Saturday, 27 April 2013

Gear Guide | A hip-pocket Guide to Britain's Swinging Fashion Scene (1967) | Who's Who in Carnaby Street & Kings Road etc.


 A Hip-pocket Guide to Britain's Swinging Fashion Scene! 

To those of you who have gazed longingly at this cover in various 1960s fashion source books over the years―or for anyone who eventually found a tattered copy of it listed on ebay (usually for sale at an exorbitant price) only to have it snatched away from your virtual grasp by another bidder seconds before the auction'll be happy to know that those days are well and truly over! Gear Guide: a hip-pocket Guide to Britain's Swinging Fashion Scene originally published in May 1967 is currently back on the book shelves, lovingly restored to its former glory and available at an extremely reasonable cost thanks to Old House Books who have recently republished it. The title accurately describes the contents―it is a concise guide to the most notable shops around at this point in time, quite similar in many respects to Millicent Bultitude's Get Dressed which was published a year earlier―as both books were a response to the burgeoning boutique scene which had emerged in London throughout the decade. However, while 'Get Dressed' covers an array of shops from various locations around the city, the Gear Guide narrows it down considerably, focusing the attention on Carnaby Street in Soho where the new fashion scene originated, and also on the King's Road in Chelsea, which by 1967 had become an equally strong contender in its own right.

The book consists of 72 pages plus folded endpapers, and is interspersed throughout with some great illustrations, photographs and maps, there is also an informative introductory chapter which describes in detail how the boutique trend initially began and developed. It covers Vince (the very first mens's boutique in the Carnaby Street area), all of the John Stephen shops, as well as Gear Boutique, Bazaar, Donis, Dandie Fashions, I Was Lord Kitchener's Valet, Just Men, Lady Jane, Granny Takes a Trip, Foale & Tuffin, Top Gear and Countdown etc plus one or two others that I wasn't previously aware of such as Hat Gear (Men and Girls) 12 Ganton Street, and 4.30 (Girls Boutique) run by Carol Derry located at 430 King's Road, which, apart from a brief mention in Millicent Bultitude's Get Dressed and The Young Meteors by Jonathan Aitken, is still a fairly unfamiliar one to me. However, although it sounds really interesting, it seems to have been quite short lived, as most of these boutiques were, and the premises would soon become the location for Michael Rainey's Hung On You boutique (1967-1969) and thereafter Tommy Roberts' and Trevor Myles Mr Freedom outlet (1969-1970), then Paradise Garage, followed by Let it Rock, Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die, and more.  The closing chapters discuss the current fashion trends, noting that although the idea of 'functionalism' was quite strong with an emphasis on simplified mass produced designs in disposable materials (paper dresses), 'Revivalism' via the second-hand clothing trade was equally prominent. It also looks towards possible future fashion trends, so, all in all, a very worthwhile acquisition and a unique insight into boutique culture from this period. The Gear Guide can be ordered directly from the publisher here.

I Was Lord Kitchener's Valet 293 Portobello Road.

Pete Sutch.

* The original back cover of Gear Guide published in May 1967.

All images scanned by Sweet Jane from Gear Guide (1967) by David Johnson and Roger Dunkley. Drawings and design by Julia Stone, Photographs by Bob Baker, published by Old House *except for the original back cover of Gear Guide which was scanned from Boutique a 60s Cultural Phenomenon by Marnie Fogg.  Gear Guide 1967 is also available for sale online through Amazon here. The entire catalogue of Old House Books can be found on the publishers website here. One of my previous posts about the British Boutique scene, including information about Get Dressed by Millicent Bultitude can be found here

Sunday, 21 April 2013

John Kloss | Geometric Pop Design (1966)



