Alice Through Our Looking Glass

Alice Pollock is a dreamy sort of girl – incredibly thin with large, sullen eyes and wispy hair. Emancipated yet feminine she is the other half of the Quorum design team. She and Ossie Clark design beautiful clothes for their shop in the King’s Road and also produce a special budget range for Radley which is sold all over the country.

She lives in an enormous flat with her three children, a cat and a canary. At the moment she is in the throes of redecoration. One room she has already painted bright green – it is sparsely furnished with simple, modern furniture and some good paintings on the walls. The shelves are crammed with objects she has picked up in junk shops – glass cylinders filled with dried flowers, Art Nouveau statues and books.

Her bedroom is extremely large and feminine, with an old, junky dressing table covered with flowers. Tulips, freesias and azaleas are her favourites at the moment. Her vast wardrobe is crammed full of clothes – mainly her own designs and a few old clothes she has found in junk shops.

During the day Alice wears no make-up at all, and for the evening she makes up only her lips and eyes from a Leichner paintbox. Currently she is wearing a silvery green on her lips and a dark red on her eyes – which somehow looks all right. She washes her hair every day in a herb shampoo and never sets it – just shakes her head as it is drying and separates the ends with her fingers.

Her evenings she usually spends with friends, going out to dinner or occasionally to pop concerts, but the weekends she spends with her children.

Her spring collection has a very romantic, feminine feeling, the fabrics are the softest – chiffons, silks and occasionally cotton jersey – and the colours are palest blues, lemons, pinks and greys. She has maintained a long look for both day and evening, but in a few styles the length has crept up to just below the knee.

All clothes are by Alice Pollock.

Photographed by Caroline Arber.

Scanned from 19 Magazine, April 1970.

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For Anybody Who Has Any Body

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Artist and designer Alan Aldridge first discovered the charms of the female body as a canvas when he painted his wife four years ago for a book poster. Since then it has become quite a habit with him, and his model on this occasion — actress and singer Jane Birkin — was one of a growing line of his painted girls. For her, however, it was a new experience. “I had flowers painted on my face for a film in India,” she recalls, “but the heat just melted them and they cried down my face. Apart from that, the girls I’ve seen in London with their faces painted tended to look pretty sordid and sweaty. When you think of it, there’s such a lot you could do,” she said. “It would be marvellous, for instance, to have bracelets and necklaces painted on. Mind you, the actual experience of being painted takes some getting used to. The sensation of the brush is like being crawled over by a wet snail. And I never realised how much I laughed with my stomach.”

Who are the people who go in for body painting, and does it really exist? Bodies are not the easiest or the most obvious things to paint. And yet as party decoration, and a more exciting way of modelling clothes and jewellery, painted bodies seem to be definitely fashionable.

Though the recent vogue was first adopted by the hippies (where better to put your flowers than painted on your body?) the artist and designer Alan Aldridge is credited with having started the trend in London. In 1964, when he was named Art Director of Penguin Books, he designed a: publicity poster using his wife painted in bright colours as a model, with the caption: “We can’t offer you girls, but we can offer you Penguins.”

“We got a pretty fantastic response,”-says Alan Aldridge. “And then I started doing it commercially in a big way. Too much in fact. The break came when I painted a girl all over but I had to get her drunk on brandy for the occasion.”

Since then sporadic parties have featured painted bodies. Public relations director David Wynne-Morgan had the idea of launching a book, The Exhibitionist, by using cheerfully painted models. The book had a painted girl on the cover, and models at the publicity party sported the title in luminous paint across their backs. Later, guests were encouraged to join in the game, and splattered their dates with paint.

At one of his last collections fashion designer Ungaro showed his models with vivid designs painted around their eyes; and it has now become fairly common in the model world to wear a sparkling snake wound round your leg, or a flower imprinted on yourforehead. Full body painting is a more esoteric art. Jim O’Connor, a graduate of the Royal. College of Art, is one of the artists who took it up ; he recently painted a body in the new landscape style now popular for fabrics: his back view of a girl showed a house rising above a fence, and. clouds floating off behind some trees.

