Monday, 23 October 2017

The Boutiques Business 1970



                                  ORIGINALITY FOR SALE
Small boutiques with their slightly different clothes have been around for a long time. But the big business boutiques so characteristic of London today appeared only six years or so ago, revolutionising fashion here and throughout the world. Who were the innovators? Here we look at the five best-known boutiques, and also their owners.


                              Barbara Hulanicki, owner of Biba, photographed at her Kensington boutique by Duffy.


                                                                                          BIBA
                                       254 Kensington High Street, W8.
Biba, probably the best known of all the boutiques, began business six years ago with a mail order offer of a gingham shift and scarf for 25s, because Barbara Hulanicki thought it was impossible to buy inexpensive well designed clothes and decided to do something about it. At the end of last year, in premises 16 times the size of the original boutique in Abingdon road. Biba opened as a store selling not only clothes but also accessories, make-up and home furnishings, Barbara Hulanicki's distinctive style is carried through all her designs, sold only at the store and by mail order catalogue. She works with her husband Stephen Fitzsimon.



1.Barbara Hulanicki in the store, where carpets and furnishings have all been designed with complementary colours and patterns. Child's dress, 6 gns; matching cap 2 gns; tights 10s 6d. Photograph by Duffy.





2. On the mezzanine floor. Crepe coat and trousers, 15 gns; colour matched straw hat 26s 6d; crepe shoes 5 gns; tights 14s 11d; cross pendant 29s 6d; tassels 7s 6d; Child's dress 8 gns; hat 22s 6d. Photograph by Duffy.




                   3. Mirrored on the staircase: a slim crepe dress, 9 gns; cloche hat 2 gns. Photograph by Duffy.





                     4. Printed Tricel dress, 9gns. Hair by Barbara Hulanicki. Photograph credited to  Guy Cross.
                


                                                                                 QUORUM
                                                     113 King's Road, SW3
When Quorum opened in 1964, the clothes designed by Ossie Clark and Alice Pollock, who had studied at the Royal College of Art together, were considered outrageous. They were worn mainly by people in the film and pop worlds. Now customers fly in from all over the world. Ossie Clark's wife, Celia Birtwell completes Quorum. She designs the prints for the fabrics. Ossie Clark makes clothes in which women ''feel and look beautiful''.  A year ago, Quorum expanded when Radley Gowns bought a large percentage of the business, opening a chrome-fronted boutique on the Kings Road. Ossie and Alice now design a certain number of clothes for Radley, and export to Germany and Italy.



1. Ossie Clark outside Quorum, 113 King's Road, SW3. The model wears a red and cream dress typical of his designs, 20 gns; wedge-heeled shoes 11 gns from Quorum. Photograph by Duffy.






(2.) Alice Pollock reflected in the mirrors of the dressing room. The model wears a Caftan style knitted dress and scarf designed by Alice, 15 gns. (3.) Long black and cream crepe dress designed by Alice Pollock, £20; Ankle-strap shoes 12 gns from main branches of Elliot; Hair by Leonard. Photographs by Duffy.




Some fantastic footage of the much talked about but rarely seen Quorum Boutique at 52 Radnor Walk, which includes an interview with Alice Pollock and Ossie Clark, it's from the CBC daytime series "Take 30" (October 1966).                                                              






The actress Genevieve Waite entering a Chelsea boutique in a scene from Director/Writer Michael Sarne's 1968 film Joanna. After some further research, and also a direct word about it with Michael Sarne thanks to Sophia Satchell-Baeza, I believe it's quite possible that this could be 52 Radnor Walk, which was the location of Quorum.     



A closer look at the painted facade of the boutique as it appeared in Joanna, 1968 (Directed and written by Michael Sarne).  And No. 52 Radnor Walk, as it looks today with the central glass double doors removed, and the building converted back into a Chelsea residence .                                   



                                                             BUS STOP
                                        3 Kensington Church Street,W8                         
                                       and branches at Croydon, Nottingham, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow.
As a designer for a dress manufacturer, Lee Bender felt she was not always able to sell the clothes the public wanted, so she opened Bus Stop three years ago. With her own boutiques, Lee Bender feels it is possible to produce ''instant fashion'', and, relying on her instinctive knowledge of what is right at the time she produces designs which anticipate trends such as the current one for ''granny'' prints and the Forties look. Since she first opened Bus Stop, branches have opened in five areas and the business exports to the U.S. and Europe.



