Fashion

Fashion – Foale & Tuffin

This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series Fashion Scene 4

Claire Mahoney looks at the lesser-known, but no less influential 60s design duo that was: Foale & Tuffin

Designer Zandra Rhodes described them as the ‘Queens of Carnaby Street,’ others dubbed them the ‘Liver Birds’ of the London fashion scene – the dynamic duo that they are referring to are designers Foale & Tuffin.

You may not have heard of them. (I hadn’t until I started delving deeper into the history of 60s fashion.) But these two East End art school girls has no less an influence on 60s fashion and the mod look than the likes of Mary Quant and to those who were in with the in-crowd, they were the designers that people wanted to wear.

Marion Foale and Sally Tuffin met at Walthamstow Art School. These bright young girls epitomised everything that the 60s was really about. They were determined to do something different and they were going to do it all by themselves and not sell out in the process.

So they stepped straight out of the Royal College of Art and took the bold decision to set up on their own. In 1961 they rented a small workshop and showroom in west London for six guineas a week. Then, with just two old sewing machines bought for them by their parents, they rolled up their sleeves and got to work. Initially they would buy their fabrics from the local department stores. Their workshop was not far from Liberty and the department stores’ famous Arts & Crafts influenced prints became a feature of many of their creations. Entire collections were made lovingly by hand to order and when their business started to take off they opened their shop in Ganton Street just off Carnaby Street.

Their little boutique attracted a devoted following – fans included Jean Shrimpton. Julie Christie, Susanna York and Cilla Black and their house model was Pattie Boyd’s sister, Jenny.

So what was it about Foale & Tuffin’s designs that were so appealing? Well for a start they were rebellious and they understood what young people wanted because they were young themselves.

“We’d had it rammed down our throats – I had to go to Sunday School with white gloves, a hat and a handbag, just like a miniature mum in a dress made by her, exactly the same as hers! I mean who wanted to do that? We just wanted to kick against it all,” says Sally Tuffin. And kick they did. People talk about how Yves Saint Laurent introduced the trouser suit for women but actually, it was Foale & Tuffin that did it first. Their design was in brown corduroy and most importantly was created for women by women.

Marion Foale recalls in an interview for the V&A ahead of a retrospective exhibition of their work in 2009. “I remember us putting a corduroy jacket on Jill Kennington and putting the trousers with it and falling about with laughter – it was so funny. We must have been making trousers anyway, but not with jackets. We put it all together and thought it was hilarious!”

It was good timing. By the mid-60s the sharp mod look was starting to get a little more playful with the likes of John Stephen stocking more dandy-ish styles with frills and Victorian style detailing for men. So as the men began to embrace their feminine side the women could explore a more liberated a less sexualised androgyny, that ironically, was no less sexy for it.

Foale & Tuffin designs were also playful. They were one of the first designers of the era to ignore the rule of matching clothes and accessories and wantonly clashed spots, stripes and checks – sometimes all in the same outfit.

They loved plaids and tartans and created skirt and trouser suits in contrasting prints and colours. They matched them with brightly coloured woollen tights. Their designs were so popular that they were eventually picked up by the big stores in the States and licensed to J C Penney and Paraphernalia.

Foale & Tuffin like many of the brands of that era either fizzled out or changed course in the early 70s, in this case, both had settled down to raise their families. Marion Foale, however, later went on to set up a very successful knitwear design business and Sally Tuffin became a successful ceramicist.

The legacy of their brand may not have been discussed as much as the likes of Quant and Biba. But to those in the know, Foale & Tuffin were a brand to be reckoned with.

To read more about them and see some fantastic pictures of their designs – take a look at Foale and Tuffin: The Sixties. A Decade in Fashion by Iain R. Webb, published by ACC Publishing Group.


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Claire Mahoney

At the age of 13 mod made perfect sense to me. I liked the look and the attitude - but most of all I liked the music. Secret Affair was my entry point, but they were soon playing second fiddle in my affections to The Jam. Paul Weller, of course, proceeded to break mine and many others hearts in 1982, when he put an end to that particular musical roller coaster – but what it meant was that, uninterested in anything else that was happening in music at the time, I had to look back. I was lucky enough to be given two plastic bags full of 60s 45s by my uncle who used to stock the jukeboxes back in the day. Their contents included a number of Stax originals, plus the Who and the Small Faces, as well as Motown classics from The Four Tops and the Supremes. So, when Phil Collins charted in the mid 80s with 'You Can't Hurry Love' it was nice to be able to say: “I've got the original of that!” It became quite an irritating habit of mine over the years. These days I still enjoy discovering new, old music, be it soul, rnb or jazz, as well as witnessing mod taken another turn among today's youth with bands like The Strypes. My day job as a journalist means I am lucky enough to be able to write about music and modernism now and again. Other than that you'll find me mostly on the dance floor or on eBay still looking for that perfect A line dress.

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March 1, 2017 By : Category : Fashion Front Page Style UK Tags:,
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Leslie Cavendish: The hairstylist to The Beatles…

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Fashion Scene 4

I first became aware of the name Leslie Cavendish when I was researching for an article that I wrote a few years ago. That article was on the boutique ‘Dandie Fashions’. When the said boutique was taken over by the Apple Corp in the spring of 1968, the boutique then changed its name to ‘Apple Tailoring’. It was decided that it would remain in the hands of John Crittle to run the day to day activities surrounding the boutique. Within the premises there was an unused basement, which became a unisex hair salon. Clientele could be fitted for a garment and then pop down the stairs to the basement for a haircut! The person who was put in charge of running the hair salon was Leslie Cavendish. As far as my research went for the article on Dandie Fashions – that is as far as I got with the hair salon / Leslie Cavendish part of the story.

As I delved deeper into Leslie’s background, it became quite clear to myself that he was an important part in that whole time period of the mid to late sixties. With some more research, I eventually managed to get in contact with Leslie, and as our correspondence increased, a meeting was arranged!

On a cold and grey late November morning, my wife Susie and I headed to London to meet Leslie. The rendezvous venue was chosen by Leslie, so we headed over to Hampstead and a pub called ‘The Old Bull & Bush’. I have to admit that I was quite nervous as we entered through the doors of the pub – lots of anxious thoughts racing through my mind. Within seconds of meeting and exchanging pleasantries, I knew that we were all going to get on fine. Phew….

From the pictures that I had garnered from the internet, it is crystal clear that Leslie was a man of style and great taste. Dark-haired, handsome and mysterious looking – not dissimilar to the guy that used to front the old Milk Tray chocolate adverts! As I looked at Leslie while in our conversation – he still retains the same qualities.

I got to work on asking my questions, almost immediately! Leslie gave me a brief story of his childhood in London, which eventually got to the part where he started an apprenticeship with Vidal Sassoon. From working with Vidal, he eventually got onto the subject of The Beatles and how he become part of that inner-circle. While our conversation deepened, it became apparent that Leslie had incredible understanding and memory of what was happening, in and around himself – back in those heady days! Even within the short time that we shared Leslie’s company, he managed to regale us both in some wonderful stories. I got the feeling that Leslie was enjoying telling his stories, as he had found the perfect audience. Leslie is hoping to get his book of memoirs published in 2017, and I expect lots of these incredible stories to be in the book. So, until that time, the tales Leslie did pass onto Susie and myself will remain as our own special secrets!

We spoke about music, fashion and football. I have to mention that Leslie is a lifelong QPR supporter or sufferer! And like myself, every now and then he was looking to his mobile phone for football updates.

There were still lots of questions that I wanted to ask, but I was aware of not bombarding Leslie or overstaying our welcome. So I asked if I could email him some questions – and that way, he could spend a little more time in his answering.

Before you read the Q&A part of my article – I have to mention what a charming and warm natured man Leslie is. As we left the pub, I think that we both felt we had gained a new friend.

I emailed Leslie a number of questions – here is what I asked, and Leslie’s answers:

01. What age did you take up hairdressing?

I left school at 15. I then started an apprenticeship at Vidal Sassoon at 171 New Bond Street. The apprenticeship was for three years, where I became Vidal’s junior for three months, and I was then promoted to junior hairstylist at his Grosvenor House hotel, Park Lane, salon. Just before my eighteenth birthday.

02. How did you manage to find a job working for the world-famous Vidal Sassoon?

My best friend at school and still to this day, Lawrence Falk (he started the first unisex salon in the U.K. called ‘Crimpers’) started working in a salon in London. I thought why not try it myself – so I asked him where would be the best place to start out. He said ‘Vidal’s salon’. So I called the salon and managed to get an interview and from there I got an apprenticeship.

03. Tell us something about the kind of clientele that would frequent the salon?

The salon had a very mixed clientele. From wealthy ladies who wanted the latest Vidal style to young models (some of which became household names), famous actors, musicians, fashion designers, to big film directors, and Mary Quant, who with the ideal hairstyle, set off the swinging London scene.

04. The world’s music, fashion, arts and hairdressing seemed to all explode in the early to mid-sixties – did you personally feel like you were part of something special that was happening in London?

You didn’t really think too much about it at the time. Life was exciting anyway working at Vidal’s. Added to that, the music and fashion were part of my youth. You did feel like ‘the times they were a changin’!

05. How did you become the personal hairstylist to The Beatles – and what were they like as people?

At Vidal’s, a client of mine was Jane Asher (who was Paul McCartney’s girlfriend) – she asked me one day if I would like to cut her boyfriend’s hair! And I think you know what happened next…

I met them all at a time when they had all decided to stop touring. So they were all a lot more relaxed than I imagine they would’ve been if they were on the road. All four of them were different and I had a good friendship with them all. This also applied to the team that was around them. I was the only one who wasn’t from Liverpool, but because I never spoke to journalists about my link with The Beatles – and never hassled them for autographs etc – I become one of the inner circle that they could trust.

06. What are your memories of managing your own salon within the boutique that became ‘Apple Tailoring’?

It was an intimate salon and very personal to whoever came in to have their hair done. My clients came from the music world and from streetwise people who just found the salon – and loved to have their hair done in the remarkable atmosphere that was ‘Apple Tailoring’! Being in the boutique and watching the dandies of London being dressed up in velvet and frilly, patterned shirts, was extremely interesting. They came in the shop to be dressed, and left as peacocks!

