There are a few absolutes in vintage clothing, and the quality, fit and beauty of a Jeff Banks designed blouse is one of them. They’re my favourite vintage staple, beloved of anyone who loves clothes they can just sling on over some jeans and feel fabulous with minimal effort.
This blouse is made in a really stunning art-deco inspired printed fine cotton. Repeat printed with the head of a be-capped swimmer, it captures the fun and frivolous mood of Seventies clothing (which was so inspired by the novelty prints of the 30s and 40s). The fit is always beautiful with a Banks blouse, as are the delicious puffed sleeves and the enormous winged collar. If you don’t have one already, you need one. If you love Banks blouses, this is one of the best!
£45 over at Vintage-a-Peel……
Courtesy of the Sugababes and Girls Aloud (two supposedly ‘edgy’ girl groups in the UK for the blissfully uninitiated out there).
In terms of songs and general appeal, the Sugababes have always had the edge for me. Sure, not ALL of their songs are amazing but I’m not averse to the odd one on my MP3 player. I believe Girls Aloud are meant to have the same broad appeal, but unless I were to find myself slightly tipsy in a cheesy nightclub…I’m not sure I’d ever choose to listen to their music. In both cases, I think they’ve taken a long time and several stylists to get to a point where you could slightly respect their fashion sense too. But still the Sugababes have the edge for me. They’re far less cookie-cutter in appearance and I like their refusal to smile or dance much (coolness is as much in the eye of the beholder as beauty). Girls Aloud have more of a propensity to don those dreadful Kyri dresses so beloved of the Z-list celebrities and en masse they frequently resemble the hordes of hen parties I recall from my time living in Bournemouth.
The proof is in the two latest videos for the two tribes. Whereas the Sugababes have managed to pull off a stunning, Vogue-editorial-style promo for what is a slightly mediocre song*, Girls Aloud have produced the single most tacky visuals for the single worst song I think I’ve ever heard in my life.
I can kinda see where they were headed with the pseudo-Georgian corsets, feathers and big hair. And I admire big hair when people have the guts to do it. I even crimped in the name of Kate Bush for New Years, so I’m no slouch in the weird hair styling department. But something about the execution of the ideas, the lighting, the costume-y costumes….the sheer unconvincingness (it’s a word…..) of their attempts to be edgy in the face of such a dreadful song and the clear horror of having looked at themselves in the mirror prior to walking out on set and realising there’s no turning back…..(note to Girls Aloud…..this is the point where you stomp off and have a hissy diva fit and refuse to come back until they’ve replaced the stylist). Ohhhh the list is endless. It’s truly heinous.
I keep seeing the Sugababes video and cooing at Heidi’s pink hair. I have no idea why, although I did manage [I think] to pull off a blue wig once before in my life. At least I think I did. I have worn some weird stuff in my time. The hair and make-up styling is varied and beautiful. I also love the newspaper dress, the plastic bag(?) one, the playing card hats and pretty much just about everything in there. Hugely unwearable but genuinely, bafflingly brilliant. Heidi’s even wearing a Pierrot collar at one point (I can see I will not rest until I’ve gone out in one – it’s turning into a theme at the moment).
At times they both reminded me of the Army of Lovers Crucified video (see below if you’ve never seen it – high camp and highly rewarding!!).
Anyway, enough wittering. I thought it was an interesting compare and contrast example of getting it right vs. getting it horribly wrong.
*It’s still better than anything I’ve ever heard by Girls Aloud
At some point, I intend to make Alison Goldfrapp one of my website style icons and I will wax lyrical about her fabulousness in greater detail. In the meantime, may I just say that the photoshoot for Goldfrapp’s latest album, Seventh Tree, is officially my new favourite photoshoot in recent years. I knew I was going to love the new look after the distinctly Bill Gibb style tunic she wore in the A&E video, [and whoever created the dancing leaf people was a genius], but I had no idea just how much. I really hope there are even more shots from this, but for the time being I’ll just post the divine images I’ve seen so far. Yeah, yeah, it’s not exactly wearable but who cares?
It’s not often you’ll get a vintage fangirl squee out of me (I guess cult TV fans will know what a squee is…..otherwise, just imagine a squeal and much hand clapping and excitement), usually only when I spot a frock I have in an old magazine or film, but when a friend sent me a link to these Bowie ‘videos’ from his Love You Til Tuesday film, I squealed like the Ossie-snuffling-pig that I am.
I’m not really sure it gets much better than Bowie in Ossie. Everyone knows Jagger in Ossie frocks and jumpsuits. But I’m not really a Jagger girl, not like I’m a Bowie girl anyway.
