Some may be negatively superstitious about Peacock feathers, but I prefer to take the more positive superstitions on board where Peacocks and their feathers are regarded as protectors and have mystical powers to benefit the soul.
Exquisitely embroidered and appliquéd, this skirt suit by British Boutique legend Janice Wainwright is one of the most stunning examples of her work I’ve ever had the pleasure of handling. The back of the jacket is entirely smothered in the gorgeous peacock and its plumage, with a handful of flowers and leaves surrounding it.
The rest of the outfit might as well be a potato sack because really the focus of the ensemble is this back. But luckily, Janice was in the habit of creating stunningly tailored and very wearable suits – of which this is one of the best! I love the fact that the optional belt for the jacket is embroidered to match, with the peacock feathers at each end. Iconic and of the highest quality, a classic and a collectable in one fell swoop! Available over at Vintage-a-Peel.
Last night I was lucky enough to attend the opening of the Bill Gibb exhibition at the Fashion and Textile Museum in Bermondsey. Well I say lucky, there were far too many people and it was far too hot but aside from that, I had a marvellous time ogling the frocks and trying to avoid all the elbows and arms which kept flying at me (one of which was Twiggy’s, but I’ll forgive her anything!). My own Bill Gibb frock [see below] is far too heavy and hot to be worn even in a cold snap, so I chose to wear my red Biba with the very Gibb-esque sleeves. Turns out that red Bibas teamed with red lipstick (I was channelling Wendy B!) are a good ice-breaker and I met some very lovely people while I mooched around.
I can highly recommend the exhibition, and I certainly will be going back to have a proper look. Not least at an incredible photo, which I’m now desperate to find, of some of my favourite fashion designers together. Yes, John Bates and Ossie Clark in the same photo. And Mary Quant at the back. I wonder if the fur was flying when it got taken?
The clothes are the star, although I do feel that they should be displayed on mannequins rather than suspended from the ceiling on hangers. Gibb’s clothes were designed for a body. Quite often they look very peculiar hanging up, and sleeves are not done enough justice when they hang limply at the side. There’s also the problem that they’re very much touchable (one rare mannequin is sat on a swing in the middle of the room) and I fear much the same problems as with the Bates exhibition that grubby hands will be all over the pieces, and I only hope they have good insurance and watchful staff!
I was fascinated to see the early Alice Paul boutique pieces, I had no idea there were still any around to be exhibited, and my friend Daniel’s early Baccarat piece is certainly a star attraction. One lady exclaimed that she kept coming back to look at it over and over again.
I will also go back to have a proper look at the video projection, which is a documentary made when Gibb was launching his label in 1971. Lo and behold it was the same catwalk show as the cream version of my black dress appeared in, so it was lovely to see it ‘in motion’ on the catwalk.
Oh dear oh dear. Just when I thought it was safe to come out from my little cocoon of New Romanticism and delve back into relative normality again after my break in Yorkshire, Christies go and post photos of their upcoming Avant Garde auction. I’m just a puddle of lust over some of these frocks, some you might expect and others you might not. But here are some of my favourites!
The fabulous Rhiannon of Liebemarlene has been interviewed for The Supermelon and was lovely enough to mention me. Rhiannon always has gorgeous frocks and looks beautiful in her photos, so I’m very honoured that she likes my gear so much! Thank you!!!
Apologies for the brief break in blogging! I’ve been having a lovely little break with some friends up in Yorkshire, where I saw the fabulous Boy George in concert and got appropriately New Romantic-ed up again, and then rushed back yesterday for the launch of Richard Lester’s book on John Bates. I will be reviewing the book after I’ve got over the giddiness at meeting my design icon again, so stay tuned!
The house is National Trust and, aside from a very bizarre and slightly uncomfortable atmosphere in the upper floors [though I did not see a ghost, unfortunately], is well worth a look around as well. The only disappointment was that they didn’t mention he had his own range of frilly shirts, sold through Annacat, in the Sixties! But that could only ever be a disappointment to someone strange like me!
Oh and talking of white frilly shirts…. On a day trip to Liverpool, I officially fell in love with a completely divine white shirt in Vivienne Westwood with three enormous bow ties down the front. In my current deliriously New Romantic phase, where I often find myself gazing longingly at photos of John Taylor in a ruffly shirt [it's hard to decide which of those two things I want more], there can be little better than an actual Westwood one. I don’t often post about modern pieces, and I still can’t find a photo to show you, but I make the exception for Vivienne because she’s the very definition of fabulous! Of course it’s a Gold Label priced at about £350, Miss Peelpants does nothing by halves, but a girl can dream can’t she?
In lieu of a photo of the Westwood shirt I want, here are some gratuitous images of John Taylor in white shirts.
New over at Vintage-a-Peel (quite literally hot off the press!) I have just listed a fabulous cheetah print Janice Wainwright maxi dress, the twin of one of my favourite Annacat dresses, a black jersey Jean Varon maxi with a distinct twist in the tail and a superbly archetypal Biba dress. Enjoy!!
I’m starting to wonder if this Ossie is actually meant to be mine. Firstly I find a photo of a model wearing it with Ossie in front of Quorum, then it spends months languishing on my website without being sold, then finally I spy it being worn on the catwalk in British Style Genius. A programme which otherwise made me want to hurl things at my television, I’m still composing myself to attempt to write a longer, non-ranty post about it, and proves yet again that Ossie is a god-like figure who makes the world beautiful and balanced when all around is irritating and miserably depressing.
Here is the best screenshot I could muster, it was a teeny tiny snippet of the dress but doesn’t she look delighted to be wearing it? It’s that kind of dress. And Ossie is that kind of designer.
On a side note, I’m not sure you can better a Hockney painting but I was also delighted to see Ossie’s favourite model, Gala, wearing the legendary portrait dress – which I’m lucky enough to have hanging in my closet.
It greatly entertained me that she was wearing flesh coloured pants, most of his models and muses would never be so straight-laced as to wear underwear normally, because that dress actually really does conceal nothing if you so much as move in it. Hence mine had a hook and eye stitched onto the skirt by its original owner, who told me she wore it at the premiere of Waterloo in 1970. Useless factoid for you there!
Veering a little off my normal and natural course with some more recent vintage on eBay at the moment, but I couldn’t resist! Firstly, some may find it heinous but I actually think it’s rather fab and a cut above the usual of this type…..
Next a little something for big-bow-lovers in this super cute little prom dress with pailettes all over the skirt!
And then there’s a seriously sexy sequined mini dress which is pretty much guaranteed to stop traffic.