Sunday, 28 April 2019

You've heard of Twiggy, you've heard of Jean Shrimpton, but have you heard of Peter Gregory, Nicholas Head, Jess Down, David Platt or James Feducia? The Pretty Boys (1967)


You've heard of Twiggy, you've heard of Jean Shrimpton, but have you heard of Peter Gregory, Nicholas Head, Jess Down, David Platt or James Feducia? Probably not, but they're the gorgeous men on our cover, and they can earn just as much as the girls can and they're top models, too. Their lives are just as exciting. Want to know more? Then turn the page; read all about them and the whole male model scene. 

Cover models: James Feducia and David Platt (1967).

Why are our top girl models household names, with powerful influence on the way we dress, make-up and do our hair, while top male models are unknown and unimportant to everyone except magazine and advertisement agencies? The difference is in our attitude. Female models have always been thought glamorously feminine, male models have more often than not been thought simply effeminate. But the attitude is changing. Male modelling's beginning to get glamorous. Successful designer's, actors, and singers are taking it up as a hobby, although there are still boys who admit: ''I don't tell people I'm a model unless I know them very well.'' 

Why the change in attitude? Two reasons: first, modelling's much more difficult than it was ten years ago; a lot of it is television and advertising work, which requires acting ability and intelligence, not just a toothpaste smile. Secondly, young exciting clothes for men, started by Carnaby Street, have woken up even older men's interest in what they look like. Only the die-hard traditionalist thinks it's cissy to look (and smell) nice, and even girl's magazines often include a man's fashion page. And now, a new male model agency, English Boy, has aroused interest in the whole male scene―no rugged, tanned, big-chested he-men here. Most of the models are pale, thin and long-haired, and include well-known names like Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones, actor James Fox, the hon. Julian Ormsby-Gore, and David Mlinaric, the interior designer. 

The Sweet Jane Blog: English Boy Ltd Model Agency head sheet, featuring Julian Ormsby-Gore, Nigel Weymouth, Maldwyn Thomas, and Brian Jones (1967).

Above: A section of an English Boy Model Agency headsheet, which displays a couple of the aforementioned male models on their books. Namely, the hon. Julian Ormsby-Gore, and just seen on the far right is Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones. The layout of the headsheet resembled a full  deck of playing cards spread out over the entire poster, and all of the agency models were each assigned an individual card which represented them, so for example, Maldwyn Thomas was the Jack of Diamonds, Marijke Koger and Simon Posthuma of The Fool Design Collective were given the Joker card, Rufus Dawson was the King of Hearts, Jess Down was the Jack of Clubs and so on, but I particularly love that they printed the photo of Brian Jones on the Ace of Spades! This is just a screenshot of one of the original model agency posters from Hapshash Takes a Trip―a short promotional film clip about the retrospective exhibition of the sixties work of Nigel Waymouth, which took place at The Idea Generation Gallery in London back in 2011. There are some other close-up shots of it in the film, but for those of you who have never seen a complete English Boy Ltd headsheet, you'll find a very good example of one, courtesy of the photographer Heather Harris, whose partner  Mr Twister, was a former model with the agency.


How seriously in the world of advertising is this new-style male model taken? Kelvin Webb of English Boy, with sixty-one male and fifty female models on his books, said they're doing ''marvellously well. We are specialized of course. We're covering the younger market, which no one has catered for up to now. The more sophisticated magazines like Queen , Nova, Town, use us, and our models advertise 'young' products like Coca Cola, cider, cigarettes and so on. Actually, we're mainly interested in film and acting rather than modelling. ''The point about our models is that they aren't just clothes-hangers. They're more natural looking, and have more interesting faces than the old fashioned cheese-cake type.'' English Boy models get a lot of work in Germany, France and Spain because they've got the new gear-y look, but the big advertising in this country is based on American ideas. Advertising campaigns are very carefully thought out-every product has an image, and the male model has to project that image. Although some products, like sports cars or alcoholic drinks require a sophisticated, man-about-town appeal, the products most advertised call for a family image―food of all kind, soap, powders, etc.

Cover Models: Top: Nicholas Head. From left to right: Jess Down, and Peter Gregory (1967).

Scotty's, one of the top model agencies, said: ''The kind of man most used in advertisements has changed over the last three or four years. There's still a call for the big, virile family man, but the trend is to the account executive type, who may have two children but still manages to be young and 'swinging'. This doesn't mean long hair though; two of our youngest models bought very expensive long-haired wigs, but they've only worn them once.''  J.Walter Thompson, probably the biggest advertising agency in the country, described the new type as ''mid―atlantic definitely American influenced. He's still got to be healthy and wholesome looking, but not as 'square' as the old British-dad image.'' Advertising films for television have made a big change in the modelling business, and helped make it more respected, more and more actors are doing part-time model work, and more models need acting ability.  ''Actors used to hate doing television commercials,'' said Peter Benison's agency. ''They said they would never get serious roles after doing commercial work. Now they find that it doesn't really make much difference and, of course, basic modelling fees are nothing compared to  the repeat fees on a big commercial job.'' (Apart from the basic fee, models are paid a repeat fee for every time the film is shown.)''

