This dress is so vivid, slinky and confident that it almost looks too good to be true! The label says otherwise though: Party Lines by Domb, the very first label used by the Californian Queen of Party Dresses, Emma Domb.
It hugs your curves, the structure of the ruched waist enhancing the hourglass effect. I love the exotic print, grapes and flowers in vivid greens and purples. The one-shoulder design is beautifully executed and drapes elegantly.
It’s definitely designed for a confident siren and is perfect for lounging around drinking cocktails, with ruby red lips blazing and loosely curled hair cascading over your bare shoulder.
Available over at Vintage-a-Peel.co.uk
If some millionaire wishes to purchase this piece for me, I’d be very grateful!
I’ve been a busy bee with Vintage-a-Peel lately, and if you head on over there now you’ll find some lovely new listings including these little highlights…..
White crochet tablecloth mini dress by The London Mob of Carnaby Street (£175)
Stunning draped satin 1940s dress by Hollywood designer Dorothy O’Hara (£225)
Saucy keyhole pink draped goddess dress by Frank Usher (£145)
Super glam rock leopard print skirt by Biba (£95)
Billowing floral Jeff Banks smock top (£75)
I must admit, I’ve never really understood the whole Veruschka ‘thing’. I mean, clearly she’s never encountered the ugly stick in her life but I find her looks to be a bit….well……blahhhhhh. I like unusual, quirky looking people and she is frequently described as ‘amazonian’ and exotic but I simply cannot understand or see this.
Anyway, I slightly changed my mind when I saw this gorgeous spread in The Telegraph Magazine (something of a Seventies boutique bible at times) from 1972. Touted as “The price of looking like Veruschka is less than you think” and showing her in inexpensive British Boutique clothes, she actually looks quite cute for once…..and I really love the background of Woburn Abbey.
The front cover in a Jeff Banks smock is my joint favourite with the window shot of her in Bus Stop cheesecloth. But they’re all pretty fabulous……enjoy!!
By way of a little tribute, here are two of my favourite pairs of shoes….both by YSL.
Firstly the [faux I think] snakeskin peeptoes I wore to the Sex and the City film, coincidentally on the night he passed away.
Jumpsuits are one of the great dividers of the fashion world. It seems many designers and women are prepared to give them a whirl every few years, but the fashion cognoscenti [and the fug girls] would have you believe they are akin to crimplene, camel-toe, tights with sandals or VPL in the no-no stakes. It’s understandable given the occasional jumpsuit faux pas committed by the likes of Anneka Rice in the Eighties and plenty of badly made nylon numbers which permeated every naff catalogue in the mid- Seventies. And the propensity to the aforementioned camel-toe and VPL if you pick the wrong one.
However, a jumpsuit can be a truly beautiful thing. Not sure? Let me convince you……
The obvious place to start with me would be Mrs Gale (right) and Mrs Peel in The Avengers. Theirs are probably more of a catsuit than a jumpsuit (I’m not sure there’s a precise differentiation, but I’d say the width of the leg has something to do with it) but it’s probably where my own love of the mighty jumpsuit began. In fact, no, perhaps it was actually the adorable Glynis Barber in Blakes 7 (see left and below, that was the best image I could find….honest!). Anyway, it’s always been something of a sci-fi staple. If you’re being generous with the folks behind [arf arf] all these mighty decisions you could say it was for practicality, ease of movement and….hey, who can say what we’ll be wearing in the far distant future, out in space? [Well, if we are wearing jumpsuits, let's just hope they invent an easier way of popping to the loo in one!] However, if you’re being a cynical feminist…..then it’s pretty much all about the arse isn’t it?
Of course, the jumpsuit was not a Sixties invention. Back in the Thirties, some fashionable ladies wore playsuits for leisure or lounge-wear. Usually made from silk or satin, and printed in glorious art deco patterns, they were widely flared in the leg and resembled a long dress to the casual observer. The more form-fitting ‘catsuit’ style emerged later on in the Fifties with the increased popularity of casualwear for women. These tended to be very fitted in the waist with blouson bust and hips, and usually sported a more tapered leg. They were never quite high fashion though, remaining the preserve of Hollywood starlets and teenagers in the United States.
It was the Sixties which brought them to the high fashion table. In a decade where practically every inch of your legs was on display by 1967, even in Paris, it’s not surprising that women in trousers swiftly led to the emergence of the catsuit as acceptable day or evening wear for respectable women the world over. In fact, it was probably rather liberating for those who were tired of the mini or found that it didn’t flatter their shape. It also gave greater scope, in sheer yardage, for the removal of fabric at strategic points. It was easier to show your back or ribs without feeling like you were completely naked.
