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

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.

Party Time: Which ten would you pick?

anne nightingale, diana rigg, frank zappa, george harrison, Honey Magazine, kenny everett, marianne faithfull, terence stamp

Scanned from Cosmopolitan, June 1974

Which ten would I pick for my dinner party? Diana Rigg and George Harrison for beauty, wit and talent. Frank Zappa and Kenny Everett, to see what on earth would go on between the two of them and to see whether they could crack a smile from Terence Stamp. Una Stubbs seems like she’d be awfully good fun, and Marjorie Proops could probably help dear Marianne Faithfull quite a bit. Anne Nightingale could ensure the music selection was perfect, and finally I’d have Engelbert Humperdink there – purely for washing-up and general dogsbody purposes.

Inspirational Images: Marianne Faithfull

celia birtwell, marianne faithfull, ossie clark, seventies fashion
Marianne Faithfull in Ossie Clark, by David Redfern 1973.


She looks so sad here, and this contrasts in a perversely beautiful way with the most exquisite Ossie Clark dress she’s wearing. I’ve been listening to her a fair bit lately and she often makes me snivel in public. A feat managed only by a handful of people…

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.

Random Picture Spam: Eyeliner

amanda lear, eyeliner, Françoise Hardy, Make-up, marianne faithfull, maureen starkey, natalie wood, pamela des barres, peggy moffitt, penelope tree, sandie shaw, sixties

I’m far too tired, achy and discombobulated to post anything too long and rambly tonight, so here’s a random picture post so I can attempt to maintain my unusual prolificacy at the moment….

I wish it were profligacy though; I love how I have to really think about which word I want to use. Ah well, that will come soon enough when I’ve recovered from the multitude of stresses which are upon me at the moment. And when it does, I will be wearing lots of eyeliner and lashes and drinking a lot of brandy. So just you watch out!

Well there you go, I was a bit rambly. Ha!













A more unusual Ossie spot: Peter Gabriel

bryan ferry, david bowie, marianne faithfull, ossie clark

Watching the Seven Ages of Rock on YeSTERDAY [or is it yEsterday? I can never remember now…] I happened upon a surprising Ossie spot. After initially enjoying young Mr David Gilmour (yummy!), the BryanGod (yummier!!) and then a young Peter Gabriel (surprisingly yum in his early days, I hadn’t realised)…..they proceeded to show the clip of Gabriel with the fox head….and a red dress. But not just any red dress….

Oh yeah. Mr Gabriel was wearing an Ossie. Presumably belonging to his wife? I think it rather suits him, and certainly makes an interesting contrast to Bowie and Jagger wearing “official” Ossie menswear.

I once sold the black version over at Vintage-a-Peel. I wonder, should I ever come across another one, whether the Gabriel connection would be a unique selling point?? Methinks perhaps not….


I think Marianne is still the bestest wearer of this style, although it helps that hers is a Celia print….

Queens of Pop

dusty springfield, john bates, kate bush, marianne faithfull, sandie shaw, siouxsie sioux, suzi quatro

Did anyone see the BBC1 Queens of Pop programme the other night? Neither did I. Now I know I don’t watch a lot of telly these days but, when I do, I see every other show being trailed to death. Yet I had no idea this had been on. Luckily I was able to use iPlayer, so hopefully any other UK readers who might have missed out can get to see it.

It’s not exactly earth-shatteringly interesting, more a fluffy bit of eye candy. But oh what eye candy! It was almost quite John Bates-tastic, what with Dusty Springfield in her empire line beaded hobble skirt gowns, and Sandie Shaw wearing what I’m certain is a Bates here.

They also briefly touched on the Sandie Shaw Boutique, even showing some clips of the opening and the designs. My eyes nearly popped out of my head. There’s hardly any information around about this little venture, so to suddenly have the footage was fabulous. I have one, very groovy, Sandie Shaw dress which I recently had cleaned’n’pressed and shall photograph’n’blog about very soon.

So team Dusty and Sandie, with Marianne, Suzi, Siouxsie and Kate….and you’ve pretty much got a perfect line-up of awesome music and even more awesome (what? I’m a fashion girl…not a musician….) clothes and make-up.

Also very well worth watching just to see John Lydon getting all sweet and soppy over Kate Bush. Awwww…..