Laura Bailey at the premiere of The Boat That Rocked (a film I actually want to see, for once….although I fear it might make me angry if it’s badly made or designed).
I’m sure there’s a gorgeous Ossie underneath that weird old black jacket….so why the weird old black jacket? Surely it can’t have been the cold London night air….I would happily get hypothermia for an Ossie like that…..
“Women are often dishonest – dishonest with themselves. They refuse to see themselves as they really are!” John Bates, the 27 year-old dress designer, doesn’t believe in mincing words. “And they might fool themselves,” he goes on, “but they don’t fool anyone else. I’m all for people trying to minimize their bad points, but sometimes women disguise faults which could be eradicated altogether, if they got down to some hard dieting and exercise.”
John feels that with so much good inexpensive, wholesale fashion, a girl has to concentrate on her face and figure. “Fashion is a challenge and I think it’s a challenge women need. Nowadays, with so many people buying the same clothes, a girl has to decide how best to present it so that she gives her wardrobe an individual stamp.”
Despite his vested interest in fashion – he is the designer for fashion house Jean Varon and recently designed Diana Rigg’s Avengers wardrobe – John doesn’t think one should follow it slavishly. “Study it to see what’s in it for you. I’m always hearing complaints that current fashion is directed at just one type, but that’s nonsense.
“I have three different types of girl to model my designs. Look at this design.” He showed me a short fly-fronted dress. “It’s classic really. Worn a little longer, maybe in a different colour, it would be ideal for the older woman. And to prove his point, we took the photograph left, of a simple dress from his collection adapted and worn by three women of different ages.
“Appearance is not all-important – there has to be something else – but it is quite important. Like all men, when I first meet a girl, I react to her appearance. It’s only after the physical impressions that you listen to what she has to say. So it is important to be attractive as well as interesting.”
And what makes a woman interesting? “Constant change,” says John emphatically. “When you’ve found your style, don’t stick to it or you’ll find yourseld in a rut. Don’t be ‘dated’ by fashion or make-up. Be bold. Try different styles as they come in – you’ll be surprised how much suits you. And don’t let it stop there. Change the furniture around; try new dishes on the family. It’s the secret of keeping interested – and interesting!”
And if you’re going to be bold, leave your husband at home when you go shopping is John’s advice. “He’ll insist on your playing safe – Englishmen are dreadfully conservative – and then he’ll spend an entire evening gazing at a girl in the outfit you might have bought if you’d shopped alone.”
John feels that English women have a rough deal. “Seventy per cent. of their problems would be solved if only Englishmen were more appreciative. They just don’t care; so who can wonder if the womne don’t care of give up? I blame segregated education and clubs.
“Englishmen will drool at the mention of a French woman and never look at their own. Yet English women are the best in the world. They have the best figures, skins and colouring, and a marvellous sense of humour. French girls are marvellous only because their men tell them they are.”
Rejecting emigration as an answer to the problem, what did John suggest?
“She must rebel. She must ignore any lack of interest from her man and make the changes she wants, dress to please herself, say what she thinks. Do be subtle about this. Express your opinions pleasantly and watch your timing. But a woman can get her own way if she goes the right way about it.”
John says that women must remember that they are people.
“That’s why I think that they shouhld carry on with their jobs after they are married. This ensures that they are still part of the human race – it keeps them bright and interested. It’s terrible for them to be cut off from the outside world and plunged into domesticity. And thre’s no reason why babies should stop them; if a woman finds babies aren’t enough to keep her occupied and happy, she should use nurseries…work to pay an au pair girl, if necessary.”
Not that John wants to see women imitate men; he just wants us to drop the age-old idea of the battle of the sexes and get down to enjoying life, and he thinks women can achieve this.
He enjoys working with women. “They’ll always have a go at trying to achieve the effect you want,” he explains. “Men approach problems in a different way. They’re apt to apply a slide-rule and, if you suggest trying something slightly different, they’ll insist it can’t be done. But women don’t approach things like that, and what might seem illogical to a mere man, actually works in practice. In fact, very often I don’t see their reasoning at all.
I don’t normally do these, but I kinda like this one. Rather than randomly googling things, I’m actually giving you a insight into my music taste. Or lack of.
This probably says a lot I don’t want to be saying about my mp3 player, but I’m very surprised there’s not more Duran here. Honestly, I normally get 4 in a row….sometimes even Arcadia somewhere in there…..anyway, here goes. Consider yourself tagged if you like the game.
1. Put your music player on shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. YOU MUST WRITE THAT SONG NAME DOWN NO MATTER HOW SILLY IT SOUNDS!!!
IF SOMEONE SAYS “IS THIS OKAY” YOU SAY?
Stay Together - Suede
WHAT WOULD BEST DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONALITY?
The Wall - Ultravox
(Only until you get to know me! Ha!)
WHAT DO YOU LIKE IN A BOY/GIRL?
Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now - The Smiths
HOW DO YOU FEEL TODAY?
Mother Of Pearl - Roxy Music
WHAT IS YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE?
(I Love The Sound Of) Breaking Glass – Nick Lowe
WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO?
Kids in America - Kim Wilde
WHAT DO YOUR FRIENDS THINK OF YOU?
Substitute - The Who
(I hope not!)
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR PARENTS?
Comment Te Dire Adieu - Francoise Hardy
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT VERY OFTEN?
Only After Dark - Mick Ronson
(Sounds saucy, I like it!)
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?
All She Wants Is – Duran Duran
(Yes?? Come on? Typically indecisive)
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR BESTIE?
Circular Circulation - The GTOs
(This is true, I don’t so much have a ‘bestie’ as ‘besties’ – so it IS a circle!)
WHAT DO YOU THINK WHEN YOU SEE THE PERSON YOU LIKE?
Catch The Wind - Donovan
WHAT DO YOUR PARENTS THINK OF YOU?
Hold Me - Duran Duran
WHAT SONG WILL YOU DANCE TO AT YOUR WEDDING?
The True Wheel - Brian Eno
(this made me roar….I can’t imagine a more bizarre thing to dance to at one’s wedding than Brian Eno. Which probably makes it perfect for me!)
WHAT WILL THEY PLAY AT YOUR FUNERAL?
Love Action (I Believe In Love) – The Human League
(I do like this idea. People take note!)
WHAT IS YOUR HOBBY/INTEREST?
Rio - Duran Duran
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST FEAR?
Queen Bitch - David Bowie
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST SECRET?
All I Want Is You - Roxy Music
WHAT SONG WILL BE THE SUBJECT WHEN YOU REPOST?
Jean Genie - David Bowie
WendyB’s recent post on some handmade religious soaps have reminded me that I had thought about blogging on my favourite cosmetics company. I’m not sure how widespread the Lush phenomenon is, I think they exist in the US? Anyway, I’ve more recently become a complete convert to them. I remember when they first opened in my home town back when I was still at school, and we’d march down there and buy those fizzy bath bombs with what little money we had. I loved all the smells, but couldn’t really afford to get ‘into’ the rest of their range. It seemed extortionate to me.
In later years, I would often be tempted in by that strange smell but have a bit of a freak out because I just didn’t know what to buy. I was more able to afford it now, but….for someone so inept at making even small decisions it was just too much for me. I became addicted to the Blue Skies and Fluffy Clouds bubble bar, but aside from that I had no clue what to buy. And the idea of forking out all that money on one bottle of shower gel seemed bizarre to me.
I tried again a year or two ago, determined since I love the ethos of the company and the slightly hippy smells were much more up my street than anything I could find in Boots. But I couldn’t decipher individual smells, and would end up buying things ‘smell blind’ or totally the wrong thing because it was the only one powerful enough to cut through the general smell of the shop (warning, the Covent Garden branch is the worst for this because most of it is underground).
Then a lovely, generous person called Senti started coming to visit, and vice versa, with her piles of products. And suddenly I could smell things because it wasn’t inside the shop. And I was able to try things before I took the plunge and actually bought it. And now I know exactly what I like, and have a better idea of what I will like – judging by the ingredients because I still can’t decipher individual smells in the shop. I think they need to start up an Avon-type scheme because if people could experience the products outside of the shop, I think more people would be converted.
It’s not a scary place with too many choices and smells now. It’s a haven, where I can buy things which will make me smell and feel gorgeous. I love the staff as well. Perhaps they’re high on all the smells, or just because they’ve got that fab, independent Lush mindset? Regardless, they’re helpful without being pushy, and they’ll show you how to use things – without being snotty and expecting you to buy anything. And they’re happy and smiley and cheerful, without being scary and false.
I’m getting to the point where I won’t use anything other than Lush. So I’m becoming a very annoying person to buy toiletries for, because I keep telling people I don’t want anything unless it’s Lush. You’d think that would make life easier wouldn’t you? But so many people (and specifically my mother) have a very violent anti-Lush reaction. Not a rash on the skin, but a pre-judgement in the mind based on the whole smelling-the-shop-a-mile-off phenomenon.
They’re also very sniffy about the price. I’ll admit, it’s pretty steep. But they last for ages. And they use quality ingredients, all ethically sourced and produced by individuals (who, rather sweetly, get personal stickers on each product they’ve made). For me, it’s my indulgence. Nowadays I don’t smoke, don’t take drugs, very rarely drink (and even more rarely to excess). So why shouldn’t I spoil myself with these goodies?
I’d had a bad day yesterday. My mannequin broke again. All kinds of negative emotions were swilling around my head for various other reasons.