07. What are your memories of working alongside John Crittle at ‘Apple Tailoring’?

At first, John was great to be around, and I used to like watching his friends, who were mostly from the ‘Chelsea Set’, hanging around the shop. After a while though, I lost a lot of respect for John, as he was often stoned and spoke to people in an arrogant manner. He seemed to think that he was a Chelsea via Australian aristocrat, who was doing everybody a favour in dressing them, and he didn’t have time for the regular customer – who were the ‘real’ customers!

08. You were part of the chosen entourage for the now cult Beatles’ film ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ – what are your memories of that journey?

The MMT was one of my great memories and to be on tour with THE BEATLES, especially as they had stopped touring, was something special. If you have watched the film, you will have seen the coach journey and it was great to be one of the passengers, and to be able to watch The Beatles close up. More of which will be in my book!

09. I know that you were very interested in the music that was happening all around you – what were your personal favourite bands, both live and on vinyl?

When I was young I used to like Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison, and The Everly Bros. Later on, I discovered Buffalo Springfield, Jefferson Airplane, Vanilla Fudge, The Doors, CSNY, and many more West Coast bands. My taste in British bands were The Animals, Free, The Kinks, Dusty Springfield, and Cat Stevens. I was also into folk music – and Neil Young was a hero of mine. I saw many bands live, but CSNY at the Albert Hall, and David Bowie (Ziggy Stardust), and not forgetting The Beatles, were concerts not to be forgotten.

10. What are your thoughts on the clothing that you were wearing back in those days? From the photos that I have seen you certainly were a snappy dresser!

I loved the whole hippy look – Afghan coats and velvet jackets with ‘Anello & Davide’ shoes. I also got into suits from ‘John Michael’ and ‘Take 6’.

11. What are your thoughts on contemporary men’s hairdressing – and do you still cut hair today?

I am like a gunfighter who put his scissors away in a holster a few years ago. Today’s hairdressing is an art form. The use of electric cutters and the thinning outlooks, makes out for spectacular hairstyles. Hairdressing is like Punk music – nobody makes the rules – you do what you want and that is called fashion.

12. And finally – what other interesting things are you up to these days?

I have now finished my autobiography about my life as a hairdresser at Vidal’s, and this included my time with The Beatles. The book should be out this year. I have given lectures at universities about the culture and fashion during the sixties period. I have been asked to be a guest speaker at The Beatles week this year in Liverpool, which I am looking forward to doing.

I occasionally do VIP Beatle tours. My clients come from all over the world and instead of the usual Beatle tours that take place around London, I can tell them what it was actually like in the recording studios, as well as being in the building, while The Beatles performed on the roof!


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Peter Feely

Married to Susie, both actively involved in the UK 60s scene for many years. My personal interest in 1960s culture goes back over 30 years, with my main two passions being music and fashion, both in equal measure. I run my own menswear label – ‘Perfumed Garden’ clothing, catering for the discerning dandy male - in addition to sourcing and selling vintage mens’ gear, with a particular interest in those hard-to-find jackets and shoes! I also run the Facebook group, ‘Psychedelic Clothing for Men: Then and Now’, with 2200+ members. Although I have no formal training in the fashion industry, what I do possess is a real passion, and through the years I have gained valuable knowledge of many areas of mens’ fashion from the mid to late 1960s. I’m also a musician and have played in many bands in my younger years. I’m an avid collector of music and music-related paraphernalia. I started running my own club nights back in the mid-1990s, and at present I run a psychedelic night in Derby – ‘The Perfumed Garden Of Musical Delights’. Through this I also get to DJ at many exciting events up and down the country

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February 15, 2017 By : Category : Fashion Front Page Inspiration Interviews News Tags:, , , , ,
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Women’s Winter Fashion

The 60s threw the rule book out the window when it came to coats. They could be worn in any colour from zingy orange to sky blue in any fabric from wool to wet-look. Prints were equally outlandish from polka dots to plaid. We take a look at some of the iconic designs that were popular and why they have never really never gone out of fashion.

The Mac
Mary Quant claims to have been one of the first designers to use PVC and vinyl for coats and jackets making the plastic mac a key look for the mod era. This lightweight coat would usually have a large collar and front pockets and fancier versions would have a prominent belt at the waist. Buttons looked great but the best versions had zip-up front with a classic ring pull zip. Black and white versions were very popular but as the decade progressed designers experimented in brighter colours. They might look good and keep you dry but they were terribly squeaky and could get a bit smelly. As technology product in new weather-proof fabrics, sturdier versions were produced that were still light and structured with a more canvas like feel, particularly popular were brands such as Dannimac.

The Trench
Despite being more than 100 years old the trench coat still looks stylish. Originally conceived as a practical wet weather coat in the 1850s by Thomas Burberry and John Emary (whose company later became Aquascutum). The ‘Trench’ name was adopted during the war although the military version was of course far more robust. Worn by both men and women in classic beige, key style elements include a belt at the waist and on the cuffs, slight flare from the waist and a cape across the shoulders at the back to help. Collar buttons at the neck. Best worn by women without showing any dress or skirt under the hem. If you wanted to nail the continental look – this would be a wardrobe must have.

The Peacoat
Military style had a massive influence on the designs of the 60s. In the 1960s Yves Saint Laurent’s pea-coats hit the catwalk and were immediately popular with both men and women and formed part of an androgynous trend that worked its way through fashion in the 60s. A pea-coat traditionally would finish at the top of the thighs – but longer lengths were also popular with women especially as they kept your legs warm in winter when you were wearing a mini. Traditionally though a peacoat is a paired down design with no belt at the waist with slit pockets on the front. Yves Saint Laurent and other designers, would of course, adapt them with their own little finishes such as a flat ‘Peter Pan’ style collar and oversized pockets and top stitching details.

The Cape
Capes weren’t just for ‘super-heroes’ and were a great addition to the modernist 60s wardrobe. You could move freely in them and still keep warm and they added to rather than concealed the outfit underneath. Most importantly they gave a sharp structure to your look. They came in a variety of colours and prints with buttons or front zips. Look out for fabulous versions in plaid or classic Welsh retro wool prints can be picked up quite easily in vintage shops and online these days. Look out for lovely details such as buttons running up to the shoulder and tie-belts to cinch in your waist.


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Claire Mahoney

At the age of 13 mod made perfect sense to me. I liked the look and the attitude - but most of all I liked the music. Secret Affair was my entry point, but they were soon playing second fiddle in my affections to The Jam. Paul Weller, of course, proceeded to break mine and many others hearts in 1982, when he put an end to that particular musical roller coaster – but what it meant was that, uninterested in anything else that was happening in music at the time, I had to look back. I was lucky enough to be given two plastic bags full of 60s 45s by my uncle who used to stock the jukeboxes back in the day. Their contents included a number of Stax originals, plus the Who and the Small Faces, as well as Motown classics from The Four Tops and the Supremes. So, when Phil Collins charted in the mid 80s with 'You Can't Hurry Love' it was nice to be able to say: “I've got the original of that!” It became quite an irritating habit of mine over the years. These days I still enjoy discovering new, old music, be it soul, rnb or jazz, as well as witnessing mod taken another turn among today's youth with bands like The Strypes. My day job as a journalist means I am lucky enough to be able to write about music and modernism now and again. Other than that you'll find me mostly on the dance floor or on eBay still looking for that perfect A line dress.

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December 7, 2016 By : Category : Articles Fashion Front Page Tags:, , ,
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Blazers – via Uppers

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Uppers

Blazer 1: one that blazes 2: a single-breasted sports jacket in bright stripes or solid color. (Websters)
The blazer as a garment walks the fine line between formal and informal wear. Whether you wear it strolling down your favourite street with the swagger of a metropolitan boulevardiér or when in a hurry to work (deftly avoiding screaming children and their mothers), the blazer is a great piece of clothing. Depending on how you combine it you could be just perfectly dressed for the occassion. So let’s smartly about-face and look to the origins of the blazer in it’s first and most double-breasted form.

Looking at the classic blazer, the double-breasted blue one with brass buttons, the conclusion that the jacket is of military tradition is rather obvious. Legend has it that the commanding officer of the frigatte HMS Blazer had a special uniform-jacket made for his men at some time when queen Victoria was going to make an appearance. It was styled after the short jacket worn by naval men at this time (1830-50).This new garment found royal approval and was soon appreciated by both naval men and marine minded gentlemen who wanted to sport something that wasn’t a uniform but still associated with maritime virtues. Hence the name: blazer. The result of civilians having jackets like these made for occasions sportif and also naval officers getting jackets tailored in the same style as their uniforms, evolved into what is the originator of both the sporty striped blazer (a bastard child-bearing many names) and the plain blue blazer. End of history lesson.

Nowadays a blazer can look almost anyway you please, of course within certain given parameters: namely style and the threat of your friends having a go at you. Basically the only valid definition of a blazer is this: a short jacket, blue in color, always with two side vents and a double-breast with brass buttons . Does this remotely sound like anything you have hanging in your wardrobe? I shouldn’t think so. Fortunately there has been a lot of changes in the makeup of this garment. The striped blazer worn by rowing-club members sweating at the thwarts. The light jacket with a shiny finish of the mediterranean gentleman sipping his Pernod. The bottle-green blazer favored by americans mostly (this is the only place where colours other than dark blue is popular in the plain jackets). Somewhere along the line the blazer even lost it’s brass buttons (which were only there to flaunt membership of clubs, etc). In these times with a wide array available, the line between jacket and blazer is a thin one. If you start hollering: belay that bolard, tote that rope and starboard helmsman!.. you’re probably wearing one (a blazer that is).

The stylistic qualities of the blazer cannot be overlooked. Many tasty photos adorning some very groovy records reveal several hip cats of royal pedigree wearing them. If you’re going to look to the continent there are several very good examples: Serge Gainsborough , Boris Vian… you know, cool guys. Steve Marriott used to look really smart in the striped ones and most of the Creation wore them and still managed to look hard. Ard. Oh sorry, guess I am overstating it a bit. Still if you’re into history this is a point isn’t?

Most mens outfitters stock good off the peg blazers. If you’re in Italy I guess you could pay Brioni a visit. The Italians are known for the subtlety and novelty of their materials. Maybe some mohair and silk would look good? Italy is the land of fabric possibilities. But really why go overboard with this when the charm in the blazer lies in its simplicity . There’s nothing wrong with a plain blue one is there? But if you want “a garment cut by an individual, for an individual, by an individual” then it’s a nice touch.

