Awww…..now I want it to be summer and to be sat blowing bubbles, wearing fab early Seventies frilly clown-like Foale and Tuffin clothes and drinking Pimm’s.
I’m blowing a big loud raspberry to winter and to my severe lack of F&T clown clothes……I wonder if saying “Pimm’s!” loudly really works?
Chelsea Cobblers that is. Some of you may have guessed that I have something of an obsession with platform shoes, whether wearable or not. Sometimes purely on an aesthetic level as works of art, sometimes because they look pretty on my feet and, occasionally, because they’re surprisingly comfortable.
Anyway, flicking through a 1972 Vogue today I saw these gorgeous pages almost exclusively filled with Chelsea Cobbler shoes. One is an official advert, the other is clearly someone at Vogue having as much of a ‘lustlustlust’ moment as me and dedicating a page to yet more shoes from that season’s collection.
I love Chelsea Cobbler shoes. I have ONE pair, which are (typically) a size 6 and would require possession of a chauffeur if I was ever to spend an evening out and about in them. But they’re too pretty. And I can get them on my feet. And I once found an illustration of them in Vogue (of course I now can’t remember which one….I shall post if I ever find again!!). So I couldn’t possibly sell them. But it would be nice to have a pair like ANY of these in a nice size 6.5.
I’m currently eyeing these adorable (non Chelsea Cobbler) ones on eBay at the moment but they’ll probably go sky high. But they’re so pretty, and the right size, and they look fairly comfortable (as platforms go).
I managed to completely forget to come and tell you all about the Biba and the Katharine Hamnett dresses I listed on the site a few days ago. So I’m telling you now, go check them out – they awesome!!
Adorable bow print ruched dress by Shelana
It’s a Polly Peck week! And this awesome feather jacket would go superbly with the dress above!
And, lastly but not leastly, a fabulous pineapple print cotton skirt by Sportaville with buttons to make Lee Bender proud!
(I’ve been meaning to publish this in response to the dénouement of Style on Trial for a while now, so here it is….)
The Seventies won out in the end. I thought it was a lost cause, quite frankly, because people are so biased against a decade they associate with polyester and bad taste. Irritatingly and blatantly ignoring the fact that man made fibres in various forms have been in steady use in clothing since the 1930s. And bad taste is always with us. As much in the Fifties and Sixties as it was in the Seventies and Eighties, our specs have just got rosier with time passing.
Wayne Hemingway’s impassioned plea for glam, punk, northern soul and disco was certainly appealing to me, but I could also see why Celia Birtwell would question whether any of those clothes look remotely appealing on older ladies. My response to that would have been that I know many women who still wear their Ossie dresses well into their forties and fifties and still look incredible. Everything permitting, I hope I’ll be one of those ladies myself. She commented that forties styles were far more wearable for people of all ages, possibly forgetting that the Seventies (and specifically the likes of her ex-hubby) incorporated a lot of forties silhouettes and styles, updating them and making them sexier and more modern. All of which look gorgeous on older women as well.
So, perhaps the Forties should have won? I certainly enjoyed Lawrence Llewellyn-Bowen’s case for the decade, and was convinced that they would all vote for his era of choice. But in terms of the most rounded decade for fashion, I actually think the Seventies had it all.
Affordable clothing for those who wanted it, in the days before it was all farmed out to children in a sweatshop in Sri Lanka. Vivid, fun, sexy clothes for teenagers and twenty-somethings. Glamorous eveningwear and wearable separates for older, working women. Polyester has its place, and revolutionised the lot of the housewife, but you could just as easily get delicious crepes, jerseys and wool.
Platforms were infinitely superior to spindly little stiletto heels, and they didn’t have to be 6 inches high (unless you were a member of Slade or a very brave woman). Different styles and cultural groups or identities were plentiful. You could wear the general style of the era, or you could choose who you wanted to be.
Hair was fairly low maintenance if you so wished. And there was a style for all hair types. Every other decade (and trend within that decade) seems to have beaten everyone’s hair into submission to one overarching style. Likewise with make-up, there was a general look but fewer rules than before. The preferred female silhouette was natural. Curved but never to excess. Softness prevailed. No corsetted waists, but no severe straightness either.
Men actually cared about clothes. Not about labels in the way they do now. Clothes. They cared about fabric, colour, silhouette. They didn’t give a rat’s behind about looking overly feminine, and to my eye actually look more appealing and masculine in all their satin and tat.
Ultimately it was the best attitude to style we’ve seen for a long time. Trying everything. Experimenting, being brave, making your own choices and not necessarily the same choice as anyone else. There was a good reason the New Romantics were harking back to Glam Rock and, to a lesser extent, disco. There was always a general ‘look’, but no one slavishly followed rules (unlike the mods, rockers, teddy boys and so on). You were expressing yourself.
While I don’t think any era can really be truly hailed as the greatest, and certainly style is a very subjective concept (the word stylish, in fact, makes me think of the word timeless….and thus, a bit dull and safe), I think the Seventies was a very brave but very well rounded choice to make.
My sincerest thanks to Spirit & Destiny magazine who featured Vintage-a-Peel as their pick for designer labels, within a larger vintage feature, in their March edition. Featuring one of my very favourite frocks as well!
Girl: I really like her coat.
Me: *looks in reflection in the window and realises she’s looking at me*
Other Girl: Yeah.
Girl: I wonder where she got it.
Other Girl: Mmmm.
Me: *wonders if can be bothered to go through the whole ‘it’s vintage’ rigmarole with a drunk girl, albeit one with excellent taste, at 2am*
Girl: I want to ask her where she got it.
Other Girl: Don’t do that.
Girl: But I really want to know. Maybe I can ask the girl next to her to ask her.
Other Girl: That’s even worse, just don’t do it.
Girl: But we’re about to get off the bus, then I’ll never know where she got it from.
Other Girl: I know. But that’s what life is all about.
Girl: Yeah, I guess.