The Colour Craze

Green says Biba. Photo by Caroline Arber.

All the top beauty talent is currently colour-crazy – and we’re very much for it; it’s a fabulous enlivener of the grey winter scene. Your party look could be a variant of any of the gloriously off-beat ideas you see here – and anyone who considers green lips unnatural might dwell, briefly, on the knock-you-down naturalness of bright plum or orange ones.

Vanity Fair, December 1971

Violet says Pablo – Elizabeth Arden’s ebullient young creative director.

Rainbow hair says Michael at Crimpers. Photo by Steve Hiett.

Any colours you like says Vanity Fair, using Mary Quant’s crayons. Photo by Didier Duval.


I like you verrrrrrry much

Please excuse the daft title. This amazing Annacat dress is so brilliant and ruffled and exotic it can’t help but make me think of the divine Ms. Carmen Miranda. Not that it will immediately make you look like her, I hasten to add, unless you wear some fruit on top of your head. Although you may wish to, and I would certainly applaud you if you did. Anyway, here’s my occasional blog about some new listings of mine. There’s the aforementioned Annacat, a Jeff Banks for Clobber dress, Ann Reeves & Co, Pam Hogg, Janice Wainwright for Simon Massey, Miss Mouse, Joy Stevens, Polly Peck, Kati at Laura Phillips, Paraphernalia, Mary Quant, Petals and Concept by Samuel Sherman. Phewwwww. That’s a lot of gear.


Must See Vintage Films: Two for the Road (1967)

My most recent Lovefilm rental was a film I’ve been dying to see for years: Two for the Road starring Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney. I can safely say that it did not disappoint and I remain baffled as to why it wasn’t more successful at the time, or why it hasn’t been re-evaluated as a classic in the years since. I suppose it is mainly a lack of familiarity; when was the last time it was shown on’t’telly?

One reviewer explained the possible contemporary drawback that Audrey Hepburn was a much more established Hollywood star in 1967, and someone like Albert Finney would have seemed a terrible upstart to have equal billing opposite her. It doesn’t help that his character is a dominant, aggressive, opinionated Alpha male, and she is as delicately beautiful and softly spoken as always. That isn’t to say that her character is a washout, far from it, but in analysing a marriage across its entire lifespan, you will certainly see the worst sides of both parties. And the phrase ‘a bit of an arse’ was created precisely for a man like Mark Wallace.

The rhythm of the film is deliciously undulating and swervy, which is dictated by the fact that it is a road movie and that it switches between several different time periods through its entirety. You see how the couple first meet, how they fall in love, how they survive youthful poverty, pregnancy, the changing fortunes of their lives (and how these, perversely, make them unhappier), their dalliances, how they seem to be falling out of love. In fact, it shows every nuance of a complex relationship in snippy vignettes from several holidays, each involving a long journey across France. You never see their home, but you really don’t notice and certainly don’t need to.

It is also notable for Hepburn’s wardrobe, which is provided by a host of swinging young designers (Foale and Tuffin, Mary Quant, Paco Rabanne, Ken Scott etc…) and perfectly places each time period. You know where you are when her hair is long, and her beatnik jumper is red, or when her hair is perfectly coiffed into a Vidal Sassoon cut and her clothes are mod perfection.

You’ll laugh, if you’re anything like me you’ll cry, and you’ll fall ever more in love with Audrey and Albert. There’s even an early Jacqueline Bisset appearance. Definitely a ‘must see’, in my opinion.


Goodies Galore

No, no, no! Not those Goodies, these goodies….

Rare pink felt hat by Lee Bender for Bus Stop


Have you ever had that feeling, that tight feeling in your chest when you think about all the various things you are required to do in a short space of time. It paralyses you, and makes the situation ten times worse. I suffer from this unnamed syndrome. Sometimes it causes me to be a bit behind in updating my website. I would hate for anyone to think that I’m lazy or too busy living some incredible jet-setting lifestyle. I mean, I would like to be doing the latter, who wouldn’t? But the truth is more boring than that.

Anyway, this week has somehow generated a flurry of website listings, and I thought I ought to share them with you. They include: a very, very rare piece of Bus Stop history in the form of a bright pink felt hat, an incredible Annacat prised from my personal collection in an attempt to regain control of my living space (this ambition is perpetually unfulfilled), an adorable printed cotton Horrockses dress, one of the most fabulous John Bates dresses I’ve seen and a super sexy emerald green lurex halter top by Mary Quant. But that’s just the big guns. There’s plenty of other pieces to tempt your tastebuds (I hope).

early Sixties Wallis Shops waffle-textured cotton sheath dress

early Seventies printed cotton Vivien Smith tea dress

early Seventies emerald green lurex halter top by Mary Quant

early Seventies fitted jacket in an incredible bold floral print

mid Sixties hot pink and gold shot matelasse shift dress

late Fifties floral and stripe printed cotton sundress by Horrockses

early Seventies maxi dress with unusual cross-stitch print bodice by John Bates for Jean Varon

Late Sixties psychedelic maxi dress by Annacat

early Seventies lime green high-waisted flares by Simon Massey


Sensory Overload

From Nova, February 1972. Photograph by Harri Peccinotti

If this were my spring capsule wardrobe, I’d be one very contented lady…


Newsflash!

Not only did Mary Quant invent the mini*, the duvet cover*, tights*, make-up*, the bread bin*, hotpants* and pvc clothing*, but I can now exclusively reveal that she also invented…

…the vitamin pill!

From October 1968

*All nonsense in my opinion, but I have only “made up” one of them. I’ll leave you to decide which one…


Boutiques on film

I’m currently avoiding the cold (and the general public) by working on some gorgeous new listings, including Biba, Janice Wainwright, Marie France and many more, and immersing myself in my beloved clothes, films, tv and music – like some strange, velvet-clad hobbit.

