Saturday, 31 August 2013
Wednesday, 28 August 2013
Now here's something that I would really like to see more of - the Biba Men's range! Particularly the first collection which coincided with the opening of the Kensington High Street shop in September 1969. However, only a mere two pages from the launch brochure designed by John McConnell which illustrated the range were featured in The Biba Experience by Alwyn W Turner, and to date I haven't come across any other photographic evidence of Biba menswear in print or in any vintage auctions, apart from a pair of well worn and obviously much loved platform boots which sold on Ebay quite recently. The singular image displayed from the catalogue designed by McConnell does look very promising indeed, but what I have read regarding it suggests otherwise, it would seem that although a bold attempt was made to establish the line, they ultimately failed to find an appropriate design ethos which could stand on par with their distinctive Biba women's wear label or to make a real impact upon the already highly developed and competitive men's fashion market in London. Regardless of this, it continued onwards from the initial launch in 1969, eventually moving from the mezzanine above the children's department in Kensington High Street to the entire third floor of Big Biba at the Derry & Tom's building in 1973. Along with the transitional move to its own floor at the new premises also came a change in the design concept, the original elements of the classic 60s dandy image were replaced with a more mature suave look which drew inspiration from 1930s and 1940s influences while maintaining a contemporary feel. There were traditional suits in the typical Biba spectrum of plum, coffee and black with undergarments in matching colours, all displayed in classic old-style wardrobes around the edges of the department, as well as Stetson hats, monocles, canes, cloaks, luggage and accessories...although I strongly suspect that the rock 'n' roll types of the day were probably still shopping in the girls section for t-shirts and whatever else took their fancy! The Men's Department was one of the first to be closed in march of 1975 after the property developers British Land had taken over the company but all in all, prior to this, it had survived six years of retail, so it was obviously quite successful on some level up to this point. I do wish that I had more photographs from the range, but thankfully we still have the fantastic illustrations by Kasia Charko from the Big Biba Opening Day Newspaper which at least give us an impression of what was on offer.
Biba Menswear, Kensington High Street, 1969.
The men's footwear display unit at Big Biba, Kensington High Street.
Items from the men's health and cosmetics range.
One of the opening ads for the launch of Big Biba, the plan of the third floor inspired the eagle logo for the Men and Boys department.
Wardrobes used as display units around the perimeter of the men's department.
The central counter on the third floor, a series of black marble plinths, walnut-veneered display units and bronze fittings were retained from the original Derry & Toms shop fit.
All images scanned by Sweet Jane from Welcome to Big Biba by Steven Thomas and Alwyn W Turner and The Biba Experience by Alwyn W Turner. Except for the photograph of the Biba boots which are courtesy of Lady *Godivas* Operation Ebay Shop. All Illustrations by Kasia Charko.
The highly recommended Kasia Charko blog can be found here, a must read for anyone interested in a unique behind the scenes look at the launch of the Big Biba department store. The Kasia Charko website can be found here.
Saturday, 24 August 2013
There's a really lovely autumnal feel to this advert from Singer, originally published in July of 1971...definitely one for the ardent sewing enthusiasts! It makes me want to order yards of velvet and set about making capes and baker boy caps immediately!
Say "I love the whole world" by making whatever in the whole world you love! Sew great floppy newsboy pants and a ribbed shrunk sweater that'll just about give you a Cockney accent. Or thigh-high lederhosen, wrapped up in a swirling cape straight off the moors. A fashion zig-zag sewing machine by Singer says "sew-easy" in any language. On any fabric. Like these ribless corduroys and sweater knits by Singer. From our collection of Ethnic Fabrics. The cape is McCall's 2770; Lederhosen are Simplicity 9573; Knickers are McCall's 2502; the shrunk sweater is McCall's 2709.
Image and original text scanned by Sweet Jane from SEVENTEEN July 1971. Post title quote by Robert Browning.
Thursday, 22 August 2013
A truly great feature on the Mr Freedom clothing boutique, originally published in the Look-In Fashion Model Annual, 1971. Comprising of seven pages in total, with several colour fashion photographs and another five in b&w showing both the interior and the exterior of the shop, it also includes an amazingly detailed text by Laurie Kuhrt which really captures the essence of what Mr Freedom was about. All of the clothes modelled by Frederika Elizabeth Mary Lambert-Laughton (better known to her friends as 'Freddie') are from the Kensington Church Street branch of the boutique. The Diana Crawshaw baseball suit is of course instantly recognisable to anyone familiar with the label, and although none of the designers were credited individually in the piece at the time, I have been able to match a few of the other outfits to their creators thanks to Paul Gorman's book - Mr Freedom Tommy Roberts: British Design Hero which you can read about in one of my previous posts here. The following paragraph is a brief extract from the Look-In article which gives a wonderful description of the shop.
