Avengerswear, elsewhere.

1960s, avengers, avengerswear, diana rigg, emma peel, jean varon, john bates, the avengers

Watching Circus of Fear, a very enjoyable B-movie from 1966 with Christopher Lee and Leo Genn, I noted that the luscious Margaret Lee was briefly seen wearing a piece of John Bates-designed Avengerswear.

Margaret Lee with Maurice Kauffman who, funnily enough, was Honor Blackman’s husband.

This black and white crepe catsuit was worn by Diana Rigg in The Avengers and modelled by Jean Shrimpton (with stunt man Ray Austin) for Vogue in 1965. It was, like all the Avengerswear, available to buy from the shops but these pieces are so rare and I have yet to find this catsuit in all my years of searching.

Dangerous black and white crepe fighting suit by Jean Varon Avengers Collection. Made by Simon Ellis, 13gns. Photographed by David Bailey. Vogue, October 1965.

I am now extremely curious to know whether this was something from Ms Lee’s own wardrobe which she bought herself, or whether the wardrobe supervisor (Charles Guerin) found it – oblivious to the fact that it was already a costume tie-in, or simply hoping that no one would notice. Or an even wilder theory is that it was the actual costume worn by Diana Rigg and already in circulation as a hireable costume. I suppose we may never know, but I thought it worth preserving for posterity.

Avengers collection promo, c. 1965. Scanned from John Bates: British Fashion Designer: The Sensational Years, 1963-1968

The Party Dazzlers

1970s, Alana Collins, Anne Turkel, biba, Blades, bus stop, corocraft, cosmopolitan, Dana Gillespie, Deirdre McSharry, edina ronay, Eva Reuber-Staier, Feathers, Fiona Lewis, Hildebrand, Inspirational Images, jeff banks, just men, mary quant, Nancy Bleier, norman eales, Peter Bubb, Peter Finley, platforms, polly peck, Sally McElvin, sandie shaw, Stephanie McLean, terry de havilland, Vintage Editorials, yves saint laurent
Dana Gillespie, the bosomy (43 in., actually) Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar, is the most modest of party girls. At the show’s opening night party she turned up in her old gipsy skirt and a t-shirt, happily flashing her gold and jewelled snake rings. “Sometimes I feel like being outrageous – I just wish there were more parties to entice me out. When I was on my own I went to parties to see more people so I wouldn’t be on my own.” Alone only for the picture, Dana wears her snake collection, backed by a velvet dress and jewelled jacket, designed by her friend Sally McElvin. Pop designer Sally makes one-offs only, from £20.

In the words of Noel Coward, every girl ought to be able to say the morning after, “I’ve been to a mah-vellous party.” A little champagne does not go amiss, but this winter the clothes alone will put a gleam in your eye. There are enough sequins, crystal beads and glittering fabrics to guarantee you are the star attraction. To clinch the deal, I’ve asked some of the most stunning party girls around to give their definition of what constitutes a marvellous party and to put the most dazzling party frocks to the test…

Fashion by Deirdre McSharry.

Photographed by Norman Eales.

Scanned from Cosmopolitan, December 1972.

