Enigma Variations

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Dove grey crepe edge to edge jacket. Dove grey crepe mid-calf skirt. Pink silk shirt with finely pleated collar. All by Zandra Rhodes.

Zandra Rhodes has come up with a brand new collection for her brand new shop at 14a Grafton Street, W1. Using crepe and pure silk, in muted colours – grey, black and bois de rose, and always with her characteristic love of detail, she has produced immensely wearable clothes to see you through the day, and into the evening.

Photographed by Packy Cannon.

Scanned by Miss Peelpants from Harpers & Queen, July 1975.

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Bois de rose pleated v-neck top and narrow silk cord tie-belt. Bois de rose wide crepe trousers with one lily type pocket in pleated crepe. Both from Zandra Rhodes. Peach leather sandals by Charles Jourdan.

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Cream silk shirt with finely pleated collar. Bois de rose crepe mid-calf skirt with pockets in panels of finely pleated crepe. Both from Zandra Rhodes Sling back wedge sandals by Charles Jourdan.

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Black finely pleated crepe v-neck top with cap sleeves and silk cord tie belt. Black crepe ankle-length skirt. Both from Zandra Rhodes. Shoes by Saint Laurent Rive Gauche.

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Floor length black crepe dress with buttoned cuffs. From Zandra Rhodes. Shoes by Saint Laurent Rive Gauche.


Happily Ever After

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White lawn dress printed with butterflies and flowers by Thea Porter. Straw hat by Buckle Under. Red wedge shoes by Kurt Geiger. Belt by Shape.

There’s a good reason why Vanity Fair is possibly my favourite magazine of this period. They were relatively conventional in the 1960s, and would ‘merge’ with Honey magazine around 1972, but in their death knells they were just about the most innovative magazine in the UK. Issues were often themed around ‘issues’, for example this one is entirely themed around break-ups and divorces (including a story on what a divorced man should wear when taking his kid out for the day).

Nor did they shy away from more expensive designer names, such as Thea Porter and Zandra Rhodes here, mixing them happily with the more affordable but still iconic boutique names like Stirling Cooper and Mr Freedom. Adding Foale and Tuffin, Pablo and Delia and Terry de Havilland into the mix for good measure, and all those stunning illustrations by Michael Foreman… this is one of my favourite editorials of all time.

Vanity Fair is also, frankly, a nightmare to scan because it falls apart at the binding with the lightest touch, which is why I don’t scan them as often. So enjoy the heaven of Harri Peccinotti’s work while I gently shuffle all the pages back into the magazine…

Photographed by Harri Peccinotti.

Illustrations by Michael Foreman.

Scanned by Miss Peelpants from Vanity Fair, April 1971.

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Long grey crepe dress patterned with purple, green and red birds by Shape. Pablo and Delia suede thong necklace. Blue suede shoes at Sacha.

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Beige suede skirt with applique shapes and matching shawl by Mary Quant. Necklace from Buckle Under. Beige suede boots by Guy Humphries.

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Blue and white feather printed chiffon dress by Zandra Rhodes.

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Left to right: Chiffon blouse and multi-coloured skirt by Foale and Tuffin. Painted rainbow shoes from Mr Freedom. Painted belt by Shape. // Cream and red jersey catsuit (top only showing) and banded red and cream skirt both from Stirling Cooper. Red shoes by Kurt Geiger. // Cream, yellow and red jersey dress by Stirling Cooper. Pull on hat by Janice Peskett. // Red cotton t-shirt by Erica Budd. Cream dungarees from Stirling Cooper. Red python sandals at Elliotts.

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Above: Mauve satin cotton pinafore dress and blouse by Gladrags. Right: Bottom half of Alistair Cowin calico trousers with green printing. Green and yellow shoes by Terry de Havilland. Far right: Black velvet dungarees with white satin applique heart from Mr Freedom. Chiffon blouse from Foale and Tuffin. Mauve canvas boots at Charles Jourdan.