1. Lee Bender in the window of the Kensington boutique. The model wears a Tricel suit with peplum; jet beads 2 gns; Sandals 5 gns from Elliot. Photograph by Duffy.





2. An inside photograph of the boutique in Kensington. (3.) Among the old bar and shop signs that are part of the decor, cream knitted suit, £9 10S; tights 10s 11d; beaded choker 21s; Hair by Ivanna at Ricki Burns. Photographs by Duffy.



                                                  MARRIAN-McDONNEL
               45 South Molton Street, W1 and 80 Sloane Avenue SW3











                                


Typical Marrian-McDonnell is this cotton midi dress with matching sleeveless coat, 20 gns. (Dress 10½ gns; coat 9½ gns). Mock snakeskin shoes 8½ gns from Elliot. Photograph credited to Guy Cross.



4. Outside the dressing rooms, jersey jumpsuit, 13½, worn with zip-fronted snakeskin jacket, 45 gns. Patent leather lace-up shoes, 10 gns. at Kurt Geiger. Hair by David at MichaelJohn. Photograph by Duffy.



                                           FOALE AND TUFFIN LTD
                                            1 Marlborough Court W1
Marion Foale and Sally Tuffin spent three years designing clothes under their own label before opening the Foale and Tuffin boutique in 1965. Their designs, often based on history, are still sold to other stores and boutiques in Britain and they export to the U.S. and Europe as well. They design for a relaxed way of life and make clothes they or their friends could wear.



                        Top 1. Marion Foale (left) and Sally Tuffin in their boutique.Photographed by Duffy.





                               2. Chiffon blouse, £7, and three matching skirts, £7 each. Photograph by Duffy.





                                  3. Printed cotton dress, £12 10s; Hair by Vidal SassoonPhotograph by Duffy.



                                                             IMAGE CREDITS & LINKS
All images scanned by Sweet Jane from The Daily Telegraph Magazine (Number 300) July 17th, 1970. Except *Biba Photograph No.2 On the mezzanine floor which is a higher quality outtake of the shoot than the one included in the magazine, I scanned this from The Biba Years 1963-1975 by Barbara Hulanicki and Martin Pel. All photographs by Duffy *except N0.4 Biba dress and *No.3 Marrian-McDonnel blue cotton midi-dress ensemble which are credited to Guy Cross. Original editorial content by Cherry Twiss. Screenshots of 52 Radnor Walk from Joanna (1968). Why not pay a visit to Barbara Hulanicki's website and Official Facebook Page to see what she's been up to lately. And you'll find Lee Bender's website and facebook page here. More about Duffy - the man who shot the sixties. Celia Birtwell on life with Ossie Clark,  being friends with David Hockney, and a life in print. Ossie Clark; The King of the King's Road. Some of my  previous posts about The British Boutique Boom 1965 (Part 1), and Part 2 here. And finally, "Transient Friends" by the capricious Geneviève Waïte from her 1973 album Romance is on the Rise, the video clip is comprised of footage from Joanna (1968).

Friday, 6 October 2017

The Spirit of the Age, Funky Chic, and The Street Fighters - Tom Wolfe 1976



Some really great illustrations and observations on style by Tom Wolfe from Mauve Gloves & Madmen, Clutter & Vine, published in 1976, although I believe most of them originally accompanied previous magazine articles which he had written for Esquire, New York Magazine, New West Magazine, Harper's, Rolling Stone, and The Critic, between 1967 and 1976. 

              The Spirit of the Age, Funky Chic, and The Street Fighters      
The conventional wisdom is that fashion is some sort of storefront that one chooses, honestly or deceptively, to place between the outside world and his ''real self'.'' But there is a counter notion: namely, that every person's ''real self'', his psyche, his soul, is largely the product of fashion and other outside influences on his status. Such has been the suggestion of the stray figure here and there; the German sociologist Rene Konig, for example, or the Spanish biologist Jose M. R. Delgado. This is not a notion that is likely to get a very charitable reception just now, among scholars or readers generally - (Tom Wolfe).



                                                                 Mother was wrong (apparently).                     



