Browsing Tag Claire Mahoney

Dinah Lee – Fashion Icon

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

What I love about writing this column is that you are always discovering new things. Take Dinah Lee for example, a random post on Facebook the other week led me to find out more about this mod girl and 60s style icon from New Zealand. Dinah was indeed Australia and New Zealand’s very own Queen of the Mods and was one of the biggest stars and highest paid artists of the 60s in Australasia.

She had a classic mod look with a sharp blunt cut bob. She was boyish and feminine at the same time and despite her rather demure looks and small frame was able to belt out a song. Her big hits were ‘Don’t You Know Yockomo?’ an RnB track originally recorded by Dee Dee Sharp. She followed this with Reet Petite (Jackie Wilson) and Blue Beat. All three went to number one and she had 15 other top ten hits.

Her look was the embodiment of mod cool to her fans and not surprisingly she became a poster girl for the leading make-up brand of the time – Yardley. Her modern style perfectly suiting the brand’s British connections.

Her debut album, The Mod World of Dinah Lee, came out on Viking records in 1964. The music was pure 60s pop with a touch of ska/blue-beat about it. Her sound and style was, no doubt, influenced by the people she hung around with. She at one time shared a flat with Millie Small who had the ska hit ‘My Boy Lollipop.’

She made regular trips to the UK and the US, appearing on Shindig with Glen Campbell and hanging around London with David Jones (David Bowie). She also performed with the likes of Ray Charles, the Bee Gees, Gene Pitney and New Zealand Aussie mod singer, Ray Columbus. According to Australian rock music journalist, Ed Nimmervoll: “Lee was the most successful female singer of both her New Zealand homeland and Australia … on stage and on record Dinah had all the adventure and exuberance for the time the boys had.”

It appears that Lee did cause some controversy simply because she didn’t appear to want to fit into the female stereotype of singers at the time. First there was her love of Mod fashion, but she also had a bit of mod attitude about her on seeing interviews from the time. Her dress sense meant that she was sometimes heckled at regional venues and caused some issues with viewers for wearing a pair of Bermuda shorts on a TV show broadcast in Australia and New Zealand.

Her friend Bobi Petch who became her PA friend tells in an interview for New Zealand music website (see here) of their days living together in Sydney where they would shop for the latest fashions. A particular favourite was The Casual Shop – a Sydney boutique which stocked all the latest one-off mod designs.

Dinah used to drive around town with Bobbi in her Mini Minor, which Bobi recalls had only a second and third working gear. She tells Gareth Cartwright: “I remember us getting Hank Marvin of The Shadows in that Mini one night and driving him around Sydney and all of us laughing like mad because the Mini only had second and third gear!” They also met the Small Faces on their ill-fated tour of Australia. Petch recalls: They really little guys, so cute, with hand-painted psychedelic boots. They were in Australia with The Who, who we only got to see in a nightclub. They were sitting around a table and none of them were dancing.”

Listening to and looking at the style of Dinah Lee gives us an insight into how the influence of mod style spread far and wide, way beyond the streets of Soho. Mod really was mainstream by Dinah’s era, but none the less, she is a great example of the boyish and savvy charm that any girl who wanted to be ‘with it’ in the mid 60s wanted a slice of.


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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 19, 2017 By : Category : Articles Fashion Front Page Scene Style Tags:, , , ,
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Anita Pallenberg – Fashion Icon

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

Born to Italian and German parents, Anita Pallenberg was the mother of all rock chicks and with her passing in June we say goodbye to someone who embodied the style and sass of the mid to late 60s like no other.

She started her career as a model in her teens in Italy and New York, where she even spent time at Andy Warhol’s Factory. Her life was to change in 1965 when she blagged her way backstage at a Rolling Stones gig in Munich.

She began a relationship with Brian Jones, the two of them were often photographed about town in virtually matching outfits. They were the ultimate in rock & roll 60s cool. Drink and violence eventually drove the couple apart and Pallenberg and guitarist Keith Richards became an item soon after. They remained together for 12 years and had three children.