Ann Turkel is the 5ft 10in. tall New Yorker who steals the limelight from the stars at film premieres, so parties are just kid’s stuff. “Parties? That’s when I know no other woman in the room can ‘top me’. I make a real effort – my mother has dresses made up specially in New York and ships them over – I never wear the same dress as any other woman. I know I’m a success when the photographers start crowding me. I like a man who appreciates when you are looking great.” Ann, who likes to move in a cloud of Youth Dew by Estee Lauder, comes on diamond bright in sequins and taffeta. Jacket by Biba £20. Red dress by Mary Quant £12.60.
Eva Reuber-Staier is the ex-Miss World turned TV personality who helped present BBC1’s Animal Stars. She’s cool, poised and gregarious. “I love parties, the kind with pretty girls and clever men. I prefer big parties; there’s more of a choice. I got to at least two parties per week.” The best one she says was given by some Cambidge dons. “Clever, but sexy with it, and could they dance!” Would she make the first move if she fancied a man at a party? “Fortunately I don’t have to.” Cleverly draped, sexy dress by John Bates for Jean Varon £36. Roses by Spectrum. Shoes by Terry de Havilland £13.99. Pop singer Gary Hamilton, star of Hair and several horror films says, “It’s the quiet girls who catch my eye.” Gary in satin trousers by Blades.
Alana Collins is tall, blonde and blue-eyed. “At parties back home in Nacogdoches, Texas, the boys used to call me the Duchess because I love to get dressed up. That was the original one-horse town, but in London I still like to cause a stir. There’s such a variety at parties – long and short hair. I go for the man who is paying total attention to one woman. And if you give him all yours, that clicks.” A lady who watches her strategy. Alana is the perfect Cosmo party girl in pink draped jersey by John Bates for Jean Varon £27. Sheos by Yves Saint Laurent £19.50.
Sandie Shaw sings for her supper. Her husband Jeff Banks, designs for his. United on most fronts, the Banks are divided on parties: “I hate them,” she says. “I love ’em,” he leers. Then they go on remember half a dozen great parties they’ve given including one in a char-a-banc to Southend; another on a river boat and a third at Madame Tussauds. “My idea of a good party is mostly fellas,” says Sandie, “but I don’t like him to look posh. The thing is, he loves me dressed up.” Dolled up for “that great party no one ever seems to give,” as Jeff says, is Sandie in a Banks special, suitably glittery in green and gold gauze. Sandie’s hair by Smiles. Jeff’s clothes by Blades.
Nancy Bleier, a bouncing brunette model import from Milwaukee, prefers her parties on the small size. “Just a few intimate friends, a quite dinner and dancing at Tramp or Annabel’s,” says Nancy who keeps her party figure by taking modern dance lessons. Nancy makes her eyes up like Sophia Loren, wears a lot of scent and generally sticks to trousers at parties. “My French boyfriend says: ‘Darling why don’t you ever wear a dress?’ He offered to buy me one – but never did.” Not downcast, Nancy dresses up for Swiss model Reto in a 1000 watt lime glitter outfit from Biba, top £14, skirt £15.25. Reto’s dinner suit from Just Men, £45.
Edina Ronay, the actress and model says: “A good party is when Warren Beatty murmers ‘call me tomorrow’. Actually the best parties are the ones I give myself – straight and freaky, champagne and – uh – cakes. The people look at each other and enjoy the difference. What happens afterwards – that’s what counts about parties.” Edina, who had her hair hennaed in Morocco, gets ready for her Christmas party in crushed pink velvet and feathers. Dress by Biba £15, boa and ‘diamond’ ring by Bus Stop, £6.50 and £1.95. Robert wears sequined jacket by Dior and ruffled shirt by Just Men.
Stephanie McLean, at 5ft 10in., is the kind of status blonde most men hope to meet at parties. And it was at a party where her husband, a photographer who specialises in nudes, met her. Says Stephanie, “Now when we go to parties we separate – otherwise why bother to go out at all? – but I keep my eye on him. I prefer relaxed, informal parties and almost always wear jeans. Sometimes I get dressed up and he says ‘you look fantatic, we’ll go out.'” Looking dressed up in a glittery silver and black taffeta dress by Polly Peck £12.85. Peter Finley the model who prefers parties for two, wears black satin trousers from Blades.
Film actress Fiona Lewis has the sophisticated face of the Seventies, so it’s not surprising that her idea of a party is simple – and expensive. “Lots of drinks and lots of people, never punch which is a bore and bad for your digestion. Simple things like smoked salmon and chilled white wine are best. And I prefer to wear fantasy clothes which I run up myself from scarves. I ask dishy men and tell them to bring their friends.” Fiona adds her own glitter to a black and white taffeta halter dress, Hildebrand about £18.50 and also a floating red chiffon dress aove right, at Feathers £25. Peter Bubb the model wears velvet dinner jacket by Just Men £35.

Living up to a reputation

1970s, Alice Ormsby-Gore, amanda lear, Asha Puthli, bill gibb, british boutique movement, christopher mcdonnell, frederick fox, ika hindley, Inspirational Images, jean muir, jean varon, joanna lumley, john bates, mary quant, pat cleveland, Sally McLaughlan, telegraph magazine, Terence Donovan, The Sunday Telegraph Magazine, zandra rhodes

For some years now the London fashion designers have had the edge on their Paris rivals for ideas and innovations. Tomorrow evening a film on this subject will be shown on BBC1. Today we photograph the key London designers with their favourite clothes. What do they think of the London fashion scene? Where do we go from here?

