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.

Happy St BryanGod Day

amanda lear, brigitte bardot, bryan ferry, celia birtwell, david bailey, david bowie, diana rigg, Foale and Tuffin, kahn and bell, oliver reed, ossie clark, penelope tree, Serge Gainsbourg

Yes, it’s that time of year again. St BryanGod Day. Never heard of it? Pah.

To celebrate, here are some favourite couplings. Some romantic, some creative, some fictitious…

Icons? Or clichés?

audrey hepburn, brigitte bardot, cherry gillespie, Françoise Hardy, jo grant, man about the house, miss peelpants's rants, pan's people

All coincidences are intriguing, even if they are not all serendipitous. A few weeks back, Mr Brownwindsor and I went to the NFT to see Annie Hall. I was curious to see it anyway, as a relative newcomer to the world of Woody Allen, but I was also intrigued by the iconic status of Diane Keaton’s androgynous style statements (which, according to the accompanying literature, were entirely her own and perfectly preserved by Allen, against the costume designer’s better judgement.).

I emerged in my seemingly perpetual state of “mixed feelings”. I enjoyed the film, no doubt about it, and I was as entranced by the character and appearance of Annie as much as any others who have seen that film, before and since. But I am a contrary so-and-so (indeed, my middle name is Mary!) and I could not shake the sensation of ennui. I am bored of conventional style icons. I wholeheartedly resent the fact that so many are appropriated by the media, the fashion press and, these days, by the blogging community.

Beautiful as Audrey may have been, as sensuous as Brigitte patently was, as unnervingly cool as Françoise Hardy always will be, I am tipping over into boredom when I look at them now. Even the obscure ones aren’t so obscure any more.

The same goes for Keaton’s Annie Hall style. Barely an Autumn season goes by without several half-witted fashion editors conceiving an ‘Annie Hall’ editorial. Two weeks ago, You Magazine gave the world the least convincing Emma Peel-influenced spread I have ever seen in my life. And I have seen a fair few. I actually laughed, out loud.

Afterwards, we wandered into the South Bank branch of Foyles. As if to prove my point, there I found a book which, frankly, made me want to hate it just from the cover. I cannot even remember the title it was so dull (and I didn’t recognise the author) – something about fashion icons and getting their style. It did not disappoint me. Page upon page giving flimsy advice on how to pull off various looks, each section led by an ‘icon’.

For a Deborah Harry rock chick-look, you will need to wear smudgy eyeliner and tousle your hair. For a Brigitte Bardot bombshell-look, you will need to wear eyeliner and tousle your hair. For a Françoise Hardy yéyé-look you will need to….. Need I continue?

The laugh-out-loud moment came for me when I saw the section containing Stevie Nicks and Kate Bush. How to be a ‘free spirit’. Seriously? If you need to read a book which tells you how to dress, make-up or style your hair like a free spirit, then you really are not one. Defeating. Entire. Object.

Everyone should feel free, especially in personal expression through appearance. People should never feel like they are compelled to stick with one style forever. If you want to change your look every day, good for you. But if you need to read a book which shows pictures of Kate Moss in the ‘free spirit’ section, alongside the genuine article, then there is something seriously wrong with how you are approaching your personal style, and vintage clothing.

For surely the joy of personal style, and the development thereof, is just that. Personal. Learning what works for you, not what works for the women you admire. Those women were not trying to look like someone, they worked hard to find their own image.

I find I pick obscure ‘icons’ for my own purposes. Both deliberately and subconsciously. A smattering of Chrissie from Man About The House here, a dash of Noosha Fox there, a hybrid of Pan’s People and a snifter of Jo Grant. But I don’t look like any of them, and really I just want to look like me. Liz. I would feel repelled if I saw a Youtube tutorial on how to achieve Noosha’s make-up, or Cherry’s enormous hair. I look and learn, or don’t.

I wish all authors the best of luck, but I also wish that they would take the remarkable opportunity they have and do something different with it. Something unique. Something thought-provoking. The kind of waffle I was reading in that book was worthy of a second-rate fashion blogger, not a published author.

I rarely write long posts these days. Partly time, partly energy and partly because I am not always convinced that the world needs yet another person giving their opinion about style. These days, I try to share the quirky, unseen images which so excite me. The thrill of a new-old copy of an obscure magazine; the bizarre, experimental photography, the unusual looking models, the daft adverts for naff clothes which I openly covet, the beauty of illustrations…

So here is my first proper ‘post’ for a while. I hope people can feel proud of their true selves, comfortable in their skin and not behind the mask of someone else.