Although much of the press covering Pallenberg focuses on her intimate relationships with the Stones, her role as the so-called ‘Sixth Rolling Stone’ went way beyond sex and drugs. She was a muse in every sense of the word – a true, deep, visual and musical inspiration.

Jagger was said to have remixed tracks on the band’s 1968 album Beggars Banquet because she didn’t like it on a first hearing. The songs ‘Angie’ and ‘You Got the Silver’ were also said to be written about her and she also provided backing vocals on the 1968 ‘Sympathy for the Devil.’ Richards is said to have written ‘Gimme Shelter’ in reaction to the fact that his girlfriend was across town filming the, ‘not so simulated’ sex scenes with Mick Jagger in the raucous 60s romp ‘Performance.’

Beyond the sex, drugs and rock n roll, it was Pallenberg’s love of fashion that made her one of the coolest women of the era and in turn her natural ability to nail that ‘just got out of bed with a rock star’ look soon rubbed off on the band’s own style. These once suited and booted RnB boys evolved into cocky, dandyish, lolloping rock icons that they have been regarded as ever since. This transformation was largely down to Pallenberg. She just seemed to know what looked good.

Marianne Faithfull wrote of her friend in her biography ‘Faithful’: “How Anita came to be with Brian is really the story of how the Stones became the Stones. She almost single-handedly engineered a true cultural revolution in London by bringing together the Stones and the jeunesse dorée… The Stones came away with a patina of aristocratic decadence that served as a perfect counterfoil to the raw roots blues of their music. This… transformed the Stones from just pop stars into true cultural icons.”

For example, when she was with Jones she dyed his hair even blonder and dressed him in women’s clothes. He once asked her to dress him up to look like French singer Françoise Hardy. By 1967 the Stones were wearing Pallenberg’s trademark Fedora hats, scarfs and fur coats. Keith Richards once said that he started to become a fashion icon simply for “wearing his old lady’s clothes.”

She was the queen of the 60s accessory. The antithesis of the clean cut, butter wouldn’t melt, look of Twiggy. Every outfit was finished with either a low slung large buckle belt, a swishing boa style scarf draped over her long-legged frame and topped off with a wide brimmed hat. Mini skirts would be worn short as you like with knee length suede boots and full length fur coats.

Her flamboyant looks also saw Pallenberg carve out a decent career as an actress. She made 15 films, among them the iconic 60s kitsch classic ‘Barbarella’ where she played the ‘Black Queen’ alongside Jane Fonda in the lead role – her black cat suit cut away in all the right places by Paco Rabanne. After her split with Richards, Pallenberg went on to follow a career in fashion which saw her graduate from St Martins in the 90s and in later days was seen either strutting down the runway herself or hanging out with latter day ‘it girls’ such as model Kate Moss.

Sadly, she never wrote an autobiography because she said the publishers would only be interested in her dishing the dirt on the Stones. Her influence on fashion however will live on. She wasn’t styled by anyone else but herself – her look was hers alone but has been much imitated. A rare bird indeed. Rest in peace Anita.

 


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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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July 3, 2017 By : Category : Articles Fashion Front Page News UK Tags:, , , , ,
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Cathy McGowan – Fashion Icon

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

Nicknamed ‘Queen of the Mods’, but what was it about Cathy McGowan that made her so effortlessly hip and cool?

Twiggy said she regarded Cathy McGowan as an icon. “I’d sit and drool over her clothes. She was a heroine to us because she was one of us,” she said. Perhaps that was it – McGowan wasn’t too glamorous and she certainly wasn’t just eye candy. She knew and loved the music she presented on the TV show, Ready Steady Go and responded to it with the same youthful enthusiasm at the show’s television audience.

A year into co-presenting the Ready Steady Go with Keith Fordyce, McGowan, in 1965 was given the job of fronting the show all by herself. Her love of fashion was evident from the start. She had, after all, applied for the job while working on Woman’s Own magazine. She was the epitome of what being a young women in the mid 60s was all about. She was obsessed with anything new and was always looking for the next ‘in’ thing, be it in clothes, music or clubs.