Left: Cardin mesh catsuit Center: Obligatory Catwoman photo. Julie Newmar version, of course! Right: Sylvie Vartan. French chanteuse and spangly catsuit wearer extraordinaire. Below: My solitary Sixties Varon jumpsuit with lace midriff
Of course, the Sixties moved into the Seventies and a new-found passion for the styles and sihouettes of the Thirties and Forties (courtesy of people like Barbara Hulanicki at Biba and Ossie Clark). The catsuit was not thrown on the scrapheap as the mini had been, it was simply remodelled to resemble those playsuits of the earlier decades. The flared legs and skin tight bodies suited the glam rock movement perfectly and, for the first time outside of industry or military, men started to wear them as well. Mainly for stage, but I like to think of a few men up and down the country donning their Bowie-esque jumpsuit for a night down the local disco.
Left: Beautiful Bowie. Dontcha just want to eat him up?? Right: For women they were an alternative to the ubiquitous hostess dress, as we can see in this John Bates for Jean Varon palazzo jumpsuit from my personal collection.
Ahhhh, yes, disco. The new-found love of spandex, aerobics and cheesy sci-fi meant that once again, in the late Seventies and early Eighties, skin tight catsuits were back for those who could bear to bare. And still yet they would not retreat into fashion purgatory, thanks to the Eighties-does-Fifties revival. There was also a propensity to boiler suits, courtesy of the New Romantic obsession with ever-changing inspirations, which took military and industrial uniforms and brought them into the fashion world.
With the advent of lycra and the emerging acid house/rave scenes of the late Eighties/early Nineties, designers such as Pam Hogg returned to the skin-tight catsuits of their sci-fi fantasy heroes. Day-glo colours abounded, and lycra was an infinitely better fabric for such purposes (no Emma Peel-style sagging this time around!).
Left and right: Pam Hogg. Damn, that woman is a genius and I’m not sure I could love her any more than I already do.
Now this summer, the jumpsuit appears to be making something of a comeback. The Fug Girls might have something to say about you if you’re wearing one but, honestly, who cares? Just make sure you pick the right one. Halter necks are always good (although please make sure it’s firmly secured, I once had a horrendous jumpsuit experience where my ex-boyfriend rolled up to me at an event, patted me on the back of the neck and my flimsily fastened halterneck disconnected and one side fell down. Thankfully I managed to save myself in time that no one else could see but it did give my ex the opportunity to quip wistfully “well you’ve still got great tits”. Charming, eh?).
The Stella McCartney designed floral palazzo jumpsuit is the biggest jumpsuit story of the summer, beautifully printed in a Thirties floral pattern and certainly channelling that glamorous playsuit look. I don’t understand why it’s been ‘fugged’ twice now, maybe it’s not everyone’s cuppa but seriously, no camel toe, all your bits are covered up and it’s in a beautiful fabric. They wouldn’t be fugging you if it was a top and trousers would they?
If you’re not quite up to bold florals and flimsy chiffons, then Vintage-a-Peel has got a couple of gorgeous alternatives. The Biba horse-racing print halterneck is absolutely heavenly (if you’re lucky enough to be tiny sized) with those flattering flared legs, halter neck cut and beautiful (but not overwhelming) print. Or if you’re not quite ready for printed jumpsuits…there’s always the stunning plunge neck Paul Nicholas moss crepe beauty (with naughty Celia Birtwell rip-off printed chiffon) I’ve just listed. I bought this a while ago, for myself, but must face facts that it is simply too long in the leg for little ol’ me and I must let it go, so it can be free to be worn by someone leggier (or more comfortable in 4 inch heels) than I.
I went to see Sex and the City with some of the gals tonight (may I just say ‘woof woof gurgle gurgle’ as ever to Chris Noth and ‘bleurghhhhh, why the hell do you look so happy about that goddamn awful Vuitton handbag’ to Jennifer Hudson) and decided to finish off my flared jeans and Zandra Rhodes top ensemble with some burgundy snakeskin YSL platform shoes. It was their debut on my tootsies, although they’re original Seventies, and it’s rather spooky to return home to the incredibly sad news that the man himself had just passed away.
Ok, so I can’t say I was ever the greatest fan of Monsieur Saint Laurent but aside from a few reservations about the originality of his designs, he did create some stonkingly beautiful garments in his time, both at Dior and under his own name. Post mid-70s it was all a bit dull-chic-french-blah-blah for me, but early Seventies…….whoah mama, give me some Rive Gauche now! I also think the shoes from that period are utterly divine. Perhaps tomorrow I shall photograph the aforementioned snakeskin beauties and the black and red patent peeptoes I love ever so slightly more. Not that I’m picking favourites with my shoes…..(just in case they ever read my blog and decide to take revenge)…
Anyhoo, rest in peace YSL (I typoed ‘peach’ for ‘peace’ there…..resting in peaches does sound like a nice idea though). And big fashionista kisses and thanks for the shoes. They rock.
Right: Silver lurex Rive Gauche blouse available over at Vintage-a-Peel