Photographed by Terence Donovan. Fashion by Cherry Twiss.

Scanned from The Telegraph Magazine, May 25th 1973.

Zandra Rhodes originally trained as a textile designer; she began designing clothes in 1968. She does not have her own retail shop; her fabulous creations are made to order and sell through the big stores. “I think fashion in London is like a sea with lots of little islands, lots of different looks. I am my own couture island,” she says. “I don’t like committing myself to any one collection. I like adding to it as my ideas come along.” Pat Cleveland, top American model, is wearing Zandra’s “off-the-shoulder lily dress” .of printed grey and cream chiffon with satin-backed bodice and embroidery. From Piero de Monzi, 70 Fulham Road, SW3.
Mary Quant, photographed with her husband Alexander Plunkett-Green, became famous in 1955 when she opened the first “Bazaar” shop in the King’s Road, Chelsea. Now her business includes linen, make-up, tights and dolls as well as clothes, all bearing the unmistakable Quant touch. Of current London fashion she says: “I think the mood is classic, and I love it.” Amanda, a model who typifies Mary’s look, wears trousers, striped pullover and co-ordinating jacket, all in an angora and polyester mixture, and a pure silk shirt. Mary chose this outfit because “it is the epitome of my new collection -the best of everything. Modern classics in the right colours, subtle soft fabrics, elegance, chic – the sort of outfit you want to live in.” From Mary Quant’s new autumn collection, available in September.
Designer Jean Muir with Harry Lockart, her husband and business manager. She started the firm which bears her name in 1966; her distinctive clothes are available at all the major stores. Says Harry Lockart: “The London fashion scene has tremendous potential and on the design side is moving marvellously. It must need organising very professionally along Paris lines, with proper collection weeks, at times that do not clash, so that buyers can see everything.” Joanna Lumley is wearing an olive green two-tiered silk jersey dress described by Jean as “one of my favourites”. About £75 from Lucienne Phillips, 69 Knightsbridge, SW3, or Brown’s, South Molton Street, W1 . Jade necklace by Jean Muir, £15. Shoes, £24, by Charles Jourdan, 47 Brompton Road, SW3. Tights, Elle.
Designer John Bates (left) with John Siggins, Director who handles Publicity, Press and External Contracts. John Bates started the firm of Jean Varon in 1959; he thinks that “fashion in London is no different from anywhere else; but it is only just recently that it has been taken seriously”. Kellie, who is one of John Bates’s favourite models, is wearing a Tricel surah dress in a print by Sally McLaughlan exclusive to John Bates. About £55 from Dickins & Jones, Regent Street, W1 ; Barkers, Kensing-ton High Street, W8; Bentalls of Kingston; Kendal Milne of Manchester. Hat made to order by Frederick Fox, 26 Brook Street, W1.
Christopher McDonnell started his career early in 1967 and now sells his designs at his famous shop in South Molton Street. He thinks London is the most exciting place for evening wear, “but until the factories learn how to cope technically with good ideas for day clothes, the rest of Europe will remain ahead of us in this field.” The model is Ika, who, says Christopher, can interpret any look. She is wearing a cream silk suit with short skirt, £33 from Christopher McDonnell, 45 South Molton Street, W1 . White silk turban £9.50 from George Malyard, 3 King Street, WI. Bangles and choker from Emeline, 45 Beauchamp Place, SW3.
Designer Bill Gibb started out on his own in 1969 and was voted “Designer of the Year” in 1970. He now has a wholesale firm, and in fashion feels that “everybody makes a different sort of contribution”. Asha Puthli, singer and actress is wearing a peach double satin jacket and halter top embroidered and edged with black leather, and Lurex pleated skirt. About £200 from Chic of Hampstead, Heath Street, NW3, or Chases, Bond Street, Wl. Shoes £14.95 by Chelsea Cobbler, 33 Sackville Street, W1 . Tights by Echo. Alice Ormsby-Gore is wearing a plain and printed grey Lurex skirt and sequin embroidered top, £128. Turban by Diane Logan to order. All from Lucienne Phillips, or ZigZag, 100 New Bond Street, Wl. Shoes £14.95 from Chelsea Cobbler. Tights by Echo.

