Photographed by Carin Simon.
Scanned by Miss Peelpants from Cosmopolitan, March 1975.
Sarah Drummond talks to six talented people about their highly original hang-ups.
CHRISTINE MARTIN hangs shawls in her shop Razzmatazz (12 North End Rd, London W14, 01-603 0514) where she sells ‘Twenties and ‘Forties clothes, and also in her home. Both places are diminutive, but that doesn’t stop Christine from fanning shawls on walls, canopying them over lamp-shades, draping them as bed curtains. “I like shawls because they’re dramatic —but they can be overpowering, too; you must be careful. I like variety, which is why I change them about all the time. I like to make different moods. If someone comes to dinner for the second time, I’ll certainly swop the shawls about for them. I’ve never hung pictures—they’re too expensive. and too many other people hang them. My husband Christopher is an antique dealer specialising in icons so, of course. I hang them. I hang handbags sometimes. too.” Most of Christine’s shawl collection is nineteenth-century oriental, heavily embroidered, made in the East specifically for the European market, not to wear, but to cover pianos and tables. Christine also buys cut velvet shawls. “… and I’m just reaching the stage where if I really like something I don’t want to sell it.” Where do the Martins pick up their stock? “Oh anywhere, everywhere … we’re always tooting about in junk shops. I’ll pay up to £40 for a good shawl now I’ve got the bread.”
KAFFE FASSETT makes needlepoint hangings of magical intricacy and originality. If you see a handsome bearded young man doing petit point on the tube. it’s bound to be Kaffe. His creative energy is astonishing: currently he is working on an exhibition of his paintings to be held in New York, designing knits for Bill Gibb (a job he’s ‘done gloriously for the last six years) and for Ritva. And he’s doing knitting and tapestry designs and patterns for Women’s Home Industries and Tapestry Bazaar—and designing the needlepoint hangings which are made at Weatherall Workshops (Coleford 2102) in Gloucestershire. The day I saw Kaffe. a half-finished jacket was hanging pinned to his studio wall, chrome pins keeping an outstretched arm in place next to the body of the jacket, the pattern infinitely more complex than any piece of marbled paper, all plummy earthy tones. “I’m working it on fourteen needles: it’s good to see the balance of the design, feel how it’s going, and seeing it unfinished spurs me on to continue.” Kaffe is relatively new to actual needlework, though he’s been designing tapestries for some time. “Pamela Harlech who writes for Vogue asked me to design some slippers for her, and they looked great stitched up. Suddenly I thought I’d have a go. I’d always imagined those tapestry chairs you see took a lifetime —I was amazed how easy and how quick needlework can be.” To prove his point, he designed and worked backs and seats for a set of three winged chairs. marvellously mysterious in misty shades of grey, blue and green, based on forests and corals. As we talked Kaffe was stitching a doll’s-house chair, another exquisite forest design, which would set you back £10. whereas a big scale wallhanging could cost up to £2,000. “I’ve always been terribly influenced by the Orient,” Kaffe says. “I can look at patterns on some rugs for hours. Scotland has influenced me, too: there’s an affinity between Scotland and the Orient somewhere.”
JANNIE GOSS is an Australian model, who has lived for the last eight years in London with her architect husband, Ian, their eleven year old daughter. Mini, and a cat. Their flat in Camden Town is big and airy, with white walls. high ceilings and potted geraniums twelve feet tall. Jannie hangs her jewellery on the walls: the effect is bold and beautiful. It’s also highly practical. “The great thing about pinning up jewellery is that I can find it so easily—it’s not just for show: of course I wear the stuff, too. I used to keep my necklaces around a mirror, hopeless because everything became knotted. and you couldn’t get at it in a hurry …I like organised clutter—great areas of space, then areas of things; it makes dusting easier, too. And Ian and I are both keen on a functional as well as decorative environment. I move my jewellery about, to change the shapes and patterns they make, which is fun. I just use ordinary pins. the very long dressmaking ones—anything heavier, like a nail, would mark the walls. I’m a collector by nature, I was buying up Art Deco jewellery before it became fashionable, when it only cost a few bob. I’ve never bought from the antique market, but sometimes at Portobello Road and Oxfam shops; mostly I just nose about in junk shops and jumble sales. People say I’m clever at finding things but for every four looks, only once will You find a piece you really like and want to buy.