Thankfully, gorgeous people like Laurakitty are on hand to point me back towards the amazing person on Youtube who has access to footage from the German programme ‘London Aktuell’ and a whole host of seriously groovy easy-listening music of the era. I posted about this a while back, but hadn’t realised some new editions had been posted. Utterly droolworthy the lot of them, and containing precious footage of Carnaby Street, the King’s Road and Kensington High Street. ‘Scuse me while I dribble…


Hard Glam Rock

Left: Shirt by Hans Metzen at Elle. Midi tartan culottes by Foale and Tuffin. Boots by Sacha. Hat by Bermona / Right: Vest by Girl. Sujon pants and battle jacket by Vanessa Frye. Shoes by Sacha.

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….

Photos by Roger Charity. Fashion by Sue Hone.

Tartan pinny with button sides by Foale and Tuffin. Vest with red trim and heart buttons by Dranella. Boots by Sacha.

Left: Rhona Roy smock, under pinny by Copper Coin. Shoes by Elliotts. / Right: Syndica vest from Girl. Skirt by Mr Freedom. Jewellery from Paradise Garage. Shoes by Sacha

Left: Velvet suit by Marielle. Sox by Mr Freedom. Shoes by Ravel. / Right: Bermudas by Foale and Tuffin. Sweater from Elle Shops. Bangles by Biba. Sox by Quant. Shoes by Mr Wik.

Copper Coin red and blue pinny by Sheridan Barnett. Black pants by Gordon King. Shirt by Alkasura. Shoes by Quant.

Smock by Copper Coin. Top by Van Der Fransen.


Smartie Pants

Photographed by Patrick Russell. April 1971


The title of this Telegraph Magazine spread on hotpants (as promised yesterday) tickled me somewhat. My boyfriend calls me a smartie pants on a regular basis (I thoroughly deserve it. Full of useless information and a tendency to smart-arsedly correct people. I can’t stop myself. I think I deserve a smack, quite frankly.) and obviously the fact that I love the word ‘pants’ makes me gravitate towards pant-related puns. Of course, pants means trousers (or, “kecks”, in my world) in the United States. Which rather renders my whole ‘emmapeelpants’ thing rather less naughty than it is in the United Kingdom. Where pants means, well, underwear (or, “undercrackers”, in my world).

Outfit by Anthony for Stirling Cooper. All menswear by YSL.

Anyway, hotpants works on both sides of the atlantic. Mary Quant claims to have invented them (she also invented duvet covers, bread bins, make-up, tights and probably sliced bread as well) so if she named them, then they would stem from the British meaning of the word pants. But it makes more sense from the American meaning, because they’re hotter than ‘pants’. Sturdier, fuller versions of ‘underpants’ could never be ‘hotter’. But truthfully, I have no idea who coined the term. And I’m just being silly.

Shorts and top by Bus Stop. Shirt by Toto from Crowthers

Outfit by Diane Crawshaw for Mr Freedom

Top and scarf by Ossie Clark from Quorum. Shorts by Clobber

I’ve never actually been out in hotpants. When I was younger, I thought my bum was far too large. Now I’m older, and wiser, and quite like my bottom, I feel like I might be a bit too old for them. Of course, I mean this Seventies style where you wear lovely thick, possibly coloured, tights (© Quant), I would never bare my naked thighs and tush to the world. I also don’t really like ‘formal shorts’ (even the word makes me wince) and there are far too many leggy 20-somethings running around in cut-off denims at the moment. However, I’m sure that if I could find the Quorum + Clobber = Heaven outfit above, I would go out in that.

Outfit on left by Diorling at Christian Dior. Outfit on right by Sheilagh Blagden at Stirling Cooper

Outfit on left by Ritva. Outfit on right by Paul Reeves for Universal Witness.

I’d love to hear any opinions or hotpant-related anecdotes from my lovely readers. I’m also going to go off and listen to the divine John Foxx’s Underpa[nt]ss, and you’re welcome to join me.


This must be underwater love….

White pleated dress; £30 from a selection at the Prop Shop, 51 Old Church Street.

I can’t believe I’ve never scanned this before. Honestly, the backlog of scanning is ridiculous due to time constraints and the fact that all magazines other than early Honeys are a very Bad Size for my scanner. When will I ever have an A3 scanner? When will I ever have the room?

Anyway, this is an utterly delicious shoot from The Daily Telegraph Magazine, July 1972, featuring some seriously beautiful clothes actually worn underwater in the Bahamas. I must admit that part of me winces at the idea of a silk chiffon Ossie being ruined in the name of a photoshoot. But, then, this is an incredible shoot…and no one would dare do it now, with a vintage piece, so it’s totally unique. I genuinely think that Cherry Twiss is one of the great unsung heroes of British fashion journalism, I’ve always loved the Daily Telegraph Magazine shoots under her direction.

Fashion Editor: Cherry Twiss

Photographer: Flip Schulke

Model: Cathy Shirriff

Also, unfortunately, the Telegraph had a pretty lousy print at times – especially when it came to the small ‘inset’ images. I’ve done my best, but they’re low-res to start with I’m afraid. Still very enjoyable and inspirational though…

Dress by Suliman; £25

Red spotted voile nightdress from Biba; £10.25

Left: Top and skirt by Anokhi; £22.50 – Right: Chiffon dress by Ossie Clark at Quorum; £30

‘Capsule’ by Mary Quant; £4

Left: Silk dress from Rumak and Sample; £25.15 – Right: Chiffon caftan by Deliss; £79

Octopus scarf dress from Essenses (Stand N8 at Antiquarius); £30


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