Incidentally, for an authentic Pan’s People look, you will need to wear smudgy eyeliner and tousle your hair. Oh…


Inspirational Images: Le Mepris, 1963

1960s, brigitte bardot, films, Inspirational Images, jean luc godard

Michel Piccoli and Brigitte Bardot in Le Mepris (1963)

Inspirational Images: Brigitte Bardot in Cannes, 1953

1950s, brigitte bardot, cannes, headscarves, Inspirational Images

Brigitte and companion in Cannes, circa 1953

Brigitte rocking the headscarf look here, in an unusual candid shot.

I can’t help but love her as a brunette. Her very early period (seen here) and her later Sixties, early Seventies looks are my favourites. I resisted the Bardot love for a long while because it seemed such a cliché. I mean, who doesn’t cite her as an inspiration? But she’s a hard one to fight…

Scanned from Woman’s Mirror, May 1962

Weekend Inspirations: The Furry Variations

1970s, brian jones, brigitte bardot, celia hammond, charlotte rampling, diana rigg, edward mann, Inspirational Images, jenny boyd, julie driscoll, linda thorson, Pattie Boyd, sandie shaw, sixties, veruschka

Build high for happiness

anna karina, brigitte bardot, Catherine Deneuve, diana rigg, hair, jane birkin, marianne faithfull, maureen starkey, natalie wood, picture spam, sandie shaw, susannah york, twiggy, veruschka

Much as I love big hair, sometimes it needs to be contained in an upwards direction. The Sixties saw some of the biggest, sleekest and most extravagant styles which took heavy inspiration from Victorian and Edwardian originals but with that new, more expressive modern sexuality.

It’s one of my biggest annoyances that women only really wear their hair in interesting up-dos for their wedding days. You should probably wear a hairstyle which is quintessentially ‘you’, not a style which you think you ought to wear. (My mum wore her hair down for her wedding, which would have been fairly unusual in the early Seventies, and I think she looks amazing for it. And very ‘her’, at the time.) If you are going to wear it up for your wedding, why not try wearing it up on an evening out? It doesn’t have to look WAG-sleek, think more along the Bardot-lines…

Of course many of these looks are so sleek and precisely pinned that you would definitely need assistance, but quite a few are not. And the best way to learn, is to practice. The most basic tips I could give would be to curl your hair first (straight hair is more slippery and curls give more volume and grip – and you need plenty of that!!!) and, until you’re more savvy, let the curls do most of the work for you. Keep it relatively messy until you’re used to how you like it pinned, placement on the head and where you need volume or loose hair. Then you can build up to more precise and extravagant works of art.

And keep looking at photos!!





















Just try not to get a crick in your neck when you’ve done a good job. It’s for other people to admire…

And my own feeble and basic attempt from a long time ago. It was so solid I drunkenly accidentally fell asleep and awoke the next morning to find it entirely in tact.

Big Hair

backcombing, brigitte bardot, britt ekland, Catherine Deneuve, charlotte rampling, diana rigg, hair, jane asher, natalie wood, Pattie Boyd, picture spam, sixties, talitha getty, twiggy

Big Hair

A celebration of big Sixties hair. Because, if you’re anything like me, Big Hair is the only hair you can possibly manage in summer humidity…

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Fashion Icon of the Month: Brigitte Bardot

1960s, brigitte bardot, fashion icon of the moment

Brigitte Bardot – Parisian Pouting Pussycat

Over the last fifty years, countless women have spent hours in front of their mirror, trying to perfect that Bardot pout. Her style was that effortless chic so few people possess, but we all try to imitate. A simple black headband, an unassuming little sheath dress, a flash of liquid eyeliner and plenty of sultry attitude to top it off. Sometimes she only needed a towel or strategically placed flowers – the minx!

She also managed to get sexier and sexier the older she got. The fresh-faced Fifties ingenue soon became a sultry Sixties sex siren, her gaze projected confidence and sexuality – helped along by some more revealing clothes – but always looking sophisticated rather than cheap. Every actress, model and wannabe seems to have done a Bardot-a-like photoshoot at some point in their career…but no one has or ever will come close to her. That je ne sais quoi indeed!