''The old male model image couldn't work in front of a moving camera―the actors are used to it.'' Apart from acting talent, athletic ability is often needed for films, which can include riding, swimming, rowing, playing tennis or football and dancing. Fashion work is still a big part of the male models life―men's fashion shows and features in magazines provide some work, but the biggest employers of male models are the mail order firms with their 2,000-page catalogues. No English Boy models for them. ''Catalogue work calls for a very conventional masculine appearance,'' said Olympic Enterprises, who have 100 models on their books. But longer hair is creeping in (note: longer, not long). Blaney model agency found: ''Last year they wouldn't touch anyone with long hair, but this year they are featuring more and more sections for the 'modern young man,' and they use boys with longer hair―but not extreme. The great bulk of work is for men who look fairly standard.''

One thing everyone agrees on―the main trend is for more natural, individual looking models, men who can move about and act, instead of standing like shop dummies with a plastic grin. And as their job becomes more skilled and more important on the advertising and fashion scene, they become more respected. There's less room for the amateur, though there are still a great many male models who use modelling as a stop-gap between jobs or a quick way to earn a few pounds. They make the photographer's job harder, and we'll leave the last word to Mike Berkovsky: ''I don't like working with male models at all, although I have to a fair amount. Most of them treat the whole business as a real drag―they are slow, unhelpful and bored. They want the money, but they don't want to do anything for it. The professional boys from the biggest agencies are generally hard workers, but most models are young guys who just won't put themselves out.''

Last minute checks before a photo session: from left, Jess Down, David Platt, and James Feducia (1967). 

What's it like being a male model? Well, it can be very profitable. Top men earn up to £10,000 a year. But if your brother or boyfriend jumps at this, and runs for the phone to ring the nearest agency―tell him to read on first, because it's an expensive business to get into. Look at this list of clothes, which shows the minimum wardrobe a successful model needs. A car is very handy too. A model is rather tied down without one, now that so much work is for advertising films, which may be made on location anywhere from Stonehenge to Tahiti. And it's hard work―a lot of boys who jump at modelling because it's ''money for old rope'' get a rude shock. Standing in an icy stream for six hours, dressed in swimming trunks, in mid-January can change their minds, or even spending a sweltering day under studio lights in a fur-lined overcoat.

A list of clothes, which shows the minimum wardrobe a successful model needs (1967). 

Five of the most ''wanted'' male models. Top: Nicholas Head. From left to right: Jess Down, Peter Gregory, James Feducia and David Platt.

PETER GREGORY, twenty-nine, has been modelling four years. ''I like the life. There's definitely not so much stigma attached to being a male model now, although I still don't tell people what I do for a living unless I know them very well. I generally prefer doing photographic work to anything else.''  NICHOLAS HEAD is twenty-eight, and has also been modelling for four years. He's married to young designer, Sue Locke, who runs a boutique in Chelsea. ''I got into modelling by accident really. I used to act, and I compose music. I like advertising work, I've just finished the big milk advertising campaigns.''  JESS DOWN, is twenty-one, and has been working five months with English Boy. I had some friends there who said they might be able to get me some work, which was fine by me. The English Boy crowd are very much a family. Modelling subsidizes my painting―I average about £25 a week.'' JAMES FEDUCIA, twenty-two, has modelled eight months. ''I dig it, I think it's fine. The main thing I like about it now is that you can come over as a person, and not just a body. This whole idea of male models just being a body, standing there, is beginning to break down.''


BILL CHENAIL, is twenty-one. ''I'm doing a lot of work; in all kinds of fields, particularly films, and not just commercial films. I love the work and like the girl models―especially if you find one you can get on with, though often the amateurs are very nervous. ''Everyone will start using models looking like me soon. We're the new look. Looks are changing a lot. ''Why shouldn't men project love and beauty as well as women?'' 

DEREK NESBITT, is twenty-six. ''My brother began modelling before I did, and it was through him that I started. Before that I was a manager in a commercial firm in Belfast. I came over to the great metropolis, and never regretted it! It's my sole profession now, and I make about £3000 to £5000 a year, though it's difficult to average out. I do a complete cross-section of work from television commercials and magazines to catalogue work and fashion shows. If anything I prefer television because it's more of a challenge. ''Photographers tend to get to know a few models well, and obviously they prefer to use someone they know they can work well with; it saves time, which in this business is very expensive.''

 JON RENN, twenty-six, is an American. ''I've been in England a year and a half. I am primarily a writer, also do film directing and acting, this ties in very well with modelling, as it helps to be able to act. This job is ideal because I only need to work two or three days a week to earn enough to keep me while I get established in other fields. The main thing I have against modelling is the irregular payment; you can do a job and not get paid for six months. ''I mainly do advertisements and TV commercials as I am usually too tall (six foot four inches) for fashion or catalogue work. But my height can help, I can make outrageous clothes look elegant.'

EDDIE SOMMER, twenty-three, has been modelling for fifteen months. ''It's a very insecure life, but the insecurity keeps you on your toes. One sometimes works every day for three weeks, then not at all for a fortnight.  You have to wait ages for the money; but on the Continent they pay you at the end of the day's work.  ''I started out thinking modelling was money for old rope, and in a way it is, but it's tiring. I'd like to do something else, but there's no job with such freedom and good pay. I earn an average over the year of about £40 a week.''