OLIVER HOARE‘s house gives you the feeling you’re in the Middle East. You are surrounded by carpets—kelims, to be precise—a dazzling juxtaposition of highly organised patterns and colours. Divans, steps, floors, cushions and wall are all covered with oriental rugs. When people hear about it, they imagine that so many patterns and colours clash. They don’t,” says Oliver. He’s right: the rugs harmonise, like music, and one of the reasons is that all the kelims’ colours are vegetable dyes, so the tones are constant—lots of brick and all the earthy colours. Oliver used to work at Christie’s where he ran the carpet department, but this summer set up on his own to sell Islamic works of art to the Middle East. and Far Eastern objets to Europe and America. “I was brought up with carpets, my father bought masses in Constantinople in the ‘Twenties, and always hung them up. Although I wasn’t terribly interested, something about them had rubbed off on me, and when I went to Christie’s I was immediately put into the carpet department. I became fascinated. I like kelims best of all. These are flat woven rugs, which have always been made by tribes, and it’s a tradition that hasn’t been interfered with or commercialised.” Buying carpets of any kind in the Middle East is an immensely ritualistic business: potential buyers sit for hours in carpet shops sipping tiny cups of Turkish coffee and tea endlessly. Bargaining goes on all day. Although Oliver enjoys this ritual. his business methods are Western. His dealing life means he must travel constantly though he spends as much time as he can in Iran where his caravanserai, on the old silk route, has just been nationalised by the government. Kelim prices have shot up, particularly now that so many are going back to their countries of origin. “Five years ago. you used to buy the really good kelims for £30 or £40. Nowadays, the best are £1,000 or £2,000 —but you can find decorative kelims for between two and three hundred pounds.”
GRAHAM WATSON makes bead curtains that swish exotic-ally as you pass through, like a ‘Twenties shimmy dress, beaded strands trailing in your hair and on your shoulders. His beads can depict your portrait. a fantasy landscape, cinema curtains, an old poster—whatever you want. The curtains are hung in doorways. on walls, around baths. Graham’s clients in-clude Chris Squire of the rock group Yes, photographer David Bailey, and film director Joe Losey. “I started off bead-work when I was at drama school . . . act-ing’s an overcrowded profession, and I found it demoralising,” Graham explains. “I saw a play on television one night, and in the background there was a beaded curtain that looked as though it had some-thing painted on it, I couldn’t quite see. But it intrigued me.” . . . To the extent that the very next day Graham started threading beads him-self. But beads are hard to find in England. and Graham traced the best bead sources to Germany (for wood) and Czechoslovakia (for glass). He declared himself a registered company, and went to work three years ago. “I still import the beads, but we dye most of the colours our-selves, otherwise you’re landed with all the shades you don’t want. I often mix glass and wooden beads, because glass alone is too heavy.” Currently, Graham is working on a huge black and silver portrait of Buster Keaton, and he’s planning a three-dimensional number. If you want a curtain made, and they cost around £120 (door size), you can reach Graham Watson at 13c Cunningham Place. London NW8 (01-286 0891).
PIP RAU is hooked on folk tradition, on the embroideries, colours, prints and patterns of Central Asia and the Middle East. Home is like a bazaar, her shop like a souk where she sells dresses, waist-coats, robes, great pieces of faded cloth, incredibly bright embroideries. Her walls are jam-packed with treasures. and Pip’s body is covered with clothes of tribal designs, too. “I’d never put up pictures.” she says, “hangings do so much more for a room. They’re vibrant and vast and warm. Infinitely cheaper, too. I’ve been collecting ever since I can remember. I love markets. I lived in Israel for ten years. I was married to an Israeli. and travelled all over the Middle East. and now we’re separated I’ve come back to live in London.” So it seemed a natural move to open a shop (Rau Gallery, 36 Islington Green, London N1, 01-359 5337) selling all the things she loves, and it means she can justify her passion for travel. “I plan to go away three or four times a year to find stock,” she says. “My last trip took six weeks; I drove all through Eastern Europe, buying in Romania and Yugoslavia, and on to Turkey and Iran. and then Afghanistan. There are always difficulties at frontiers—you need all the invoices and endless bits of paper. Prices are going up and up. sources are drying up, too, as increasing numbers of people get interested. My customers are very mixed—specialist collectors, or people who fall in love with something. I don’t think clothes like these should ever be altered. Just buy what fits.” Pip hangs dresses and the lighter hangings with drawing pins, and uses tacks for anything heavier. Dresses can cost as much as £50 —an antique, hand-woven heavily embroidered Palestinian wedding dress, for example—and wallhangings vary enormously from small Persian cottons at £4 to kelims and Bokharas (large-scale embroideries on silk) at £230, or kelims for £400.