So I ran a bath. Crumbled some Karma bubble bar into it. Picked up Flying Fox shower gel, which I find too intense for daily use but it’s perfect for a crisis, and Sonic Death Monkey shampoo (which doubles as a shower gel, perfect for travelling) and slapped on the Karma Kreme afterward. Nothing fundamentally changed in my life, but I felt instantly calmer, softer and I slept like a baby. And I would gladly rather spend my money on something which has that effect on me, safely and ethically.
And, if you take back 5 of the black pots to any branch, they’ll give you a free face mask! A fab, non-patronising way to ensure they get recycled (because not all councils will take black plastic!). They rock!
…here’s a heads up to a few fab pieces I’ve just listed over there. Brand spanking new ones too!!
Oh major lustlustlust moment here…..sadly not my size. But I would gladly own them just to put them in a glass case and worship…is that weird?
dr who sarah jane knickers
lalla ward breasts
They’ll sure have a hard time finding the last one!
All google searches which have found my blog. I have apparently become the go-to blog for some very naughty Doctor Who fans…..tsk tsk!! Have you lot got nothing better to do?
Gratuitously posted because I think it’s an awesome image. See, I just look at that photo and go ‘ooh, sparkly boots!’…..I tend to forget that some guy, somewhere, might be enjoying it a bit too much.
One of the reasons I love doing what I do, and love being so passionate about vintage, is the capacity some designers have to surprise me. It’s a hard thing to do when you think about it, given that they were mostly working Forty-odd years ago. You’d think the potential for surprise would be fairly slim wouldn’t you?
However, occasionally, they manage it. Here are two pieces in a ’69 Vogue which don’t strike me as being at all what I would expect from this designer. Seeing as how they are neither prints, nor dresses, nor trimmed with antique lace.
I present, Gina Fratini….
I want them!!! Badly!!! Not that I could get away with them, too much Fruit and Nut Dairy Milk [because you can convince yourself it's healthy.....fruit....AND nuts!!! What more do you want people???] has been consumed over the past few weeks (and years). But I still want them!! Big sleeves!!! Buttons!!! Cute little bodices!!!
For a more convential Fratini, scoot on over to Vintage-a-Peel for these two lovelies…..
..on the website this week are:
An adorable smock dress by Gina Fratini
A gorgeous little floral mini dress by Louis Caring
A very rare early Jean Muir piece
A gorgeous couture Hardy Amies grey silk dress
A fabulously forties-styled dress by Mary Quant’s Ginger Group
and finally, a superb print culotte dress by Lee Bender
Not all of them have got their patented flowery Miss Peelpants descriptions yet, but I’m working on it! I was getting so many emails about the ‘coming soon’ pieces, I thought I ought to just get them measured and up there! Please don’t hesitate to ask if you need a flowery description IMMEDIATELY. It’s what I’m here for…..
Way back when, in 1991, Miss Peelpants was a fashion-obsessed but never fashionably attired twelve-year-old. It had been all foufy skater skirts, t-shirts and leggings. In my head, it probably all looked very Kylie. In reality, rather less glamorous.
Then, an epiphany. The House of Eliott began on the BBC. I remember most vividly watching it on the one Sunday a month we visited my grandparents, because my Nana had been born in 1920 and enjoyed the reminiscing about the fashions she admired but never wore (just as much as I now get misty-eyed watching Ashes to Ashes).
I suppose it was the first time I really learnt anything about fashion design, beyond doodling rara skirts with felt tip pens on computer paper purloined from my Dad’s office, and it piqued an interest in fashion history which has shaped my life ever since. I knew at that point, I was going to be like the Eliotts. Evie, of course, because she was young and pretty and silly and wore the nicer frocks.
Cut to 18 years later (arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh) and I’m not exactly there. Although I probably benefitted more from having done my degree in costume rather than fashion, giving me a more independent mindset than standard sizing and market trends. And in many ways, dealing in high-end vintage clothes is similar work to that of an old-style couturier. Without the creative input, of course. But there’s still a part of me which aspires to the Eliott sisters. So it was with great delight that I saw UKTV History (now renamed as YeSTERDAY…how pointless!) are showing the series, three episodes back to back on Sunday afternoons and repeated in the evening.
It still exerts the same pull on me. Although I’m not making the mistake (again) of thinking I can get away with a slick black bob, a la Louise Lombard. I’m also enjoying my new viewpoint, as an adult. Which, inevitably, means I’m rather more taken with lovely, sensible Beatrice (Stella Gonet) this time around.
Also, how could I have forgotten how utterly delicious Jack (Aden Gillett) was? I never forsook you, dear Jack, just….forgot slightly.
In the meantime, I shall simply lap it all up and remember happy evenings watching it with my much-missed Nana. And occasionally giggle as I remember the brilliant French and Saunders spoof, The House of Idiot. Particularly Kathy Burke with the Chelsea buns!
Edited to add: Seems since the name change of the channel earlier this week, they’re no longer showing it. Damn them!! Now I’ll have to go out and buy the DVDs……*grumble grumble*