NIGEL WOOD, twenty-three, ''I started modelling almost by accident while studying engineering at university. I'm not really worried about wasting my brain-power, brains are just not particularly valuable in this country. There are more engineering graduates than god jobs. I'm now earning about £3, 500 a year modelling, and I'm in it for the money. ''I don't like telling people I'm a model. They regard you as something apart, and assume you are very conceited, but this is inevitable in a profession where you are selling your looks.''

Several perfect examples of the trend for the new look, longer-haired male models described in the magazine feature above can be found in this kaleidoscopic coffee commercial, made just a year after 'The Pretty Boys' article was publishedin my opinion, it seems to embody everything that Mark Palmer, Kelvin Webb and Trisha Locke of the English Boy Agency were striving towards. Very little is known about the film, which is available as part of the BFI's Other Grooves Collection, except that it was produced by the advertising agency Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn in 1968. Intriguingly, someone has suggested via a comment on the BFI's Youtube channel that the male lead model is Bruce Robinson, I'd like to add my two-cents worth to that nugget of new information about the film, by suggesting that the voice-over sounds remarkably like the work of the late, great Ken Nordine


All images scanned by Sweet Jane from Intro Magazine, November 11th, 1967. Original feature by Anne Campbell Dixon. Unfortunately, the photographer was uncredited, but it's quite possible that it may have been the aforementioned Mike Berkovsky who contributed to the interviews, I also think it's possible that there was a slight error made in the spelling of the surname and that the photographer referred to is actually Mike Berkofsky. View some other examples of male models from this period in my previous posts ➽ Jess Down: English Boy Ltd Model & Artist (Jackie Magazine, 1969). Dentelle Galler and the King's Road Hippies (Jours De France, 1969). Models sporting the latest military look from I Was Lord Kitchener's Valet in What's Phisticated Then? (The Daily Telegraph Magazine, 1967). Screenshots from the commercial film Good Strong Coffee (1968) by Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn, courtesy of the BFI's Other Grooves.  Operation Venus  (Queen Magazine, 1968). Les Assassins du Bodygraph (Plexus, 1967). Actor Peter McEneryMan on Safari (A Dandy in Vogue, 1967). The Immanence of the PastCavalli Shoes (Queen Magazine, 1969). Michael Fish of Mr Fish Clifford Street modelling his own designs (Queen Magazine, 1968). You'll find some highly recommended reading about the modelling industry from this period and beyond, over on The Model Archives of Marlowe Press, founded by Peter Marlowe in London in 1965, and also Ellis Taylor's A model’s life in London: Glamour, drama…and a demon lurking. And finally, an ode to long-hair ➽ I wish you'd listen when I tell you now, Baby Let Your Hair Grow Long, courtesy of Brian Wilson

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Once Upon a Time in the West: The Girls' Round-Up (1966)




Women have been borrowing from the Wild West since the talkies: but cowboy clothes are suddenly being taken seriously. We dressed Samantha Jones in some of the brilliantly coloured Western boots, shorter-than-ever skirts in rough suede, ruffled cottons, silver buckles and stetsons of the new Western Look and Willy Rizzo photographed them in La Vallée des Peaux Rouge and at the River Ranch. Fashion chosen by Cherry Twiss.

Wild Bill Hickock suede suit, fringes, culotte skirt by John Homac, 39gns. at Lady Jane, 29 Carnaby Street, W1.  Shirt by Donald Davies.  Sheriff's Star by James Wedge, 10s 6d at Harrod's. Boots, Anello & Davide. Gloves by Kir, 2gns. Black stetson: inquiries to Herbert Johnson, New Bond Street, W1.

Duds to wear to a shotgun wedding, Matador jacket is of silk and gold hand-woven for the Dalai Lama 121 gns, Savita, Cadogan Place, SW1. Cotton shirt, 10gns. at Mexicana, Lower Sloane Street, SW1. Sombrero, 4gns. at Cordoba, New Bond Street, W1. Corduroy trousers from a selection at Neatawear.

Wild Bill Hickock suede suit, fringes, culotte skirt by John Homac, 39gns. at Lady Jane, 29 Carnaby Street, W1., Shirt by Donald Davies, Sheriff's Star by James Wedge, 10s 6d at Harrod's. Boots, Anello & Davide. Gloves by Kir, 2gns. Black stetson: inquiries to Herbert Johnson, New Bond Street, W1.

Tough suit for Dodge City in split calf, zip jacket and pockets, hip-slung skirt, by Elma Sportswear £46 14s 6d at Suedecraft, Beauchamp Place, London SW3. Plaid wool shirt by Donald Davies, 6gns at Mary Davies, Queen Street, W1. Spotted kerchief, £1 2s 6d at Woollands, Knightsbridge, SW1. Silver-buckled suede belt £3 13s 6d at John Michael 106 Kings Road, SW3 and branches. Orange calf boots 12gns. to order from Anello and Davide 96 Charring Cross Road, WC2. and branches. Leather gloves with cut-out backs by Kir, 2gns at Dickins and Jones, Regent Street, W1.