Julie Christie in Fortuny

1970s, Castaldi, Fortuny, Inspirational Images, Julie Christie, Venice, Vintage Editorials, Vogue

julie christie fortuny 1

Apricot pleated tunic with green sleeves and cross-gartered leggings. All around, some of Fortuny’s wealth of hand-blocked velvets.

Fortuny dresses have always been collected by women who are beauties and/or intellectuals: Eleanora Duse, Sarah Bernhardt, Isadora Duncan, The Marchesa Casati Stampa, Consuelo, Duchess of Marlborough, Marie-Laure de Noailles, Mrs Gloria Cooper Vanderbilt, Anjelica Huston, Monica Vitti, and now Julie Christie, who bought Fortuny’s pink and silver dress with pleated silk side and glass buttons at a recent auction at Christie’s. Here Julie Christie borrows Fortunys from another collector, Mrs Liselotte Hohs Manera, Austrian painter and ceramist, who is married to an Italian lawyer, and one that belong to Eleanora Duse from Vern Lambert’s collection. Castaldi took the photographs in Venice, where Mariano and Henriette Fortuny lived and worked in the Palazzo Pesaro, which is now the Fortuny Museum, and where Julie Christie has been making the film Don’t Look Now, directed by Nicholas Roeg. She’ll next be seen in Uncle Vanya, on Broadway, an extraordinary production to be directed by Mike Nichols with George C. Scott an Nicol Williamson.

Photographed by Castaldi.

Scanned from Vogue, July 1973.

julie christie fortuny 2

Antique violet tunic and skirt pleated like a mushroom: inspired by a visit to Delphi, Mariano Fortuny and his wife, Henriette, created the fabric: Isadora Duncan was the first customer.

julie christie fortuny 3

Eleanora Duse’s black velvet dress printed in silver with pleated silk side panels.

julie christie fortuny 4

Fortuny’s velvet cloak over a pleated dress of terracotta by St Mark’s and the Doge’s Palace where it must hav swept many times before.

Charlotte Rampling by Hans Feurer

19 magazine, 1960s, charlotte rampling, hans feurer, Inspirational Images, jean varon, john bates, Lizzie Carr, Vintage Editorials

charlotte rampling - 19 - Hans Feurer - 1

Plunge-necked green shaded Trice! crepe dress, by John Bates for Jean Varon, approx. 14gns.

What is she really like? Very much a domesticated and warm-hearted girl, she is preparing to set up home with the man she loves. Although she usually favours clothes collected from Antique supermarkets, 19 chose these daringly-cut dresses to emphasise the underlying tiger in her make-up.

At twenty-three, and with five feature films to her credit, Miss Charlotte Rampling is now engaged in what is seemingly her most important project to date – setting up residence in a fashionable Westminster two-storey house with film-maker Tommy Weber, and his two shaggy-haired sons, Jake, aged nearly six, and Charlie, aged four.
Charlotte has been with Tommy for a year now, and when his divorce comes through, they plan to marry. Charlotte feels this will be ‘mostly for the children’s and my parents’ sake’.

She returned to England from Madrid four years ago, when she received her first film offer, landing a starring role in a Boulting Brothers comedy, Rotten To The Core. Following this movie, Charlotte appeared as Meredith, the super-shrew of Georgy Girl – and probably produced the totally misconceived image as a girl much like the one she played.

Charlotte describes Meredith as a real bitch’ of Georgy she says; “She was pathetic, but two-faced – not an admirable character.” Lyn Redgrave, however, was ‘absolutely beautiful’, and the film set was a happy one.

Charlotte has recently completed two films; Three, directed by Jim Salter, from an Irwin Shaw story, is spoken of with less than relish. What apparently started out as a free, flowing movie about three students bumming their may across Europe, ended up as a contused, under-budgeted affair, in which the hardships outnumbered the freedom.

Her most satisfying film to date, The Damned, is still being shot under the direction of Italy’s Luchino Visconti and she feels this was an invaluable experience. It is the story of the Krupp family, who rose to power in Hitler’s Germany.

Charlotte Rampling is now in the enviable position of having completed a major role, and possessing the chance to choose what she wants for the future.

Photographed by Hans Feurer.