The Pimpmobile Pyramid-heel Platform Soul Prince Albert Got-to-get-over look of Dixwell Avenue. All the young aces and dudes are out there lollygagging around the front of the Monterey Club, wearing their two-tone patent Pyramids with the five-inch heels that swell out at the bottom to match the Pierre Chareau Art Deco plaid bell-bottom baggies they have on with the three-inch-deep elephant cuffs tapering upward toward the ''spray-can fit'' in the seat, as it is known, and the peg-top waistband with self-covered buttones and the beagle-collar pattern-on-pattern Walt Frazier shirt, all of it surmounted by the midi-length leather piece with the welted waist seam and the Prince Albert pockets and the black Pimpmobile hat with the four-inch turn-down brim and the six-inch pop-up crown with the golden-chain hatband...and all of them, every ace, every dude, out there just getting over in the baddest possible way, come to play and dressed to slay...so that somehow the sons of the slums have become the Brummels and Gentlemen of Leisure, the true fashion plates of the 1970s, and the sons of Eli dress like the working class of 1934...


                                             

In the grand salon (at the Arethusa/Club dell’Aretusa) only the waiters wear white shirts and black ties. The clientele sit there roaring and gurgling and flashing fireproof grins in a rout of leather jerkins, Hindu tunics, buckskin shirts, deerslayer boots, dueling shirts, bandannas knotted at the Adam's apple, love beads dangling to the belly, turtlenecks reaching up to meet the muttonchops at midjowl, Indian blouses worn thin and raggy to reveal jutting nipples and crimson aureolae underneath...The place looks like some grand luxe dining room on the Mediterranean unaccountably overrun by mob-scene scruffs from out of Northwest Passage, The Informer, Gunga Din, and Bitter Rice. What I was gazing upon was in fact the full fashion splendor of London's jeunesse doree, which by 1969, of course, included everyone under the age of sixty-seven with a taste for the high life.


Funky Chic came skipping and screaming into the United States the following year in the form of such marvellous figures as the Debutante in Blue Jeans (1970). She was to found on the fashion pages of every city of any size country. There she is in the photograph...wearing her blue jeans and her blue work shirt, open to the sternum, with her long pre-Raphaelite hair parted on the top of the skull, uncoiffed but recently washed and blown dry with a Continental pro-style dryer (the word-of-mouth that year said the Continental gave her more ''body'').



                              Funky Chic - Butterfly T-shirts and continental baggies with elephant bell cuffs.







                                                                     The lost coed Cunégonde



                                                                       The Street Fighters



                             IMAGE CREDITS, LINKS & FURTHER READING
All images scanned by Sweet Jane from Mauve Gloves & Madmen, Clutter & Vine by Tom Wolfe, originally published by Ferrar, Strauss & Giroux in November 1976, (but this particular edition was published by Bantam Books in October of 1977). All illustrations by Tom Wolfe, all accompanying excerpts © Tom Wolfe. Discover more about Rene Konig author of The restless image : A sociology of fashion, and Cunégonde, from Voltaire's Candide, ou l'Optimisme. More about The Monterey Club 265–267 Dixwell Avenue here, and you can watch Unsung Heroes: The Music of Jazz in New Haven which includes further information about the club here. The 1970s trend for platform shoes. Tom Wolfe's Style Advice. Angus McGill’s double-page feature in the Evening Standard asked - Are You One of the Beautiful People? Simple test: Can you get in to the Dell’Aretusa?. The Beatles, being 'beautiful people' at Club dell’Aretusa 107 Kings Rd to celebrate the launch of Apple Tailoring in 1968. And finally, some street fighting sounds.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

The Swinging Revolution 1966


                    

This sartorial vision of a young Ossie Clark (centre), along with Niel Winterbottom (left), photographed in their finery against the incredible Antony Little fin de siecle style backdrop at Hung On You on in 1966 by Terence Spencer for Life International, quite possibly makes this my favourite cover story by the magazine from the period! Inside, you'll find an eight page report on the continued rise and rise of the revolution in menswear emanating from London. And although some of the content had previously been used in an editorial which the magazine had published on the revolution in male clothes just two months earlier, I would still imagine that when this particular subscription arrived through their parents letter box over fifty years ago, that it merely succeeded in reinforcing the thoughts that many a teenage son already had about heading to where the action was to get The Look!