A rig for High Noon. Waistcoat by John Homac, £9 19s. 6d. at Lady Jane. Madras cotton shirt at Wallis Shops. Stretch riding trousers, £7 15s at Harry Hall, Regent Street, W1.. Straw stetson, by Panda, £3 6s at Fenwick, New Bond Street, W1. Suede boots, 8gns at Gamba, Beauchamp Place, SW3. Hogskin gloves, £3 19s 11d at Woollands.

All images scanned by Sweet Jane from the Weekend Telegraph Magazine, June 3rd, 1966. Original fashion editorial by Cherry Twiss. All photographs by Willy Rizzo. Model Samantha Jones. Discover more about The Vallée des Peaux-Rouges, the location used as the backdrop in the fashion editorial abovea Western style theme park created by Robert Mottura and Philippe Cart-Tanneur in 1966. Read about the History of Anello & Davide makers of beautiful handmade shoes for men and women, but probably most widely known for The Beatle Boot. View some of my previous posts featuring Western Wear from this period ➽ Pinch the shirt off his back!―Wildly Western in a beige John Wayne shirt from The Westerner (1968); Get Out Of Town - Fast! (1966); Designer Oleg Cassini wears his informal ''International Cowboy Look.'' (1968); A Whole Fashion Scene Going!The Western Scene, The London Look, and much more! (1966), plus Paris, Spring 1970, to the uninitiated might look more like the Wild West than Right Bank. Read about the late great Billy Murphy ''Founder of The Emperor of Wyoming, a Chelsea emporium which sparked a vogue for vintage Americana.'' And Finally, I'll leave you with the duel from 'Once upon a time in the West' Dir. by Sergio Leone (1968) - soundtrack by Ennio Morricone.

Saturday, 23 February 2019

The New Denson Fashion Shoes for Men! Rave Magazine (1964)

Denson Shoes


Some examples from the 1964 Denson Shoes range. The London-based company which is set to relaunch soon, was originally established in 1951 by D. Senker & Son Ltd at Kingsland Road E.2., later opening a second factory in Northamptonshire. Debuting with Brothel Creepers worn by Teddy Boys, the brand became much favoured by various other style subcultures over the next four decades, and was usually to be found advertised amongst the pages of popular teen magazines such as Rave, as well as the weekly music papers like the New Musical Express, and continued to be hugely popular until the 1980s, before eventually going out of business in 1987.

Denson Shoes

Denson Fine Poynts and Fine Chisels
 set the fashion shoe scene!

Here are the shoes with the top-fashion toe-shapes, in the latest lace-up and elastic-sided styles, as well as with concealed elastic sides. Some have Cuban heels, some have big, bold buckles, some combine the two. If you like zip-up sides, there's a Fine Poynt shoe that you're bound to go for. In Black leather or Brown shaded leather, and the latest shades in suede. 49/11 to 63/-. You can also choose from Fine Poynt, Fine Chisel or classic toe shapes in the Beat Boot range. From 69/11. See the latest styles on the Denson Style Selector at your nearest Denson Fashion Shoe Centre. 

Denson Shoes

Denson Classics and Easy Cleans
 set the fashion shoe scene!

For the man with an eye for style, the new Classics are setting a new look in fashion. With a rounded toe-shape, lace-up styling, or concealed elastic sides. In Black leather, Brown leather, and the latest shades in suedes. And for the man who wants a shoe that looks equally smart for business or leisure, the new Easy-Cleans in handsome brushed pigskin-suede. With lace-up or elastic-sided styling, in Brown, and Loden Green. New Classics cost from 49/11 to 63/-. Easy Cleans costs from 59/11 to 79/11. For the name of your stockist, write to: D. Senker & Son Ltd., Dept. R.1. Kingsland Road, London E.2. 

Denson Shoes
Detail from Denson Shoes advert, October 1964.

Denson ShoesDenson Shoes

A two-page advert for the new Denson Shoes range for men, October 1964. 


All images scanned by Sweet Jane from Rave Magazine, Issue No.9, October 1964. Discover more about the soon to be relaunched Denson Shoes Company originally Established in London in 1951―a pioneer in the 20th century's fashion revolution. Read These Denson Shoes were made to be stolen|Joe Jackson & Brian Griffen (1979) via the excellent The Historialist of Shoes and Shoemakers, and also The Story of the Chelsea Boot via The Look. Watch shoemaker and designer Stan Bartholomeu creating a pair of Winklepickers in 1960 based on a 15th Century design. View some of my previous posts about Men's shoes and style from this period in Whatever Happened to Stephen Topper and Topper Shoes Carnaby Street; Score with Coleshoes! (1967); Dandy Fashion: The Biba Men's Range 1969-1975; plus lots of  mid 1960s shoe styles and brands featured in Just Dennis a boy's angle on boys' fashion Rave Magazine (1966); and a reminiscence of spats gone very new in The Immanence of the Past Cavalli Shoes Queen Magazine (1969); Loon Boots, Brothel Creepers, Bombers, Spacers, and Slags! (1974). And finally, the inspiration behind The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Blow-Up! Inflatable Furniture - The latest idea on the furniture scene (1968)


Inflation is here―and to stay! Great new furniture packs into a carrier bag for moving; light enough to tuck under your arm and take to a party if you can't stand the pace. Just use a pump and a boyfriend's right arm to reassemble.

