Kings Road Girl

1960s, Boutiques, british boutique movement, Honey Magazine, king's road, Kings Road Girl, Vintage Adverts

kings road girl

I’ll take them all, please and thank you…

Scanned by Miss Peelpants from Honey, March 1968.

Inspirational Editorials: Splitting the Difference

1960s, 1970s, british boutique movement, bus stop, celia birtwell, Chelsea Antiques Market, Chelsea Drug Store, cherry twiss, christopher mcdonnell, hans feurer, Inspirational Images, king's road, lee bender, marrian mcdonnell, mary quant, ossie clark, quorum, radley, The Purple Shop, Vintage Editorials
Crepe skirt and printed chiffon blouse both at Quorum. Pink patent shoes at Elliott. Tights from Bus Stop.

Crepe skirt and printed chiffon blouse both at Quorum. Pink patent shoes at Elliott. Tights from Bus Stop.

If you are prepared to forsake the mini this summer for the midi or maxi, you will find that designers have compensated for covering the legs by boldly slashing the skirts at the front, the back and the sides. Photographed at The Chelsea Drug Store.

This is a fascinating editorial for a few reasons. Firstly it is photographed at the legendary Chelsea Drug Store, showing off the incredible interior to perfection. It singularly fails to credit Ossie Clark and Celia Birtwell with their garments for Quorum (an odd oversight given their fame at the time…). It is also a glorious insight into the mini/midi/maxi debate of 1970 and shows us the transition between late Sixties style and the early Seventies. The clothes are familiar as early Seventies, but the shoes are not yet platform and still stuck in a low block heel.

Photographed by Hans Feurer. Styled by Cherry Twiss.

Scanned by Miss Peelpants from The Telegraph Magazine (exact date unknown, Spring 1970)

Cream jersey dress at Marrian McDonnell. Gold sandals at Elliott. Onyx and silver ring from The Purple Shop.

Cream jersey dress at Marrian McDonnell. Gold sandals at Elliott. Onyx and silver ring from The Purple Shop.

Printed voile dress by Mary Quant. Suede granny shoes by Elliott. Victorian pendant at The Purple Shop, Chelsea Antiques Market.

Printed voile dress by Mary Quant. Suede granny shoes by Elliott. Victorian pendant at The Purple Shop, Chelsea Antiques Market.

Orange crepe dress at Bus Stop. Orange suede sandals at Elliott.

Orange crepe dress at Bus Stop. Orange suede sandals at Elliott.

Dress by Radley Gowns from Quorum. Shoes from Kurt Geiger. Victorian pendant from The Purple Shop.

Dress by Radley Gowns from Quorum. Shoes from Kurt Geiger. Victorian pendant from The Purple Shop.

Inspirational Images: David Fielden advert

1970s, Antiquarius, David Fielden, Inspirational Images, king's road, Michael Costiff, Richard Sharah, ritz magazine, Vintage Adverts

david fielden ritz 78

David Fielden: downstairs at Antiquarius, 135 King’s Road, 01 352 4739

Photographed by Michael Costiff. Make-up by Richard Sharah.

Scanned from Ritz, Number 15 1978

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


1970s, aristos, art of bags, biba, british boutique movement, chelsea girl, countdown, crowthers, irvine sellars, jean varon, john bates, just looking, king's road, laura ashley, mr freedom, ravel, stop the shop, take 6

Aristos © John Hendy

I couldn’t resist following ‘Tagged!’ with ‘Bagged!’. The art of the carrier bag seems even less appreciated than the art of the hang tag, despite its importance in the history of advertising and consumerism.

On Simon Hendy’s incredible website “My Dad’s Photos“, Simon has scanned a mountain of original photos that his father took across six years of fashionable (and not so fashionable) people on the King’s Road in the late Sixties and early Seventies. It is truly a delight to sift your way through them. They are a true time capsule of ‘real’ people wearing ‘real’ clothes in a period where photo opportunities were frequently engineered and crafted (as brilliant as Frank Habicht’s ‘In The Sixties’ is, it’s a very well-crafted form of ‘candid’ photography). I will definitely post about them again, not least because I recognise so many bits of clothing from designers I love.

