If this were my spring capsule wardrobe, I’d be one very contented lady…
Shame on me, I clean forgot about Mensday. But I’m going to make amends (ahaha) for this today. Yes, yes, I know it’s Friday. But it’s also my boyfriend’s birthday and so Mensday is rescheduled in his honour.
I’m also geeking out because look up there ^ – it’s the Annacat blouse I’ve just listed for sale over at Vintage-a-Peel. I only just noticed!
I’m often yapping on about the genius of James Wedge’s photography, but I have been meaning to share this very rare, very precious part of fashion history and of my personal collection for a while now. Wedge is one of those rare Renaissance-man types; successful in every new skill to which he turned his hand. He successfully ran his own boutiques (Countdown and Top Gear), forged a career in photography with no experience or working knowledge (trial and error often creates some of the best works of art) and, initially, he trained and worked as a milliner.
His hats were regularly featured in Vogue in the early to mid Sixties, often teamed with outfits by his friends Marion Foale and Sally Tuffin, and are some of the most perfect examples of mod ‘op-art’ ever created. But they weren’t being produced for long, or in any great quantity, so they are now incredibly rare.
This hat splits me in half. I cannot wear fur. I just can’t. Not particularly morally, I eat meat and wear leather quite happily, but the feel on my skin is like nails down a blackboard. Consequently, a hat made from rabbit fur is a thing of beauty aesthetically but I wouldn’t wear it. Even if I could squish it over my ‘beeg heed’. However, I can’t quite bring myself to sell it just yet. I mean…it’s James Wedge!
One of my treasured pieces of fashion ‘ephemera’ is a flimsy paper catalogue for Cathy McGowan’s boutique range of clothes, which launched in 1965. I was pleased for it to be used in Richard Lester’s new book Boutique London: A History: King’s Road to Carnaby Street but, since only the front page was scanned and featured, I thought I ought to scan and share the rest of it!
Cathy ended up getting married in an amazing Celia-print Ossie Clark dress, but at this point she was alternating between Foale and Tuffin and Biba for presenting Ready Steady Go!. You can see a definite Foale and Tuffin influence in these clothes, I think, and I have often wondered how ‘proper’ designers at the time felt about these strange new celebrity “boutiques”.
Foale and Tuffin Ltd
1 Marlborough Court W1
Marion Foale and Sally Tuffin spent three years designing clothes under their own label before opening the Foale and Tuffin boutique in 1965. Their designs, often based on history, are still sold to other stores and boutiques in Britain and they export to the U.S. and Europe as well. They design for a relaxed way of life and make clothes they or their friends could wear.
The Daily Telegraph Magazine, July 17th 1970
Photos by Duffy.
One of my favourite Petticoat spreads, from September 1971, which I haven’t scanned in full before (why? I have no idea….). It was photographed at the Hard Rock Cafe in London, and published a mere three months after it opened (June 1971). The Hard Rock was a different beast back then, the memorabilia which would later become such a huge part of its identity was a later addition and quite haphazardly acquired to begin with.
Isaac Tigrett (later to marry Maureen Starkey, whom he would often introduce as “My most authentic piece of rock and roll memorabilia.”) and Peter Morton opened their American-style diner in an old Rolls Royce dealership on Park Lane. It became an instant hit with their musician and music-loving friends. They could come along, post-gig, for a hit of fast food, good company and a relaxed atmosphere. The decor developed from eclectic Americana into iconic music memorabilia, as various musicians donated their old instruments and clothes to their beloved Hard Rock diner.
‘So Clapton got to be friends with the proprietors and asked them to save him a regular table, put up a brass plaque or something. And the young proprietors said, “Why don’t we put up your guitar?” They all had a chuckle, and he handed over a guitar, and they slapped it on the wall.
No one thought much more about it. Until a week later, when another guitar arrived (a Gibson Les Paul, by the way). With it was a note from Pete Townshend of The Who which read: “Mine’s as good as his. Love, Pete.” ‘
From the official Hard Rock website.
This photoshoot is a rare insight into how the Hard Rock would have looked when it first opened and before it acquired its now legendary status and worldwide domination.
It’s also packed full of glam rock, British Boutique goodness and is almost as delicious as a Hard Rock Apple Cobbler….
Sincerest apologies for the lack of posting, I’ve been on a little trip down to the West Country and (as yet) don’t have much in the way of mobile internet access. I’m lining up some [hopefully] fabulous blog posts to make amends, and some new website listings, but until then I thought I would share my new charity shop game. Since there’s a distinct lack of interesting gear in charity shops these days (especially the Portassed ones), even in the middle of nowhere, I have to make do with geeking out over LP covers.
Look!! It’s Foale and Tuffin on the cover of a naff Gilbert O’Sullivan covers album (the back cover credits the photo to Pimm’s so it must be from the aforementioned Pimm’s and Tuffin shoot).
[...and, a word in your ear if you sell vintage magazines]
I buy a lot of vintage magazines, this can come as no surprise to you all. Sometimes they come with pages missing, which has not been noted by the seller. This is Bad Practice, obviously. Not only is this amazing spread (March 1972) missing at least one photo (of a Foale and Tuffin piece, no less) but I also cannot credit the photographer because 19 magazine credits at the beginning of the spread. Bad form, magazine seller, bad form*.
Nevertheless, it is such a gorgeous spread that I couldn’t resist scanning it and posting. It’s utterly perfect inspiration for this balmy weather we’re having if, like me, you refuse to strip off and roast your flesh…
If anyone has this issue and can complete it with the missing photos and photographer ID, then I would be eternally grateful. Ta muchly! xx
*For the record, I contacted the seller and received no response to my complaints. Sigh.
Ninny Nanny Prettycoat
In an oatmeal petticoat.
The fuller the sleeves,
The sweeter the roses.
Delicious nursery rhyme themed spread from Vogue, April 1970. Photographed by Elisabeth Novick. I have included the strange nursery rhymes they have
mangled created. Even though I think they’re a load of tosh. Why so literal, anonymous Vogue writer? Why not just use the originals and leave something to the imagination?
The photos are pretty incredible though, which makes it all worthwhile….
Fragile as Bo-Peep’s, cut like a caress.
Sleeves are the prettiest,
Bloomers the wittiest,
In light silk and voile, paisley or crepe.
Take a tuck, take a tuck tailor’s man.
Sew me some voile fast as you can.
Frill it and smock it,
And colour it white.
Then add pretty bloomers not quite out of sight.
Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet
Wearing brown paisley and blue.
The skirt length was midi,
The bodice was pretty,
The trousers were brown paisley too.
Well we all need help with that. Sadly, this just means in terms of temperature. Although it is very much on my wavelength about such things. I just don’t see the need to instantly strip off as soon as there is a hint of sunlight.
Still wearing a moderate weight vintage coat, I was being blown along the seafront last weekend and frowning at people walking along in shorts. Do they just have a different inner thermostat to me? Or did they, as I suspect, look out of the window, see the sunshine and feel a steely determination to wear as few clothes as possible and get down to the beach? Chillblains or no chillblains…
Even when it genuinely is rather balmy, I still don’t see any great need to strip off…I like clothes too much.
Anyway, enough of my rambling and on with this superb spread from The Observer Magazine, 3 August 1969. Not only do I love the clothes (both his and hers), but I love the settings and overall feel of the photos by Clive Arrowsmith.
Hot days in sticky cities can be miserable. But there’s no need to take to a beach dress or wear your tie draped round your nabel. Keep morale up, temperature down with cover-up clothes in lightweight fabrics styled simply in cool, clear colours.