Photographed by John Bishop.
Scanned by Miss Peelpants from 19 Magazine, September 1970
There are new listings-a-plenty over at Vintage-a-Peel, with some of the biggest and brightest names in British fashion from the Sixties and Seventies. Ossie Clark, Bill Gibb, John Bates, Jeff Banks, Twiggy, Gina Fratini, Jean Muir, Catherine Buckley… plus some beautiful modernist jewellery to go with it!
I don’t often post about individual garments listed over at Vintage-a-Peel, but some things are just that special…
Ethereally beautiful gown by Catherine Buckley, using fabric designed by Veronica Holden. Buckley is best known for her designs for Joanna Lumley as Purdey in The New Avengers. She otherwise maintained a low profile, producing idiosyncratically period-style fantasy garments, often incorporating original antique fabrics. This garment uses a replica fabric, a cream net with delicate lace flowers, embroidered flowers nearer the hem and hand-painted green and pink tones.
The style is unmistakeably, and almost accurately, Belle Epoque. From the delicate lace ruffles which cascade over the shoulders and down the back, to the deep ruffled hem, to the extraordinary fabric covered buttons which are the only fastening. Buckley’s pieces are always extraordinary and as near to couture as you can get from the British Boutique era. I would put her on a par with Thea Porter and Gina Fratini; less ethnic-inspired than Thea Porter and less utterly insane than Fratini, a truly ‘English’ look. Refined and feminine, sophisticated and elegant…
I think it is safe to say that I love old clothes. I dream them, I live in them and I covet the ones I don’t have. But I am under no illusion that there is anything inherently unique or radical about this. The uniqueness comes from the impression of your personality in whatever you choose to wear. The fabrics, the colours, the shapes, these are the expression of my inner self in one, superficially superficial, way.
It is important to remember this: each generation thinks it invented sex, and I fear the same goes for ‘vintage’ clothing. This article makes for fascinatingly familiar reading. Commercialisation is the death knell each time, but in turn becomes the coveted piece of history for the next generation of disillusioned people (see the mention of Catherine Buckley’s old jacquard fabrics in the text of the article. My Buckley skirt is one of these pieces). The irony does not escape me; I wear clothes by Ossie Clark, Biba, Bus Stop… all of who were creating clothes heavily inspired by their own childhoods.
Just wanting a period look is not the important part, anyone can buy a reproduction and plenty of people will, the expression comes from the colours, fabrics, shapes and accoutrements you pick. There is absolutely nothing wrong with new clothing taking influence from old, although my thoughts on direct duplication are well known, but why would you limit yourself to the prints they have chosen this season? There are limitless possibilities when you look around you and take inspiration from a variety of sources other than from conventional fashion magazines or ‘how to’ guides.
That is partly the aim of this blog, and I hope to continue in such a vein for a long time yet…
The Cosmo Girl’s Guide to the Cast-Offs Cult… Cosmopolitan, August 1974.
It’s of the greatest frustration to me that nobody has yet bought this beautiful skirt by Catherine Buckley. Made from antique fabrics, patchworked into a maxi skirt, it is a key piece of this designer’s work and a beautiful garment to behold.
I knew she had designed clothes for Joanna Lumley as Purdey in The New Avengers, but it had been so long since I watched the episodes, I didn’t remember many individual outfits. Even so, it was highly unlikely that the super-active Purdey would have been wearing a patchwork maxi skirt. Or so I thought. Seems Ms Buckley designed a split midi version for the episode ‘House of Cards’ which Joanna wears to perfection in an action sequence.
Here are some stills, and here is a link to the skirt. Buckley’s work is rare enough, and these patchwork pieces even rarer.
Ongoing, as ever, but I’ve put up some new listings over at Vintage-a-Peel for your delectation. Two things have already sold (hurrah for me and my gorgeous buyers, not so hurrah if you wanted them, but there’s plenty more to come!) but there’s just a whole host of beautiful new pieces to choose from.