White lawn dress printed with butterflies and flowers by Thea Porter. Straw hat by Buckle Under. Red wedge shoes by Kurt Geiger. Belt by Shape.
There’s a good reason why Vanity Fair is possibly my favourite magazine of this period. They were relatively conventional in the 1960s, and would ‘merge’ with Honey magazine around 1972, but in their death knells they were just about the most innovative magazine in the UK. Issues were often themed around ‘issues’, for example this one is entirely themed around break-ups and divorces (including a story on what a divorced man should wear when taking his kid out for the day).
Nor did they shy away from more expensive designer names, such as Thea Porter and Zandra Rhodes here, mixing them happily with the more affordable but still iconic boutique names like Stirling Cooper and Mr Freedom. Adding Foale and Tuffin, Pablo and Delia and Terry de Havilland into the mix for good measure, and all those stunning illustrations by Michael Foreman… this is one of my favourite editorials of all time.
Vanity Fair is also, frankly, a nightmare to scan because it falls apart at the binding with the lightest touch, which is why I don’t scan them as often. So enjoy the heaven of Harri Peccinotti’s work while I gently shuffle all the pages back into the magazine…
Photographed by Harri Peccinotti.
Illustrations by Michael Foreman.
Scanned by Miss Peelpants from Vanity Fair, April 1971.
Long grey crepe dress patterned with purple, green and red birds by Shape. Pablo and Delia suede thong necklace. Blue suede shoes at Sacha.
Beige suede skirt with applique shapes and matching shawl by Mary Quant. Necklace from Buckle Under. Beige suede boots by Guy Humphries.
Blue and white feather printed chiffon dress by Zandra Rhodes.
Left to right: Chiffon blouse and multi-coloured skirt by Foale and Tuffin. Painted rainbow shoes from Mr Freedom. Painted belt by Shape. // Cream and red jersey catsuit (top only showing) and banded red and cream skirt both from Stirling Cooper. Red shoes by Kurt Geiger. // Cream, yellow and red jersey dress by Stirling Cooper. Pull on hat by Janice Peskett. // Red cotton t-shirt by Erica Budd. Cream dungarees from Stirling Cooper. Red python sandals at Elliotts.
Above: Mauve satin cotton pinafore dress and blouse by Gladrags. Right: Bottom half of Alistair Cowin calico trousers with green printing. Green and yellow shoes by Terry de Havilland. Far right: Black velvet dungarees with white satin applique heart from Mr Freedom. Chiffon blouse from Foale and Tuffin. Mauve canvas boots at Charles Jourdan.
…can be coped with from bed If you have a telephone, a writing hand, and a London address, why walk? Christmas can come to you.
Pretty much my idea of perfection, from the Thea Porter kaftan to the Caroline Smith poster on the wall…
Photographed by Richard Winslade.
Scanned by Miss Peelpants from Queen, December 1969.
Fire red paisley for a Celtic summer: The haunted house at Parc, near Afon Crosesor, where ghostly things happen all the time. Wild red flickering skirt, paisley and red gold organdie blouse with gold Turkish bodice. Skirt, blouse and top to order from Thea Porter. Fire red boots by Elliott. Sash pin from Ken Lane. Amber beads ,wrist scarf and long red scarf by Ascher.
Photographed by Norman Parkinson.
Scanned by Miss Peelpants from Vogue, July 1969.
If I were an elegant lady Jet-Setter, with empty closets to be filled and a blank chequebook – where in the world would I buy my clothes? Italy, for divinely coloured mix-match knitted tweeds and marvellous bags and shoes. Then Paris for shirts and skirts and trousers, made the way only the French know how, signed Dior and Lanvin and Eres and you-name-it. New York, why not, for the perfect sporty shirtwaister, signed Halston. And for that absolutely smash-hit long thing to wear any time after 6pm? London, without hestitation. Signed Bill Gibb. Or Zandra Rhodes. Or Thea Porter. How or why London suddenly happens to possess three such blazing talents in this specialised field is a mystery: but there they are, all three of them turning out dresses of such individuality and beauty that if I just spotted the name in a sale I’d snap it out almost without pausing to examine it: alas I could hardly afford it otherwise, for these designers are hardly typical. They are absolutely top-of-the-tree.
I was delighted to find this piece in a copy of ‘In Britain’ magazine, which appears to have been a magazine specifically for the high-end tourist market (perhaps for airports or travel agents?). Written by the Fashion Editor of the Daily Mail, Barbara Griggs, it covers three of Britains most ‘couture’ designers: Thea Porter, Bill Gibb and Zandra Rhodes. Firstly I bring you, Thea Porter.
Thea Porter is small and auburn-haired and quiet. She works flat out, dressed in ankle-length black velvet, in her small Soho shop crammed with precious scraps of brocade and prints and embroidery. There are rails full of her beautiful robes: the abayas – floaty dresses cut almost in a square – the clinging printed chiffons, the lavishly embroidered jackets to be worn with a plain black shirt, the silky pyjamas. Hallmark of the perfect Thea Porter: an oriental richness. If the fabric is an exotic print or mix of them, the seams of the dress are piped in gold, or the belt encrusted with embroidery, or the skirt trimmed with frilled pleating. But Thea insists: “They’re meant to be worn very, very simply – with just a little real antique jewellery, perhaps.” Many of her dresses are sold straight off the peg: more are made up to order for favourite customers like Sarah Miles and Eartha Kitt.
Photographed by Peter Kent.
Scanned by Miss Peelpants from In Britain, May 1973.
Inscrutable means being “wholly mysterious” and after a summer of freckles and jeans maybe the time is ripe for the return of the cool, self-regarding beauty. Julie Ege, Queen of a thousand popping flash bulbs, without whom no première is complete, veils her flashing smile to emerge as the epitome of the new inscrutable woman, in our picture.
Dress by Thea Porter. Necklaces from the Purple Shop. Bracelets and rings from Jones, Beauchamp Place. Fur rug from Harrods. Make up by Pierre LaRoche for Estée Lauder. Hair by Oliver at Leonard.
Photographed by David Anthony.
Scanned by Miss Peelpants from Cosmopolitan, September 1973.
Apologies for the protracted absence! I am most definitely back, working on new blogs for both here and Shrimpton Couture Curate, and of course I’m still sourcing the best boutique vintage for you over at Vintage-a-Peel! xx
Arabella Churchill and violet velvet choker: Bead in flower and loop, £3 at Thea Porter (her ribbons have butterflies too). Gibson Girl hair by Patricia of The Cadogan Club, Sloane St.
Photographed by Richard Imrie.
Scanned by Miss Peelpants from Vogue, April 1970.
More about Bibette here.
Indian glass bead choker, clever pretty patterns and tinkling fringe. One wide and black and white, £12, one narrow and yellow and orange, £6. By Bibette, at Thea Porter, 8 Greek Street.
In the Baghdad Room of Topkapi, full of the ghosts of harem women, black and gold decorations to wear, baggy drawstring trousers, silks, velvets, netted and worked with gilded peacocks for a rich top with immense sleeves gathered in twice. By Bill Gibb for Baccarat. High lifted sandals at Thea Porter.
Photographed by Barry Lategan.
Scanned by Miss Peelpants from Vogue, November 1971
In the harem, green brocade with sleeves coming through and a pointed petal hem worn under Turkish evening blue – a coat the colour of the electric moment, panelled in scarlet and midnight and violet, flying pinked blue streamers. All to order at Thea Porter. Platform sandals by Andrea Pfister.