Quasar Khanh Inflatable Furniture 1968

FROM PARIS by Quasar Khanh, orange armchair £28 12s. 6d. See-through chair £19 10s. Poufffe-cum-floor lamp £9 12s. Countdown, Kings Road, Chelsea. By post Ultra-lite Ltd., 49 Conduit Street, London W.1.

FROM LONDON by Incadinc, comfy blue Air Chair, price 6 19s. 6d. Distributed by Goods and Chattels.

FROM HUNGARY, the Suzy chair makes a cosy fireside seat, doubles for beach-squatting too. Price about £2 19s. 6d. from large stores or by post from George W. Burger Ltd., 63 St Gabriel's Road. London N.W.2  

FROM AMERICA, crazy inflatable cushions; small ones £1 5s., large £3 3s. At Countdown, Kings Road Chelsea.

 Inflatable Furniture - The latest idea on the furniture scene (1968).


Image scanned by Sweet Jane from Intro Magazine, January 1968. Discover more about Quasar Khanh pioneer of inflatable Furniture, and view his 1968 'Aerospace' Collection via the Velvet Galerie. See also, Quasar Khanh: The exhumed treasures of a design genius, and read about the time when Khanh’s inflatable armchairs and loungers floated in the Piscina, alongside a pneumatic plastic house, supporting Missoni-clad models in Milan (1967).  View some other examples of  interiors from this period in some of my previous posts: The Biba Bed-Sitting Room (1970). Fun to live―with Designers Jon Wealleans and Jane Hill (1971); Pop Art Interior (1969); as well as furniture by one of the masters of Modernism, Queen magazine (1969). And finally, the ground floor interior of the Mr Freedom shop at 20 Kensington Church Street (1971).

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Just Dennis - A Boy's Slant on Boy's Fashion! Thirties Gangster Style - Rave Magazine (1966)


    JUST DENNIS         

I've always enjoyed reading through the 'Just Dennis' page in Rave magazine―a regular monthly style feature focusing on male fashion, which lasted approximately 18 months in total, from January 1966 to the Summer of 1967, and was then superseded by a similar feature written by Johnny Rave. Although relatively short-lived, it's an interesting and useful insight into the constantly changing trends in British menswear design during one of its most prolific periods. And in spite of the fact that it was limited to only one page, or sometimes two at most, it still managed to pack quite a lot of information into each issue. Just Dennis covered all of the angles―style, design detail, fabrics and colour range, he also put a lot of focus on accessories, along with snippets of 'insider' fashion news and any current or upcoming trends which had caught his attention. The feature was always accompanied by a photograph of him modelling the outfits, and occasionally, there was just enough space left for an illustration!  It may be concise, but it truly is a great visual record and an accurate account of the selection available on the rails from month to month across the various London boutiques, many of whom you may have heard of previously such as John Stephen, Take 6, Lord John, Irvine Sellars, and Austin Reed's Cue etc, but, it's also an invaluable record of others that are less well known. For instance, Gentry Male, at 23 New Street in Covent Garden (currently a hat shop), or 'Exit West Two' at 8 Spring Street, London W2, launched sometime in late 1966, which is one I hadn't heard of. I also like the fact that so many of the items he chose were from London boutiques who offered a postal shopping service, which meant that the latest looks could also be achieved by those living outside the capital or abroad, further enhancing Rave's status as 'Britain's most influential young magazine'. 

Just Dennis Rave Magazine 1960s

RAVEBritain's most influential young magazine! The magazine was published the last week of each month by George Newnes Limited. The subscription rate, including postage for one year to any part of the world, was  £1, 16s. 6d.  



This particular feature below is from the December 1966 issue, and as the year draws to a close we find young Dennis channeling a 1930s Chicago gangster look...perhaps even frequenting the newly launched Speakeasy Club which opened that very same month! And all of this predates the cinema release of the highly influential Arthur Penn directed Bonnie and Clyde, starring Faye Dunaway and Warren Beattya biographical film about the exploits of the notorious Barrow Gang's two-year crime spree during the Depression era, which didn't open in the UK until September 1967, but was undoubtedly the catalyst that propelled the 1930s revival into the mainstream, resulting in a full-blast return to '30s styles inspired by the costumes designed by Theadora Van Runkle...and the effect was global! In one particular case, causing the demand for the production of traditional French berets to immediately increase from 5,000 to 12,000 per week shortly after it was released, even though 'the thirties trend' had obviously been gathering momentum for quite some time prior to this. In fact, Dennis had first mentioned it twelve months earlier in his initial piece for the magazine back in January '66, in which he modelled a French influenced, double-breasted 1930-ish style suit and overcoat, both from Adam, W.1., Kingly Street, London, W.1.

