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.
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.
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.
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.
Sadly, I do not have initialled luggage (wouldn’t E E look rather splendid on the side of some white vinyl cases?….*hint hint*….ahem) and I certainly wouldn’t be wearing a real fur coat and bonnet, but I intend to make like Emma and Steed this week on a stylish little jaunt. It’s going to be in a rather special location, but I won’t tell you where until I return. But I will tell you. Promise!
Anyway, I’m going to try to avoid emails and internet as much as possible so I will pick up any orders when I return. See you on the other side and stay warm, dear readers! It’s grotty out there…
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….
Down with lurgies and stress! Boo, and may I say, hiss. I haven’t felt much like posting here, or anywhere. I’m lining up some listings when I’m able though, and they should be up and running next week I hope. Until then, or until I have the energy to post properly again, here is a lovely, shiny post with lots of lovely inspirational images I’ve picked up here and there.
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!)