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.
Ever been to bed in satin or gone to work in lizard, looked through chiffon or wore a cardigan to your knees? Well we haven’t either, but Grandmother might have. The Ossie Clark and Alice Pollock Autumn Collection was full of these new things from old. Quorum clothes have a habit of being way ahead of their competitors and you always have to pay for originality. Even if you can’t afford to buy there they point the way ahead so look hard. There were maxi-length tweed coats in pinks and greens, long suede suits with lizard insets. Skirts and trousers were long and flowing, blouses were in flouncy chiffon or giselle. There were butterfly dresses in flimsy chiffon, with streams of flowing scarves tied to the ankles or wrists. There was a mass of creamy satin made into long quilted coats or glamorous trouser suits. There were satin dressing gowns with matching pants and bra. Also flowing crêpe suits with satin trimmings, tight-knitted jumpers flecked with stripes of bright colours. And more and more….
Sadly some of the prices were wild too but the ideas are yours for the copying.
A perfect example of why the demise of the illustrated fashion editorial was so unjust.
LEFT: Salmon pink crepe overblouse with short fluted sleeves, Marie France for Quorum £10 approx, from Quorum, 52 Radnor Wealk, SW3 and Heath Street, NW3 ; Quorum shops at all branches of Peter Robinson. Satin trousers, Alkasura £6.50, ,from Alkasura, 304 King’s Road, SW3. Apricot beads £5, amber bangles from 20p each, wide yellow bangle £2, all from Emeline. RIGHT: Crêpe shirred blouse. with tie neck, Alice Pollock at.Quorum £10 approx, from Quorum, 52 Radnor Walk, SW3 and Heath Street, NW3; Quorum shops at all branches of Peter Robinson. Green satin trousers, Jeff Banks £7.50, from Jeff Banks Shop at Peter Robinson, Oxford Circus, W1; City Stylish, Newcastle. Gilt dress clips, Universal Witness from 25p each.
The season of the shirt. Wild and waisted. Smart, sharp and snappy. Crisp, cuffed sleeves for the new tight and tailored look. Soft and slinky overblouses to revive the romantic 40s.
The first picture has got to be one of my favourite fashion shots of all time. Such joy in movement, perfect lighting, and harmonious colours from the most heavenly Quorum clothes.
Photographed by Dick Polak.
Scanned by Miss Peelpants from Honey Magazine, May 1973.
LEFT: Crisp white crêpe pintucked overblouse £8.50, from all branches of Bus Stop (mail order 30p from 3 Kensington Church Street W8). Satin trousers, Alkasura £6.50, from Alkasura, 304 King’s Road, SW3, Thin patent belt, Gay Designs 69p; sea green waist-length bead necklace £4.50, short green necklace £3, and art-deco bangles £2 each, all from a selection at Butler & Wilson. RIGHT: Neat cotton sports shirt with patch pockets, Cacharel at Joseph £8.50, from Joseph, 33b King’s Road, SW3 (mail order 25p). White cotton trousers, Jeff Banks £7.50, from Che Guevara, Kensington High Street, W8 (mail order 25p) ; Jeff Banks shop at Peter Robinson, Oxford Circus, W1. Thin leather belt, Baggage Et General £1.10; plum plastic bangles, Adrien Mann 25p.
LEFT: Finely striped cotton casual shirt, Ian Batten at Stirling Cooper £6.50, from Stirling Cooper, 94 New Bond Street, W1 ; Stirling Cooper shops at DH Evans, Oxford Street, W1 ; Peter Robinson, Oxford Circus, W1, Leeds, Norwich and Cardiff ; Escalade, Brompton Road, SW3; Kendal Milne, Manchester. Gaberdine Oxford bags, Alkasura £9.50, from Alkasura, 304 King’s Road, SW3. Long polka-dot scarf, Van der Fransen £1 ; wide amber bangle, Paul Stephens 25p; ebony clutch bangle, Adrien Mann £1 ; stretchy webbing belt, Gay Designs £4. RIGHT: Button-through striped cotton blouse with matching attached cravat and deep cuffed sleeves, Ian Batten at Stirling Cooper £7.50 (stockists as for shirt above). Cotton trousers, Jeff Banks £7.50, from Che Guevara, Kensington High Street, W8 (mail order 25p) ; Jeff Banks shop, Peter Robinson, Oxford Circus W1. Enamel dress clips, Universal Witness from 25p each; wavy webbing belt, Gay Designs £4; amder bangles, Emeline 20p each.
LEFT Smartly striped square-necked. crepe-de-chine overblouse with set-in short sleeves, Suzy Craker at Roger Nelson £9.50, from Way In, Harrods, Knightsbridge, SW1 (mail order 25p) Che Guevara, Kensington High Street, W8 ; Crocodile, Kensington High Street, W8 and .branches. Lilac Trevira trousers, Jakie Ross at Jon Elliott £6.70, from D H Evans, Oxford Street, W1 ; I Spy, Oxford Street, W1 ; Sidney. Smith, King’s Road, SW3; Hendersons, Liverpool. Elastic and leather belt from a selection at Escalade ; bangles, Emeline £2 each. RIGHT : Rainbow striped loose overblouse with sweetheart neckline and puff sleeves, Ian Batten at Siding Cooper 16.50, from Stirling Cooper, 94 New Bond Street, W1 ; Stirling Cooper shops at D H Evans, Oxford Street, W1 Escalade, Brompton Road, SW3; Peter Robinson, Oxford Circus, W1, Leeds, Norwich and Cardiff ; Kendal Milne, Manchester. Gaberdine Oxford bags. Alkasura £8, from Alkasura, 304 King’s Road, SW3. Lime green patent belt, Gay Designs 69p; long bobble beads, Paul Stephens, 85p.