Scanned by Miss Peelpants from 19 Magazine, May 1969.

charlotte rampling - 19 - Hans Feurer - 2

Ribbon-trimmed plunge-necked blue shaded Tricel crepe dress, by John Bates for Jean Varon, approx. 13gns.

charlotte rampling - 19 - Hans Feurer - 3

Culotte dress in shaded beige to bream 7-ricel crepe, with tiny bodice and trans-parent nylon organza back, by John Bates for Jean Varon, approx. £17 6s. 6d. Gold sandals, by Ronald Keith, 5gns.

charlotte rampling - 19 - Hans Feurer - 4

Silk jersey black tie top and layered skirt, by Lizzy Carr, approx. 71/2gns. each.

Startling new goings on…

1970s, brigitte bardot, Chris Clyne, cosmopolitan, Simpson of Piccadilly, Vintage Adverts, yves saint laurent

simpsons 78

Co-starring Leslie Phillips in a shameless ‘let’s stick it to the old guard’ gesture. Intrigued by the mention of ‘Brigitte Bardot’ as a brand name, can anyone enlighten me?

Scanned by Miss Peelpants from Cosmopolitan, May 1978.

Meet Simon and Marijke – Two of The Beautiful People

1960s, Apple Boutique, Barry Finch, Boutiques, british boutique movement, celebrity boutiques, eric clapton, george harrison, granny takes a trip, Josje Leeger, marianne faithfull, Marijke Koger, mick jagger, Pattie Boyd, Rave, Simon Posthuma, The Beatles, The Fool

the-fool-1The world of pop artists Simon and Marijke is indeed strange—their philosophy is to spread the influence of art over every aspect of civilized society, to produce a world throbbing with colour, light and beautiful things—but are we ready for them and their way of life? Will they make it, or will they disappear into the realms of history? Jeremy Pascall visited them to find out!

Officially the street nameplate says “Montague Square”. Unofficially it says “George Harrison is the best Beatle” in felt-tip pen. Just up the road Patti Harrison’s orange and yellow mini is parked. Beneath the sun-hot pavement of the quiet London square is a cool basement area. Set into the wall is a blue-painted door with gold stars scattered across it. A small sign says “Love, special delivery!”

Behind the door is a large, calm flat, at the centre of which is a big, open room, bright with rainbow paintings, fragrant with incense and flowers, loud with music, and alive with happy, talking, laughing people.

Here two young Dutch painters, Simon and Marijke, hold court. Their boon companions are Barry and Josje. Their courtiers include the Beatles, Mick Jagger, Graham Nash, the Cream and the rest of London’s most beautiful people.

But this is not just a court, it is a painter’s power-house, a beauty factory. Simon, Marijke, Josje and Barry are part of a new generation of artists. Pop artists who are using pop music and stars and fashion to bring their work before us. If you’ve ever seen the Cream, opened the “Sgt. Pepper” cover, or bought the latest Hollies’ album you’ll have seen their work. And you’ll be seeing a lot more of it in the future.

Simon (pronounced Simone) Posthuma is twenty-eight. He was born the year that war broke out, and remembers the Germans being kind to him. “I turned them on”, he said and smiled. This is Simon’s mission, to turn everyone on to beauty and colour.

The son of a policeman (he admits to this with an ironic chuckle; his later life has shown that he and the police don’t always see eye to eye), Simon was an early drop-out, leaving school because “we didn’t under-stand each other”. He then went through every conceivable job. For a time he was an art student, “but they threw me out because they said I had no talent!”

Despite this set-back he continued to paint. “I’ve always painted, experimented, progressed, tried to find what I want to say.” At first his work was conventional landscapes and portraits, but he soon evolved his own highly individual (and now much copied) style of brilliant rainbow colours and patterns.

Four years ago the gently rebellious artist met Marijke (pronounced Marracca) Koger, than a commercial, but not very happy, artist working in an advertising agency. They clicked in every way and started creating happenings with the help of their growing circle of friends consisting of musicians, writers and artists.

Between them Simon and Marijke really stirred up Amsterdam. “We did some crazy, beautiful things, man,” Simon said in his soft, Dutch accent. “We organised evening happenings when we took over a house, and had music and dancing and action painting. One day we went out into the street and painted it gold. Crazy!”