So how to get the look right? Well it’s up to you. Are you into the more bohemic style go for the plain ones (we’re talking mod bohemic) combined with a pair of light trousers. Corduroy or moleskin looks really good. Traditionally the combination of dark blue and brown is considered bad. But then again because of tradition people on horseback in red ridingcoats (‘redingote’ in french, which always cracks me up) dementedly gallivants around the english countryside chasing some poor fox. The fox ain’t even Jane Fonda or Monica Vitti (I know it sounds unbelievable). If you want that youthful look in the summer get a striped one and match it with a pair of really dark denims and suede slipons.

With a blazer you could even leave the top button of your shirt open (gasp!) While you’re at it, stuff a Hermes scarf in your collar and sit down at the grand piano and play ‘Trains, Boats and Planes’ to entertain your friends if they are in a Burtish mood. You see, it makes perfect sense doesn´t it? The blazer is the preserve of the jet-set and who are you to argue?
© Jules Olivier 2001 – 2015 [Published 26 January 2001]


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December 7, 2016 By : Category : Articles Fashion Front Page Style UK Tags:, ,
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Brighton; about the young idea

Claire Mahoney looks at the young generation of mods that set the New Untouchables Brighton Mod Weekender alight this August with
impeccable style.

It’s not often that you use the word ‘Face’ when talking about mods these days. The term seems a little outmoded, especially when so many of us in the scene are way past our prime. But this year at the New Untouchables Brighton Weekender, a clutch of young mods seemed to get everyone talking, staring and most likely wondering just how they managed to get it so right.

It was as if the many black and white images of the 60s we so lovingly scoured for inspiration had suddenly come alive but with little twists of today. Of course, red lipstick was not really ‘a thing’ in the early to mid-60s as it is now. In fact, the 60s mod girls were pretty much bare-faced by today’s standards.

Original mod women that had perhaps painstakingly applied kohl eyeliner and battled with unforgiving false eye-lash glue some 50 years ago, would be forgiven for feeling a little envious of the flawless application of cat-eye flicks and eyebrow arches on these young doll-like faces. But everyone was in agreement that they looked absolutely brilliant.

Lara Bossence was at Brighton again this year and at just 14 is probably the youngest of the gang. She combines a traditional 60s look with early 60s skin and suede-head touches.

She says: “I like a clean-cut yet, young and fun style. I’m young and want to have fun with my style. I think attention to detail is key. For me, mod is standing out a little from the norm. I definitely see the difference between the Go-Go and psych styles. Mod is more classic.”

She says that she takes a lot of her inspiration from the continental styles of the French and Italians. Because of her age of course, she hasn’t just got first generation mods to look to for inspiration and has, in fact four or more decades of mod’s evolution to take ideas from.

“I suppose the hard mod/suedehead look is also of interest to me. I also admire the early rude girl look too. I just seem drawn to these styles the most. I don’t wish to stick rigidly to a ‘uniform’ as it were but, more to add my own twist and ideas to keep it fun too. My boyfriend is a skinhead and the smart, traditional skinhead look is also of interest.”

One thing that unites all of these girls it that their look is so true to original mod 60s styling. They don’t really do dresses and instead focus on well-chosen separates and accessories. Knee length skirts, loafers, driving shoes, flat Mary Janes, boxy jackets (bum freezers) and fitted knitwear.

Scarlett Bayliss is pretty much the British face of young mods today. Her look is unmistakable. And like any mod she is obsessed by detail. Last year at Brighton, I remember her raving to me about anoraks with a particular type of zip and was proudly sporting a hard to get hold of pair of brown Dr Scholl ladies driving shoes. At the moment she has a thing for green: “I don’t think I could live without my green jackets whether it’s an anorak or my green suede coat.”

What would be her wardrobe staples I ask?: “Essential elements would probably be any items in green or suede, or both! That would be something special. A nice fitted pair of trousers and smart bum freezer jacket, you can never go wrong.”


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Claire Mahoney

At the age of 13 mod made perfect sense to me. I liked the look and the attitude - but most of all I liked the music. Secret Affair was my entry point, but they were soon playing second fiddle in my affections to The Jam. Paul Weller, of course, proceeded to break mine and many others hearts in 1982, when he put an end to that particular musical roller coaster – but what it meant was that, uninterested in anything else that was happening in music at the time, I had to look back. I was lucky enough to be given two plastic bags full of 60s 45s by my uncle who used to stock the jukeboxes back in the day. Their contents included a number of Stax originals, plus the Who and the Small Faces, as well as Motown classics from The Four Tops and the Supremes. So, when Phil Collins charted in the mid 80s with 'You Can't Hurry Love' it was nice to be able to say: “I've got the original of that!” It became quite an irritating habit of mine over the years. These days I still enjoy discovering new, old music, be it soul, rnb or jazz, as well as witnessing mod taken another turn among today's youth with bands like The Strypes. My day job as a journalist means I am lucky enough to be able to write about music and modernism now and again. Other than that you'll find me mostly on the dance floor or on eBay still looking for that perfect A line dress.

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September 27, 2016 By : Category : Fashion Front Page Style Tags:, , , ,
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V & A Exhibition – Revolution: Records and rebels 1966 – 70

Saturday 11th September – Revolution: Records and Rebels 1966 – 70

At the Victoria and Albert Museum

This most eagerly anticipated of exhibitions has been on the radar for anyone with even the most passing of interests in the 1960’s counter-culture movement for some months now. These monumental events that are covered within this exhibition, all seemed to occur or explode, as the case may be – concurrently, all over the world. And all of this was happening in which must seem like medieval times to folk of a certain age, who have never lived in an age before mobile phones and the internet.

The exhibition itself was two years in the making, and to have the extra financial clout (sponsorship) of the Levi brand on board – the signs are good, even before you start on your excursion into what is an Aladdin’s cave of ultra rare artifacts & memorabilia from 1966 – 70.

On entering the exhibition, you’re given a head-set – which is all part of getting your mind and soul in the correct frame-of-mind. So while your eyes are busy eating-up all the scrumptious feasts on display, your ears are also being fed a constant menu of your favourite music!

The exhibition itself is set out in a considered and chronological order. Which I personally appreciate, as I am a guy who likes to have his record collection, book collection and clothing organised into considered groups!

I don’t really want to give the game away, (which in essence makes doing a review – redundant) as I strongly feel that the individual needs to experience this most incredible of collections for oneself. I will promise that you will be welcomed by the most amazing of visual surprises throughout your visit.

My personal passion lies within the music and fashion of the counter-culture movement, which just seemed to appear, just-like-magic – and on a daily basis, throughout this era! And much of it is now just an arm’s length away from
your eyes!

What made the whole experience so much more special for myself, was the more serious subjects that really influenced the whole counter-culture movement and were all represented within this exhibition. From Pete Seeger’s guitar (with the ultimate proto slogan that has never been bettered) right through to the race and gay right activist movements. And too many more to mention – that all need to be experienced on your visit.

When my group of friends finally left the exhibition, we were met by a member of staff who was quite astonished that we had spent 210 minutes within the exhibition. And chose to mention that we’d by far spent the most time within the exhibition. (It’s only been open a week, so I not too proud of that fact) Well, I am planning a return visit in the coming months and I predict a new record being set…


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Peter Feely

Married to Susie, both actively involved in the UK 60s scene for many years. My personal interest in 1960s culture goes back over 30 years, with my main two passions being music and fashion, both in equal measure. I run my own menswear label – ‘Perfumed Garden’ clothing, catering for the discerning dandy male - in addition to sourcing and selling vintage mens’ gear, with a particular interest in those hard-to-find jackets and shoes! I also run the Facebook group, ‘Psychedelic Clothing for Men: Then and Now’, with 2200+ members. Although I have no formal training in the fashion industry, what I do possess is a real passion, and through the years I have gained valuable knowledge of many areas of mens’ fashion from the mid to late 1960s. I’m also a musician and have played in many bands in my younger years. I’m an avid collector of music and music-related paraphernalia. I started running my own club nights back in the mid-1990s, and at present I run a psychedelic night in Derby – ‘The Perfumed Garden Of Musical Delights’. Through this I also get to DJ at many exciting events up and down the country

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September 27, 2016 By : Category : Articles Arts Design Fashion Front Page Inspiration Style Tags:, , , ,
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Rat Race Interview

I caught up with Laurence the owner of Margate’s premiere Mod clothing shop Rat Race for a chat about his passion for fashion.

1. When and how did your passion for fashion come about?

As a young man growing up in Thanet, I experimented with many different styles of clothing. As I got older, I got more into stylish clothes but also wanted to wear something other than what could be found in regular department stores. I was fully aware of Margates’ role in harbouring the youth subcultures and styles from the 1960’s to 80’s and I loved looking at old photos of my father and his friends wearing their crombies, boots & braces.

2. When did you turn your passion into your profession?

I accompanied a friend to a trade show in London and spotted some classic Harrington jackets with an embroidered badge ‘Keep the Faith Margate’ on the sleeve. I thought the people of Margate would love them, the jackets were well made and in the original 60’s style. I opened my first fashion store in Margate in 2010 with the classic Harrington jackets, sta-prest trousers and traditional button-down shirts amongst other styles. This is where my passion for Mod and classic styles developed. I did not see the Mod trend as a sub-culture revival; I knew the style had never really gone away.

3. When and where did Rat Race first open?

During the Spring/Summer of 2014 and after experimenting with opening other stores in the South East I decided my passion for Modernist menswear was much better suited to Margate. I joined our two high street shops together internally, re-named and re-branded the stores to open as Rat Race and solely as a classic British clothier. Towards the end of 2015 my partner Bonnie and I expanded further, occupying our third neighbouring shop, which became Rat Race Girl, a store which stocks Mod, Skinhead, Rockabilly and Vintage girl styles .

4. Rat Race is a very popular amongst the Modernist fraternity, please tell us more about the clothing range available in the shop?

We’re a 21st century take on the 20th century’s finest subcultures, Mixing up mod clothing, skinhead style, a touch on the fifties and then adding a contemporary twist. We are official stockists of Merc, Art Gallery, Knightsbridge Neckwear, Brutus Trimfit, Trojan Clothing, Dr.Martens, Delicious Junction, Ikon Originals and many more. Rat Race also stock many other iconic brands, plus Rat Race Girl holds collections from Freddies of Pinewood, Collectif, Lindy Bop and Dolly & Dotty.