As an entertaining postscript, he seems to have adored that chinoiserie print shirt because I’ve found two more clips of him wearing it over the next year (and those are only the ones on youtube). Those were the days my friend, when you didn’t care if you wore something more than once because damn! it’s an Ossie and it’s fabulous. I find I still take that attitude about vintage pieces, you can wear something everytime you go out but you’ll still always find someone new will compliment you on it.
To end, and just because I feel like it, here are Flight of the Conchords with their truly, truly excellent Bowie tribute…
My flatmate left this article out this morning for me, and I must admit that I punched the air a little bit. I can’t even begin to imagine how painful this all must be for them, it’s painful enough as a fan of the great man himself, to see your father’s memory being tainted and exploited by a tacky relaunch. I also read an article with Celia in the Independent where she skirted around the gross insult that this relaunch is with her trademark steely tact. Yet, in an article in the ES magazine (which oddly fell into my hands on the tube on Sunday night, and entertained me when I noticed the fallen frayed hem on one of the dresses in the background) the twosome spearheading this revival bleated on about how Celia had come around to the idea.
“Celia came along to meet Av and she was absolutely fine with it.”
Not the impression I got, that’s for sure. Especially in light of today’s news.
Anyway, to the collection itself. The snippets I have seen have proved to me that a substantial proportion of the collection is a poor remake of some of Ossie’s original designs. The yellow plunge neck which seems to be being used as the key image so far, more resembles one of his Model T Ford plunge necks with some of the neckline stitched up (you see them on ebay occasionally, courtesy of some very modest original owners). Like they designed with the big plunge in mind, but chickened out at the last minute (either that or poor cutting meant it didn’t sit properly on the body and modifications needed to be made).
Everything else? Yawn. Sorry, most of it looks like bog standard attempts at avant-garde-inspired-by-Ossie (like this puffball of a piece below). The designer is not, as some lackey who posted on my blog a while ago likes to insist, showing any independence of thought or proving to me that he is a creative and powerful new talent in the design world. He may well be, but how am I suppose to know that from all this bobbins?
Oh and that brings me to the prints. Now I know Celia couldn’t or wouldn’t be involved, and I’d have been just as aghast if they’d attempted to duplicate her work but…..seriously? Is this the best they could get? Smudgy, tie-dyed blobs in super dull and dreary colours? I don’t suppose I’d particularly notice the prints in any other collection but when it’s attempting to recreate the Ossie Clark magic, they really do draw the eye and then beat it with a big, dull stick.
I’m a cynic I know, and cynical folks out there will smirk and comment that I always set out to loathe this collection. They’d be right. But I’m also prepared to admit when I’ve been wrong. But this time, I wasn’t wrong. My instincts were all right. This wasn’t about the creation of new and beautiful works of art inspired by the legacy of Ossie. This wasn’t even the duplication-fest I thought it would be. It’s worse than that, it’s fallen between the two stools very, very hard on its bum.
Nice try, but no biscuit.
Price on request? Please! Spend your money on an original. They’ll be a lot cheaper, last a lot longer and you know what? Ossie Clark actually designed them.
Last night, on the tube up to to Kings Cross, I saw something which nearly made me whip out my mobile phone to take a pic…..but, I just couldn’t do it to the poor kid. I’m sure he was on his way to a gig or something, this teenage boy (at least I’m assuming so, and what a poor fashion-victim sod who should know better if he ISN’T a teenager) got on wearing what I believe is a pure Hoxton look. Y’know, the whole Russell Brand, Noel Fielding skinny black jeans and skinny leather jacket get up (and these were, officially the skinniest jeans I ever did see). The silver winklepickers were quite a sight to behold, so shiny I’m sure he could see his face in them. But what really tickled me, thankfully not literally, was his hair.
I’m sure he was going for the Noel Fielding bouffant shaggy backcombed coif…..comme ci
But somehow wound up looking more like Dusty from the Bay City Rollers…..comme ça
I’m sure it wasn’t the intention, but I thought he’d have actually looked more ‘individual’ and edgy if he’d gone for the cropped flares and platforms instead of the skinny jeans and winklepickers. Ridiculous, yes…..but he looked ridiculous anyway. At least he’d have been ridiculous in a way I could admire, because I certainly can’t laugh at people in platforms. You should see how many I have in my wardrobe…..
As promised, I’ve been working to bring you some gorgeous new eBay and website listings. Firstly the eBay goodies listed last night…… Aristos Deco Print Tea Dress – Bus Stop Striped Satin Kimono Top – Orange Lace and Rosebud Mini Dress And many more, just click here to see them!
Frank Usher Goddess Dress – Alley Cat Betsey Johnson Lace Up Dress – Jean Varon Tribal Print Dress – Pam Hogg Wetlook Bondage Dress
Aristos Deco Print Tea Dress – Bus Stop Striped Satin Kimono Top – Orange Lace and Rosebud Mini Dress
And many more, just click here to see them!