Simon and Marijke were joined in their “rainbow circle” by Josje (pronounced Yosha) Leeger. Josje, an old school friend of Marijke, was already established as a designer in Holland, and her clothes reflect the beautifully bizarre, freely fanciful ideas of the group. The clothes are made of different coloured fabrics and materials. Like styled patchwork quilts and up-dated gypsy costumes, jesters’ motley and troubadours’ shreds and patches.

And so they were three—Simon, Marijke and Josje. They had good things going for them in Amsterdam — a boutique and exhibitions — but they wanted to get out and so Simon and Marijke went to Morocco and Greece and then decided that London was for them.

But at first London wasn’t sure if they were right for it! They weren’t readily accepted. “We got very annoyed about it at first, but then we got to know the people at ‘Granny Takes A Trip’, and through them we met hip P.R. man Barry Finch, who was looking for someone to design the programme for the Saville Theatre.”

Simon and Marijke came, he saw, they conquered, and that was the start! They designed the programme cover for the Saville, started meeting the most influential people in pop, fell under the patronage of the Beatles and never looked back.

Barry became manager of the romantic duo. The Beatles asked them to submit designs for their “Sgt. Pepper” cover. They did the full job, including a fearsome cut-out mask, but only the inner sleeve design was used.

Simon, Marijke, Josje and Barry have created their own little world, a prototype for what they want us all to have. It’s a sprawling, open flat, centred around a long hallway and communal room. Most of the business of living is carried on in this room, where visitors are made welcome. Unlike the classic picture of an artist’s home, the apartment is remarkably clean and tidy.

In the main room, be-decked with samples of their work, Simon and Marijke hold court. A record player in the corner drones Ravi Shankar, “a present from George”. Marijke hands round sweet little Indian cakes—”A present from Ravi”. Somehow the tiny community seems utterly cut off from the bustle of London and it is no surprise when Mick, Marianne and Patti wander in to savour the tranquillity.

Surrounded by the things and the people they love, they gently, persuasively expound their philosophy, and outline their plans.

It is a philosophy based on love. “The essence is love. Love will grow, spread until the whole world is turned on to it. Love will not die. Everybody must turn on.

“There are people who don’t understand and walk away, but the next day they find out a new part of what is happening. To them it appears that it’s all happening at once, but in fact it’s the culmination of years. People react to us; in Paris they shouted rude words at us and we smiled back, but it didn’t happen in London. Anyway we’re in a different society, we mix with people who think like us, we stay in our headquarters all the time, work all the time.

“What is the ultimate? Paradise, living for each other. No dirty cities. We will change back to country communities where money won’t be necessary, we’ll work for each other. Who’ll do all the work? Computers. Eventually computers will show we don’t need computers!

“The old leaders are dying. Soon there will be new leaders. No, not leaders — spiritual mentors. This is the divine plan,” said Simon.

The philosophy sounds muddled and naive but it’s spoken in all sincerity. Simon speaks wonderingly of Eastern mystics who can perform miracles, produce castles out of the air. Charmingly childlike, but they have exciting plans afoot.

There will soon be an exhibition of Simon’s work, followed by the opening of a boutique and a film or theatre venture.

Boutique isn’t quite the word. The shop will be more of an environment. Simon and Marijke think that pop, fashion, art and design have been too separate in the past. They want to bring them all together under one roof. It would be nice to see people walking around in their fabulous clothes, hanging their beautiful paintings on the walls (posters will soon be available) and accepting their philosophy. But are we ready for it yet?

All colour, fun, love, beauty. Gold streets! Why not? That’s how it feels to be one of the beautiful people!

Some wonderful photos of The Fool which I hadn’t seen before. Interesting to read about their plans for their boutique (the-here-unnamed Apple Boutique) which would open only a couple of months after this was published and closed six months later.

Photographer uncredited.