5. Are all the items sold in the shop available online?

We opened our online shop only at the beginning of 2016, a lot of our core items are available on our website. We’re growing our website all the time and new collections are added regularly. We always like to hold a few pieces back just for the shop-floor and for our not so web connected customers, so you’ll always find something which isn’t available online – I believe you still can’t beat that moment of stopping into the street to gaze at something in the window.

6. Any famous clientele dropped by the shop?

We’ve had a few well-known customers shop at Rat Race including Neville Staple, Dave Barker & Buster Bloodvessel. Our most recent being Paloma Faith, Preston and surprisingly enough the chatty man himself Alan Carr.

7. Any plans for a Rat Race clothing range in the future?

We have lots of plans and ideas we’re working towards. Our next project will be working in partnership with the 60’s Suit Co. to develop an off-the-peg range of suits designed exclusively for Rat Race. We work closely with the 60s Suit Co. and we would both be involved in the design process to create and release a range of suits, tailor-made for the Margate mods & skins. We are also going to be doing four types of trousers, all in different fabrics, and something to appeal to the Mods, Skinheads and Suedeheads.

8. Do Rat Race cover men and women’s fashion?

We certainly do, we have three high street shops conjoined to make one large shop. Within Rat Race you’ll find ‘Rat Race Girl’ which is our latest addition. It’s great to have a space solely for the girls but also where men and women can shop together.

9. How important to the Rat Race philosophy is it to have local people who know their onions about Modernist fashion working in the shop?

It’s very important to have knowledgeable staff, our Rat Race team certainly know their onions and they also have the same passion and enthusiasm as myself for what we do. I also think it’s important that our staff share the same vision and drive for Rat Race and help create something unique that will stand the test of time.

10. Why do you think the sixties style is still revered, respected and revisited with each new generation?

People from every new generation want to look good and find a style that suits them. When you look good, you feel good, it gives you confidence and young people look at the sixties style and see that un-apologetic swagger. They want to emulate that feeling, they want to know that they look good enough to stand out from the crowd. There is nothing better than Modernist fashion for a clean-cut style and sharpness.

11. What are your favorite vintage and modern fashion brands?

That’s not too easy to answer, there are many brands that I’m into. I love the stories behind the brands and how they have become popular, for example: Brutus Trimfits’ story of Keith Freedman’s visit to Hong Kong’s in 66’ to discover a shop selling half sleeve button-downs shirts for off-duty American soldiers. The shirts were not available in the UK and so with a few adaptations he ordered them in 12 different colours and to this day they still fly off the rails! There are many stories like this and it’s all part of the history of the brands we sell and love.

12. Where do you see Rat Race heading in the future and any exciting projects coming up you want to tell us about?

We hope to continue as we are doing, finding new brands to offer our customers and building up our online shop. We have a meeting with Gabicci this month and hope to become a Gabicci stockist before the coming Margate Mod and Sixties Festival. You can also find us at Folkestone Skabour in September, this will be our sixth trade event for Skabour. It’s a great Ska weekend where we meet many customers and friends, both old and new. Check our website or pop in to see us if you get a chance.

13. With the Mod/Sixties festival coming up at Whitsun where can we find you in Margate and what are the opening hours?

You can find Rat Race and Rat Race Girl at the lower end of Margate High Street, just up from the piazza and harbour. We’re open 7 days a week until 5.30pm and 5pm on Sundays. but check the links below and our website!

Now in-store & online at www.ratracemargate.co.uk // Spring/Summer 2016 Collections from Merc, Art Gallery, Brutus & Trojan Clothing.

Classic British mens & women’s wear.
Open 7 days a weekly 10-5.30 (10-5 Sundays)

Main Site:  ratracemargate.co.uk

Social Networks:

facebook.com/ratracemargate
twitter.com/ratracemargate
instagram.com/ratracemargate
pintrest.com/ratracemargate


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drrobert

I run The New Untouchables organization and events like the Brighton Mod Weekender, Le Beat Bespoké Festival (and compilation series of the same name) and I co-organize Euro Ye Ye with the Trouble & Tea crew. I have run many clubs over the last 20 years in London, where I live and current nights include Timebox, Zoo Zoo, Crossfire, 100 Club and Mousetrap allnighter which has just celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2011. I have been lucky to DJ all over the globe including Japan, Canada, USA and Europe and met some great people on my journey. I run RnB Records to offset my vinyl addiction: newuntouchables.com/rnbrecords for rare vintage vinyl.

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May 4, 2016 By : Category : Fashion Front Page Interviews News Style UK Tags:, , ,
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Summer Fashion

Mods do like to be beside the sea-side in the sunnier months. Be it Brighton, Margate or even Beaulieu-sur-Mer. So in this issue of Nutsmag we have decided to take a look at the quintessential items of clothing that feature in the spring/summer Modernist wardrobe, plus a little history behind what makes these items so iconic in terms of style.

Breton tops
The fresh stripes on a boated-necked Breton top give an instant whiff of French New Wave to any summer outfit – especially when paired with a pair or cropped slim-fitting trousers. The tops have never really gone out of fashion since they were adopted by Beatniks, Mods and lovers of all things cool in the late 50s and 60s. They were also a favourite fashion item among movie stars sported by the likes of James Dean, Audrey Hepburn, Edie Sedgwick and Bridget Bardot. But the history behind the Breton goes back much further. Right back, in fact to 1858, when the Act of France introduced the tops for all French Navy seamen. The original design was said to feature 21 stripes, one for each of Napoleons’ victories. It was originally nicknamed the ‘Chandail’ which is a shortened version of the French Marchand d’Ail (garlic merchant) who would wear them as they crossed the English Channel to sell their wares. The tops were made and still are to this day, in the Normandy town of Saint-James. The original fisherman’s sweater version of the top had three buttons on the shoulder and was long and close-fitting with a slight turtle neck.

Loafers and drivers
Feet also need something a little lighter in summer and loafers and driving shoes are perfect for both men and women. With loafers, the slip-on style, based on a moccasin is both comfy and cool. Plus there are so many variations of loafer style that there is still room for some individualism, from tassels to a plainer penny-style. Opting for lighter colours in suedes or even a basket weave, keeps the look light and hip. Driving shoes were developed in the 60s off the back of the sports car boom by the brands Car Shoe and later Tods. Their design featured a longer ‘vamp’ than a loafer with a leather tie across the bridge of the shoe and the signature ‘nubs’ on the heel, which prevented you from damaging the shoe when you switched between accelerator and brake pedal. The good looks and comfort of the shoe meant that people wanted to be seen wearing them outside of their vehicles and were soon being sported by wealthy automobile fanatics. The original shoes were beautifully crafted out of fine leather but soon cheaper variations became widely available. However the style still gives off the requisite air of affluence due to its association with 60s motoring.

Summer strides
Levis are a mod staple, but come summer away went the dark denim and out came its white counterpart. This all started in the 60s when mods, in a bid to try anything different, started wearing their strides in a variety of colours. White was a particular favourite and was often sported by the likes of The Who and The Small Faces both on and off camera. But if you want to wear white, well you have to adhere to a few rules. First off you need to keep them really really clean. So try to avoid sitting anywhere likely to be even remotely grubby. Then there’s the cut itself. They should be of a slim fit (not too tight and not too baggy) with the hem ending just on the ankle, exposing a bit of flesh or a nicely coloured sock. Avoid wearing white with white and think of the jeans as a back-drop for the rest of your outfit to help make the colours ‘pop’ and to team them with a coloured polo top or merino knit for a touch of pure Riviera chic. For women, try a cotton trouser in white or pale pastels in a capri pant cut. Look for the signature slit at the hem, it’s much more flattering than a clam-digger! Again make sure they are slim-fit and not to tight or loose. This look is where coolness follows comfort and ease.


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Claire Mahoney

At the age of 13 mod made perfect sense to me. I liked the look and the attitude - but most of all I liked the music. Secret Affair was my entry point, but they were soon playing second fiddle in my affections to The Jam. Paul Weller, of course, proceeded to break mine and many others hearts in 1982, when he put an end to that particular musical roller coaster – but what it meant was that, uninterested in anything else that was happening in music at the time, I had to look back. I was lucky enough to be given two plastic bags full of 60s 45s by my uncle who used to stock the jukeboxes back in the day. Their contents included a number of Stax originals, plus the Who and the Small Faces, as well as Motown classics from The Four Tops and the Supremes. So, when Phil Collins charted in the mid 80s with 'You Can't Hurry Love' it was nice to be able to say: “I've got the original of that!” It became quite an irritating habit of mine over the years. These days I still enjoy discovering new, old music, be it soul, rnb or jazz, as well as witnessing mod taken another turn among today's youth with bands like The Strypes. My day job as a journalist means I am lucky enough to be able to write about music and modernism now and again. Other than that you'll find me mostly on the dance floor or on eBay still looking for that perfect A line dress.

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May 4, 2016 By : Category : Articles Fashion Front Page Reviews Style Tags:, , , , ,
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Dandylife Clothing

Shop Name: Dandylife Clothing
Headquarters: London, UK
Style: 60s clothing and accessories, opening hours: None, we are online based only, address: www.dandylifeclothing.com

01. What, who and where was your initial spark ignited for the world of fashion?

Both Iride and I (Attila) have been wearing vintage clothes for many years, since we were both teenagers and although we got into it in very different ways, for both of us it was all about the music we were into. Iride started collecting mostly 50s clothing and later on developed an interest for a much wider range of styles all the way from the 1930s to the 70s. I was a ‘full-on Mod’ at age 15 and my style continued to evolve as I got older. I became especially interested in 60s Dandy and Psychedelic fashion, which is what we focused on at Velvet Illusion, at least for the menswear range. I have since become very interested in other decades, specially the 1930s, although 60s and early 70s are still my favorites.

02. Did you have a formal education in fashion: Did you go to a college or follow an apprenticeship? If not, how did you learn to design clothing?

I studied Psychology of Advertising and Visual Arts at the University of Vienna and got an apprenticeship at Zur Brieftaube (now Paul & Shark) which was a renowned Viennese tailoring boutique that specialised in high-end fashion since 1860. But I learned most of what I know about design during my time at Velvet Illusion. It is a very complicated process but I really enjoy it. The industry has changed quite a lot in the last decade so the last year since we started DandyLife has been a massive learning curve for me and even more so for Iride, who had never worked in design before. She has been collecting vintage for many years so she knows a lot about fabrics, cuts and the details that make vintage clothing so special so her input is very important, especially for women’s wear.

