The Party Dazzlers

1970s, Alana Collins, Anne Turkel, barbara hulanicki, Barbara Hulanicki, biba, Blades, bus stop, corocraft, cosmopolitan, Dana Gillespie, Deirdre McSharry, edina ronay, Eva Reuber-Staier, Feathers, Fiona Lewis, Hildebrand, Inspirational Images, jeff banks, just men, mary quant, Nancy Bleier, norman eales, Peter Bubb, Peter Finley, platforms, polly peck, Sally McElvin, sandie shaw, Stephanie McLean, terry de havilland, Vintage Editorials, yves saint laurent
Dana Gillespie, the bosomy (43 in., actually) Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar, is the most modest of party girls. At the show’s opening night party she turned up in her old gipsy skirt and a t-shirt, happily flashing her gold and jewelled snake rings. “Sometimes I feel like being outrageous – I just wish there were more parties to entice me out. When I was on my own I went to parties to see more people so I wouldn’t be on my own.” Alone only for the picture, Dana wears her snake collection, backed by a velvet dress and jewelled jacket, designed by her friend Sally McElvin. Pop designer Sally makes one-offs only, from £20.

In the words of Noel Coward, every girl ought to be able to say the morning after, “I’ve been to a mah-vellous party.” A little champagne does not go amiss, but this winter the clothes alone will put a gleam in your eye. There are enough sequins, crystal beads and glittering fabrics to guarantee you are the star attraction. To clinch the deal, I’ve asked some of the most stunning party girls around to give their definition of what constitutes a marvellous party and to put the most dazzling party frocks to the test…

Fashion by Deirdre McSharry.

Photographed by Norman Eales.

Scanned from Cosmopolitan, December 1972.

Ann Turkel is the 5ft 10in. tall New Yorker who steals the limelight from the stars at film premieres, so parties are just kid’s stuff. “Parties? That’s when I know no other woman in the room can ‘top me’. I make a real effort – my mother has dresses made up specially in New York and ships them over – I never wear the same dress as any other woman. I know I’m a success when the photographers start crowding me. I like a man who appreciates when you are looking great.” Ann, who likes to move in a cloud of Youth Dew by Estee Lauder, comes on diamond bright in sequins and taffeta. Jacket by Biba £20. Red dress by Mary Quant £12.60.
Eva Reuber-Staier is the ex-Miss World turned TV personality who helped present BBC1’s Animal Stars. She’s cool, poised and gregarious. “I love parties, the kind with pretty girls and clever men. I prefer big parties; there’s more of a choice. I got to at least two parties per week.” The best one she says was given by some Cambidge dons. “Clever, but sexy with it, and could they dance!” Would she make the first move if she fancied a man at a party? “Fortunately I don’t have to.” Cleverly draped, sexy dress by John Bates for Jean Varon £36. Roses by Spectrum. Shoes by Terry de Havilland £13.99. Pop singer Gary Hamilton, star of Hair and several horror films says, “It’s the quiet girls who catch my eye.” Gary in satin trousers by Blades.
Alana Collins is tall, blonde and blue-eyed. “At parties back home in Nacogdoches, Texas, the boys used to call me the Duchess because I love to get dressed up. That was the original one-horse town, but in London I still like to cause a stir. There’s such a variety at parties – long and short hair. I go for the man who is paying total attention to one woman. And if you give him all yours, that clicks.” A lady who watches her strategy. Alana is the perfect Cosmo party girl in pink draped jersey by John Bates for Jean Varon £27. Sheos by Yves Saint Laurent £19.50.
Sandie Shaw sings for her supper. Her husband Jeff Banks, designs for his. United on most fronts, the Banks are divided on parties: “I hate them,” she says. “I love ’em,” he leers. Then they go on remember half a dozen great parties they’ve given including one in a char-a-banc to Southend; another on a river boat and a third at Madame Tussauds. “My idea of a good party is mostly fellas,” says Sandie, “but I don’t like him to look posh. The thing is, he loves me dressed up.” Dolled up for “that great party no one ever seems to give,” as Jeff says, is Sandie in a Banks special, suitably glittery in green and gold gauze. Sandie’s hair by Smiles. Jeff’s clothes by Blades.
Nancy Bleier, a bouncing brunette model import from Milwaukee, prefers her parties on the small size. “Just a few intimate friends, a quite dinner and dancing at Tramp or Annabel’s,” says Nancy who keeps her party figure by taking modern dance lessons. Nancy makes her eyes up like Sophia Loren, wears a lot of scent and generally sticks to trousers at parties. “My French boyfriend says: ‘Darling why don’t you ever wear a dress?’ He offered to buy me one – but never did.” Not downcast, Nancy dresses up for Swiss model Reto in a 1000 watt lime glitter outfit from Biba, top £14, skirt £15.25. Reto’s dinner suit from Just Men, £45.
Edina Ronay, the actress and model says: “A good party is when Warren Beatty murmers ‘call me tomorrow’. Actually the best parties are the ones I give myself – straight and freaky, champagne and – uh – cakes. The people look at each other and enjoy the difference. What happens afterwards – that’s what counts about parties.” Edina, who had her hair hennaed in Morocco, gets ready for her Christmas party in crushed pink velvet and feathers. Dress by Biba £15, boa and ‘diamond’ ring by Bus Stop, £6.50 and £1.95. Robert wears sequined jacket by Dior and ruffled shirt by Just Men.
Stephanie McLean, at 5ft 10in., is the kind of status blonde most men hope to meet at parties. And it was at a party where her husband, a photographer who specialises in nudes, met her. Says Stephanie, “Now when we go to parties we separate – otherwise why bother to go out at all? – but I keep my eye on him. I prefer relaxed, informal parties and almost always wear jeans. Sometimes I get dressed up and he says ‘you look fantatic, we’ll go out.'” Looking dressed up in a glittery silver and black taffeta dress by Polly Peck £12.85. Peter Finley the model who prefers parties for two, wears black satin trousers from Blades.
Film actress Fiona Lewis has the sophisticated face of the Seventies, so it’s not surprising that her idea of a party is simple – and expensive. “Lots of drinks and lots of people, never punch which is a bore and bad for your digestion. Simple things like smoked salmon and chilled white wine are best. And I prefer to wear fantasy clothes which I run up myself from scarves. I ask dishy men and tell them to bring their friends.” Fiona adds her own glitter to a black and white taffeta halter dress, Hildebrand about £18.50 and also a floating red chiffon dress aove right, at Feathers £25. Peter Bubb the model wears velvet dinner jacket by Just Men £35.