However, today’s post is about the carrier bag. For, as I was sifting through and starting to get a bit dizzy with the amazingness of it all, I started to notice the bags people were carrying. Biba, Aristos, Stop the Shop, Crowthers… These are truly ephemeral items. How many people bother to keep a plastic bag? You might, if you were lucky, have wrapped something up in one and plonked it in your loft for the past forty years. But these examples are few and far between. The iconic design of the original Biba bags has ensured that they are the most regularly found on eBay, but few of any other kind have slipped through the net.

I did, however, find a ‘Jean Varon’ bag on eBay very recently, which has now taken its place in my collection of weird and wonderful ephemera.

Simon has kindly allowed me to link to his photos from my blog. I know it’s hard to keep such things under control in this age of tumblr etc, but I would appreciate if you would also ask him if you would like to repost his images somewhere else. He has spent many hours scanning these photos, photos which (unlike magazine scans) would not be available otherwise – from anyone else. Thank you!

Unidentified (possibly Mr Freedom at the back?) © John Hendy

Selfridges © John Hendy

Mates by Irvine Sellars © John Hendy

Guys and Dolls and C&A © John Hendy

Unknown © John Hendy

Fancy That © John Hendy

Chelsea Girl © John Hendy

Crowthers © John Hendy

Just Looking © John Hendy

Kids in Gear © John Hendy

Take 6 © John Hendy

Countdown © John Hendy

Ravel © John Hendy

Unknown (Mantra?) © John Hendy

Strides © John Hendy

Stop the Shop © John Hendy

Laura Ashley © John Hendy

Never faint on the King’s Road

1960s, Illustrations, king's road, malcolm bird, petticoat magazine

Petticoat, November 1969

(Probably still applies, but now across the whole of London…trendy or not.)

The brilliant illustration is uncredited, but looks like a Malcolm Bird to me.

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…

Byrne, baby, Byrne….

kiki byrne, king's road, sixties, website listings

My poor puns know no bounds. I’ve just listed some new items over at Vintage-a-Peel, but wanted to concentrate a blog on just one dress today. It’s as rare as it is beautiful.

There’s not a great deal of information out there on Kiki Byrne, but only a fool would underestimate her importance. Her King’s Road boutique Glass and Black was contemporaneous to Mary Quant’s Bazaar, and the few references around are extremely fond and complimentary about her clothing. She was heavily involved in the Chelsea scene in the Sixties, and her partner was iconic graphic designer Robert Brownjohn. Virginia Ironside’s book ‘Chelsea Girl’ references Byrne’s boutique thus:

We stumbled up the Kings Road back home. We looked, as usual, in Sportique and Kiki Byrne and said how pretty the clothes were, and was Kiki Byrne better than Bazaar.

This dress is a rare example of Byrne’s work, and is utterly representative of her style. She was known for elegant, wearable dresses and often used lace (as you can see in the photo below). This piece is a beauty in horizontal strips of peach lace, on a beige linen base, which are used to cleverly slim where they are stitched down around the waist and then loosen up into the skirt section. Very wearable and in remarkable condition for its age.

A typical Kiki dress.

Kiki and Robert. Isn’t she gorgeous??

Kiki is sitting just in front of Foale and Tuffin

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.


english boy, king's road, menswear, petticoat magazine, quorum, sixties, stripeyness

Ahhhhh. Men. So few know how to dress these days. I’m lucky that, more recently, I have been spending time with a gentleman who definitely knows how to dress. If you’d asked me a few years back, to describe how I would like my ideal man to dress…..well, it would be pretty much spot on. But a few years ago, it would also have felt like a very impossible dream.

For some reason, the odd odd-man would come along and would want me to ‘re-style’ them. And then, for some reason, they would fail to listen to a damn word I said. The rest lived in t-shirts and jeans. Sigh. Anyway, you should never try to ‘change’ someone. I just wish they taught this kind of stuff to boys in school. Or that I lived in the Sixties.

(Mmmm, yes, the latter please!)

Anyway, I bought this copy of Petticoat from July 1967 the other day and was having severe fits of menswear-lust. The cover boys are all ‘English Boy’ models, the agency famously linked with those Quorumites in the late Sixties King’s Road scene, but I doubt any of them would be considered model-standard these days. However, they are instantly raised to godlike status simply because of the way they are suited and booted.

I also noted with amusement that the far left chappy is wearing a coat/jacket remarkably similar to my favourite (and now, inevitably, very shabby) burgundy velvet autumn coat. Confirming the fact that, I think, I often aspire to look like a male dandy when autumn hits, rather than a lady.