Diana and costume designer Alun Hughes
I came across this series of photos ages ago, and there’s something about the sheer volume of them which entertains me greatly. She looks like she’s having a jolly good time, larking around with the random chaps she has been thrown together with in the studio. I think they were mainly promotional photos for her outfits so, other than costume designer Alun Hughes, I guess the guys were just there for slightly unhinged, eccentric, Avengerland good measure…
Diana with British boxer Billy Walker
Diana with Avengers stunt coordinator Ray Austin (left)
Diana with jockey Josh Gifford
Plus rogue bottom-spanking photo with unidentified gentleman…
…were born on exactly the same day, in exactly the same year. When I first discovered this factoid, I was genuinely taken aback. Natalie Wood seems like she comes from an entirely different era to Diana Rigg. But I now realise this is more of a perception problem on my part, mainly because Wood died so young and became famous much earlier; some of the similarities in these photos are seriously spooky.
Happy birthday ladies, you deserve a picture spam!
Years ago, in my hardcore Diana Rigg-memorabilia-collecting phase, I noticed and coveted a copy of Woman’s Mirror from 1966 with La Rigg on the front cover. I’ve only seen it this one time, on eBay, and it went way out of my price range. And considering I paid £30 for the Sunday Times magazine which featured John Bates’s designs for Diana, it must have been very steep for me to have not won it.
I mentioned it to Mr Brownwindsor a few weeks back, for some reason I can’t recall. I say mentioned, it may have been more like a moan. Wahhhh, poor me, I want this magazine, blah blah. The only difference now was that I am considerably more interested in the John Bates article it contains, than the Rigg one!
A few days after this, he mentioned having seen some copies of Woman’s Mirror in Snooper’s Paradise in Brighton. Spooky! No sign of the coveted issue (what would be the chances?) but definitely worth having a look in case there might be other interesting articles. So we mooched along on the Bank Holiday Monday. Had a look at some other issues of Woman’s Mirror, Woman’s Realm, Woman, Women!, Womanly, Women’s Troubles….etc etc. Then M noticed there were some more magazines in a glass cabinet. I look up, and there it is. Diana Rigg, with cut-out dotted line. THE issue. All other issues had been £3, surely this would be much more. But no. £3 it was.
I am a very happy lady, and I will be scanning/writing up the John Bates interview in due course.
I was aghast to read recently that Old England was being ‘relaunched’ as a brand. This isn’t entirely surprising, given my usual reaction to such endeavours, but I was particularly cheesed off because I was still awaiting my very own original Old England timepiece. Ever since I knew about their collaboration with The Avengers, in the Alun Hughes-era rather than John Bates, I have been wanting one of my very own. I have extremely skinny wrists, and I either need something very delicate and barely there or I need some ridiculously big statement. Old England watches are perfect for the latter…
Diana Rigg in an Avengerswear mac by Dannimac, hat by Edward Mann and watch by Old England.
Patrick Macnee and Twiggy. Twiggy is wearing an Avengerswear Old England watch
Now it’s around her ankle!
Miniature versions in 1968
So imagine my delight when I peered into a cabinet in a delightfully ramshackle antiques shop in Bexhill and spied this acid green confection. A wind and a few gentle shakes by the shop owner got it started after goodness knows how many years in the cabinet. It’s missing one of the strap bars across the back, but for £10 how could I say no?
I’m frequently wittering on about Emma Peel, John Bates, Avengerswear…blah blah. But I have continuously forgotten to scan and post this fabulous double page spread from Vogue (October 1968) of a range of knitwear ‘inspired’ by Linda Thorson’s Tara King character and produced by Ballantyne. I’ve never heard of any Tara Avengerswear gear before or since, perhaps because her wardrobe was pretty dreary half of the time – thanks Alun Hughes, and it’s always struck me as rather sad that she didn’t get her own ‘range’. Even Honor Blackman as Cathy Gale had a range designed by British couturier Frederick Starke!
So it’s awfully nice to know she at least had her own line of cashmere knits. Hurrah!
p.s I am terrible at identifying models, but I love love love her hair.
Circa 1966. Scanned from the Television Stars annual of 1966.
Diana Rigg in a lace catsuit. What’s not to love?
I don’t quite understand why the champagne ‘bowl’ or ‘coupe’ style of glass is so out of vogue in the world at large these days. Although this is nothing new, there is much I don’t understand about the world at large. For any fan of The Avengers, and assorted other Sixties films and tv shows, the coupe is surely the definitive silhouette?
For sure, there’s a certain novelty love for the Babycham-printed versions you often find in charity/antique shops. But all events, weddings and homes seem to be kitted out with the more ‘elegant’ champagne flute, and I’d be buggered if I could find any coupe-style ones once I started looking in charity shops.
I’ve been keeping my eyes ‘peeled’ for a while now, ignoring Babycham examples for their ubiquity, and was starting to despair of ever succeeding (with minimal outlay at any rate, they’re inevitably going to get broken in champers-fuelled high jinx when I am [clumsily] involved). Then, lo and behold, where should throw up a fine set of three (plus one slightly non-matching) for a mere £1.50 but East Grinstead of all places. I forgot to photograph them (for they now reside at M’s) but they probably don’t really warrant a photograph. They’re very simple, and simply do the job. Instead I will show you some photos of Steed, Emma and Tara enjoying their coupes…
Five minutes down the road, I also happened upon the superb Trouble album by Sailor on vinyl for £1. Coincidence, much? For this album contains one of my favourite songs of all time, which is also the greatest Roxy Music song that Roxy Music didn’t do, A Glass of Champagne.
Steed and Mrs Peel-style clinkin’-drinkin’ elegance has been attained. And I will toast that….
I am hoping to get to see the Terry O’Neill exhibition this weekend, if I’m feeling up to it. Although I doubt it will feature these photos of Diana Rigg in all her Emmapeeler Glory, more’s the pity. Enjoy!
(I’d rather have a Bates Avengerswear piece, but I certainly wouldn’t say no to an Emmapeeler!)
Photos by Terry O’Neill. TV Guide, June 1967