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


britt ekland, Catherine Deneuve, emma peel, jane birkin, jenny boyd, maureen starkey, natalie wood, oliver reed, ossie clark, pan's people, prince, sandie shaw, stevie nicks, the avengers

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.

Fantasy will set you free…

anna karina, dale bozzio, groupies, gtos, harlow, jane kahn, kahn and bell, lene lovich, miss mouse, new romantic, pamela des barres, pan's people, psychedelia, sandie shaw

Sometimes I have those crushing moments of clear, crisp reality and remember that people (people other than Lady GaGa, I mean) don’t dress up in truly fantasian styles these days. Unless ‘wags’ or ‘porn stars’ were your childhood fantasy.

What about raggedy dolls, warrior queens, belly dancers and silent film goddesses?

Whilst I continue to [apparently] shock the world with my, ooh – gasp!, novelty duck and rabbit print Miss Mouse dress. Honestly. They don’t know from shocking…

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.

Nice one, Allen

celebrities in vintage, lily allen, ossie clark, sandie shaw

Looks like Lily Allen was out and about in a lovely black Ossie Clark dress last night. I suppose it might be a repro, or a Jimmy Choo for H&M, but I sincerely hope not. Googling around to try and find out, I see she’s planning to launch her own ‘vintage label’ at Goodwood this August. Hmm.

Sounds like a pretty awesome event; Sandie Shaw, The Damned etc. Though with that, Roxy at Lovebox and The Who at the Albert Hall….I am going to be stoney broke if I do everything I want to do this year.

Oh poo.

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!

Sandie Shaw Boutique

1960s, cathy mcgowan, celebrity boutiques, jeff banks, personal collection, sandie shaw, twiggy

The other day I promised to show my Sandie Shaw dress. It’s a navy wool crepe with a very nifty little double layered collar (the top layer being in white moss crepe).

I can’t promise this will be a terribly long or informative blog post, because there’s so little information out there about the label. It opened in 1967 and, needless to say, Sandie didn’t design the dresses and shoes (although she had full ‘approval’). I suspect it didn’t last very long, much like Twiggy and Cathy McGowan’s boutique labels. Perhaps there was deemed a conflict of interests when she married designer Jeff Banks in 1968?

Sandie opening her boutique in 1967

I will make Sandie one of my Fashion Icons at some point, whereupon I shall write more comprehensively (if I ever do such a thing) about her and her style. But if any of you are not familiar with our girl, I should probably tell you that her trademark was to sing barefoot. So much was made of the fact that her label was producing shoes!

The images have been taken from footage shown in the BBC’s Queens of Pop programme.

Yes Sandie, I’d be grimacing if they put me in a wig like that!

A screengrab cannot truly capture the seriously groovy Sixties dancing going on at this point.

Ouch, bunions ahoy!

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…..

Back to business…

1960s, 1970s, british boutique movement, clobber, emma domb, florrie carr, jeff banks, lee bender, sandie shaw, topshop, youthquake

Thanks to the great British weather, I’ve been a little quieter than usual (NOT suitable weather for taking photographs at all, unless I want people squinting at blobs in my listings….) but I’ve just listed some doozies over on ebay….AND I have even more to come both there and on the website. Getting there…..getting there!

Firstly the ebay malarkey. Well, we have a scrumptious Janice Wainwright jacket (left) in black wool crepe and embroidered with all sorts of lovely flowers and insects(!). Eagle-eyed viewers will note that this is the black version of the suit on my website. Although, alas, this has lost its bottom half – it certainly doesn’t stop it from being excessively wearable. Just imagine over a frilly shirt and jeans!

Other notables include a very, VERY rare Sandie Shaw boutique mini (she of Eurovision and Jeff Banks marriage fame), a jawdroppingly beautiful Thirties evening gown (check out the halter neck and the adorable bow on the tushy!) and a slinky, sultry gypsy dress by Vintage-a-Peel favourite (and scourge of Topshop, apparently), Lee Bender for Bus Stop.

Coming up on the website in the next week will be a red cord Youthquake mini dress (laced up the front….sauuuucccccyy!!), a delicious Forties-inspired moss crepe printed dress by British Boutique woman of mystery Florrie Carr (I suspect she may be married to David Silverman and they both live in Atlantis or something….), a Paddington Bear type check mini dress by Clobber (a.k.a Jeff Banks, of Sandie Shaw marriage fame) and one of the most stunning dresses I’ve had the good fortune to come across by Emma Domb (right) under her earliest label. It’s seriously movie-star-tastic!

Liz xxx