As a presenter on the show, she had to make sure she wore a new outfit every Friday. Her fans would promptly rush out and buy what she was wearing or the next best thing the following Saturday. McGowan wrote articles on music and fashion for the magazine’s Rave and Mods Monthly. Her Mod Snips column in Mods Monthly (which read as breathlessly as she talked) was basically a list of what to wear, listen to, who to see and where to be seen. In one column she writes: “Fred Perry shirts worn by a few girls these days… could catch on!” In another: “ What do you think of red mohair suits… I prefer the tonic ones!” There’s a great blog where you can read a selection of Cathy’s articles for Mod’s Monthly called Tintrunk here.

McGowan was said to have been given a weekly clothing allowance so she could make sure she had something new to wear each week. As the show began to revolve even more around its presenter it began to run a fashion segment too. She was a fan of all the top labels and regularly wore the likes of Biba – where were was a regular shopper and Foale and Tuffin.

In a 1964 edition of Rave magazine, the same year Biba was opening its first shop, she tells the story of how she goes to visit Biba’s Barbara Hulanicki at her flat and Barbara presents her with a dress custom made for her. “It had what in my opinion any outstanding dress should have: simplicity and a design and cut of sheer brilliance.”

Like Barbara Hulanicki, Cathy liked a trouser suit which at that time were considered very high fashion. Shoes-wise she loved the Mary Jane style but, she was also a big fan of boots – the flat heeled, knee-length kind. She remarked in one article that had these in almost every colour. She was also a fan of accessories – large bags and berets and square buckle belts on hipster jeans. On dresses, she would often wear the length just above the knee. The designs again would be simple with minimal detailing – a patch pocket or scalloped collar. Her trademark look though was her hair. Backcombed slightly on the crown and worn either straight and slightly turned up at the ends.

It wasn’t long before she launched her own line of clothing: Cathy McGowan’s Boutique was born in 1965. She sold simple A-line shift dress, tops and trouser suits. They were unfussy designs that any girl could carry off. Any girl that is with an eye-skimming fringe, a love of black kohl liner, and a penchant for the words – ‘smashing’, ‘super’ and ‘fab’!

 


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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 22, 2017 By : Category : Articles Fashion Front Page UK 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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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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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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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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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 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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Fashion – Womans Footwear

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series Fashion Scene 2

Get on the good foot

‘Diamonds are a girl’s best friend’ – or so the song goes. Well basically, they got that badly wrong. Ask most women and I think they’ll reply the thing that really does it for them is shoes.

For those of us with a penchant for 60s styling, shoes are a vital component of any outfit. How fortunate therefore that our favourite decade offers up more varied and colourful designs than you could shake a go-go girl’s hip at. So in our continuing NutsMag women’s fashion series I thought it was about time we paid tribute to the key styles that keep us Mod types on our toes!

The slingback

Since it’s summer, lets start with the Slingback. So called because the ankle strap forms a sling around the back of the heel and is fastened with a buckle or a button. The style has been around for a couple of decades but the shape of the shoe and the heel look changed in the 50s to a kitten heel with a pointed toe. In 1957 Chanel introduced the two-tone slingback which was beige with a black toe-cap a design which shortens the foot and lengthens the leg. This classic style endured throughout the early and mid 60s with a kitten, block heel or a completely flat ballet pump style heel. The toe would classically be pointed to lengthen the leg and the foot. A square toe with a buckle or the shape of an oversized buckle. They are particularly flattering when worn with a full skirt that falls just over the knee – it makes your calves and ankles look much skinnier.

Ballet flats

Flat shoes were a big deal in the 50s and 60s. Ballet flats are a girls style staple especially those of us that loved Audrey Hepburn’s look in Funny Face. But it was another screen siren that kicked off our enduring love affair with the dance shoe style. Former dancer Brigitte Bardot is said to have requested that French dance shoe atelier Repetto make her a pair of sturdier pumps for everyday wear in red and they have been popular ever since. This easy-chic shoe is available everywhere these days – in patterns and prints and bright primary colours.