By January 1967, he reports that ''Ravers in London are now wearing genuine Demob suits!'' and that some three-piece ones were available for £10 each from Mel Wheeler of The 38, at 38 Church Street, London NW8.  Evidently, the abundance of Demobilisation suits issued to soldiers as they re-entered civilian life at the end of WW2 had finally filtered down to the second-hand clothing market, and apparently some ex-servicemen had complained first time round that the pin-striped suits made them look like old-time gangsters. Designer Ossie Clark was buying vintage 1930s dresses from Portobello Market and experimenting with the bias cut associated with the era as far back as '65, and Granny Takes a Tripthe King's Road boutique which initially sold vintage clothing, had opened just before Christmas in December that same year, as did I Was Lord Kitchener's Valet. So, maybe it was just down to the influence of the second-hand and antique trade filtering through, it seems plausible that the availability of genuine vintage items contributed to the inspiration behind the origins of the trend. 

But i'd still like to know if there were any other factors involved, such as a popular play, book, news article, personality, or perhaps a film retrospective or related anniversary of some kind. The only cinema releases in a similar vein from the year that I can connect it to are Young Dillinger (Dir. Terry Morse - 1965)―a gritty, low budget gangster film, depicting the early life of 1930s American gangsters, John Dillinger, Pretty Boy Floyd and Baby Face Nelson; The Cincinnati Kid (Dir. Norman Jewison - 1965) starring Steve McQueen as a young, 1930s depression-era poker player; or the two Jean Harlow biopics about the life of the 1930s Hollywood movie star (one directed by Alex Segal, the other by Gordon Douglas)...although how much of an impact (if any) that they had on British cinema-going audiences, I can't say. Either way, it's really interesting to see the progression of the trend as it evolved, from the barrows (no pun intended) into the boutiques, because I've always considered it to be one of the great fashion revivals and have often wondered exactly how, when and where it originated. As for Dennis, I'm not sure what became of him, he was always referred to as Rave 'artist' Dennis (no surname). However, I have noticed that towards the end of 1967, shortly after the demise of the Just Dennis feature, a new section appeared on the Editor's page, which listed the Rave staff―and there, amongst the other names, is a Dennis Barker - Assistant Art Editor, so it's possible that they are one and the same.


Sweet Jane blog: Just Dennis Rave Magazine (1966)

Dennis is wearing a freaky silk shirt from Michael's Man Boutique, Kings Road, Chelsea, London, S.W.3. His, is in turquoise, but he says that the gold ones look terrific too. Price 69s. 11d.  Available by post.

Kipper tie in kinky paisley is from Gentry Male boutique, 23 New Row, London, W.C.2. Price 17s. 6d. Available by post.

Smart suit called 'Capone' is from Take 6 boutique, Wardour Street, London, W.1. In a medium grey with a wide, white pin-stripe. There are loops for a two-inch wide belt on the trousers,which can be bought with or without turn-ups. Price 12 gns, also available by post.

Golf shoes (without the spikes of course) are by Dunlop. Available to order from Lillywhites, Piccadilly Circus, London, W.1., price £5 19s. 6d.

The genuine old gramophone is from Kleptomania, Kingly Street, London W.1., it's in perfect working order and cost £17. Smaller ones are cheaper,the record is a groovy party disc of the Charleston, a real hit at 2s. 6d. A 1930 original by the way!

The aforementioned Kleptomania Boutique, at 10 Kingly Street, photographed a year later in 1967. This was Tommy Roberts' first boutique, which he opened in the summer of 1966 with his wife Mary and partner Charlie Simpson. The shop initially tapped into the second-hand market, selling an eclectic mix of paraphernalia from bygone eras, such as the 1930s gramophone in the Just Dennis style feature above. The stock itinerary also included an assortment of Victorian oddments and curiosities, from What The Butler Saw Mutoscope machines to Penny Farthing bicycles. As well as 1920s candlestick telephones, old military uniforms, posters, police capes, and Chinese opium pipes, but as the business progressed, they began to introduce hippie beads, bells, and brand new stock from young and upcoming designers, meanwhile, the customising of second-hand garments and the introduction of a line of kitsch slogan printed t-shirts and accessories would gradually move the boutique towards the eventual manufacture of their own label.


If you take a closer look at the Kleptomania Boutique window display in the previous photograph, you'll note that an Afghan waistcoat takes centre stage―yet another extremely popular fashion trend which had been on the rise since 1966, when the first of the jackets were imported into London by Craig Sams and sold through boutiques such as Granny Takes a Trip. 

The Purple Gang, dressed in gangster gear, pose for a photo outside Granny Take's a Trip 488 King's Road in 1967, to promote their first single, also named Granny Take's a Trip. In the background, is one of the boutiques most popular facadesa pop-art portrait of 1930s movie star Jean Harlow, painted by Nigel Waymouth and Michael Mayhew. 



◼︎ Now appearing in Austin Reed shops are art nouveau ties by Martin Battersby. The designs are more authentic than most―not surprising because Martin Battersby is a leading authority on art nouveau, and is reputed to have one of the largest collections in the country. The ties are in gorgeous colours and he has also done a range of wide-bottomed gangster ties for Austin Reed's Cue boutiques. Worth a look, and if you're ever in Brighton you can see all the scarves and ties he makes in his own shop in Brighton's Lanes.

◼︎ Look round the ex-army surplus stores for suede mosquito boots. They're very cheap and you'll need them this winter!

◼︎ Some of the most exciting belts I've seen recently are at a new boutique called Exit West Two at 8 Spring Street, London, W.2. They're in three-inch wide coloured elastic with unusual buckles. Price 23s. 6d. Plenty of decorative watch straps to match, too!

