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.

Vintage Adverts: Play it with warm lips and soft eyes…

1960s, Coty, ingrid boulting, joanna lumley, Make-up, Vintage Adverts

Coty Advert - Scanned by Miss Peelpants from Vanity Fair. November 1968

Three pretty maids all in a row…

I apologise to the beauty on the left, I don’t know her name, but lovely to see another early shot of the divine Miss Joanna Lumley and, of course, the beautiful Ingrid Boulting.

Scanned by Miss Peelpants from Vanity Fair, November 1968

Barbershop Quintet: When the teasing had to stop

1970s, bill gibb, Brenda Arnaud, britt ekland, Diane Logan, Fenella Fielding, Geg Germany, Gina Fratini, hair, Hair and make-up, jean muir, joan collins, joanna lumley, john bates, leonard, marianne faithfull, Michaeljohn, Ricci Burns, Shirley Russell, telegraph magazine, vidal sassoon

hairdressers geg germany telegraph magazine september 19th 1975 e

In the Fifties a trip to the hairdresser’s was a daunting ordeal – for you and for each hair on your head. Vidal Sassoon changed all that in 1964, and substituted the welcome breeziness of the blow-drying second-generation stylists. Who are the other top hairdresses, and who goes to them?

There are no credits for the clothes, but I think Marianne’s glorious ensemble must be a Bill Gibb, and Sian Phillips’s elegant coat looks like a John Bates to me. Such a glorious array of celebs, I think Michaeljohn win on numbers (but Ricci Burns really ought to win, purely because of the way his ladies are dressed!).

Photographed by Geg Germany.

Scanned by Miss Peelpants from The Telegraph Magazine, September 19th 1975

At Ricci Burns: Marianne Faithfull, Fenella Fielding, Ricci Burns, Sian Phillips, Brenda Arnaud. Ricci started in hairdressing at the age of 15, worked for Vidal Sassoon for ten years and opened his own salon in the King's Road five years ago. Now has a second salon in George Street, and did have one in Marrakesh "until the coup, darling".

At Ricci Burns: Marianne Faithfull, Fenella Fielding, Ricci Burns, Sian Phillips, Brenda Arnaud. Ricci started in hairdressing at the age of 15, worked for Vidal Sassoon for ten years and opened his own salon in the King’s Road five years ago. Now has a second salon in George Street, and did have one in Marrakesh “until the coup, darling”.

At Vidal Sassoon: Lady Russell (back), Mary Quant, Vidal Sassoon and Kate Nelligan (centre). Shirley (Mrs Ken) Russell, Beverly Sassoon.

At Vidal Sassoon: Lady Russell (back), Mary Quant, Vidal Sassoon and Kate Nelligan (centre). Shirley (Mrs Ken) Russell, Beverly Sassoon.

At Michaeljohn: Back row, from left: Jean Muir, Britt Ekland, Joanna Lumley, Joan Collins and her daughter Sasha, Tom Gilbey, Gina Fratini and Diane Logan. Front: John Isaacs and Michael Rasser (one time colleagues at Leonard), who started Michaeljohn in 1967.

At Michaeljohn: Back row, from left: Jean Muir, Britt Ekland, Joanna Lumley, Joan Collins and her daughter Sasha, Tom Gilbey, Gina Fratini and Diane Logan. Front: John Isaacs and Michael Rasser (one time colleagues at Leonard), who started Michaeljohn in 1967.

At Figurehead: George Britnell, proprietor, with clients (from left) Catherine Parent, Kari Lai, Lady Charles Spencer Churchill, Tessa Kennedy, Lady Charlotte Anne Curzon. This is the newest salon of them all - it opened in Pont Street this year.

At Figurehead: George Britnell, proprietor, with clients (from left) Catherine Parent, Kari Lai, Lady Charles Spencer Churchill, Tessa Kennedy, Lady Charlotte Anne Curzon. This is the newest salon of them all – it opened in Pont Street this year.

At the Cadogan Club: (from left to right) Ariana Stassinopolos, Rachel Roberts, Moira Lister, Patricia Millbourn and Aldo Bigozzi (partners), Katie Boyle, Joan Benham and Annette Andre.

At the Cadogan Club: (from left to right) Ariana Stassinopolos, Rachel Roberts, Moira Lister, Patricia Millbourn and Aldo Bigozzi (partners), Katie Boyle, Joan Benham and Annette Andre.

Voici les pépées du nouveau James Bond

1960s, angela scoular, Catherine Schell, Ciné Revue, diana rigg, Films, George Lazenby, Ingrit Back, James Bond, Jenny Hanley, joanna lumley, Julie Ege, Mona Chong

Ciné Revue, 23 Janvier 1969.