Mary Jane’s

The original strappy type shoe – the Mary Jane is so named after a character in a turn of the century comic book. Mary Jane was the brother of Buster Brown and both of them wore this style of shoe which is still popular today. In the 60s the Mary Jane was adapted with double and sometimes triple strap version with both round and pointed toes. Usually a Mary Jane would have a bit of a heel – generally a block heel balances out the shoe best but flat versions were also popular to add a baby doll charm to an outfit. Apart from traditional black, red, white and blue were popular. Variations so such as flowers or circles as well as lace-ups sections at the front and cut-out patterns and rivets marks in the leather.

Loafers

Much like the Mary Jane – loafers go back to the beginning of the century. But they became particularly popular in the 1950s among American students sporting the ‘Ivy League’ look. It was around this time that the term Penny loafer was ‘coined’. Apparently students took to slipping a penny in the diamond-shaped slit on the front of the loafer. The iconic loafer brand of course is G H Bass who brought out their ‘Weejuns’ design way back in 1936. The design itself apparently is based on a Norwegian farm shoe hence the US slang term ‘Weejans.’ In 1966 Italian designer brought out a loafer with a metal strap across the front in the shape of a horses’ snaffle bit, which have had many imitations over the years. The loafer saw a big resurgence in during the mod revival and two-tone era as it exemplified that smart but casual look and perfectly captured the androgyny of Mod for women.

Boots

Boots were a big deal in the 60s. Chelsea boots were iconic in 1960s London and were so-named because of their association with the fashion boutiques of the Kings Road. Vinyl boots, either ankle length or coming up to mid-calf were also popular particularly in white. Sometimes they would have a buckle strap coming across the top. The toe would form a soft point or a chisel effect. They were often called ‘space boots’ as they looked like the boots that astronauts used to wear. Vinyl boots with their high-shine were so popular you could even buy vinyl socks to match your shoes so they looked like a boot. In the mid to later 60s the boots got chunkier looking and lengthened and the block heel more pronounced. The so-called Go-Go boots were named as they were often worn by Go-Go dancers with their short dresses.


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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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July 8, 2015 By : Category : Articles Fashion Front Page Style UK Tags:, , , , , , ,
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Head – From beehive to bob

nm-feb-cm-Quant

Intro – Claire Mahoney picks five 60s hairstyles that defined the era and still resonate with mods and 60s aficionados today.

nm-Feb.cm-Kwan. jpeg

The bob

There’s nothing that quite says mod and 60s like a bob haircut. It’s easy to wear, it’s flattering and most of all, its stylish. Although the bob had been around long before the 60s and had been the iconic hairstyle of the flapper girls of the 20s – it was during the late 50s and 60s that we saw the bob transformed into something sleeker and more geometric. You can’t really talk about the bob haircut and not mention the late Vidal Sassoon. His work during the 60s defined ‘the look’ and changed hairdressing and the way women thought about hair forever. Probably his most famous bob cut was the asymmetric one he did for actress Nancy Kwan – which he cut in 1963 for her film role in A Wild Affair.

Nm-feb-cm-five-point

The five point

Perhaps Sassoon’s most revolutionary cut from this time, however, was the five-point. Hairdressing prior to this had largely involved lengthy salon appointments where hair would be teased and set for maximum staying power. Or you would find yourself tucked up in bed with a hairnet and curlers to get your hair in shape for the next day. Sassoon on the other hand was less about styling the hair and more about cutting it, so the hair would fall naturally into place. This cut, which was almost an adaptation of the page-boy style with its full fringe, was defined by five points – two over each ear and three on the back of the neck. The cut was worn by the likes of designer Mary Quant and was famously modelled for Sassoon by Grace Coddington.