03. What was your involvement with Velvet Illusion?

After I finished my studies we bought an old clothing factory in Vienna between a few friends. It came with a massive stock of original 60s and 70s trousers and fabrics that we sold at flea markets. With the money that we made we began to produce our own line at the factory and eventually came up with the first Velvet Illusion mail order catalogues. We then decided to move to London and start-up the Velvet Illusion shop in Camden and then the one in Kensington. There were many of us working at Velvet Illusion, all extremely creative people and I think it was that combination of skills and talents that made Velvet Illusion so great. We all multi-tasked and ended up doing all sorts of things from designing, to selling, marketing etc. depending of what was needed. I was one of the directors so in a way I was responsible for overseeing many aspects of the business. It was an incredibly busy and crazy time but I really loved it and still today I am amazed when I look back and think of what we managed to do at VI between all of us.

04. Can you tell us something about what you did, once Velvet Illusion folded?

Velvet Illusion closed down quite suddenly which was very upsetting for all of us. I went on to get a job and then managed to get back to Camden Market and started selling music merchandise at the store that I am still running. I had a small label for a while but I think that I did not have the time and drive to take on a project such as Velvet Illusion again, at least not for a while. I think that I was exhausted after the whole Velvet Illusion adventure and I needed to do something new and to take the time to travel, see friends and follow other interests like photography for example.

05. Dandylife: Why have you decided to have another crack in the fashion industry – and who are your target clientele?

It has been a long time since Velvet Illusion closed down and I started to feel that it was the right time for me to try to get back to it and do what I really enjoy doing and to use all the experience that I have. Also it had been a long time dream of Iride’s to have a fashion label. It all happened quite quickly since we started talking about it more seriously. We made a plan and managed to get some funding to start-up and we have not stopped working on it since. Our first collection brought back some of the old Velvet Illusion designs so in a way we were hoping to attract a similar crowd. We will start adding on new styles gradually and hopefully menswear very soon. We are quite keen on making a basic range of those things that have become very hard to find and that any 60s lover needs in their everyday wardrobes. It would be very important for us to have the support of the 60s underground scene so that’s our biggest hope but at the same time we know the potential that well-made 60s fashion can have commercially so we hope to also find new followers. However, obviously we want to stay true to the fashion that we love and care so much about.

06. Do you personally source your fabrics, and what kind of fabrics can we expect to see in the future?

Fabrics are key to us and our designing process and we chose them personally for all our designs. Unfortunately we cannot use vintage fabrics for large-scale productions but we try really hard to match modern fabrics to suit our styles. At the same time have to be mindful of costs and the importance of having cuts that can suit a wide range of customers that are mostly ordering online and without the possibility of trying things on or altering garments, as people used to do back in the day.

07.  Have you got a top-three designers who have helped to inspire your clothing for Dandylife?

This is a very hard question for us to answer as we love and take inspiration from so many designers but also from individual vintage pieces from unknown designer and labels. The current collection has a very Space Age and Op-Art influence so we could name Courreges, Cardin and John Kloss for example. Moving forward we will also look at other styles and inspirations and we can mention some of the old London boutiques such as Granny Takes a Trip, Quorum, Take 6, Biba but the list is endless.

08. What is your personal favourite decade for fashion or can you narrow it down to a specific time-frame?

Our favourite time is the mid and late 1960s and early 70s, at least when it comes to designing for DandyLife. But we must mention other eras that were also influential in late 60s fashion, especially 20s-30s, and that will definitely inspire some of our prints, details and artwork. But we think that all decades have amazing styles and details which we could incorporate into the core 60s look that we are trying to reproduce. We would like to have our own take on 60s clothing and not only copy what others did back then. A lot of designers in the 60s were also into vintage clothing at the time and that shows in their own individual take on fashion, even as part of a bigger movement or general feel. But we know that’s not an easy task and will surely take some time to get there!

09. Are there any contemporary designers or fashion outlets that you recognise and enjoy today?

There are many 60s style labels today that deserve all our respect. We don’t want to come up with a list and risk leaving anyone out but I suppose if we had to mention only one it would be your label Peter, The Perfumed Garden, which is just incredible. We apologise if this sounds patronising considering that you are interviewing us today! lol

10. Can you single out one fashion icon from the past or present who has inspired your passion for design?

This is going to sound very weird but it’s the truth! As a child we didn’t have access to new films or TV programs in Hungary so we used to watch mainly old (very old!) movies, which was all the TV stations could afford to show at the time. I have to say that I was completely mesmerized by Rodolfo Valentino even though at the time I did not understand anything about fashion or what ‘Dandy’ meant. And I think that stuck with me even though I got into 60s fashion later on. Also I have to mention my idol and friend Sky Saxon.

And for Iride it’s got to be Elvis. She started her interest in vintage clothing through 50s fashion and he was one of the most creative and revolutionary personalities during that time so he was probably her first big influence.

11. If you could own one garment from the past or present – what would that garment be?

The double-breasted coat that Max Schreck wore in the 1922 Nosferatu!

12. Where can we find you and order a Dandylife garment?

You can buy our line on our website www.dandyliclothing.com or via the Collectif website and stores: www.collectif.co.uk
If you want to know if there are any stores that stock our products near you (whether in the UK or abroad) please contact us at info@dandylifeclothing.com
Main Site: www.dandylifeclothing.com

Social Networks:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/DandyLifeclothing
Instagram: www.instagram.com/dandylife_clothing

Special announcements/sales/promotions – We are going to be offering a DandyLife contest and price soon through the New Untouchables website so please keep checking back!


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Peter Feely

Married to Susie, both actively involved in the UK 60s scene for many years. My personal interest in 1960s culture goes back over 30 years, with my main two passions being music and fashion, both in equal measure. I run my own menswear label – ‘Perfumed Garden’ clothing, catering for the discerning dandy male - in addition to sourcing and selling vintage mens’ gear, with a particular interest in those hard-to-find jackets and shoes! I also run the Facebook group, ‘Psychedelic Clothing for Men: Then and Now’, with 2200+ members. Although I have no formal training in the fashion industry, what I do possess is a real passion, and through the years I have gained valuable knowledge of many areas of mens’ fashion from the mid to late 1960s. I’m also a musician and have played in many bands in my younger years. I’m an avid collector of music and music-related paraphernalia. I started running my own club nights back in the mid-1990s, and at present I run a psychedelic night in Derby – ‘The Perfumed Garden Of Musical Delights’. Through this I also get to DJ at many exciting events up and down the country

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March 2, 2016 By : Category : Design Fashion Front Page Interviews Style Tags:,
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Peggy Moffitt

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series Fashion Scene 3

Peggy Moffitt  – the LA mod

No-one quite combined art and fashion within their own form quite like American 60s model Peggy Moffitt. The model, who is now a sprightly 76 years-old, this year announced a return to fashion with the launch of her signature active label.  So in this issue of NUTS we thought we’d take a closer look at her unique style and how her image still embodies everything we love about the 60s and pop culture.

Born in California in 1939. Peggy’s interest in fashion started young when she began working in a Beverley Hills boutique in the evenings after school. She had planned on becoming an actress and attended drama school in New York for two years, landing her first role in the 1955 Jerry Lewis comedy – “You’re Never Too Young.” She also was later to star in 60s style flick – “Blow-up.”

That all changed when she met her partner and husband-to-be, Jazz music photographer Bill Claxton. Claxton was already doing some work for the designer Rudi Gernreich. The combination of Claxton’s pop photographic style, Peggy’s unique performance-approach to modelling and Gernreich’s modernist clothes, for many, defined the look of the 60s era.

Gernreich was constantly breaking new ground with his designs. His pieces would stand the conventions of women’s fashion on its head. His geometric shapes and style worked brilliantly with Moffitt’s signature five-point Vidal Sassoon haircut and ‘Kabuki’ style make-up. Claxton meanwhile had a background in jazz photography – he therefore understood how to capture a free-spirited sense of movement that the jazz movement embodied.

It was however Moffitt’s acting out of the clothes and unique poses that made her and the clothes she modelled stand-out. She was one of the first models to take this new ‘involved’ approach to fashion.

“I don’t think I modelled like other people. I knew how to move in a different way. I used to change the way I walked by what I wore.” she said in an interview recently in fashion trade bible, Women’s Wear Daily (WWD). “I liked to have fun with clothes!”

Her style was so influential in the 60s that she even starred as herself in the satirical send-up of the fashion industry: ‘Who Are You, Polly Maggoo?’ The 1966 cult French film by director and photographer William Klein features a classic shot of Peggy applying her signature style eye make-up.

However, most sensational image that this threesome became known for was from the 1964 shoot for Gernreich’s ‘monokini’ or topless swimsuit. Even though the image and the design was intended to express a kind of emancipation of women – many found the image extremely shocking and it had quite the reverse effect. Ironically, the bathing suit itself was never intended for commercial production but ended up selling in its thousands.

Moffitt had a big influence on other models of the 60s including Twiggy, who she worked with on her second shoot. The pose, which was inspired by the idea of Madonna and child, was Moffitt’s idea. “The photographer asked me to help her. I’m trying to show her about light and I decided oh, I’ll be Madonna and she’ll be my Baby Jesus,” Moffitt says.

When Rudi Gernreich died in 1985, Moffitt obtained legal rights to his designs. These were recently exhibited at the LA’s Museum of Contemporary Art in a show called: The Total Look: The Creative Collaboration Between Rudi Gernreich, Peggy Moffitt, and William Claxton.

The model owns some 300 of his designs and is still seen wearing them today, proving the classic style never really dates.

See as part of this article: A great short film by director Phil Pinto shot at Peggy Moffitt’s LA home.


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Claire Mahoney

At the age of 13 mod made perfect sense to me. I liked the look and the attitude - but most of all I liked the music. Secret Affair was my entry point, but they were soon playing second fiddle in my affections to The Jam. Paul Weller, of course, proceeded to break mine and many others hearts in 1982, when he put an end to that particular musical roller coaster – but what it meant was that, uninterested in anything else that was happening in music at the time, I had to look back. I was lucky enough to be given two plastic bags full of 60s 45s by my uncle who used to stock the jukeboxes back in the day. Their contents included a number of Stax originals, plus the Who and the Small Faces, as well as Motown classics from The Four Tops and the Supremes. So, when Phil Collins charted in the mid 80s with 'You Can't Hurry Love' it was nice to be able to say: “I've got the original of that!” It became quite an irritating habit of mine over the years. These days I still enjoy discovering new, old music, be it soul, rnb or jazz, as well as witnessing mod taken another turn among today's youth with bands like The Strypes. My day job as a journalist means I am lucky enough to be able to write about music and modernism now and again. Other than that you'll find me mostly on the dance floor or on eBay still looking for that perfect A line dress.