Far Left. Printed Italian voile dress with smocked bodice and medieval sleeves, grey/blue, 8-14, Gina -Fratini, £49, from Harrods ; Chic, Hampstead, NW3 ; Sheila Worth, Kendal Street, W2. Centre. Wraparound kimono in Lurex printed with Zandra Rhodes design, pink/lilac/silver or green/ orange/gold, 10-16, Hildebrand, £23, from Harrods, Knightsbridge, SW1 ; Kendal Milne, Manchester : Strava-ganza, Harrogate. Right. Crepe de chine dress, se-quinned bodice, black only, 10 and 12, by Alice Pollock, £62.50, from Fifth Avenue, King’s Road, SW3 ; or enquiries to Quorum, 6 Burnsall Street, SW3. Suede wedge-soled sandals, 3-8, f5.99, from branches of Sacha.
Clothes currently in fashion are of such contradictory styles that they seem to demand of the wearer a talent for acting beyond the capacity of most women. It takes a skilled actress to switch easily from cool Japanese geisha girl to 1940s tart and remember which part she’s playing. Helen Mirren, associate member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, shows how it’s done, with a toss of her head, a quick change in facial expression, a swivel of hip and heel. The dresses she wears here all have sleeves that require dramatic gestures : medieval pointed sleeves, kimono sleeves, and sleeves slashed from the shoulder. You don’t have to be an actress to wear these dresses, but it does help.
Photographed by James Wedge.
Scanned by Miss Peelpants from The Observer Magazine, 11th July 1971.
FRONT: Granny vest-slip in pink rayon stockinette, by Walker Reid, 11s. 6d.; Persian love-ring by Corocraft, 7s. 6d.; opera-length pearl strand by Corocraft, 9s. 6d.; hairslide from a selection by Adrien Mann. LEFT TO RIGHT: Art Nouveau print slip in chocolate and black by Biba, 28s. 6d. Southern-belle lace-trimmed dressing gown by Angela Gore, 15 gns.; satin bra by Emmanuelle Khanh, 89s. 6d.; little boy boxer shorts by Etam, 5s. 11d.; silver buckle bracelet by Corocraft, 31s. 6d. Black satin smoking jacket with gold facings by Bus Stop, approx. 5 gns.; see-thru tulle bra by Emmanuelle Khanh, 55s.; black oval ring by Adrien Mann, 22s. 6d. Baby blue nylon nightie with high gathered waist at Separates Centre, 22s. 6d.; silver bracelet by Maxine Northwood, 35s. Black jersey-crêpe dressy-coat with spotted cummerbund sash and cuffs by Foale & Tuffin, 131 gns.; jet strand necklace at Fenwick’s, 21s.
… I’m always at home … it’s such a bore going out when there are such fabulous slink-at-home clothes … well, I mean … who wants to get oyster-satin wet? I’ll just cuddle up in a clutch-close wrap in front of the fire… and sling on a few jewels, and how’s about it, pal-sie ? See you soon soon…
Illustrated by Philip Castle.
Scanned by Miss Peelpants from Honey Magazine, November 1968.
LEFT TO RIGHT: Taj Mahal print hall-slip by Warners. 23s. lid.: relax-line bra by Lovable. 9s. 11d.: strands of jet beads by Fenwicks, 21s. each. Play-around coat•dress in pink satin by Bus Stop. 89s. 6d.; jewelled cross brooch by Paul Stephens. 15s.60. Sail-away lounging pyjamas in white rayon jersey by Foale & Tuffin. 12gns.; Maltese cross by Corocraft, 37s. 6d: black oval ring by Adrian Mann. 22s. 6d.: wide silver bracelet by Adrian Mann, 57s. 6d. Velvet print lounging gown with satin trim by Angela Gore. 12 gns. Jean Harlow nightie with pin-tucked bodice in powder blue by Walker Reid, 43s. 6d. At Home gown in oyster satin, 96s. 2d.; matching bra, 41s. 10d.: matching little•boy pants, 51s. 4d. All by Alice Pollock FRONT: Casual nothing while stretch lace bra by Biba. 21s.: white stretch lace bikini pants by Etam, 4s.11d.; oval hair slide from Harrod’s Way In. 7s.60.: hoop ear-rings by Corocraft, 15s. 6d.; armful of narrow gilt bangles by Paul Stephens. 27s. 6d. each.
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.
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?
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.”
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.
This luxury’s a look, a feel and a fact, and nothing to do with money. It’s satin and silver and velvet and ciré, it’s snowy fake-fur. We show it in layers. You look like a million dollars. Alice Pollock of Quorum designed this satin lingerie to be the softest thing next to your skin. There’s a small bra, shaped quite naturally, knickers that button to the side, and a languid caped dressing-gown that fastens once and touches your toes. All spun round with satin ribbons and made in the most appealing pale shades – magnolia, pink or powder blue.
Photographed by Barry Lategan.
Scanned by Miss Peelpants from Vogue, December 1968.