LONDON EXPORTS ITS FASHION REVOLUTION

                                                       So Long Sad Sack                                                          
It all began with the teen-age ''mods'' (Life International, July 27, 1964) who spent most of their pocket money on flamboyant clothes. Now the frills and flowers are being adopted in other strata of Britain's society, and the male fashions born in London have joined the theater among the British exports that aren't lagging. The way-out styles already have appeared in such disparate metropolises as Paris and Chicago and may eventually change the whole raison d'être of male dress. Photographed by Terence Spencer, the sartorial sights of London and Paris shown on these pages—exemplify the clothes that threaten the staid ''sad sack'' which European and American males have considered de rigueur. The explanation? The new clothes, says John Taylor, editor of London's Tailor and Cutter,'' are based on the sexual excitement principle rather than on the respectability and security motif.''


                                                                   

                                                                         LONDON
Peering through the art nouveau window of Biba's (designed by Antony Little), one of London's most popular boutiques, Model Richard Asman is investing in a common costume of the London Look—a checked version of British battle dress with Bob Dylan cap (unrumpled). Photograph by Terence Spencer. 



                                                                   
                                                                                   PARIS
In Le Duke of Bedford pub (like British clothes, British pubs are ''in''), Actor Horst Buchholz is wearing a tight, white Rudy Valentino-style suit bought from the leading avant-garde male couturier of Paris, Pierre Cardin, who closely watches London's styles. Photograph by Terence Spencer.





                                                                           CHICAGO
The garish London garb has crossed one ocean. American teen-agers, like the Chicago boys above, are shedding their blue jeans for checked pants, dazzling shirts—though now and then retaining local flavor with a cowboy hat. Photograph by Henry Grossman.




                  ‛If  You’re Not Way Out‚ You’re On Your Way Out’
The man who fomented London's male fashion revolution revolution is 29-year-old John Stephen, who five years ago opened a small shop on Carnaby Street. Since that time, he has opened eight more men's shops on that street, 14 others in the London area, and is $15 million richer. Stephen created the Carnaby Street Look which emphasizes, among other things, wide op-arty ties, turtle-neck sweaters and flowered shirts, boots and tight checked trousers. One secret of his success is the determination of London's young men to dress differently from their bowler-hatted elders. As one boy said in a boutique called Hung On You: ''If your clothes aren't way out, you're on the way out.''



In typical new-look attire, turtle-neck sweater and checked jacket, John Stephen lounges with customers on his purple and gold Cadillac parked outside one of his Carnaby Street shops. Photograph by Terence Spencer.


Brandishing this summer's latest Carnaby Style (solid-color shirt, white collar and cuffs, op-art tie). Baron Nikolai Soloviev lunches with Jenny Philips in the Guys and Dolls coffee shop. Photograph by Terence Spencer.





Michael Chaplin, son of comedian and the author of ''I Couldn't Smoke the Grass on My Father's Lawn,'' poses in 1920s garb at Granny Takes a Trip shop with (Nigel Waymouth) one of the owners. Photograph by Terence Spencer.


The Kinks, a popular rock 'n' roll group, created top hit song ''Dedicated Follower of Fashion'': He thinks he is a flower to be looked at...He flits from shop to shop just like a butterfly.''  (*Dave Davies wearing an incredible pair of thigh-high leather boots!). Photograph by Terence Spencer





                      Elegant Edwardian Attire of Chelsea's Aristocrats
London's fashion revolution is not all teen-agers and pop singers in op-arty ties and thigh high boots. A new aristocratic tailoring establishment such as Blades (below) is being influenced by the Carnaby Look, and Lord Snowdon and the Duke of Bedford wear styles of the way-out boutiques of Chelsea's King's Road as well as Carnaby Street. The Chelsea shops offer several elegant variations on the new attire such as a 1920s Silent Movie Look and an increasingly popular Edwardian Look like that flaunted by the two youths opposite, and by Christopher Gibbs. Says Gibbs, who is male fashion editor of Vogue and high priest of the Edwardian Look: ''We were revolted by the ugliness of suits of the regular 'good' tailor. We encouraged friends to dig into their heirlooms, to wear old clothes, to turn their backs on ugliness and conformism.''



Actor David Hemmings is being fitted in a Carnaby-like, flowery-lined jacket by Eric Joy, co-owner and top designer of Blades, a new London couturier that caters to the upper classes. Photograph by Terence Spencer.