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June 17, 2016 By : Category : Fashion Front Page Style Tags:, , , , ,
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Fashion – Space Age

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Fashion Scene 4

Space Age Fashion

The 60’s was the decade when fashion was all about the future. And there was nothing more futuristic than putting a man on the moon. The ‘space race’ that dominated the 60s, not only captured the general public’s imagination, it had the French fashion houses in its grip as well. Celebrating everything that was shiny and new Space Age fashion probably illustrates the thrilling possibilities that the decade offered for the young and hip, more than any other look. Here we take a look at the style’s main proponents of this lunar fashion landscape.

André Courrèges

Courrèges is often credited as being the father of the space age look. He launched his own fashion house in 1961 after working for Balenciaga for a decade. In 1964 he introduced his ‘Moon Girl’ collection, using materials and fabrics never seen before on the fashion runway. Heavy-weight fabrics such as Gabardine and Polyester kept the outline of the outfits sharp and stiff. It was said that Courrèges ‘built’ dresses rather than designed them as the architecture of the outfit was everything. Motifs and cut-out shapes and panels in the dresses, revealed flashes of flesh or were filled in with metal, plastics and PVC. In some cases entire outfits were created out of plastic and PVC – the more man-made – the better. Colours were mostly white and silver. Fake pockets, over-sized belt loops and top-stitching to add emphasis to seams made the dresses and the wearer almost doll-like. Hemlines were raised to around four inches above the knee – in fact Courrèges is credited by many as introducing the mini skirt (as opposed to Mary Quant). Often outfits were finished off with beautifully cut coats with drop waists and hemlines that would fall below the length of the dress. And then there were the boots. Courrèges’ ‘go-go’ boots were introduced in 1963, were mid-calf with a square toe and a low block-heel and manufactured in beautiful kid leather. Demure and stylish and nothing like the full-calf, chunky plastic ‘go-go’ boots that would appear later in the decade.

Paco Rabanne

Spanish-born French designer Paco Rabanne was big on accessories, but rather than wear jewellery as a separate item – his most iconic designs incorporated them into the dresses themselves. His geometric metal link dress is a good example, although perhaps a little uncomfortable – but comfort wasn’t the point. He wasn’t afraid of pushing the boat out when it came to alternative materials and even used chain mail in his designs. His futuristic vision was so inspired, the designer was chosen to create the outfits for Jane Fonda in her role as female astronaut Barbarella: Queen of the Galaxy in 1968. Fonda’s role was the perfect canvas for Rabanne to let his futuristic imagination run wild. There were sculptured plastic crop-tops, mosaic tile body suits and chain mail capes. Lets not forget the over the knee white boots with silver fold down cuffs. These were not designs aimed at the high-street and didn’t really catch on outside of the higher echelons of the fashion world. Not only would the outfits be extremely expensive to re-produce they would be very difficult to wear and maintain. Even so, they ultimately changed the way that fashion was approached and photographed forever.

Emanuel Ungaro

Emanuel Ungaro like Courreges worked for Balenciaga before spending time under Courreges, where he was heavily influenced by the space theme.  He opened his own fashion house in 1965, stating that there would be no evening clothes in his collection because he did not believe in them. Similarly to other designers of the period his designs were stark and almost child-like in their construction, but no less glamorous for it. He did have a softer and more wearable approach to the space look, with items such as pinafore dresses becoming highly popular for day wear. Models such as Twiggy and Penelope Tree were photographed wearing Ungaro masks. These could be sported with leather jackets and hot pants suits worn with metal bras underneath. Indeed Ungaro was a metal fan and used the material whenever he could, creating futuristic body jewellery that carried an ‘out of this world’ quality.

Pierre Cardin


Pierre Cardin was also known for his interest in everything futuristic. He trained first as an architect before moving into couture where he worked for Christian Dior. Like many of his contemporaries, he had a strong and bold vision and so he decided to set up on his own. Detail was everything to Cardin. He loved motifs, particularly circular ones and he made much of the seam – using it not just for a purpose, but to also add great drama and definition to his outfits. Although his dresses and suits were timeless in their elegance, Cardin is perhaps best known for his striking accessories – particularly hats. He used the utilitarian shape of the helmet and turned it into the must-have head-gear of the era, using softer fabrics such as wool and velour. Sometimes his hats would even have plastic visors and goggles moulded onto them. Then there were his astronaut style velour hats which were brightly coloured structured balaclavas with a cut out section for the eyes and mouth. Not an easy look to pull off it has to be said. Cardin, like the others, broke the rules, experimented and pushed the boundaries way into the future and beyond.

These great designers still inspire today, please check out dandylifeclothing.com for some fab items!

Images: Darren Russell


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Claire Mahoney

At the age of 13 mod made perfect sense to me. I liked the look and the attitude - but most of all I liked the music. Secret Affair was my entry point, but they were soon playing second fiddle in my affections to The Jam. Paul Weller, of course, proceeded to break mine and many others hearts in 1982, when he put an end to that particular musical roller coaster – but what it meant was that, uninterested in anything else that was happening in music at the time, I had to look back. I was lucky enough to be given two plastic bags full of 60s 45s by my uncle who used to stock the jukeboxes back in the day. Their contents included a number of Stax originals, plus the Who and the Small Faces, as well as Motown classics from The Four Tops and the Supremes. So, when Phil Collins charted in the mid 80s with 'You Can't Hurry Love' it was nice to be able to say: “I've got the original of that!” It became quite an irritating habit of mine over the years. These days I still enjoy discovering new, old music, be it soul, rnb or jazz, as well as witnessing mod taken another turn among today's youth with bands like The Strypes. My day job as a journalist means I am lucky enough to be able to write about music and modernism now and again. Other than that you'll find me mostly on the dance floor or on eBay still looking for that perfect A line dress.

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February 12, 2016 By : Category : Articles Fashion Front Page Style Tags:, , , , ,
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Fashion Labels – Biba

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series Fashion Scene 3

Claire Mahoney takes a look at some of the iconic fashion labels of the 60s – kicking off with Biba.

Next time you wander down the high street and pick up that bargain dress or bag from the likes of Top Shop or H&M, remember that you have a lady called Barbara Hulanicki to thank.

Halunicki was the founder of Biba, the iconic 60s fashion label which has been credited as the first company to make clothes that young people could not only wear – but afford.

Ironically, when we think of Biba today, the name conjures up images of rather opulent-looking bell-sleeved gowns and frilly blouses. But founder Hulanicki’s vision was very much style on a shoe-string.

In the early 1960s London was indeed starting to swing but most young people couldn’t afford what the likes of Ossie Clarke and Andre Courreges were producing on a month’s wages let alone a weeks.

Hulanicki saw that fashion needed to be fast and that if an outfit was seen on Ready Steady Go on a Friday then the show’s hip fans should be able to go out and buy it on a Saturday so they could wear it the following night.

“The market was instant for that age group. They wanted it there and then. They didn’t want to wait, as they didn’t look to the future in any way.” she said.

Hulanicki was originally a freelance fashion illustrator and teamed up with her partner and soon to be husband Stephen Fitz-Simon – or Fitz as he was known. He was an ex-advertising man whose flair for the fashion business helped transform the company from a mail-only outlet to a giant department store which, very much like Harrods is today – became one of London’s biggest attractions.

Biba’s Postal Boutique took out its first proper advert in 1963. It was for a maxi skirt and was available in a rather Edwardian palette of brown, mustard, black and red. But it was a simple 60s shift, advertised in the Daily Mirror the following year, that really propelled the business forward and provided the financial footstool that enabled Halunicki to make the step-up to opening her first shop on the Abingdon Road in Kensington.

The dress is question was made in cool gingham, with a rolling neck-line and key-hole back and it came with a matching head-scarf. The best bit, however, was the price – only 25 shillings. Not surprisingly, the dress sold in its thousands (17,000 to be precise) – sales that were boosted even further when Bridget Bardot sported it in ‘And God Created Woman’.

But it wasn’t just the price point that made Biba such an instant hit with the hip crowd. Going shopping at a Biba store was an event in itself. The first shop was housed in an old chemists. There was no space for changing rooms so most of the girls used to get changed behind a screen, but often the atmosphere was so frenzied they didn’t bother. It was no surprise then that boyfriends and other male hangers-on decided it was the place to be.

The interior of the shop was a Bohemian mix of plush velvet upholstery and Victoriana. Clothes weren’t displayed on rails but on coat stands. The girls that worked in the shop were mainly eager, doe-eyed would-be models who were allowed to take home a Biba dress every week. No-one that shopped there would be over thirty years old.

But what of the designs? Well, as well as shift dresses and minis, Biba’s real fashion game-changers left more to the imagination. Hulanicki’s trousers suits and cat suits in pinstripes and abstract prints echoed the new-found freedoms of that generation. They were comfortable, practical and allowed you to move. Let’s not forget that trousers on women were still something of a novelty for those of a certain generation. When Ready Steady Go presenter Cathy McGowan wore a trouser suit to an evening event at The Savoy in London in 1965 – she was actually thrown out!

Hulanicki designs also looked to the past – in particular, The Victorian and Edwardian eras. Alongside the mini-skirts in the Biba boutique would also be floor-length satin gowns and skirts. This was old-school glamour which wasn’t picked up again by the mainstream until the second half of the 60s. Hulanicki’s colour palette was also more sombre – ‘Auntie’ colours as she called them. Burgundy’s, browns and golds, echoes of Art Nouveau and the complete opposite of the primary shades of Pop Art. Biba clothes were also known for their tiny fit. The Biba dolly was perhaps personified by Twiggy who had many outfits designed for her by Hulanicki.

The growth of Biba was a quick as its demise. By 1966 they had moved to bigger premises on Kensington Church Street and in 1969 they opened the Biba department store and then in 1973 Big Biba opened in Kensington High Street. It was seven-storeys with a restaurant and sold everything thing from bags to baked beans. But by 1975 it had to close.

The brand has been resurrected several times since most recently and most successfully for House of Fraser. Although Hulanicki maintains that its various reincarnations are still too expensive.


