Long dresses and skirts in crepe and cotton prints – related to others just as small, fresh, sharp or soft, on pinafore smocks and aprons. These are not so much to keep you clean, more to make you look prettier; and you can be dairy maids, kitchen maids, Kate Greenaway girls all through summer.
And so began the kickback against all things clean, crisp and space age…
Every designer is saying it loudly, clearly, boldly, prettily… the hand-made look is here. Maybe it started as a reaction against the badly-made, thrown-together, hotch-potched dolly era; maybe this reaction set the tide running for antique markets where painstaking workmanship could be picked up still; maybe it’s that elusive feeling in the air that a designer’s sensitive seismograph picks up and translates in his own distinctive handwriting. Whatever it is – it’s here.
Jorn Langberg of Christian Dior – London plots it out in warm brown velvet, got together with a brief, embroidered waistcoat and a deeply embroidered peasant skirt… at the other end of the scale the Dress Den at Kensington Antique Market tops a thick aubergine cotton skirt spilled with bright wool flowers with a scrap of bolero, pictorially embroidered over every centimetre of the scalloped front. If you’re skilled with a needle, have a good eye for colour and shape there’s no reason why you can’t put yourself ahead of the game. But this is a painstaking look, a one-off original look that can’t be tossed off in an evening by a hopeful but bodgy amateur needlewoman.
Both shirts by Jeff Banks; all accessories from Kensington Antique Market.
Fashion by Lorna Cattell.
Photographed by Frank Horvat.
Scanned by Miss Peelpants from Vanity Fair, January 1971.
Have just formed a new organisation. It’s called SPOCC or the Society for the Protection of Clothes Customers. Idea came last night when I collected a couple of suits from the cleaners, only to find that the shoulder padding of one jacket was lost somewhere down the sleeve, and the trousers, supposed to be drip dry, were wrinkled like a Dutch dyke. The first suit came from Carnaby Street, the second from the Kings Road. Jose, my flat-mate, tried to pacify me by saying, “I thought you said clothes now are fashionable and short-lived. So what do you expect?” Simply that a suit shouldn’t disappear at the first clean! I accept built-in obsolescence and all those rubbishy excuses for using cheap materials, but I expect a suit to last a year, not a month. How about you? Let me know what you think … it might add up to some interesting revelations. Like the super trousers in the sketch. They’re Newman jeans from France; they cost much more than English or American but, in my view, are twice as good. I got a pair from the Heavy Metal Kids in the Kensington Market for £5. Elsewhere you can pay up to 8 gns. Shirts are another racket. The shirt here looks as if it costs 10 gns., and so it can at some places. In fact, it’s made by a man called Bryan King, who works in a Queensway attic, turning out great shirts handmade, frilled, tapered, for £2—£4, and sells them at his stall, Mother Wouldn’t Like It, also in the Ken Market. The tie-makers have become so ridiculously expensive that ties are out except for the odd occasion, and these shirts are as logical a take-over as the polo sweater. If Bryan can turn them out at this price, why can’t others? Remember—next time you think you’ve been rooked, let Luke SPOCC Jarvis know.
Left: Violet pullover from C&A. Black knickers by Erica Budd. Shoes from Sacha. Right: Lilac pllover and matching knickers both by Erica Budd. Blue shoes by Anello and Davide. Leather belt from Medusa. Scarf from Rose Nice in Kensington Market.
Photographed by John Bishop.
Scanned by Miss Peelpants from 19 Magazine, September 1970
Black crochet hat by Sally Levison. Black jersey shirt by John Craig. Black gaberdine midi skirt by Lee Bender for Bus Stop. Shoes from Anello and Davide. Crochet shawl from Catherine Buckley.
Both knitted outfits by Alice Pollock for Quorum. Boots by Ravel. Scarves by Rosie Nice at Kensington Market.