Some really great examples of John Kloss's geometric pop art inspired designs, I've put this post together from two separate publications which featured his work, as it was evident that both photographs originated from the same photo shoot by Henry Grossman. They were taken in the designer's apartment in May 1966, the canvas in the background is by pop artist Robert Indiana, a friend of Kloss, who like so many other creative types was also a resident at the Coenties Slip building in Lower Manhattan at the time. Kloss had originally studied architecture in his native city of Detroit before moving to New York, he then turned his attention towards fashion design, and after graduating from the Traphagen School of Fashion he moved to Paris, where he apprenticed with couturier Bob Bugnand (1957-58) and also with Serge Matta. In 1959 he declined an offer to work with the long established firm of Nina Ricci, opting instead to design with Lisa Fonssagrieves, former top fashion model and wife of the photographer Irving Penn, who had launched her own design label a couple of years earlier. He eventually established his own successful business in the early 1960s, the influence of the pop art movement from this period abounded in his work to great effect, so much so, that when Yves Saint Laurent launched his Mondrian inspired collection in 1965, the New York Times claimed that Kloss had achieved the same result two years previously. Kloss also specialized in lingerie design for which he received two Coty American Fashion Critics Awards in 1971 and 1974. You can view some more examples of the designer's work via the links at the end of this post.

Behold the latest in underwear, all stylish and pretty with outer-wear flair. This new lingerie is the work of designers in the ready-to-wear field who are no longer content to stick to what shows. Nor are their effects intended necessarily to be worn only under their own designs but rather to be a stylish extension of their personal point of view. Shown here with a Robert Indiana painting are designer John Kloss's off-beat Romper-slip (Cira $16) and equally geometric dress ($135).

John Kloss dress ($135) and matching lingerie.

All images scanned by Sweet Jane from Radical Rags Fashions Of The Sixties by Joel Lobenthal and LIFE Magazine May 6th 1966. All photographs by Henry Grossman. Models Ulla Bomser and Colleen Corby. Another fantastic example of a John Kloss pop design dress owned by fashion journalist Marit Allen which was featured in a double-page British Vogue article also published in  May 1966 can be found over on the V&A Collection. The Metropolitan Museum of Art also have a wonderful selection of his work from this period in their archive. A biography of the artist Robert Indiana and a catalogue of his work and more on the official Robert Indiana website. A conversation with the super model, photographer and sculptor  Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn by David Seidner on the excellent Bomb Magazine - publishing conversations between artists of all disciplines since 1981. And you can view some of my other posts about pop fashion here ➽ Pop Style (1965); Multiplex Minis by Peter Max (1970); The Picture of Fashion (1972); Mr Freedom: Kensington Church Street (1971). And finally, Pop Fashion (1971).

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Dandy Fashion | The Man Who Always Peaked Too Soon | Tom Wolfe (1976)

The Man Who Always Peaked Too Soon

Tom Wolfe



All images scanned by Sweet Jane from Mauve Gloves & Madmen, Clutter & Vine by Tom Wolfe 1976. All Illustrations by the author.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Frisco and Lorenzo Wong and Wildman Michael Chow by Peter Blake (1968)

Frisco and Lorenzo Wong and Wildman Michael Chow 

Peter Blake

Peter Blake pop art 1960s

Peter Blake's portrait of restaurateur Michael Chow, commissioned for the interior of Mr Chow's, the Knightsbridge restaurant which celebrated London's melting pot of internationalism in the 1960s. Chow is depicted sitting in a managerial like pose between two wrestlers, namely Frisco and Lorenzo Wong, a play on the fact that his concept for the new restaurant, was to introduce authentic Beijing cuisine to the British public by integrating it with various aspects of other cultural identities. Beginning with a menu that the British could easily understand, the food was cooked by Chinese chefs and then served by Italian waiters, in an extremely chic European style environment. The combination of all of these forward thinking global elements has continued to contribute to the establishment's success since it first opened its doors on St. Valentine's Day 1968. It instantly became a mecca for celebrity diners such as  The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Federico Fellini and Jeanne Moreau. The walls were decorated not only by Blake's portrait of the owner, but also by the original works of many other notable artists including David Hockney, Allen Jones and Jim Dine etc, several of which were initially traded in exchange for free meals at the premises, most definitely an offer that any so called 'starving artist' couldn't refuse! In the true spirit of entrepreneurialism, Michael Chow recognised exactly the right moment to expand the business, so the essence of Mr Chow's success in swinging London, eventually transported another version of itself to the next hotspot on the planet, which in 1974 was Beverly Hills, and along with it came a new set of Hollywood celebrity patrons. In 1979 the business expanded yet again, this time to Midtown New York. Once more, the establishment was frequented by well known local artists and musicians. Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Robert Mapplethorpe were regulars, it was also the place in which John Lennon was to have his last meal before the fateful events which transpired later that evening in December of 1980. And in the future, the launch of several more Mr Chow restaurants in equally prime locations would follow suit.

