Freedom direct from Adelita for a mere £20.

Mr Freedom hotpants, 1970. Photo: Stephen Markeson (The Sun/NI Syndication)

Derek Morton suit for City Lights, 1973. Photographed by David Parkinson

Mensday: About a lucky man who made the grade…

1960s, anita pallenberg, brian jones, carnaby street, Mensday, menswear, Michael Cooper, suki potier, Tara Browne, The Beatles, the rolling stones, Vogue

The Hon. Tara Browne in a maroon silk suit chosen by his wife, Nicky, left. By Major Hayward. Gold shirt, Turnbull & Asser

Both Tara Browne and Brian Jones were at the height of their fame, fortune and follicular glory here. Neither would see the Seventies. Indeed, Browne wouldn’t even see out the year this feature hails from. Quite extraordinary to see them together in the same spread from Men In Vogue, November 1966. They even managed to date the same woman (Suki Potier was the passenger in Browne’s Lotus Elan when he died, and would later be comforted by Jones – dating him, on-and-off, until his death in 1969.)

Photographs by Michael Cooper.

Brian Jones, a Rolling Stone in a double-breasted black suit, striped red and white, chosen by Anita Pallenberg, above. Bright pink shirt, scarlet handkerchief and tie. All bought in New York. Black and white shoes found in Carnaby Street.

As an aside, I was amazed to read, for the first time, that there are actually people in the world who believe that Tara Browne underwent extensive plastic surgery to ‘become’ a replacement Paul McCartney. Because McCartney actually died in a motorbike accident in Liverpool [just before Browne faked his own death], dontchaknow? I mean no offence to a beloved Beatle, but why on earth would anyone bother? Nobody bothered doing that with any other dead rock star at the time.

I’m quite the arch timewaster myself, but even my mind boggles at the years people devote to such patently ludicrous things.

Mensday: Double A-side

1960s, carnaby street, I was Lord Kitchener's Valet, john stephen, Topper, Vintage Adverts

Scanned from Photoplay, April 1967

Carnaby Male catalogue advert and ‘The Boys Go Antique’ clipping both scanned from the same issue of Photoplay, April 1967.

Scanned from Photoplay, April 1967

A Peek at the Boutique: Pussy Galore

1970s, british boutique movement, carnaby street, pussy galore

Image is © Len Fernandes.

One of the best things about my job is that people often get in contact with me in relation to the kinds of things I post about. I sometimes find this a bit overwhelming because the many aspects of my so-called vintage life can consume large chunks of my time, leaving me very little room for following up on everything. The ‘to do’ list in my inbox is frightening.

But, thankfully, occasionally something and somebody will come along which is simple and important enough for me to deal with immediately. And when I received this picture from the lovely Len Fernandes of Hawaii, I knew I had to quickly and cheekily request to post it on my blog.

I have blathered on about Pussy Galore before, indeed my beloved Pussy Galore tablecloth dress was exhibited at the V&A in 2006, but I don’t have much concrete information on its longevity and had no idea what the shop frontage was like. It feels like Carnaby Street must have been photographed daily from 1964-1974, but the reality is that we only see the narrowest of snapshots in each snippet of film or each batch of photographs.

So I was delighted to see this photograph of the shop front in 1971. Delighted and a little sad, for it looks rather ‘on its uppers’ even then. As with so many boutiques that popped up there in the boom times, and flourished in the glare of the media hype, by 1971 it was starting to look less shiny, less innovative. Carnaby Street was a pastiche, a fiction… not the centre of the fashion universe. Everyone had decamped to the King’s Road or Kensington High Street.

Still, it is an amazing piece of history which tells you something of the deterioration, as opposed to the continuous glorification, of Carnaby Street.

Please also note the brilliant positioning which enables us to see the Carnaby Street sign and ‘Kids in Gear’ in the reflection. Thank you so much Len!

Boutiques on film

biba, carnaby street, just looking, kensington high street, king's road, london aktuell, mary quant, ossie clark, sixties

I’m currently avoiding the cold (and the general public) by working on some gorgeous new listings, including Biba, Janice Wainwright, Marie France and many more, and immersing myself in my beloved clothes, films, tv and music – like some strange, velvet-clad hobbit.

Thankfully, gorgeous people like Laurakitty are on hand to point me back towards the amazing person on Youtube who has access to footage from the German programme ‘London Aktuell’ and a whole host of seriously groovy easy-listening music of the era. I posted about this a while back, but hadn’t realised some new editions had been posted. Utterly droolworthy the lot of them, and containing precious footage of Carnaby Street, the King’s Road and Kensington High Street. ‘Scuse me while I dribble…

The Story of Cedric Safesuit

carnaby street, dandy, Illustrations, john stephen, king's road, lord john, menswear, petticoat magazine, sixties

Also contained within the aforementioned July 1967 Petticoat magazine, is this superb illustrated feature on some extremely groovy menswear. Illustrated by Gerry Richards. Utterly brilliant and too good not to share…

Cedric Safesuit was a civil servant with good prospects and only one problem – all the girls rebuffed his advances with haughty stares. Why? Because Cedric was an acute and unhappy case of B.O. (boring outerwear).