I am going to roughly translate that as Phwoar!! Check out the new James Bond’s bevvy of dollybirds*, to use contemporary British terminology.

I realise that Mr Lazenby really isn’t much cop as an actor, but a) he isn’t Sean Connery (who brings me out in hives) and b) On Her Majesty’s Secret Service has the glorious Ms Rigg in it, so no criticism is allowed chez Vintage-a-Peel. A great spread from Ciné Revue featuring all the key Bond girls in OHMSS (special mention for Angela Scoular), but weirdly omitting Joanna Lumley. Ah well, enjoy!

* I do realise this isn’t entirely accurate, but a literal translation seemed so boring…

The New Avenger in Lee Bender

annacat, bus stop, chelsea girl, harold ingram, jean varon, joanna lumley, lee bender, murray arbeid, norman hartnell, polly peck, terry de havilland, the avengers, website listings

I have just listed some stunning new pieces over at Vintage-a-Peel, but the real star of the show has got to be this incredible Lee Bender for Bus Stop skirt and halter top set. For it is identical to the one worn by Joanna Lumley in a photocall for The New Avengers in 1976. Deliciously bright and saucy, and the one thing which might distract the world from your pudding-bowl haircut!

Photos and links to other newly listed items follow underneath…

Late Sixties cord jacket (click to view listing)

Murray Arbeid 1980s turquoise cocktail dress (click to view listing)

Terry de Havilland 1970s gold glitter shoes (click to view listing)

Norman Hartnell early 1960s chiffon and soutache evening gown (click to view listing)

Annacat 1960s blue velvet jacket (click to view listing)

Harold Ingram 1970s knitted top (click to view listing)

Polly Peck 1960s white cotton blouse (click to view listing)

Chelsea Girl 1970s stripe jumper (click to view listing)

Tom Bowker for Jean Varon 1970s silver lamé top (click to view listing)

Joanna Lumley in Catherine Buckley, The New Avengers 1976

1970s, catherine buckley, joanna lumley, the avengers


It’s of the greatest frustration to me that nobody has yet bought this beautiful skirt by Catherine Buckley. Made from antique fabrics, patchworked into a maxi skirt, it is a key piece of this designer’s work and a beautiful garment to behold.

I knew she had designed clothes for Joanna Lumley as Purdey in The New Avengers, but it had been so long since I watched the episodes, I didn’t remember many individual outfits. Even so, it was highly unlikely that the super-active Purdey would have been wearing a patchwork maxi skirt. Or so I thought. Seems Ms Buckley designed a split midi version for the episode ‘House of Cards’ which Joanna wears to perfection in an action sequence.

Here are some stills, and here is a link to the skirt. Buckley’s work is rare enough, and these patchwork pieces even rarer.

Before they were famous: Joanna Lumley

1960s, joanna lumley, Vintage Adverts

Spotting old Joanna Lumley modelling shots could become an addictive pastime, and yet I keep forgetting to scan them in when I see them. No longer! From October 1968.

I’m not sure I know anyone who has inhibitions about jersey, but perhaps it was a big social problem in the 1960s?

Inspirational Images: Jean Muir models backstage

1970s, Inspirational Images, jean muir, joanna lumley

Joanna Lumley, Kelly, J.J. and Roz Wilkins. 1970

Scanned from Jean Muir (exhibition book from 1980) by Leeds Art Galleries.

Designers and models

amanda lear, bill gibb, christopher mcdonnell, jean muir, joanna lumley, john bates, mary quant, zandra rhodes

One of my favourite Telegraph magazine spreads (May 25th, 1973) featuring some of my favourite designers (and, for a few, their partners) with their favourite models, wearing favourite pieces from that season.






The Comely Miss Lumley

Inspirational Images, joanna lumley, Pattie Boyd, sixties

Joanna Lumley in her Swinging Sixties modelling days. An unashamedly posh bird who knew how best to work with masses of hair and ‘insufficient flying buttresses‘. I choose my style heroines verrrrrry carefully, you know…

She’s been in two of my favourite cult TV shows of all time (The New Avengers and Sapphire and Steel) and continues to be an elegant, engaging performer and a true lady to this day. I always admire those who broke somewhat pointless social taboos back in the Sixties, and Joanna chose to have her son ‘out of wedlock’ at a time when it would have ruined many a career.

She’s one of those people who just seems to float gracefully above the mêlée of the world below. Elegant, classy and sparky, never a snob or an airhead. She wasn’t drama school trained either, and I often wonder if this makes someone a warmer, more likeable actor (much like the best fashion designers are rarely those propelled from St. Martins each year).

One day I’ll probably do a proper post on The New Avengers and Sapphire and Steel but, until then, enjoy La Lumley, Sixties-style.