The look for Christmas is definitely one of bright colours and generally good cheer. Fabrics are crepes, satins and velvets in stained glass hues of rich reds, blues, greens, yellows and purples…
Photographed by Stephen Bobroff.
Scanned by Miss Peelpants from 19 Magazine, December 1969.
An expensive dress bought to wear just for evenings can spoil your party fun. You’ll worry about spilt wine and cigarette burns while you’re engaged in unarmed combat with the crowd. You don’t want to pay a lot for something you and your friends might tire of after just one round of parties. So find yourself a dress that’s memorable like the four shown on these pages, in shiny satin, cire, Tricel, jersey or sparkling Lurex, and if its life is hort, it might break your heart but not your bank. So buy your glitter cheaply, and spend your sixpences on having fun.
Photographed by Steve Hiett.
Scanned by Miss Peelpants from The Observer Magazine, 7th December 1969
This photoshoot, featuring the brilliantly named Celestia Sporborg, is another one of my all-time favourites, and one I have put off scanning for a long while because Vanity Fair is actually a rather painful magazine to scan. The gummed spine, with age, does not enjoy being flattened so it requires extra effort to maintain some kind of structural integrity. I couldn’t NOT scan though. I love these images. I love the blurriness, her natural facial expressions, the very domestic backdrop and, of course, the completely mind-blowingly fabulous clothes. I don’t know where to start. That Stirling Cooper above is just so modern. And the Radley playsuit, so very Glam. And the Ossie… Plus Alice Pollock, Foale and Tuffin and a Ritva sweater I sold on Vintage-a-Peel a few years back…
It also identifies the shots from Vanity Fair’s Guide to Modern Etiquette, ‘Nice Girls Do’, which I posted about before. To contextualise this shoot, the entire June issue is dedicated to feminism and liberation. Certainly one of the main reasons I love Vanity Fair almost above all other magazines of the period is the fact that they would theme all the contents of an issue, including the fashion spreads.
Celestia Sporborg is now a casting director herself, with over a hundred film credits on IMDB. She married theatre and film producer Robert Fox (brother of James and Edward) in 1975 and they had three children together.
Photographed by Frank Horvat.
Scanned by Miss Peelpants from Vanity Fair, June 1971
This is mainly a post about new listings, but I’m very behind in everything at the moment so the phrase ‘Carry On Behind’ keeps popping into my head. I caught the second half of that film a few weeks back and, as with most British films of that era, it right proper cheered me up. If I was going to have to live through an era of gloomy economics, I’d much rather have lived through the Seventies…
I’m also wondering whether there’s a gap in the heaving burlesque market for a naff Seventies stripper type? There are so many Bettie Page wannabes, and even a few Sixties-style go-go girls, but I would personally love to see some jiggling in nylon ruffles and bubble perms going on.
Anyway, there aren’t too many nylon ruffles and sequins in my latest batch of listings. But that’s because there are some seriously scrumptious moss crepe, satin, velvet and jersey goodies. Ossie Clark (twice! I’m too good to you….), Gina Fratini, Dollyrockers, Ritva, Lee Bender for Bus Stop, Hardy Amies and some beautiful unlabelled pieces as well. I hope you see something which tickles your fancy, and I’ll work on the whole nylon ruffles thing in the meantime….
Shorts have been with us for some time now – “hot pants” making even starlets front page news – but the big question was whether they were here to stay, or were just a gimmick. Increasing sales seem to show that they are really catching on, and now the big stores are stocking them. For those with the youth and legs to enjoy them, we bring the very latest designs.