Three young london elegants take their lunch in a popular Victorian pub, the Salisbury. Michael Williams (left), who lives ''only for my car and my my clothes.'' wears a long, velvet-collared 19th Century jacket over patterned trousers. Ossie Clark (see cover) sports a wildly patterned tie, a revival from the '30s. Niel Winterbottom, dressed in battle jacket on the cover, wears a floral Oscar Wilde-an tie with oversized knot while his date, Julia Cooke, adds to the period flavor with a fur boa. Photograph by Terence Spencer.






                                                Christopher Gibbs -  Photograph by Terence Spencer.




Trinidad-born designer Christopher Lynch, (second from left) discusses the new ''Chelsea Look'' for this summer: The Victorian Suit, double-breasted, cinched, and above all, white.'' (*Although uncredited, on the far left, is Michael Fish of Mr Fish and on the far right David Mlinaric). Photograph by Terence Spencer.





                                 
                 Fashions Out of This World
France's rival to John Stephen is Pierre Cardin, who last year made $6 million on his ready-to-wear clothes alone. Cardin's line include everything from the tightly fitted suits (below left) that appeal to diplomats and businessmen to fashions that parallel the Carnaby Street and Chelsea themes - checked trousers with an Edwardian stripe down the side and long checked double-breasted jacket (below). Seeing the soft, accordion-pleated boots on the youth below, a journalist remarked that they made the wearer look like a spaceman. ''Yes,'' said Cardin, ''You might say they're out of this world.'' 

The male fashion revolution has also ''switched on'' parts of the U.S., as shown in the photographs opposite. By fall John Stephen's clothes will be selling in 17 American stores. ''The English influence is the biggest thing in men's clothes since the Ivy League Look,'' said the vice president of a New York store. ''As long as it's from London or looks like it, it will sell.'' What do the English think of the revolution they've started? Some, like political commentator Henry Fairlie, suggest it's a sign that Albion is about to sink giggling into the sea and that the only hope is a Puritan revival. Others, like Julie Christie, think ''isn't it nice that men can look beautiful and smell nice nowadays without being called sissies!''




















                              Photographs (left page) by Terence Spencer, (right page) Henry Grossman.



                                                              IMAGE CREDIT & LINKS
All images scanned by Sweet Jane from LIFE International 11th July I966, Cover photograph by Terence Spencer, all other photographs by Terence Spencer and Henry Grossman (see individual photo credits above). You'll find further information about Antony Little & Biba in one of my previous posts here. A transcript of an industry discussion about the future of tailoring from a 1971 issue of The Tailor and Cutter which includes contributions from Eric Joy, designer and co-owner of Blades here. Discover more about antiques dealer and collector Christopher Gibbs here. David Hemmings, actor, director, and sometimes singer here. View some examples of the lesser known John Stephen womenswear range in one of my previous posts here.  An interview with Julie Christie from the documentary film - 'Tonight let's all make love in London' (1967) here. And finally, an interview with Michael Chaplin, (son of Charlie) and author of I Couldn't Smoke the Grass on My Father's Lawn, here.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Return of the Dandy 1966


Ruffles foaming over the shirt-fronts of dinner-jackets and lace spilling out of the sleeves, tight-fitting pants, worn by young men who will demand 20 sittings at a tailor to be sure that the length of the vent is just so, that the trouser leg moves an inch bell-wise at the bottom!  There are tales of Beau Brummell and Oscar Wilde, interviews with David Mlinaric, Patrick Lichfield and Rupert Lycett-Green of Blades. Musings on Pop Stars, Photographers, Hung On You, custom made shirts by the dozen and much more...it's all here, in this excellent in-depth 6 page feature on dandyism, originally published in 1966.





                                                          RETURN OF THE DANDY
Ruffles foam over the shirt-fronts of the dinner-jackets and lace spills out of the sleeves. Velvet pantaloons, which would have raised eyebrows if seen on men three years ago, attract hardly a glance anymore. The jackets are increasingly waisted, flare sharply over the hips and are getting almost Edwardian in length. The trousers fit so tightly that the more extreme ones are hard to sit down in and look best only when the man in them is standing almost at attention. There has not been such elegance, style and boldness in men's clothes in London since Oscar Wilde. The new wave of English dandyism started, most people agree, about five years ago. Young David Mlinaric, a designer, and one of the best dressed young men in London, thinks pop music had a good deal to do with it. ''The pop singers have the panache of the movie stars in the thirties. The pop singers and designers and film stars dress adventurously - and the others have followed them. Also, people today are more interested in young people than ever before - and they copy what the young people do.''