Linda Vane Percy in Zandra Rhodes

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Linda Vane Percy in her London mews house. On the table, Lalique glasses and two-handled bowl holding the bottle.

Wearing Zandra designs, eating off Zandra designs… That’s how to do it!

Photographed by John Vaughan.

Scanned by Miss Peelpants from Harpers and Queen, November 1974.


Odyssey

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Come, your fashion Odyssey begins at Fortnum & Mason. There, at imagination’s edge find a trio of unique designers .. . Jean Muir, Zandra Rhodes and Bill Gibb Their views, alien to everything mundane. Their clothes, un-alike and unlike any others All three at “Odyssey”, the great new fashion adventure at Fortnum & Mason, i81 Piccadilly, London, W.1.

Illustrated by David Wolfe.

Scanned by Miss Peelpants from Vogue, December 1970.


Fragile Face

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The most fragile face framed in glossy black hair to make the point. Midi dress by Zandra Rhodes from Fortnum & Mason, headband by Pablo & Delia, to order from The Shop. Hair by Oliver at Leonard.

Photographed by Barry Lategan.

Scanned by Miss Peelpants from Beauty in Vogue, Autumn/Winter ’70-’71.


Three Designers in Britain: Thea Porter

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If I were an elegant lady Jet-Setter, with empty closets to be filled and a blank chequebook – where in the world would I buy my clothes? Italy, for divinely coloured mix-match knitted tweeds and marvellous bags and shoes. Then Paris for shirts and skirts and trousers, made the way only the French know how, signed Dior and Lanvin and Eres and you-name-it. New York, why not, for the perfect sporty shirtwaister, signed Halston. And for that absolutely smash-hit long thing to wear any time after 6pm? London, without hestitation. Signed Bill Gibb. Or Zandra Rhodes. Or Thea Porter. How or why London suddenly happens to possess three such blazing talents in this specialised field is a mystery: but there they are, all three of them turning out dresses of such individuality and beauty that if I just spotted the name in a sale I’d snap it out almost without pausing to examine it: alas I could hardly afford it otherwise, for these designers are hardly typical. They are absolutely top-of-the-tree.

I was delighted to find this piece in a copy of ‘In Britain’ magazine, which appears to have been a magazine specifically for the high-end tourist market (perhaps for airports or travel agents?). Written by the Fashion Editor of the Daily Mail, Barbara Griggs, it covers three of Britains most ‘couture’ designers: Thea Porter, Bill Gibb and Zandra Rhodes. Firstly I bring you, Thea Porter.

Thea Porter is small and auburn-haired and quiet. She works flat out, dressed in ankle-length black velvet, in her small Soho shop crammed with precious scraps of brocade and prints and embroidery. There are rails full of her beautiful robes: the abayas – floaty dresses cut almost in a square – the clinging printed chiffons, the lavishly embroidered jackets to be worn with a plain black shirt, the silky pyjamas. Hallmark of the  perfect Thea Porter: an oriental richness. If the fabric is an exotic print or mix of them, the seams of the dress are piped in gold, or the belt encrusted with embroidery, or the skirt trimmed with frilled pleating. But Thea insists: “They’re meant to be worn very, very simply – with just a little real antique jewellery, perhaps.” Many of her dresses are sold straight off the peg: more are made up to order for favourite customers like Sarah Miles and Eartha Kitt.

Photographed by Peter Kent.

Scanned by Miss Peelpants from In Britain, May 1973.

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Summer in the Age of Aquarius

Photographed by Clive Arrowsmith. Scanned by Miss Peelpants.

Handpainted landscape on silk light as air. By Hilary Floyd, painted by Ross Ball.

Back to the beginning, back to the elements: these dresses are air and water in both of those blues, mingling handwork and waves of sheer silk in dresses of destiny.

Photographed by Clive Arrowsmith.

Scanned by Miss Peelpants from Vogue, July 1970.

Photographed by Clive Arrowsmith. Scanned by Miss Peelpants.

Waves of Aquarian blue in tremulous layers. By Zandra Rhodes.