Mr Chow London 1960s Grace Coddington, The Sweet Shop, Dress by Laura Jamieson.
Michael Chow on his wedding day with his new bride Grace Coddington - Grace is wearing an apple green, devore silk velvet dress, scalloped below the knee, appliqued with wild rose and accessorised with with a daisy chain belt of brown and cream suede around the hips - designed by Laura Jamieson of The Sweet Shop,  29 Blantyre Street, Chelsea S.W. 10 (1969).

Michael Chow however, is much more than a restaurateur, he is a man of many achievements and also quite the dandy. Born in Shanghai in 1939, the son of talented, wealthy parents, his mother an heiress who's family had made their fortune as tea merchants, and his father Zhou Xinfang was the country's most famous actor of his generation, a leading figure at the Peking Opera and founder of the Qi School of performance.  He was sent to Britain to be educated at the tender age of 13, where he was immediately dispatched to Wenlock Edge boarding school in Shropshire. After an understandably difficult transitional period, he eventually found his way, quickly realising that aesthetics could play an important part in shaping his future and how he wanted to be perceived. And so, he developed a slightly eccentric but very stylish look, which he felt helped him to bridge the cultural divide, while still remaining intrinsically faithful to his Chinese heritage. Upon leaving Wenlock Edge, he enrolled as a student at St Martins School of Art, immersing himself in London's nightlife in his free time. Chow also went on to study architecture, which he  put to good use further down the line when designing his various restaurants. He spent a period of time working for the Robert Fraser Art Gallery, and later opened a hair salon 'Smith and Hawes' in Sloane Avenue with his business partner Robin Sutherland, which they subsequently sold to Leonard of Grosvenor Square - it then became known as Leonard and Twiggy. Amidst all of this activity, he managed to find the time to fall in love and marry on more than one occasion, became a renowned art collector, and to date, following in his father's theatrical footsteps, has also appeared in approximately 18 films. Some of the best known from this particular period are actually on my personal favourites list:  Modesty Blaise (1966) - Weng; You Only Live Twice (1967) - as Spectre #4 alongside his sister, Bond Girl actress Tsai Chin;  The Touchables (1968) - Denzil; and Joanna (1968) - Lefty.  Sadly, Michael would never see his parents or his brothers again, as they had remained in China during the cultural revolution, with tragic results. But it is obvious that his life and his career are a testament and celebration of all that was magnificent about them and his country of origin.

Michael Chow Genevieve Waite Joanna (1968)
Genevieve Waite and Michael Chow in a scene from Joanna (1968), Written & Directed byMichael Sarne.

Image scanned by Sweet Jane from Radical Rags - Fashions Of The Sixties by Joel Lobenthal, Original  Artwork by Peter Blake courtesy of the private collection of Michael Chow. Photograph of Grace Coddington and Michael Chow scanned from Grace - A memoir, by Grace Coddington. Photograph by Barry Lategan 1969.
Discover more about Zhou Xinfang hereOne of my previous posts about the artist Peter BlakeFurther information about Michael Chow's sister, the actress known as Tsai Chin. MR CHOW - London, Beverly Hills, NYC 57th Street, NYC Tribeca, Miami and Malibu can be found here. Epicentre of Creativity - World's End Chelsea S.W 10 in the 1960s - a tribute page created by Laura Jamieson of  The Sweet Shop 28 Blantyre Street can be found here. Pop Artist Peter Blake - Imaginary Wrestler Portraits. And finally, a post update *2016: Exhibition: Michael Chow's return to fine art: Voice for My Father | UCCA Beijing, China.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Fine Feathers For Night Birds | Pattie Boyd | Rave Magazine (1964)