Scanned by Miss Peelpants from Rave Magazine, September 1967.

the-fool-2

For Anybody Who Has Any Body

1960s, Alan Aldridge, alice pollock, Art, body paint, Caroline Moorehead, Illustrations, Imogen Hassall, Inspirational Images, jane birkin, John Astrop, John Marmaras, marsha hunt, peter blake, quorum, Ralph Steadman, telegraph magazine, The Sunday Telegraph Magazine, Veronica Carlson

for-anybody-who-has-any-body-1

Artist and designer Alan Aldridge first discovered the charms of the female body as a canvas when he painted his wife four years ago for a book poster. Since then it has become quite a habit with him, and his model on this occasion — actress and singer Jane Birkin — was one of a growing line of his painted girls. For her, however, it was a new experience. “I had flowers painted on my face for a film in India,” she recalls, “but the heat just melted them and they cried down my face. Apart from that, the girls I’ve seen in London with their faces painted tended to look pretty sordid and sweaty. When you think of it, there’s such a lot you could do,” she said. “It would be marvellous, for instance, to have bracelets and necklaces painted on. Mind you, the actual experience of being painted takes some getting used to. The sensation of the brush is like being crawled over by a wet snail. And I never realised how much I laughed with my stomach.”

Who are the people who go in for body painting, and does it really exist? Bodies are not the easiest or the most obvious things to paint. And yet as party decoration, and a more exciting way of modelling clothes and jewellery, painted bodies seem to be definitely fashionable.

Though the recent vogue was first adopted by the hippies (where better to put your flowers than painted on your body?) the artist and designer Alan Aldridge is credited with having started the trend in London. In 1964, when he was named Art Director of Penguin Books, he designed a: publicity poster using his wife painted in bright colours as a model, with the caption: “We can’t offer you girls, but we can offer you Penguins.”

“We got a pretty fantastic response,”-says Alan Aldridge. “And then I started doing it commercially in a big way. Too much in fact. The break came when I painted a girl all over but I had to get her drunk on brandy for the occasion.”

Since then sporadic parties have featured painted bodies. Public relations director David Wynne-Morgan had the idea of launching a book, The Exhibitionist, by using cheerfully painted models. The book had a painted girl on the cover, and models at the publicity party sported the title in luminous paint across their backs. Later, guests were encouraged to join in the game, and splattered their dates with paint.

At one of his last collections fashion designer Ungaro showed his models with vivid designs painted around their eyes; and it has now become fairly common in the model world to wear a sparkling snake wound round your leg, or a flower imprinted on yourforehead. Full body painting is a more esoteric art. Jim O’Connor, a graduate of the Royal. College of Art, is one of the artists who took it up ; he recently painted a body in the new landscape style now popular for fabrics: his back view of a girl showed a house rising above a fence, and. clouds floating off behind some trees.

As usual, the advertising world has been quick to catch on. A poster for Ultra’s Bermuda colour television set shows a girl lying on her stomach, naked except for a rough map of Bermuda sketched over her back. The caption invitingly reads: “Win two weeks in Bermuda”. 

Another person to use body painting was Andrew Grima, the Jermyn Street jeweller, who commissioned an Italian artist, Alberto Villar, to paint a naked model in wild colours; afterwards she was scattered with jewels. Though the result was exotic, Grima has not repeated the experirnent: “It was a bit too poppish for us; the paint did not show up the jewellery to its best advantage.”

Several London shops now cater for this new trend. Joan Price, of the Face Place, 26 Cale Street, SW3 is prepared to body paint for 2 gns. She recommends two makes of paint which are non-irritant and do not smear or stain clothes. They can be used together, and are put on with special cosmetic brushes: Colour Me Cloud 9 Body Paints, which cost 5s 6d for a 2in bottle (any four for £1), or the complete set for £2 17s 6d from Cloud 9 Cosmetics, 14 Boltons Close, Woking, Surrey. Their colours range from jade green to deep purple and glistening copper to a pearlised white, which is said to be good for highlighting. The second recommended wake is Innova-tion by Coty, who have produced four subtle see-through shades, which, though not originally intended for body wear, are very suitable for staining wide areas of skin. These cost 10s 6d and can be bought from all Coty stockists.

Next year the Face Place are bringing out a range of body stencils in a variety of patterns. Until then you can make do with Alice Pollock’s Paint Box for the face, from Quorum in the King’s Road, which comes in 12 colours at £3 19s 6d.

I was so sad to hear of the death of Alan Aldridge the other day. One of the most influential artists and illustrators of his generation, his work has always been a huge inspiration to me. There seems to be no better time to share this article from 1969, in which he is credited with starting the whole body-painting phenomenon which defined the late 1960s and shown doing his thing on the ever-lovely Jane Birkin.