Patrick Lichfield, another of the best dressed young English men, thinks that the adventurousness of people's occupations has a lot to do with their clothes. He himself is an Earl, but he's also a photographer. ''Many people,'' he points out, ''are still stuck in environments like the city where conservative dress is absolutely required. But these days film stars, pop singers, hairdressers, photographers have all become respectable people. People like us can dress as we like: we can experiment. If a duke wandered into a cocktail party without a tie, people would find it odd, but if a film star did it, he'd be accepted. Presently, the duke might even follow suit.''

The revolution in men's clothes has even deeper roots than that. All the great periods of dandyism have occurred in periods of revolutionary upheaval in the pecking order of society. The Regency dandies followed the Napoleonic wars, a period when the monarchy and aristocracy were despised and a new middle class was beginning to emerge. The French wave of dandyism (strictly an import from England) followed the Revolution of 1830, again with a great levelling of social barriers. The Edwardian dandies followed the industrial revolution when the money and power structure shifted from the landed aristocracy to the new industrial magnates. The new dandies of today are living in an age when the caste system in England is breaking down at both top and bottom.








Like Nicholas Hilliard's Elizabethan dandy, today's dandy, Dennis Stansfield (above), looks effective in a rural setting. Stansfield, a 20-year old commercial artist, designs his own clothes and has a tailor in Tooting. His sister-in-law makes his shirts.


The greatest of all dandies, Beau Brummell, was the most scornful of men. (''You can't call that thing a coat?'') He had no title, no fortune, no professionnot even a carriage; he had nothing but a superb arrogance and assurance and presence; with these weapons alone he was copied, quoted, much feared, greatly respected, and wielded very real power. When the Prince Regent (who became George IV) broke with him, he remarked disdainfully of the future monarch: ''I made him what he is today and I can unmake him.'' This Brummellian scorn and self-assurance is very much a part of the make-up of the young pop set. The young film stars, photographers, models, designers and pop singers don't give a damn what their fathers or you or I or anyone else think of their far-out clothes or their far-out behaviour. Albert Camus has called the dandy the archetype of the human being in revolt against society. Almost always the dandy is thumbing his nose at the rest of the pack. The great Beau himself, some of his admirers think, was in the privacy of his own heart, mocking the very dandyism for which he was admired.











Lichfield, when I talked to him, had just come out of his dark-room, dressed casually in a polo-necked sweater and corduroy trousers. Lichfield looks well turned out in even the most casual clothes. ''Some people dress with flair alone.'' he says. I think Mlinaric is the best dressed man I know. Some of his effects are sheer audacity. I saw him one night in evening suit with a marvellous ruffled shirt. I admired it and he told me he'd just pinned some ruffles on a plain white shirt. It looked great.'' Lichfield admits he spends ''a fortune'' on his clothes, and says that some of his suits are total failures. ''I wear them two or three times, then never again.'' We toured his wardrobe. Twenty-six suits. ''I like brown suits very much.'' Many of today's young dandies like brown. ''Tweeds for the country.'' He showed a grey wooly one. ''I like big buckles.'' He showed me one immense silver one on a black belt. ''I think these buckles are going to be very fashionable. I love suede coats.'' He has four of varying cut. ''For shooting...'' He brought out a pair of bottle-green corduroy breeches. ''I've ordered all my gamekeepers to wear these.''

He opened a drawer packed with sweaters. ''I have a lot of polo-necked jerseys, mostly green and beige. They cost me a fortune in cleaning because you can only wear them two or three times. Now here's my most precious possession...'' He pulled out a pair of worn, patched and splendidly faded Levis. ''If the house was burning down, this is what I'd rescue first. The rest of my clothes can be replaced but it takes years of wear to get that lovely patina. American trousers are the only things I buy ready-made.'' He has 50 shirts, most of them custom-made from Harvie & Hudson at £6 apiece. When a shirt catches his fancy, he may buy one and ship it to Hong Kong to be copied by the dozen in silk. He has about 50 ties, many of the patterned pastel type which is very with it at the moment, but he also likes severely plain black knitted ties. He takes very good care of his clothes and is exasperated by people who don't. ''I know people who throw clothes on the floor that have cost them a fortune.'' He has an electric trouser-press in his bedroom which presses his trousers while he's in the bath (the jacket hangs itself out as part of the gadget). ''I haven't had a suit pressed since I left the Army — but cleaning costs me a fortune.'' I don't understand people who dress simply to keep warm,'' says Lichfield. ''A man should enjoy his clothes. He dresses to attract the girls —unlike the girls, who dress to impress one another. I have an idea all men dress to be sexy like cock pheasants in the mating season. I always dress more carefully the first time I take a girl out than the second. English girls, I think, are more adventurous in their tastes than girls of other countries and they admire adventurously dressed men.''