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Claire Mahoney

At the age of 13 mod made perfect sense to me. I liked the look and the attitude - but most of all I liked the music. Secret Affair was my entry point, but they were soon playing second fiddle in my affections to The Jam. Paul Weller, of course, proceeded to break mine and many others hearts in 1982, when he put an end to that particular musical roller coaster – but what it meant was that, uninterested in anything else that was happening in music at the time, I had to look back. I was lucky enough to be given two plastic bags full of 60s 45s by my uncle who used to stock the jukeboxes back in the day. Their contents included a number of Stax originals, plus the Who and the Small Faces, as well as Motown classics from The Four Tops and the Supremes. So, when Phil Collins charted in the mid 80s with 'You Can't Hurry Love' it was nice to be able to say: “I've got the original of that!” It became quite an irritating habit of mine over the years. These days I still enjoy discovering new, old music, be it soul, rnb or jazz, as well as witnessing mod taken another turn among today's youth with bands like The Strypes. My day job as a journalist means I am lucky enough to be able to write about music and modernism now and again. Other than that you'll find me mostly on the dance floor or on eBay still looking for that perfect A line dress.

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November 20, 2015 By : Category : Articles Fashion Front Page News Style Tags:, , ,
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Fashion – Womans Revival Style

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Fashion Scene 3

Revival Style

Claire Mahoney decided it was time to take a trip down memory lane to the late 70s and 80s to take a look at how mod was then and how it has influenced women’s mod style in the here and now.

When we talk about mod – we tend to go straight back to the beginning: the early 60s (late 50s if you want to be precise). But this wasn’t the beginning for everyone. Indeed for most people active in the mod scene today, it all started around 1978.

The ‘revival’ or second generation mods, are sometimes seen as the brasher, less stylish relatives of their first generation forefathers and sisters. But as a growing number of teenagers and twenty-somethings are taking up the mod baton, we find that they are not just turning to the 60s for style inspiration – the mod look of the late seventies and 80s is just as inspirational.

So what’s the difference between the mod girls of the 60s and the ‘modettes’ as they were often called of the 70s and 80s? Well a lot of it is down to Punk and the rest was a mixture of the changing factions of mod through the 60s and 70s that gave us the hard mods, the suede heads and the skin heads. The mods of the revival were a kind of cross-breed of all of the above.

But at this particular time it was perhaps punk and its new wave legacy that had the most lasting influence on the resurgence of the scene. Punk blew fashion and music apart and gave it a completely uncharted direction. It was the biggest subculture that twinned music and fashion since mod and as such was a grass-roots force to be reckoned with.

As a result, the look of the young mod girl of that time was a lot more edgy and reflected the mixed bag of music we were listening to – Two-Tone, New Wave and Ska as well as the traditional revival bands like Secret Affair and Squire.

We wore pencil skirts just below the knee, with Fred Perry tops underneath loose-fitting v-neck sweaters. We wore tight-fitting jeans and trousers from brands such as Brutus and Harrington-style jackets with lots of badges. In fact badges and patches were a big deal then, another hangover from punk. If we wanted to be slightly more girly we would wear a head-band in our hair and a slick of eyeliner.

Leather coats were massive in the 70s and 80s and mod girls would wear them usually cropped with our ski-pants or slightly longer with a skirt or we would find ourselves a suede jacket with covered buttons from the local jumble sale.

Skirt suits with boxed jackets were also popular, worn with a plain shell top underneath or a checked or spotted shirt with a small near collar buttoned all the way to the top. We might even wear a tie! Any shoulder pads found lurking in our jackets would be promptly cut out.

Shoes were chunky loafers or flats, either a pump or a sling-back. These would be black, white or black & white. Our loafers would generally be worn with white socks. Often the only white socks available would be sports socks, so it would be a snug fit!

If you were into Ska and the skinhead girl look you would most likely wear these socks over your fishnets with your mini skirt just to add to the general feeling of gender confusion.

Even though the 80s were quite a garish era colour-wise, the smart mods of the 80s moved away from that and kept their palette plain and simple. We wore an awful lot of grey, blue and white, occasionally maroon and of course loads of black & white either in the form of checks, stripes or panels.

However 60s clothing was widely available in jumble sales if you wanted something original or indeed were on the hunt for a shift dress for a special occasion. There weren’t the charity shops of today and of course there was no ebay. More often than not though if would wanted something special you would have to make it yourself.

We asked some second generation mod girls about their revival style:

Tracey Dawn Wilmot

“I remember kitten heels and button earrings were all the rage and it was absolutely vital to have shoes and handbags matching. We were also challenged to find the perfect white lipstick in an age where Rimmel’s Black Tulip was the latest thing. In the early years, when I first discovered mod, I did look more like a boy than a girl, simply because none of us were clear what was the ultimate stylish look. Later in about 1980, I began to emulate the sixties models such as Twiggy and Jean Shrimpton’s style and watched 60s movies and TV shows for inspiration.”

Ann Matthews

“My look was mainly monochrome. I was very into the two-tone movement. I wore black ski pants and drain pipe jeans with sweaters. My day time look was a little boyish, but for evening I wore mini skirts and shell tops. I also used to pick up original 60s clothes from jumble sales.”

Tracey Williams

“In 1980 I used to wear tight jeans a Fred Perry polo, Fred Perry jumper and monkey boots. I also had a Crombie. So I looked like more of a Rude Girl.”

Jane Williams

“When we first turned mod everything had to be black and white. I had a couple of check dresses which I wore with white shoes, white fishnet tights and a home-made black and white hairband. I moved on to original 60s dresses, which I used to shorten (had to be mini length of course) and make a matching hairband out of the spare material. I didn’t hit knee-length skirts until the smart mod era of 84/85.”


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Claire Mahoney

At the age of 13 mod made perfect sense to me. I liked the look and the attitude - but most of all I liked the music. Secret Affair was my entry point, but they were soon playing second fiddle in my affections to The Jam. Paul Weller, of course, proceeded to break mine and many others hearts in 1982, when he put an end to that particular musical roller coaster – but what it meant was that, uninterested in anything else that was happening in music at the time, I had to look back. I was lucky enough to be given two plastic bags full of 60s 45s by my uncle who used to stock the jukeboxes back in the day. Their contents included a number of Stax originals, plus the Who and the Small Faces, as well as Motown classics from The Four Tops and the Supremes. So, when Phil Collins charted in the mid 80s with 'You Can't Hurry Love' it was nice to be able to say: “I've got the original of that!” It became quite an irritating habit of mine over the years. These days I still enjoy discovering new, old music, be it soul, rnb or jazz, as well as witnessing mod taken another turn among today's youth with bands like The Strypes. My day job as a journalist means I am lucky enough to be able to write about music and modernism now and again. Other than that you'll find me mostly on the dance floor or on eBay still looking for that perfect A line dress.

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September 7, 2015 By : Category : Articles Fashion Front Page Style UK Tags:, , , , , , , ,
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Dedicated Followers of Fashion: 1964 -1970

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series Fashion Scene 3

The rise of the ‘Dandie’ man

In the same way that The Beatles and The Rolling Stones were the main players of popular music back in the 1960s, the same could also be said of King’s Road and Carnaby Street as being the main locations to purchase young men’s clothing. The King’s Road being rather aptly named!  With the Beatles and the Stones, it was the individual members that gave each of those bands their personalities. The same could also be said of the shops and boutiques that littered these two London locations, which in turn gave both locations a personality of their own. With this article I am concentrating on one of these clothing boutiques in particular.

As with all the best stories, a lot of what happened was purely down to being in the right place at the right time. This and a lot of throwing caution to the wind!

Throughout my research I have been lucky to have been given first hand accounts by two people who were associated with ‘Dandie Fashions’ to differing degrees.

There is actually very little known and written about ‘Dandie Fashions’, which I find all the more surprising when you think about the kind of people who were associated with the shop. Where some boutiques are now held in legendary status, ‘Dandie Fashions’ seems to have slipped down the imaginary crack that also holds many bands, poets and artists. What made my research even harder, was that the information available on ‘Dandie Fashions’ has either conflicting dates or information or is just plain incorrect. Hopefully I will be able to fill in some of the gaps in the story and try to put dates to certain times that were significant in the tenure of ‘Dandie Fashions’. Frustratingly, some of the research has left me with many questions that still need answering and, because certain people who were involved with ‘Dandie Fashions’ are sadly no longer with us – those questions simply may never be answered.

‘Dandie Fashions’ was the brainchild of one person, and that person was John Crittle. John was born in Mullumbimby, New South Wales, Australia, in 1942. Little is known of his formative years and how he fell in to the world of men’s fashion design. John arrived in the UK around 1964.  He arrived before the main influx of well-known Australians that became household names – Germaine Greer, Martin Sharp, Philippe Mora, and Richard Neville, to name a few.  John had a striking image and a similar personality to match. Harnessing these fortunate attributes to the full, it didn’t take John long to get himself established amongst London’s young and hip in-crowd. A fortunate turn of events landed John his first real employment within London’s rapidly expanding men’s fashion industry, through meeting Michael Rainey, who was the manager of London’s most hip-and-happening boutique at the time, ‘Hung On You’. The location of this boutique initially was 22 Cale Street, Chelsea, later relocating to 420 King’s Road.  John would’ve been a designer and a fabric locator within this establishment. Rainey himself was an already recognised aristocrat amongst the ‘Chelsea set’. This was expanded upon when he got together with, and married, London socialite, Jane Ormsby-Gore. It didn’t take that long before the intimidating ‘Hung On You’ became the shop of the stars. Rainey himself recalls: “When The Beatles and The Who started to visit my boutique, I knew we’d made it.” ‘Hung On You’ even won some prized commissions to design and produce stage wear for The Beatles.

So you can imagine, within this elite circle of people, it was a natural environment for John to start networking and making a name for himself.
It became crystal clear very early on that John was never going to fit in with Michael’s aristocratic network of friends. John much preferred a beer in a pub to an art installation or a theatre show. Michael took an instant disliking to John’s uncouth behaviour and it wouldn’t be long before ‘the writing was on the wall’. With all this in mind, we can safely say that John would’ve been seriously thinking about going it alone around the springtime of 1966. He knew what he wanted and he knew how to get it. ‘Dandie Fashions’ was now literally just around the corner.

56 Queen’s Gate Mews, Knightsbridge.

This is where my story gets quite complicated. You have to appreciate that all this happened nearly 50 years ago. Most of the names involved were very young men who were, lets say, living life to the full, and therefore one can expect a bit of memory fraying along the way!  As far as I am aware, nothing has ever really been written about the said location before. It has been recognised in print that there was a temporary location before ‘Dandie Fashions’ relocated to 161 King’s Road.