◼︎ Remember we told you about the crazy possibilities of braiding on jackets? Keith Richards has had one made up with braiding on the lapels and round the edge!

◼︎ New idea from Paul's Boutique, Carnaby Street, London, W.1. They're selling mini shift dresses for the girls, and shirts for the boys in matching floral patterns! Dresses 8 gns., shirts 5 gns.

◼︎ For the wild extrovert, Gentry Male boutique have a range of paisley raincoats at 15 gns.

◼︎ Crepon is still the thing in shirts, and you can now get stripy ones from Adam W.1., Kingly Street, London, W.1.


Two more items from the December feature caught my eye...firstly, the description of the Martin Battersby hand-painted art nouveau and kipper ties intrigued me. I've been an admirer of Martin's work for a long time, his book on Art Deco Fashion (French Designers 1908-1925) originally published by Academy Editions Ltd. in 1974, is one of my personal favourites. The ties were available from Austin Reed's Cue boutiques, and also from his own retail outlet―Sphinx Studios Boutique, located in Prince Albert Street, Brighton, from the early 1960s to 1971. And secondly, he mentions a bespoke braided jacket as worn by Keith Richards―I've gone through several Rolling Stones books and record sleeves looking for photographic evidence, and taking into account the timeframe, it should show up somewhere around the release of Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow?, Let's Spend the Night Together or perhaps Ruby Tuesday, but I haven't found anything that quite fits the details yet. 

A page from Art Deco Fashion, French Designers 1908-1925 by Martin Battersby, published by Academy Editions (1974). One of the few, but excellent, representations of menswear contained within the book. View an original colour print of the Edouard Halouze illustration.


Past the undertaker's 'front'...then through the 'wardrobe'

Above: The NME's Norrie Drummond takes you to London's latest in-place! A full page feature on The Speakeasy, originally published in May 1967.  The club, located at 48 Margaret Street (just off Oxford St), had opened six months earlier in December 1966, and was hugely popular with the music business set―managers, agents, pop stars and journalists were all part of the regular clientele, well known patrons were far too many to mention, but included Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix and Keith Moon. The Speakeasy's 'Undertaker's Parlour' decor at the entrance to the club proper, took inspiration from the speakeasies which came into prominence in the United States during the Prohibition era (1920-1933), when the importation, production, transportation, and ultimately the sale of any alcoholic beverage was in operation. The ban had been introduced as an attempt to curb the effects of alcohol abuse in American society, but it wasn't long before illegal drinking establishments flourished, often fronted under the guise of some innocuous business or other, many of which were operated by those with connections to the criminal underworld. 


Above: Co-managers Roy Flynn and Mike Carey relax with guests, overlooked by the portrait of Al Capone specially painted for The Speakeasy by Barry Fantoni. (May, 1967). The club opened Seven nights a week.  Monday-Saturday it opened at 10pm, drinks were served until 3am, and the club closed around 4am. Membership cost four guineas per year, and admission was 10 s. most nights.

Detail from the front desk at the entrance to the The Speakeasy, 48 Margaret Street, London. You can view a short piece of colour film which clearly shows The Speak's decor, including the coffin desk, mirrored wardrobe door, the dance floor, the stage area, and Barry Fantoni's portrait of Al Capone via this British Pathe Newsreel footage from 1967.

Alan Fitch, the manager of I Was Lord Kitchener's Valet, 293 Portobello Road, London, wearing an original pin-striped demob suit (1966).

''This here's Miss Bonnie Parker. I'm Clyde Barrow. We rob banks.'' Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway in a scene from Bonnie and Clyde, Directed by Arthur Penn (1967). Costumes for the film designed by Theadora Van Runkle.

   Todays Raves! Rave Magazine, December 1967.

An article by Nick Richards on 'The Thirties Trend' in London, for Intro Magazine, December 9th 1967four months after the release of Bonnie and Clyde in UK cinemas. It's interesting to note that he says the trend had launched the previous Winter, so, it definitely began at the end of 1965 into 1966. But as for it 'dying a cold death'...perhaps not entirely, because according to Just Dennis in Rave's April 1967 free fashion supplement, it was still happening at that point in time, and he also predicted in the same issue that ''the Chicago of the 30s gear will stay around, though there won't be quite such a touch of the Al Capone''. So, merely a brief hiatus during the 'Summer of Love' before it came back stronger than ever in the Autumn/Winter of 1967. 

Iain Quarrier in gangster-style attire for his role in Separation (Dir. Jack Bond), produced in 1967, but released in 1968.  The double-breasted pin-striped suit, and all other clothing worn in the film were supplied by Take 6, the very same boutique which supplied the 'Capone' suit, as worn by Just Dennis in the Rave magazine feature. It may also be of some interest to note that the wardrobe of Jane Ardenthe female co-star and writer of the film, came from Granny Take's a Trip, Quorum, The Carrot on Wheels, and Deliss.   

  Print advert,  Intro Magazine,  December 1967.


The visual appeal of Bonnie and Clyde continues into the following year, five months after the release of the film, as seen in this full-page poster from the back cover of Intro Magazine, January 1968. 