Left: Dress by Gillian Richard. Hand-knitted Shetland wool shawl by Foale and Tuffin. Shoes by Ravel. Right: Petrol blue jumper from C&A. Rust jersey skirt by Mary Quant’s Ginger Group. Blue lace shawn by Foale and Tuffin. Shoes by Anello and Davide.
Deep ochre wool hat found at a jumble sale. Tomato red and white long line pullover by Shar-cleod. Gaberdine skirt by Travers Tempos. Boots from Ravel. Silk scarf from a selection at Rosie Nice in Kensington Market.
Royal blue crochet hat found at a jumble sale. Blue and white flecked pullover and matching skirt by Erica Budd. Boots from Ravel.
Printed silk chiffon looped into a skirt, gathered from a tiny blue satin bodice, with blue satin ribbon at hem. By Zandra Rhodes, £89, at Fortnum & Mason. Tiered metallic platform shoes, 9gns, at Rowley & Oram of Kensintyon Market. Beaded choker, by Bibette, from range at Thea Porter. Rings from Hope and Eleanor, Chelsea Antique Market.
Another early appearance from Terry de Havilland, whose shoes were sold out of Rowley & Oram in Kensington Market and often not credited. I would [possibly] kill for those shoes. And the dress isn’t half bad either…
Puff sleeve sweater from Harrods. Small turquoise Acrilan bib sweater at Stop the Shop. Both by John Craig. Khaki ribbed bermuda shorts by Donald Davies. Tapestry clog boots by Jan Jensen.
A perfect winter look.
Photographed by Elisabeth Novick. Scanned by Miss Peelpants from Vogue, February 1971.
Dusty pink puff sleeved sweater over a beige linen sweater. Both by Harold Ingram. Thick purple wool trousers at Biba. Striped socks, Ruskin at Kensington Market. Knit cap by Margaret Howell at The Sweet Shop. Rose in glass pin, Marie Middleton at Chelsea Antique Market. Jacquard sweater by Toto at branches of Crowthers. Mushroom beige sweater underneath by Harold Ingram. Royal blue cashmere shorts, McGregor of Dublin. Over the knee socks by Donald Davies.
Vest and pullover both by Alice Pollock at Quorum. Pink knitted shorts by Alistair Cowin at Grade One. All clogs from Mayfair Market. Puff sleeved sweater in stripes of tuqouoise, pink and navy, acrylic tibbed dark blue polo neck undeneath, dark blue knitted trousers rolled up. All by John Craig at Stop the Shop.
One of the most miserable things about reading a magazine from 1971 is seeing such an inviting advert as this, and knowing full well you will never be able to visit. Kensington Market = dreamland for Sixties and Seventies fiends…
Scanned by Miss Peelpants from Petticoat, December 1971
Many thanks to Paul Gorman for the invite to the opening of the superbLloyd Johnson exhibition at Chelsea Space on Tuesday night. True to my usual form, I found it mighty hard to take any half-decent photos amongst the crowds so I must apologise for the poor quality which lies herein. I’m also definitely planning to return on a quiet weekday, so I can absorb it all properly.
I must confess that menswear is not one of my great areas of expertise, but I do know what I like. And those early Johnson and Johnson printed shirts and jackets are incredibly covetable – I actually cannot resist a novelty print. I know Mr Brownwindsor fancied a few of them, and it is yet another reminder of the tragedy of how dull most modern menswear is. (Snuggling up in a sloppy ‘La Rocka’ jumper, seen below, would also be very desirable!)
The highlight of the exhibition is probably the original ‘Johnsons’ shop frontage from within Kensington Market. Such a hallowed place, formerly full of many of my favourite designers of the Seventies and Eighties, it’s remarkable to see something like that having survived!
For me, La Rocka was just one of those names (like Red or Dead and Joe Bloggs) which stuck in my head during my childhood but which had little contextual information. This exhibition is a terrific insight into one man’s journey through several different eras of street style in London, always managing to stay idiosyncratic but never stalling at the one style. And as someone the other night said to me, you can’t really be different if you look the same as everyone else.
The exhibition runs until the 3rd March, so make sure you make a trip!