A Peek at the Boutique: John Stephen and Lady Jane

John Stephen boutique. Image © Len Fernandes.

Many, many thanks once again to the wonderful Len Fernandes, who provided us with a fantastic image of the Pussy Galore boutique on Carnaby Street (from 1971) back in April. He has now sent two further images: one of John Stephen’s many boutiques at number 33 and also of Harry Fox’s Lady Jane.

Again, these give us precious glimpses of the somewhat wilted locale; a few years before the rot set in completely, but a good few years after its mid-1960s heyday. Proof that it is always a good idea to photograph seemingly unimportant scenes and buildings, even if the importance may take a few decades to become apparent.

Please do not repost these images without full credit to Len, thank you.

Lady Jane of Carnaby Street. Image © Len Fernandes.


Guide to Feminine London

Illustrated by Michael Farrell. Click to enlarge.

Oh I do love a good map. Especially a fantastically illustrated map of all my favourite shops in London in 1971. It is the nearest I will ever come to being able to walk around them. Sadness ensues…

Scanned from Vanity Fair, July 1971.

British Design Hero: Tommy Roberts

Mr Freedom interior. Photograph: JON WEALLEANS

The lovely Paul Gorman very kindly sent me some sneaky peeky previews of his much-awaited new book about Tommy Roberts (Kleptomania, Mr Freedom, City Lights etc). From what I’ve seen and read so far, this is going to be quite a ‘must have’ book for anyone interested in Sixties and Seventies fashion – and specifically, the British Boutique scene in London at the time.

Cheeky and freaky, Mr Freedom clothes are amongst my very favourites of their kind. The bright, brash shapes, colours and logos have long since moved beyond pop-art irony and into the realms of the iconic themselves. This is the first, and I’m sure will remain the only, definitive look at the life of Roberts and his various other boutiques and projects … and I actually cannot wait to have a hard copy in my hands! I will give it a full review eventually, but until then…

Rock on Tommy, rock on…

You can pre-order Mr Freedom direct from Adelita for a mere £20.

Mr Freedom hotpants, 1970. Photo: Stephen Markeson (The Sun/NI Syndication)

Derek Morton suit for City Lights, 1973. Photographed by David Parkinson

Mensday: About a lucky man who made the grade…

The Hon. Tara Browne in a maroon silk suit chosen by his wife, Nicky, left. By Major Hayward. Gold shirt, Turnbull & Asser

Both Tara Browne and Brian Jones were at the height of their fame, fortune and follicular glory here. Neither would see the Seventies. Indeed, Browne wouldn’t even see out the year this feature hails from. Quite extraordinary to see them together in the same spread from Men In Vogue, November 1966. They even managed to date the same woman (Suki Potier was the passenger in Browne’s Lotus Elan when he died, and would later be comforted by Jones – dating him, on-and-off, until his death in 1969.)

Photographs by Michael Cooper.

Brian Jones, a Rolling Stone in a double-breasted black suit, striped red and white, chosen by Anita Pallenberg, above. Bright pink shirt, scarlet handkerchief and tie. All bought in New York. Black and white shoes found in Carnaby Street.

As an aside, I was amazed to read, for the first time, that there are actually people in the world who believe that Tara Browne underwent extensive plastic surgery to ‘become’ a replacement Paul McCartney. Because McCartney actually died in a motorbike accident in Liverpool [just before Browne faked his own death], dontchaknow? I mean no offence to a beloved Beatle, but why on earth would anyone bother? Nobody bothered doing that with any other dead rock star at the time.

I’m quite the arch timewaster myself, but even my mind boggles at the years people devote to such patently ludicrous things.

Mensday: Double A-side

Scanned from Photoplay, April 1967

Carnaby Male catalogue advert and ‘The Boys Go Antique’ clipping both scanned from the same issue of Photoplay, April 1967.

Scanned from Photoplay, April 1967

A Peek at the Boutique: Pussy Galore

Image is © Len Fernandes.

One of the best things about my job is that people often get in contact with me in relation to the kinds of things I post about. I sometimes find this a bit overwhelming because the many aspects of my so-called vintage life can consume large chunks of my time, leaving me very little room for following up on everything. The ‘to do’ list in my inbox is frightening.

But, thankfully, occasionally something and somebody will come along which is simple and important enough for me to deal with immediately. And when I received this picture from the lovely Len Fernandes of Hawaii, I knew I had to quickly and cheekily request to post it on my blog.

I have blathered on about Pussy Galore before, indeed my beloved Pussy Galore tablecloth dress was exhibited at the V&A in 2006, but I don’t have much concrete information on its longevity and had no idea what the shop frontage was like. It feels like Carnaby Street must have been photographed daily from 1964-1974, but the reality is that we only see the narrowest of snapshots in each snippet of film or each batch of photographs.

So I was delighted to see this photograph of the shop front in 1971. Delighted and a little sad, for it looks rather ‘on its uppers’ even then. As with so many boutiques that popped up there in the boom times, and flourished in the glare of the media hype, by 1971 it was starting to look less shiny, less innovative. Carnaby Street was a pastiche, a fiction… not the centre of the fashion universe. Everyone had decamped to the King’s Road or Kensington High Street.

Still, it is an amazing piece of history which tells you something of the deterioration, as opposed to the continuous glorification, of Carnaby Street.

Please also note the brilliant positioning which enables us to see the Carnaby Street sign and ‘Kids in Gear’ in the reflection. Thank you so much Len!

Boutiques on film

I’m currently avoiding the cold (and the general public) by working on some gorgeous new listings, including Biba, Janice Wainwright, Marie France and many more, and immersing myself in my beloved clothes, films, tv and music – like some strange, velvet-clad hobbit.

Thankfully, gorgeous people like Laurakitty are on hand to point me back towards the amazing person on Youtube who has access to footage from the German programme ‘London Aktuell’ and a whole host of seriously groovy easy-listening music of the era. I posted about this a while back, but hadn’t realised some new editions had been posted. Utterly droolworthy the lot of them, and containing precious footage of Carnaby Street, the King’s Road and Kensington High Street. ‘Scuse me while I dribble…