As usual, the advertising world has been quick to catch on. A poster for Ultra’s Bermuda colour television set shows a girl lying on her stomach, naked except for a rough map of Bermuda sketched over her back. The caption invitingly reads: “Win two weeks in Bermuda”. 

Another person to use body painting was Andrew Grima, the Jermyn Street jeweller, who commissioned an Italian artist, Alberto Villar, to paint a naked model in wild colours; afterwards she was scattered with jewels. Though the result was exotic, Grima has not repeated the experirnent: “It was a bit too poppish for us; the paint did not show up the jewellery to its best advantage.”

Several London shops now cater for this new trend. Joan Price, of the Face Place, 26 Cale Street, SW3 is prepared to body paint for 2 gns. She recommends two makes of paint which are non-irritant and do not smear or stain clothes. They can be used together, and are put on with special cosmetic brushes: Colour Me Cloud 9 Body Paints, which cost 5s 6d for a 2in bottle (any four for £1), or the complete set for £2 17s 6d from Cloud 9 Cosmetics, 14 Boltons Close, Woking, Surrey. Their colours range from jade green to deep purple and glistening copper to a pearlised white, which is said to be good for highlighting. The second recommended wake is Innova-tion by Coty, who have produced four subtle see-through shades, which, though not originally intended for body wear, are very suitable for staining wide areas of skin. These cost 10s 6d and can be bought from all Coty stockists.

Next year the Face Place are bringing out a range of body stencils in a variety of patterns. Until then you can make do with Alice Pollock’s Paint Box for the face, from Quorum in the King’s Road, which comes in 12 colours at £3 19s 6d.

I was so sad to hear of the death of Alan Aldridge the other day. One of the most influential artists and illustrators of his generation, his work has always been a huge inspiration to me. There seems to be no better time to share this article from 1969, in which he is credited with starting the whole body-painting phenomenon which defined the late 1960s and shown doing his thing on the ever-lovely Jane Birkin.

And in case that wasn’t enough for you, also featured are Veronica Carlson, Marsha Hunt, Imogen Hassall, Peter Blake, John Astrop and Ralph Steadman.

Photographed by John Marmaras. Text by Caroline Moorehead.

Scanned by Miss Peelpants from The Telegraph Magazine, December 1969.

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For designer John Astrop the prerequisite of a good body painting is that it should be “wild”. He is an old hand at the game. Privately he has painted a friend going to a fancy dress party with an “Al Capone” scar (“it lasted all evening and was pretty horrifying”) and professionally he was commissioned to paint a girl with a complete map of Bermuda for an advertisement. His next painting, he had decided, was really going to be something unusual — a front view of a nude painted on to a girl’s back. Film actress Veronica Carlson had a train to catch, however, and could only make her attractive torso available for something less ambitious. Thus the key. This did not stop her taking an informed interest in the proceedings. She had spent four years at art school and as a result her comments were soundly practical. If he was going to add any more water to the paint, for example, could it be warmed first?

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After a lifetime of doodling flowers on to her arms and legs, model, singer and former “Hair” actress Marsha Hunt was able to discuss the subject of body painting with a certain amount of authority. “Of course it’s nothing new,” she said. “American Indians, Africans, every backwoods civilisation you can think of have got themselves painted up. But I don’t think you will see paintings as big as this,” she said, peering down at cartoonist Ralph Steadman’s illustration. “Who’s got three hours to spend being painted? It would have to be a pretty high party.” She broke off and proprietorially peered down at the couple recumbent on her bosom. “Are they both white?” she asked, with the tone of a scandalised landlady. At that stage they were, but Steadman quickly turned the scene into an advertisement for a mixed marriage, and honour was satisfied. “I’ve enjoyed it,” he said. “I’d like to have a go at a couple of politicians next.”