Fortunately for our story, Cedric’s best friend Teddy Trend decided to take him in hand. King’s Road, he whispered at ever more frequent intervals. Carnaby Street, he muttered whenever the conversation flagged. Finally Cedric was worn down and, let loose among the gear shops, an astonishing change came over him. With whoops of delight, he tore off his old brown suit and signed cheques for everything he could lay his hands on. “I’ll never have B.O. again,” he said happily, walking off with Teddy Trend’s latest acquisition, a Twiggy-hipped redhead. “A severe case of B.H. (big head),” diagnosed Teddy sourly.

Michael Man’s Boutique blue satin shirt, 69s. 6d., with matching striped trousers, 69s. 11d., by Lord John, and printed blue kipper tie by Sydney Smith 21s.

New summer image in John Stephen His Boutique yellow seersucker shirt, 55s., matching orange seersucker trousers also by John Stephen, 65s., boots worth a second look, black and tans by Topper, 89s. 11d., tartan chucka boots, 45s. 6d.

Brown herringbone coat by Dandy, 21gns., John Michael flat hat for flat heads, 89s. 6d., white jabot for that dapper look by Dandy, 20s.

From John Stephen His Boutique white satin vicar shirt, 89s. 6d., red velvet bow from the Chelsea Antique Market, 12s. 6d., matching black trousers with white inverted pleat by Lord John, 79s. 11d., and a business-like black bowler with red cherries, 15s. at the Chelsea Antique Market.

New listings: Day dresses

bourgeois, british boutique movement, carnaby street, forties fashion, mary farrin, mister ant, novelty prints, seventies fashion, sixties, versace, website listings
Versus Versace

Boring, functional work-related post alert!!

Just to let you know of three new listings in the daywear department (and to alert you to some others you might have missed the other day). Plenty more to come; I’m hoping to list a Marie France, an original Twiggy labelled dress and a Holly Harp by the end of the week. And more if I possibly can…. Wish me luck!

Unsigned novelty print Forties dress

Green 1970s Mister Ant sun dress

Levison Originals by Mary Farrin

Unsigned 1960s barkcloth mini

Bourgeois boutique of Soho 1970s maxi dress

Os-squee on Carnaby Street

1960s, british boutique movement, carnaby street, Foale and Tuffin, john stephen, ossie clark, pussy galore

Had a look around the new little Carnaby Street exhibition (at 38, Carnaby Street….shockingly enough) on Monday. Mixed feelings about this one, since it’s both brilliantly informative (I, personally, had no idea that London Mob were created to be sold out of Pussy Galore and makes me wonder exactly how rare actual Pussy Galore labels are….) whilst missing out huge chunks of important stuff (What? No mention of The Small Faces? For shame…) and being a bit strangely put together. It is a glut of information, and it’s always nice to see anything new about things you [think you] know inside out.

However, the displays are a bit cruddy, to say the least, and the book is completely hopeless. £16 for a glossy book of photos of the cabinets. Complete with shadows, so you can’t even read all the cards. Huh? I had also just been wandering around taking photos for myself, and no one told me off. So I saved myself £16 and probably did a better job for the purposes of retaining the new information.

Hmmm. I didn't take a photo of my very unimpressed face. I will leave that to your imagination.

The clothes they had borrowed from Pop Boutique were a bit hopeless. There was one Carnaby Street piece, a slightly dull Seventies Aristos dress, and the rest were just generic Sixties. Why didn’t they call me? They could have borrowed a psychedelic John Stephen dress, a Pussy Galore dress, a Foale and Tuffin….whatever. Strange people.

Precious....one day, one day....

On the plus side, alongside the information, there was an awesome clown-frill Foale and Tuffin blouse I wanted to rescue from being hung limply in a bizarre display. A lovely spliced film reel of Carnaby Street footage projects onto a wall. And, best of all, some photos by Philip Townshend. You can’t buy them officially, it would seem, and they appear in the ‘book’ only as photos of photos. So I just took photos of the photos myself. Pah.

Anyway, the excitement ensued from the fact that there’s a photo of Ossie, presumably standing in John Stephen where his graduate collection was sold (another factoid I was unaware of prior to this), and MY ‘Lips’ dress is hanging just behind him. And then it appears in another shot of a model. Woohoo. Squee squee squee.