Among the most adventurous is Mlinaric. Standing in the immense square drawing-room of his Tite Street house (another great dandy, Oscar Wilde, lived in this street, a block away), Mlinaric was wearing a brown (he too, likes brown) double-breasted jacket that buttoned almost to the neck, the lapels edged in black, with short sleeves in order to display the cuffs of the shirt. His suits, he said, were getting more brightly coloured. His latest, of which he expected much, was cinnamon-coloured. ''Clothes are my greatest extravagance,'' he says. ''I feel very strongly about the way clothes are stitched. I'm tremendously interested in the best materials as well as the cut. I think a great many of the Carnaby Street clothes are very badly put together and of poor material.''




Ted Dawson, male model, spends about £500 a year on clothes. His wardrobe includes 100 ties, 75 shirts, 30 suits, 14 jackets.




Above: The wonderful Michael Rainey 25, who designed all the clothes for his boutique Hung On You, discusses ties with journalist Christopher Gibbs. (extreme right).



How well dressed are today's young men in comparison with the great dandies of the past? Hardly within whistling distance, I think. Max Beerbohm, the last of the dandies, wrote of Beau Brummell: ''Is it not to his fine scorn of accessories that we trace the first aim of modern dandyism, the production of the supreme effort through means the least extravagant? In certain congruities of dark cloth, in the rigid perfection of lines, in the symmetry of the gloves with the hands, lay the secret of Mr Brummell's miracle. He ever was most economical, most scrupulous of means.'' None of today's dandies lives up to these uncompromising standards (nor did Beerbohm). Brummell himself would have nothing but freezing contempt for Carnaby Street.

















The real dandies buy their suits at Blades in Dover Street. Eric Joy, the partner and chief designer, has a good deal of Brummellian scorn for most of the cutters and designers of Savile Row and thinks all mens clothes designed between 1914 and 1960 were a wasteland of mediocrity. ''Up to five years ago, masculinity was to be a good rugger player,'' he says scornfully. ''I thought it was about time we designed a collection that made men look like men, not bloody Daleks.'' He haunted the Victoria and Albert Museum for ideas. Many of the jackets are the modified descendants of military uniforms which are in fact the ancestors of many great English men's suits.'' Rupert Lycett Green, proprietor of Blades, a bit of a dandy himself (though he denies it), lists as a barely adequate wardrobe for a well-dressed man: two dinner jackets (silk for summer, worsted for winter), with perhaps a velvet evening suit to boot; one grey suit; one black suit; a couple of working suits, both comfortable and elegant; a country suit of lightweight tweed; two light summer suits; one travelling grey suit; one crushproof traveling suit for air travel and trains; three overcoats (one dark evening coat, one tweedy raglan type for country, one short for motoring or town wear); at least two sports or odd jackets; half a dozen assorted slacks or odd trousers; 50 shirts and 50 ties. Blades is opening its own shop in New York soon, but design there will be severely modified. The extreme dandyism quite acceptable in London still has strong homosexual implications in New York, and in fact everywhere else. London is years ahead of the rest of the world in having got rid of the homosexual overtones of dandyism. Most of today's English dandies are blatantly heterosexual.



Above: Rupert Lycett Green, proprietor of Blades where the best beaux are dressed, is opening a new shop in New York soon, but designs will be severely modified.