And in case that wasn’t enough for you, also featured are Veronica Carlson, Marsha Hunt, Imogen Hassall, Peter Blake, John Astrop and Ralph Steadman.

Photographed by John Marmaras. Text by Caroline Moorehead.

Scanned by Miss Peelpants from The Telegraph Magazine, December 1969.

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For designer John Astrop the prerequisite of a good body painting is that it should be “wild”. He is an old hand at the game. Privately he has painted a friend going to a fancy dress party with an “Al Capone” scar (“it lasted all evening and was pretty horrifying”) and professionally he was commissioned to paint a girl with a complete map of Bermuda for an advertisement. His next painting, he had decided, was really going to be something unusual — a front view of a nude painted on to a girl’s back. Film actress Veronica Carlson had a train to catch, however, and could only make her attractive torso available for something less ambitious. Thus the key. This did not stop her taking an informed interest in the proceedings. She had spent four years at art school and as a result her comments were soundly practical. If he was going to add any more water to the paint, for example, could it be warmed first?

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After a lifetime of doodling flowers on to her arms and legs, model, singer and former “Hair” actress Marsha Hunt was able to discuss the subject of body painting with a certain amount of authority. “Of course it’s nothing new,” she said. “American Indians, Africans, every backwoods civilisation you can think of have got themselves painted up. But I don’t think you will see paintings as big as this,” she said, peering down at cartoonist Ralph Steadman’s illustration. “Who’s got three hours to spend being painted? It would have to be a pretty high party.” She broke off and proprietorially peered down at the couple recumbent on her bosom. “Are they both white?” she asked, with the tone of a scandalised landlady. At that stage they were, but Steadman quickly turned the scene into an advertisement for a mixed marriage, and honour was satisfied. “I’ve enjoyed it,” he said. “I’d like to have a go at a couple of politicians next.”

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Faced with the whole of actress Imogen Hassall s back for a canvas, painter-illustrator Peter Blake opted for total decoration: He decided to daub her in.a rainbow of colours taking their cue from the red of her playsuit and ending with a purple dramatisation of herf ace. “If you are going to paint a body, why not paint as much as you can get your hands on,” he declared. Imogen, who took all this literally lying down, reserved her comment while he boldly sketched in the ribs of the pattern. “The whole idea reminds me of how women used to paint stockings on their legs in the war,” said Peter. “That sort of body painting literally was fashion, but now I see it more as an extension to fashion — marvellous for anyone who wants to attract attention.” Imogen felt the same way. “Just the thing for a premiere — really quite groovy,” she said, stepping out into the street and virtually stopping the traffic with her now dazzling striped back and red playsuit.

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Stars of the ’70s

19 magazine, 1930s, 1970s, bus stop, greta garbo, Illustrations, Inspirational Images, jean varon, joan crawford, john bates, lee bender, marlene dietrich, michael roberts, valstar, Weathergay

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Camoflage raincoat by Valstar

Rainwear has definitely taken on a new look. The styles are more sophisticated and glamorous. They are the kind of clothes that Marlene Dietrich, Joan Crawford and Greta Garbo would have worn had they been designed earlier. When you invest in a raincoat these days it does not mean that you can, or should, wear it only on a rainy day. A garment that is waterproof, wind-proof and warm can be worn almost every day. The new raincoats are very practical and hardly crease. At the most they only need to be sponged with a damp cloth. So throw away that old plastic mac. ..and take a long, new look at what the Stars are wearing. 

Stunning editorial beautifully illustrated by the legendary Michael Roberts.

Scanned by Miss Peelpants from 19 Magazine, October 1970.

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Rubberised cotton raincoat by Valstar

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Corduroy trench coat by Wethergay

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Left: Gabardine raincoat by Lee Bender for Bus Stop / Right: Red, grey and olive check raincoat by Valstar

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Midi raincoat by Valstar

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Left: Polyurethane rain suit by John Bates for Jean Varon / Right: Brown polyurethane raincoat by Weathergay

Vintage Adverts: Barbarella by Bourdin

1970s, barbarella, charles jourdan, guy bourdin, mild sauce, Vintage Adverts, Vogue

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Charles Jourdan advert for ‘Barbarella’ shoes. Photographed by Guy Bourdin.

Scanned by Miss Peelpants from Vogue, April 1975