A 1930s Bonnie and Clyde influenced illustration, Petticoat Magazine, 1968. Artist uncredited.

A look inspired by the film Bonnie and Clyde. Photograph by F.C. Gundlach, Hamburg, 1968. Models Gundrun Bjarnadottir and Patrick Deroulede.  

Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot channelling the spirit of the ill-fated lovers Bonnie and Clyde in a duet written by Gainsbourg, originally released on Fontana Records in 1968. The lyrics of which, borrowed heavily from 'The Trails's End', a poem by the outlaw Bonnie Parker, penned just weeks before she and Clyde Barrow were ambushed and killed in a stolen Ford Deluxe on an isolated highway near Bienville Parish, Louisiana, by law enforcement officers on May 23rd, 1934. 

  Yet another look inspired by the film Bonnie and Clyde, Photo by F.C. Gundlach, Hamburg 1968.

The back cover of Johnny Hallyday's L'Histoire De Bonnie And Clyde (1968), but this particular pressing of the EP was released in France in 1969. Photo by Tony Frank.

Johnny Hallyday performing L'Histoire De Bonnie And Clyde, along with Sylvie Vartan (1968).


A greeting card designed by Jan Pieńkowskifounder of Gallery Five (1968), based on Warren Beatty's portrayal of Clyde Barrow.

Gangsters by Valstar, a Print advert from Honey Magazine, 1967, (artist uncredited). View another example of an advertisement for the Gangsters range by Valstar in one of my previous posts, also from 1967.

Detail from a 1930s inspired make-up advertisement campaign by Woolworths, 1968. You can view the entire Woolworths Baby Doll Make-up advert here.

Sweet Jane blog Carnaby Street Fashion 1960s

The trend for Bonnie and Clyde attire is captured perfectly in this illustration by Malcolm English for Carnaby Street, by Tom Salter (1970).

All images scanned by Sweet Jane from the following publications (1.) Rave Magazine mastheads from my personal collection. (2.) Just Dennis, Rave Magazine December 1966. (3.) Kleptomania Boutique, 10 Kingly Street (1967) from Tommy Roberts: Mr Freedom, British Design Hero by Paul Gorman. (4.) The Purple Gang outside Granny Takes a Trip from The Look - Adventures in Rock and Pop Fashion by Paul Gorman. (5.) Edouard Halouze illustration from Art Deco Fashion - French Designers 1908-1925, by Martin Battersby, Published by Academy Editions (1974). (6. & 7.) The New Musical Express, May 1967. (8.) Detail from the Speakeasy cash desk, a screenshot from the linked Pathe footage. (9.) I Was Lord Kitchener's Valet, 293 Portobello Road, London (1966) from Swinging Sixties Fashion in London and Beyond 1955-1970, V&A Publications, Photograph © Onno Bernsen/Caroline Gilles. (10.) Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway from The King of Carnaby Street The Life of John Stephen by Jeremy Reed. (11.) Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, Rave Magazine December 1967. (12.) Iain Quarrier in gangster-style attire, a screenshot from from Separation (Dir. Jack Bond 1968). (13.) Felt Gangster Hat print advert Intro Magazine December 1967. (14.) Warren Beatty Intro Magazine January 1968. (15.) 1930s Bonnie and Clyde illustration, Petticoat magazine 1968 from Lifestyle Illustration of the Sixties, Published by Fiell. (16.& 17.Bonnie and Clyde Photographs by F.C. Gundlach Fashion Photography 1950-1975, Published by Taschen. (18.) Johnny Hallyday's L'Histoire De Bonnie And Clyde original 45 rpm from personal collection. (19.) Gallery Five Card 1968 from Pop! Design, Culture, Fashion 1956-1975. (20.) Gangsters by Valstar 1967 from Lifestyle Illustration of the Sixties, Published by Fiell. (21.) Woolworths Baby Doll Make-up detail from Rave Magazine, May 1968. (22.) Bonnie and Clyde illustration from Carnaby Street by Tom Salter, Published by Margaret and Jack Hobbs (1970).

View other examples of Just Dennis for Rave Magazine in some of my previous posts: Whatever Happened to Stephen Topper & Topper Shoes Carnaby Street? and also Just Dennis: A boy's angle on boys' fashion - Rave Magazine (1966). Edward Mann's Gangster and Moll Collection for Spring (1966). Bonnie - Fashion's New Darling (1968). The Bonnie and Clyde Style―the talk of 1968! More from Kleptomania 22 Carnaby Street via Rave Magazine (1968). A must read! ➽ Bonnie and Clyde Looking go0d while robbing banks!The costume designs of Theadora Van Runkle. The artist Martin Battersby & The History of 36 Sussex Square! Discover more about The Speakeasy, where The Who could drink easy, pull easy and pay a visit to the The Speak's Facebook Group page. Let's not forget the influence of the French New Wave―Le Goût du crime: Notes on Gangster Style in New-Wave Paris: Part I and Part II, see also French Gangster Style: Tough Guys & Existential Assassins, and Borsalino (1970). The Real Scarface: Al Capone (Full Documentary). And finally, the fascination with prohibition-era gangster style shows up again ten years later in the charming Bugsy Malone (1976)a world of gangsters, showgirls, and dreamers! 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...