"It's a remarkable shop. The price tags are cardboard fried eggs. Inside, a huge fly eight or nine feet long slowly flaps it's wings just above your head and further inside a chest-high model of a shoe looms large in metallic mauve. There's an armchair made to look like a huge set of false teeth and furniture the shape and colour of liquorice all-sorts. There are beautiful Mr Freedom-clad assistants and a wide-grinning Teddy boy called 'arold. Not to mention the clothes. Mr Freedom stocks an ever changing shopful of vivid, original fashions, each one more outrageous than the last and each quite different. There are fashions from the thirties and forties. There are drape jackets and blue suede shoes from the Teddy boy era, and shorts and sling back shoes fit for fifties film stars, enamel brooches, sneakers, platform shoes, sailor suits, and a whole host of incredible clothes that could have only come from the seventies. And all the time new ideas bring new clothes. Mr Freedom doesn't follow fashion, he leads".
Velvet shorts and woolly hooped socks by Pamela Motown matched with a T-shirt carrying the number 6.
Mr Freedom multi-coloured satin jockey cap designed by Diane Saunders, as worn by Mick Jagger during his performance of Brown Sugar on Top Of The Pops in march of 1971.
All images and original text scanned by Sweet Jane from Look-In Fashion Model Annual 1971. Model: Freddie, original article by Laurie Kuhrt, photographs by Bob Hall. The fashion shoot took place at a gymnasium above a pub called the Thomas a Beckett in the Old Kent Road.
Saturday, 17 August 2013
Thursday, 15 August 2013
Apple Boutique at 94 Baker Street, London, W.1 is a wonderland of the way-out both inside and out! The appearance of the boutique stops passers-by in their tracks, and inside you can rummage through piles of exotic, ornate gear,designed and made mostly by Simon and Marijke, Beatle friends and part owners of the boutique. Here RAVE fashion girl Lee shows you some Apple clothes, photographed in Apple!
|The Beatles' Apple Boutique in London's Baker Street.|
Deep green velvet waistcoat called "Flipster" that fits tightly under the bust, and has the added flippancy of a tassel at the back! Price 4gns. Matching velvet skirt, circle shaped, short and full, Price 5gns. Brilliant yellow satin blouse called "Daisy", £4 10s. Ornate jewelled bangle, £1 7s. 6d. and headscarf, 15s. 6d.
Design in shades of pink for a wool dress in a beautiful soft fabric. The puffy sleeves add a medieval touch. It's called "Fatima" and costs 9gns. Rope necklace, £1 17s. 6d. Bell belt wound in hair, 4gns. Narrow bangle, 1s 6d.
Dress in tiered crêpe called "Sunflower" (there's a huge purple crêpe sun on the bodice). Price £8 18s. 6d. It's worn eastern style over a long skirt, £4 14s. 6d. Headscarves, 15s. 6d. and £1 19s. 6d.
All images scanned by Sweet Jane from an original article by Jeremy Pascall for RAVE Magazine February 1968. All Photographs by P.L. James. View some of my other posts about The Fool and Apple Boutique (1968); The Fool Design Collective (1967); Felicity Green on the Flower Power fashion scene (1967)
Thursday, 8 August 2013
Boating Bunting, left, sports a fleet of sailboats and a hood for breeze-breaking, streaks to a zippy close; about $14. Crocheted sash by by Christa. The flag-waving playmates and the boating dress by Pant-her. Mini-folk, far right, meander over a maxidress with miniscule snaps dotting their way down. A penny pocket patches high. Juniorette; $16. Trifari chokers.
Embroidered Flowers liven the landscape with sheer folklore. A sweep of sky-blue crepe voile, left, shoulders wild silk flowers and strews them on the sash. The silvery choker and bracelet, by Capri. Sunny gold, right, is the backdrop for a floating garden; note the random nosegays at billows in the sleeves! Blowing in the wind, chiffon scarf by Ray Strauss. Frierich necklace, Michael Danyon earrings. Artbro dresses; about $20 each.
Country cousins, above, speak a flowery dialect. Foreground: daisied borders make picturesque inroads on an empire dress vested with a hug. Bandbox Jr. Petites; about $28. Peasant partners, in the background, band together. Blouse with voluminous sleeves, about $11. Flip-paneled skirt layered over lacy bloomers, about $14. Bobbie Brooks. Folk ways with beads: Robert Zentall.
All images and original text scanned by Sweet Jane from Seventeen, April 1970. Photographed on location in Mexico by Joseph Santoro.
Sunday, 4 August 2013
All images scanned by Sweet Jane from Plexus, November 1969. Additional illustrations by Paul Barrué for an original story 'Le Creux Du Rêve' by Emmanuelle Arsan.