August. Warm evenings. Outdoor parties. Barbecues. And the time when nightbirds come into their own! It doesn't really matter what you wear. Anything goes. But Beatle girl Pattie Boyd shows you how you can be comfortably stunning. So come on...IT'S PARTY TIME!

RIGHT: The hipster pants are by Pentasport with fly front fastening and cost about £1 15s. The Prison bar shirt has contrasting pastel and white stripes and there's also a knockout black and white combination. By Feminella it costs £2 2s.

LEFT: Sugar pink and white Dollyrocker from Sambo, the pink on the stripes which also frills the neckline, matches up to the yoke. £3 3s.

LEFT: Pale pink blouse in a washable crepe spun fabric. It has a puritan collar and raised squares on the bodice of contrast stitching. By Majestic of New York. It sells at £4 9s. 6d.  The skirt is a deep plum colour, with an unpressed front pleat and angle pockets, is in a washable cotton corduroy and also sells at £4 9s. 6d. by Majestic again.  RIGHT: Dress with a matching headscarf by Marlborough in navy and blue cotton with a small motif and a double frill at the hem. Price is around £5 5s. The dress is also available in a full-length version on a slightly paler background. It has an even more delicate design.

LEFT: Finely quilted skirt with matching headscarf. By Estrava, it is available in three different colour combinations and costs £8 8s. The pale blue yoked blouse is by Feminella and costs £2 2s. RIGHT: Light wool tartan skirt with a matching  sleeveless bolero. Underneath, is a long sleeved shirt with deep cuffs and a rounded peter pan collar. The three piece costs  about  £8 8s.. By Slimma.


 All images and original text scanned by Sweet Jane from RAVE Magazine Issue No. 7 August 1964

Friday, 12 April 2013

Dandy Fashion:┃ Coats by Le Gardien ┃Autumn/Winter (1970)

Coats by Le Gardien 



Image scanned by Sweet Jane from A Century of Fashion by Francois Baudot. Coats by Le Gardien Autumn/Winter 1970. Photograph by Oliviero Toscani.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Graham Rogers & Wojtek Siudmak | Plexus (1970)






All images scanned by Sweet Jane from Plexus No.36 June 1970, Cover illustration by Graham Rogers, additional illustrations by Wojtek Siudmak. 

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Ossie Clark & Mary Quant┃Queen Magazine (1968)

Ossie Clark & Mary Quant

Wool crepe dress with finely-tucked top, gathered skirt and full-cuffed long sleeves by Ossie Clark at Martin Law; 12gns at Dickens & Jones, Regent Street, W1. Lacey stretch knee-socks by Morley; 5s 6d at Fenwick, Bond Street, W1.

Grey wool dress with white stitching, by Mary Quant's Ginger Group; £7 19s 6d at Galeries Lafayette, Regent Street, W1. Matching grey hat with white stitching; £2 19s 6d at Bazaar branches. White daisy tights; 19s 11d at Bazaar branches. Brown and white punched shoes with cut-out sides, by Andrea; 10½ gns at Footnote, Symons Street, SW3.

Dress by Hildebrand; £12 19s 6d at Way In, Hans Cresent, SW1. Socks by Morley; 5s 6d  at Fenwick, Bond Street, W1. Shoes; at Footnote, Symons Street, SW1. Illustration: green, white and puce suit, green blouse, by Matita; 33gns at Harvey Nicholls SW1.

All images and original text scanned by Sweet Jane from QUEEN  27 March 1968. Illustrations by Barry Zaid, Photographs by Patrick Hunt.