For John to make this all happen, he needed help from some friends, and he was lucky to have a good pool to call upon. Firstly, he managed to secure financial backing from Neil Winterbotham. Neil was one of the partners in the ‘Hung On You’ boutique. He also managed to secure the ‘Foster and Tara’ clothing designers for the business. Tara Browne was a well-known socialite amongst the in-crowd – being the heir to the Guinness fortune. Tara was interested in making his own way in the world, and when he moved from Ireland to London he also fell in with the young and hip from the arts and entertainment worlds. His interest in men’s clothing led him to starting up his own tailoring company, ‘Foster and Tara’. Added to this, he wasn’t short of money, so the safety net was always at  hand if the clothing enterprise came to nothing. John now had the financial backing and a unit that would make his designs. He just needed somebody to manage the new enterprise. This is where a smart and handsome 18-year-old, Alan Holston, enters in to the frame.

Alan was working for ‘Woolens of Knightsbridge’ when he came in to contact with John at one of London’s hip clubs, the Speakeasy. Alan recalls that John already knew his older sister.  John must have liked what he saw in Alan and vice-versa, as Alan quit a stable career at Woolens for an uncertain future as the manager of the new venture, ‘Dandie Fashions’! Whether employing somebody so young was intentional or not, I think it was a master stroke, as when someone is that age, consequences are usually an afterthought, and hey, this was the ‘Swinging Sixties’ after all!  The exact date of the opening is now lost in the mist of time, but  I can say that it would’ve been probably July/August 1966. Alan remembers the shop being tiny, with two small rooms. The back room/office had one table and chair.  In the main room was one clothed mannequin and a few books with pictured designs and fabric samples. There was no big fanfare opening ceremony. As Alan says, the shop “just opened!” Another interesting character also enters the frame at this point of the story, Michael Williams.

Michael started his career as a hairdresser. He was a stunning young man who had an exceptional taste in clothing. This got him noticed, by chance, by a model agency. This then led on to a very successful early career as a model, which in turn led to bit parts in films – one being ‘Smashing Time’. Michael says that it was a chance meeting at the then well-known coffee-house, ‘Kenco’s’, that he got to meet John Crittle. He says that John started talking to him because of his whole appearance. They quickly became good friends. Michael recalls John being a boisterous personality, but plenty of fun to be around. When John arranged his first fashion shoot for ‘Dandie Fashions’, he called in his handsome model friend (with the help of some lovely ‘dollybirds!’), to participate in the Hyde Park session. Michael also recalls in his assistance in finding the 56 Queen’s Gate Mews location, at a weekly rate of £25! Whether Michael actually worked at the Mews address is slightly unclear, but he definitely remembers being in the shop.

For ‘Dandie Fashions’ to really become a proper retail outlet, it would have to relocate – this was never going to be achieved while located at Queen’s Gate Mews. I strongly believe that John had big ambitions and felt that he had something unique to offer that was not available from the other established businesses in the world of men’s fashion at the time. I also suspect that John might have had an extra incentive in bringing his business to King’s Road, i.e. to get one over on his last employer maybe? Whatever his reasons, King’s Road was the one and only address he had in mind.

161 King’s Road

‘Dandie Fashions’ opened its doors within the new location in October 1966. Again, there was no big fanfare for this auspicious occasion. Alan Holston recalls the shop being a ground floor and a basement. All the walls were painted black. There was a long black counter with a glass top situated opposite the main entrance. There were hanging rails around the side walls. Some stairs were situated at the rear that led up to a stock room, office, and a changing room. We’re also lucky to have photographic evidence of this that shows all sorts of interesting Victoriana nestled amongst the jackets and shirts displayed in both windows. Alan also remembers American west coast Fillmore posters hanging on the walls.  One window display even had a large-sized picture displaying the head and shoulders of Mr Timothy Leary. ‘Dandie Fashions’ was an instant success and it seemed like the cream of the crop of London’s in-crowd couldn’t get enough of what John was creating. This was the perfect vehicle for Tara Browne’s tailoring company, ‘Foster and Tara’. As many will know, Tara unfortunately was killed in a car crash while on his way to meet the team of Dudley Edwards, Douglas Binder, and David Vaughan, to discuss the design for the shop front. This incident will forever be immortalised in The Beatles’ song, ‘A Day In The Life’. Tara’s untimely death also inspired The Pretty Things’ song, ‘Death Of A Socialite’. After his death, John bought out Tara’s share in the business and continued to use Tara’s tailoring company. The now-famous multicoloured shop front was completed in early 1967.

The shop became a kind of hang-out place, and even served as a hotel of sorts for some notable people, one being a certain Mr Jimi Hendrix, as well as John, and even his mother who slept over while on a visit from Australia. ‘Dandie Fashions’ clothed all the big names from The Beatles to The Stones – in particular Brian Jones, who really took his dandified look to unassailable heights while being adorned in the finest threads that Dandie’s had to offer. If you were a ‘somebody’ you really had to own clobber from Dandie Fashions.

Of course we can’t forget Jimi Hendrix, who loved to shop at 161 King’s Road, and as with Brian Jones, there is plenty of photographic evidence available of both gentleman sporting some incredible, to-die-for, garments from the shop. I did ask Alan who he rated for their sartorial elegance, and the two names that he mentioned were Andy Bown and Jimi Hendrix – Andy Bown being a regular customer from the Queen’s Gate Mews shop onwards.

As for the clothing, you could purchase jackets and trousers in the most beautiful coloured velvets and brocades, shirts in silks and satins, with ruffles and scarves. It really was an ‘Aladdin’s cave’ for any self-respecting peacock around town! There was the ‘off-the-peg’ clothing, but the bespoke tailoring service was the main criteria for shopping at ‘Dandie Fashions’; to have that unique garment certain to get you noticed amongst London’s main players on the social scene. Unfortunately, like most stories involving the rich and famous of the 1960s, a drugs bust was inevitable. One of which did actually occur within the shop. John got himself in to trouble with the law on a number of occasions, one of which ended up with him losing his driving licence. This is where Freddie Hornik enters the frame. Freddie worked at the Speakeasy and became friends with John. When John lost his licence, he asked Freddie to become his chauffeur, and from there Freddie ended up working in the shop.

Apple Tailoring

The Apple Boutique famously opened its doors to the public in December 1967. The shop was located on Baker Street. The colourful and eye catching mural painted by The Fool collective, became a landmark tourist attraction, as did gazing in the windows at the wonderful and way-out creations adorning the mannequins and rails, or just hoping to catch a glimpse of a Beatle. Neil Aspinall was the director of Apple Corp and was looking to expand on the initial Apple Boutique. The Beatles, as well as Neil, were all familiar with Dandie Fashions, and John Lennon had become good friends with John Crittle; their friendship being forged back when Crittle worked at ‘Hung On You’. In February of 1968, Neil bought 50% of Dandie Fashions, which made Apple Corps equal partners with John Crittle. In May of 1968, Dandie Fashions became Apple Tailoring. This saw the end of that wonderful Edwards, Vaughan and Binder creation of a shopfront, and in its place came a more serious-looking shop signage.

The purpose of this shop was to offer the discerning male customer a bespoke service, rather than the ‘off-the-peg’ service that was available at the Baker Street location. As well as this bespoke service, the basement of 161 King’s Road became a hairdressing salon, which was run by Leslie Cavendish. Apple Tailoring lasted longer than the Baker Street boutique but it too closed its doors in 1968. Apple Corps decided to withdraw from High Street commerce and handed the business and all the stock over to John Crittle. Unfortunately, after this business disaster, it was near impossible for John to claw back and make his business become viable again. The times had changed, as well as the fashion. The peacock revolution had now run out of steam and all the wonderful possibilities of only a year before had all but faded away.

The legacy…

John Crittle eventually relocated back to Australia, where he died in 2000. These days John is remembered for the fact that he was the father of the prima ballerina, Darcey Bussell.

Alan Holston made the wise decision and left Dandie Fashions as it was in the throws of becoming Apple Tailoring. Alan became the manager of the up and coming female designing team, ‘Deborah and Clare’. He was instrumental in their location to Beauchamp Place, SW3. Alan mentioned to me that the interior was designed by the then in-demand, fellow dandy, David Mlinaric. In the 1970s, Alan moved in to the record industry, working for Anchor Records. Alan is married with one daughter. And I am happy to say that he still looks stylish… once a Dandie, always a dandy!

Freddie Hornik left at around the same time as Alan. Freddie must have got a taste for the men’s clothing industry because he ended up buying out Nigel Waymouth’s stake in a dwindling ‘Granny Takes A Trip’. He injected some life in to what was once, only a year before, the most famous of all the boutiques. He would eventually take the GTAT business over to the USA where it again became a legendary name. Freddie and GTAT is another story!

‘Dandie Fashions’ never really became as well-known as ‘Granny Takes A Trip’, ‘Hung On You’, and quite a few more. The reason for this is unclear to me, as everything was in place, from the iconic shop front to the famous clientele. To the trained eye it is obvious to pick out who was wearing a ‘Dandie Fashions’ garment from the array of photographs we have at our disposal today via the internet. ‘Dandie Fashions’ clothing is highly collectable, and when a piece does hit the open market, it usually demands a suitably high price. It would be a dream for me to one day actually own a piece from that wonderful shop myself.


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Peter Feely

Married to Susie, both actively involved in the UK 60s scene for many years. My personal interest in 1960s culture goes back over 30 years, with my main two passions being music and fashion, both in equal measure. I run my own menswear label – ‘Perfumed Garden’ clothing, catering for the discerning dandy male - in addition to sourcing and selling vintage mens’ gear, with a particular interest in those hard-to-find jackets and shoes! I also run the Facebook group, ‘Psychedelic Clothing for Men: Then and Now’, with 2200+ members. Although I have no formal training in the fashion industry, what I do possess is a real passion, and through the years I have gained valuable knowledge of many areas of mens’ fashion from the mid to late 1960s. I’m also a musician and have played in many bands in my younger years. I’m an avid collector of music and music-related paraphernalia. I started running my own club nights back in the mid-1990s, and at present I run a psychedelic night in Derby – ‘The Perfumed Garden Of Musical Delights’. Through this I also get to DJ at many exciting events up and down the country

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July 8, 2015 By : Category : Articles Fashion Front Page Scene UK Tags:, , ,
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