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Faced with the whole of actress Imogen Hassall s back for a canvas, painter-illustrator Peter Blake opted for total decoration: He decided to daub her in.a rainbow of colours taking their cue from the red of her playsuit and ending with a purple dramatisation of herf ace. “If you are going to paint a body, why not paint as much as you can get your hands on,” he declared. Imogen, who took all this literally lying down, reserved her comment while he boldly sketched in the ribs of the pattern. “The whole idea reminds me of how women used to paint stockings on their legs in the war,” said Peter. “That sort of body painting literally was fashion, but now I see it more as an extension to fashion — marvellous for anyone who wants to attract attention.” Imogen felt the same way. “Just the thing for a premiere — really quite groovy,” she said, stepping out into the street and virtually stopping the traffic with her now dazzling striped back and red playsuit.

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Face Up To The Party

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Photographed by Stephen Bobroff.

Scanned by Miss Peelpants from 19 Magazine, December 1969.

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James Last Goes Pop, 1967

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Illustration by Barry Zaid.

Scanned by Miss Peelpants.


The Grand Affair

Grand affairs call for grand clothes, and provide a welcome opportunity to get out of our peasant blouses and jeans and dress accordingly. The nicest thing about fashion at the moment is that everyone is so confused as to what they should be wearing, that you can wear exactly what you like. We opt for the romantic Garbo fashion, tarted up in the ’71 style, because girls are beginning to look like girls again and, although we sympathise with Women’s Lib., we don’t believe you have to look like a fella to get equal rights!

Possibly the most perfect encapsulation of the Seventies-does-Thirties aesthetic, this homage to Art Deco features some of the most lust-worthy clothes from my favourite designers and boutiques. Including Biba, Ossie Clark and some rare Antony Price for Stirling Cooper!

Photographed in the home of interior designer Graeme Gibson rather than in a studio, the authenticity is heightened by the location and the props, and then finished with the sweet illustrated photoframes.

Photographed by David Tack.

Scanned by Miss Peelpants from 19 Magazine, January 1971.

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Crepe dress by Antony Price for Stirling Cooper. T-strap shoes from Sacha.


Inspirational Illustrations: Eric Boman, 1974

Grey wool cardigan, oatmeal overchecked, pale grey silk shirt, both at James Drew. Grey felt hat by Edward Mann.

Grey wool cardigan, oatmeal overchecked, pale grey silk shirt, both at James Drew. Grey felt hat by Edward Mann.

Meet the new fashion collector. She will be about for a long time. Her lipstick is red. She wears only navy, ivory and grey, but so cleverly that there’s no limit to the flattering effects she can compute. Her clothes are so simple and beautiful. It all looks easy. She spends more money on her clothes than most woman, but, when they’re searching around for something to wear, she’s already perfectly dressed. When their clothes are beginning to look wrong, hers are right. So in the end, she probably spends no more than they. Here’s how she does it…

Illustrated by Eric Boman.

Scanned by Miss Peelpants from Vogue, February 1974.

Left: Muffler, long cardigan with scroll embroidery, sleeveless putty crepe de chine gilet, skirt loosely pleated in front at Annacat. Hat by Jacoll. Right: Ivory crepe de chine open-work dress, couldn't be simpler, tied at the waist by Salvador. Straw hat by Bermona.

Left: Muffler, long cardigan with scroll embroidery, sleeveless putty crepe de chine gilet, skirt loosely pleated in front at Annacat. Hat by Jacoll. Right: Ivory crepe de chine open-work dress, couldn’t be simpler, tied at the waist by Salvador. Straw hat by Bermona.


Inspirational Illustrations: The Arts and Censorship

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Illustration by Alan Aldridge.

Scanned by Miss Peelpants from Phantasia: Of Dockland, Rockland and Dodos, 1981