Biba: A conundrum for you…

If this dress was so damn popular, and sold in such vast numbers that Barbara and Fitz struggled to keep up with orders, then why on earth have I never seen it outside of these photos by John French? Does anyone own it? Do any museums possess it? Does anyone remember owning it? Anybody??

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The men behind the frocks

John Cavanagh

Ahhhh, so I didn’t get a nomination for the Cosmo blog awards. I didn’t think I would, but I do wish that these lists would incorporate blogs with a bit more personality beyond whatever the PR companies are sending them this week. In case anyone objects to my slightly waspish tone, there is no one on the fashion list who is also on my reading list. Or who follows me, that I know of. Or who I’ve ever heard of. And I am prone to sweeping generalisations when I choose. My blog, my rules.

Me, I acquire paper cuts from 32-year-old fashion reference books just so I can bring you weird and wonderful photos of weird and wonderful clothes and people. I guess I’m a bit niche, which is totally fine by me. And I rarely show my face.

Other people who didn’t have much of a public face were designers of the past. Particularly the male ones who wouldn’t have looked much good in their own designs, unlike a lot of female designers. Before the cult of celebrity started to infect fashion designers, the likes of Hardy Amies and Victor Stiebel were happy to let their frocks do the talking. No eyeliner, eye-patches or black lace fans for them, oh no.

So it’s rather delightful when you come across a little feature such as this one, from Prudence Glynn’s In Fashion book from 1978. Three of the photos are by John French, and the Digby Morton is thrown in for good measure. I’m always fascinated to see the face behind the frocks; it can be rather astonishing to test out your own preconceptions.

Hardy Amies

Victor Stiebel

Digby Morton