Historically, dandyism has had a homosexual tint only since its last flowering in the nineties, and you can blame Oscar Wilde for that. Most of the earlier dandies were conspicuously hetero — certainly the Regency rakes were. Brummell himself was thought to be glacially indifferent to women and sex and totally immersed in himself. The Victorian attitude toward dandies and dandyism was laid down originally by Thomas Carlyle in ''Sartor Resartus''. Before ''Sartor Resartus'', dandyism had been reasonably respectable, even admirable. However, Carlyle's Scottish puritanism so changed the emotional climate toward dandyism that Edward Bulwer Lytton  eliminated whole passages of ''Pelham'', his very successful novel about a dandy. Ever since Carlyle's outburst, dandies have been considered figures of fun, and since Wilde's day, probably homosexual.  Remnants of the Victorian disapproval are still with us. A recent article by John Morgan  in the New Statesman dripped with scorn about the new wave of dandyism which he called ''tedious to the point of tears.'' ''I find it impossible,'' he wrote, ''to make any emphatic leap into the nature of young men who will demand 20 sittings at a tailor to be sure that the length of the vent is just so, that the trouser leg moves an inch bell-wise at the bottom.'' Morgan also states in his article '' No one suffers from elegance but from the prose it produces,'' stating clearly that any writing about dandyism is a bore. This simply isn't true. Dandies and dandyism have a long and honourable literary tradition, both as authors and as subjects of novels and plays, some good, some appalling, but almost all enormously popular. ''Pelham'' by Bulwer and ''Vivian Grey'' by Benjamin Disraeli (himself a great dandy) were enormously popular; both had dandies as heroes.


Dandyism was one of the principal preoccupations of Stendhal in ''The Red and The Black'', though his own attitude toward the dandies is contradictory. Balzac, who considered himself a dandy though no one else did. wrote ''La toilette est l'expression de la societé.'' His ''Comedie Humaine'' was full of dandies. Baudelaire was not only a dandy but also a philosopher of dandyism — ''La culte de soi-meme'', as he called it. The novels of Dickens and of Thackeray (who loathed dandies) are full of dandies and the cult of dandyism. Pinero's and Shaw's plays are larded with dandies, and Wilde's plays, of course, consist of nothing else. ''Dorian Gray'' was dandyism at its most decadent and it has helped immeasurably to give dandyism a bad name. Within the last three years, the winds of disapproval have begun to abate. There are temperamental similarities and at the same time great differences between today's dandies and the bucks of the Regency. Most important, the present crop are conspicuously doers of things, like film making, hairdressing or acting. They are notoriously energetic and ambitious. The Regency dandy —especially Brummell —considered any form of activity except clothes to be beneath them. Beau, again probably in pure mockery, considered even the forming of an opinion slightly wearisome. Once, when a visitor asked which of the English lakes he thought most beautiful, he called the servant in: ''Which of the lakes do I find most beautiful?'' Brummell's wit would be admired by some of the avant-garde film-makers. He was not a man of mot or epigram. A shrug, a lifted eyebrow, sometimes nothing but the memory of a known Brummellian attitude made their own silent but devastating witticisms. When you can be witty without words, why use them?


                              IMAGE CREDITS, LINKS & FURTHER READING
All images scanned by Sweet Jane from The Observer Magazine, May 1st, 1966. All photographs by Colin Jones from The Observer, *Except for photo No.6 Rainey/Gibbs an outtake of the original which I scanned from Boutique: A '60s Cultural Phenomenon by Marnie Fogg (purely to include the extra hand-painted tie which had been edited out of the magazine version), original article by John Crosby.  View some other examples of the return to dandyism in one of my previous posts, plus further examples of Blades tailoring and more here. You'll find a collection of Patrick Lichfield's 1960s photography work on Flickr. Read the transcript of a discussion about the future of the tailoring industry from a 1971 issue of The Tailor and Cutter, which includes some very sharp comments from the outspoken Eric Joy, partner/designer at Blades here, Further reading about The Eccentric Mr. Brummell here and more via the associated links on Dandyism.Net, where you will also find Dandies and Dandies By Max Beerbohm, (1896). Discover more about Sartor Resartus (meaning 'The tailor re-tailored') the 1836 novel by Thomas Carlyle, first published as a serial in 1833–34 in Fraser's Magazine, and you can read the aforementioned Chapter X. The Dandiacal Body here as well as Chapter XI. on Tailors. Check out Pelham; 'The adventures of a gentleman' by Edward Bulwer-Lytton.  Watch The Picture of Dorian Gray, the 1945 film adaptation of Oscar Wilde's novel here for free. It has of course been adapted for film & tv many times, you'll find a review of Massimo Dallamano's 1970 version set in Swinging London over on Dreams Are What Le Cinema Is For. And finally, no matter what they say..Dandy, you're all right.

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