If you haven’t already seen the fabulous There’s a Girl in My Soup, please do so immediately! Quite apart from its general Swinging Sixties fabulousness (Goldie Hawn, Peter Sellers and a very groovy soundtrack), Ms. Hawn’s entire wardrobe was designed by Ossie Clark AND Alice Pollock. Quite how a poor American girl living in a basement with her sleazy boyfriend could afford Alice and Ossie to start with, I’ll never know – but I guess that’s why we watch films.
We first meet her in a very sassy little yellow ruffled crop top, navy blue calf-length crepe skirt and an astonishing blue and yellow high collared cloak.
On their jaunt to France, she gets sozzled in a see-through green chiffon mini dress with plunging ruffled neckline, buttoned back and matching green knickers (quite clearly visible even before she disgraces herself and gets carried around on his shoulder).
Next she dons a gorgeous cream chiffon blouse (the ruffles do the concealment work of a bra, apparently), flippy cream maxi skirt and a trailing chiffon trimmed straw hat.
We briefly see what looks like an incredible pink crepe maxi overdress and a floppy pink felt hat which is trimmed with a distinctive Celia print chiffon.
Then she happens to run across a Boutique in which she finds the most incredibly vibrant Celia-print halter neck maxi (if only t’were that easy these days) in which she dances the night away with a garland of flowers around her neck.
Finally, her new found confidence and savvy is reflected in a super sharp black skirt suit with a cream silk sharp collared blouse (and some serious hair!).
I queued patiently to buy some of the Celia magic, I tried to zone out the people standing around muttering “No idea who this woman is, but I know this stuff will sell on ebay”, I narrowly avoided being ripped to shreds as the rails were pushed out and all hell broke loose. I bought the pieces which had some manufacturing integrity (did anyone actually ever wear that botticelli print silk monstrosity?? so badly made I wanted to weep….) and put my years of hardened vintage shopping to good use as I walked around clutching the dress everyone was wetting themselves over and ignoring the black market-level dirty looks and whispers of ‘are you buying that?’
It was fun as a one-off. Something to tell the grandkids about, since I don’t have a Biba experience like that to share.
I didn’t bother second time around, the second collection was a poor relation and I don’t need the hassle. I’d rather spend my time and money getting an original.But at least she designed the prints and had some claim to the copied shapes of Ossie’s. The woman has talent.
Kate Moss at Topshop is a travesty. Normally such a non-event would barely register in the world of Ms. Peelpants. I couldn’t care less about Madonna at H&M, Lily Allen at New Look or even some of the least talented designers in the world getting deals with the same shops (naming no names, but I’ve heard some very interesting first-hand things about one of them lately and am suitably smug that I guessed they had no talent years ago). But Kate Moss at Topshop has affected me on a very personal level, and opened eyes to the true extent of the shallow money-grabbing at the heart of the fashion world these days.
I remember noting with amusement that Kate Moss had a vintage Bus Stop dress I also have. Much like the Ossie jacket she once wore, it’s always a nice little nod to the vintage community that vintage is still cool and it can do wonders for the image of what are, to most people’s minds, just someone’s old cast-offs. We know they’re not, but sometimes the challenge is to change other people’s perceptions. Kate Moss did the vintage community a lot of good in the past, but now she’s cheated on us.
For she has now ‘allowed’ (inverted commas to note that it is not her place to allow such a thing) Topshop to copy the aforementioned dress for her ‘collection’. A travesty so awful, on so many levels it’s taken me about a week to calm down enough to write this. They’ve copied the dress exactly, even down to getting the print copied and the detailing around the neck and on the sleeves. To add insult to injury, the dress in her closet had been hacked with what looks like nail scissors and is now a bum-skimming mini dress. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when I see how badly out of proportion even the remake is. They’ve remade a ruined dress.
Lee Bender should sue Topshop. Her work has been copied stitch for stitch. It’s one thing to be inspired, Bender herself would have to admit that the dress was heavily inspired by dresses of the Forties, but there’s no room for the word inspiration here. This is duplication and it’s disgusting.
On a more personal level, one of my absolute favourite dresses has been ruined for me. This year everyone will think I’m wearing bleeding Kate Moss at Topshop. Next year, everyone will think I’m wearing two seasons old bleeding Kate Moss at Topshop. Two years time, perhaps the fashion world with its attention span of a gnat might have forgotten all about Kate Moss at Topshop (or perhaps Kate Moss herself, we can but hope).But my dress will still be tainted by the association and I resent the fact that I will always have to think carefully about whether to wear it or not. To sell it now would be to cash in. To sell next year, well no one will want the same problems I would have. But really, I don’t want to sell it. I bought it for me, and it fits me like it was stitched to my body.