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The bouffant

The origins of the bouffant date back to Marie Antoinette who had thin hair and wanted to create the illusion of thick hair. However, it was re-instated in the early 60s by famous London hairdresser Raymond – or Mr Teesy Weasy. The French word for bouffant itself literally means to ‘puff-up’ or ‘puff out’. First lady Jackie Kennedy favoured this style, which involved backcombing the hair on the crown of the head and down the back to lift the roots. What you were effectively creating were a series of knots which the top layer of hair rested on to create the illusion of height and fullness.

nutsmag_beehive

The beehive

The iconic beehive grew out of the bouffant – if you’ll excuse the pun. This style was all about height. It was originally created in 1960 USA by an American hairdresser, Margaret Vinci Heldt who was inspired by the shape of a Fez hat that she wore that kept her hair in shape. Women who loved wearing the style used to wrap their hive in a scarf to keep it in place for the morning. Famous beehives of the 60s include Audrey Hepburn’s for Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The beehive was also the signature look for 60’s girl group – The Ronettes.

nm-feb-cm- mia

The pixie cut

It might sound cute but you have to be pretty brave to wear a pixie cut. It’s basically a short back and sides for women. Probably the first woman to wear it was Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday, where as part of the film’s storyline, she ditches her long regal locks for something free and more daring. Sassoon famously re-invented Mia Farrow’s look with an extremely short version of the cut for the Roman Polanski film Rosemary’s Baby. The cut can be worn may different ways, but traditionally there is some height at the crown and hair worn over the ear – pointing downwards or curled into the shape of the cheek. Short hairstyles that were variations on the pixie cut were very popular with the mod girls of the 60s as they reflected the androgyny of the clothes. They also needed minimal styling – just a nice set of false lashes or a slick of black kohl and you were good to go!


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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 16, 2015 By : Category : Fashion Front Page Style Tags:, , ,
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Fashion – 60s print and pattern (part 2)

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

The late 50s and early 60s were all about looking forward. But by the mid 60s many would say that the true spirit of modernism had died out. It was everywhere of course in the media and on the advertising hoardings, as well as manifesting itself in bands such as The Who, The Small Faces and The Action. Mod was popular, so mods moved on. Elsewhere a backlash against modernism meant that artists and designers started to look to days gone by for their inspiration.

In terms of fashion, this resulted in a big cultural shift. Designers borrowed from Victorian era with its high-collars, the military wear of Edwardian-era and the Art Nouveau movement of the 1920s. The plain, abstract motifs of Op-Art gave way to the free-flowing shapes of nature. Fashion houses such as Liberty in London were a huge influence reproducing 19th Century designer, William Morris’ prints onto their fabrics. These designs feature huge swirls of acanthus leaves and other plants and flowers in large ornate colour ways.

A designer that really picked up on this look was Barbara Hulanicki, who opened her Biba store in London in 1964. This interest in more fluid line and pattern was also evident in Ossie Clarke’s designs in the 1960s.

London-based designers Foale and Tuffin who opened their boutique in 1962, just off Carnaby Street, also embraced pattern in their designs, utilising traditional British weaves such as plaid or herringbone or trouser suits trousers and tartan for mini skirts and tights.

The influence of the Empire and the East was also felt in this latest style revival. Touches of Madras and Paisley prints would feature on shirts, dresses and most popularly, scarves, both for men and women. The paisley twisted teardrop motif is thought to have Indian and Iranian and origins enjoyed a revival when it was adopted by the psychedelic’s and dandy’s of the mid to late 60s.

The motif, which looks a little like and uncurling fern or seed pod, in many ways symbolised the burgeoning ‘hippy’ scene.

The ethos of ‘flower power,’ as it was often referred to, was all about rejecting modern consumerism and getting back to nature, against the backdrop of political and social upheaval that was being felt across Europe and the US in the mid- to late 60s.

Fashion was quick to latch on to the movement and floral motifs became a staple form on shift dresses, pussy bow shirts and head scarfs. Sunflowers, daisies and poppies replaced circles targets and squares. The designs were none the less still modern, but the subject matter was entirely natural and not as just years earlier, a celebration of the man-made.

These prints feminised the shift dresses which became softer in line, with empire lines and high collars or huge penny collars added for extra detail. We also see here the introduction of the so-called ‘dolly bird’ style, all legs and doe eyes in short girl-like dresses, often worn with over the knee socks. Not a look many could get away with today, but this was the 60s after all.


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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 10, 2014 By : Category : Fashion Front Page Style Tags:, , ,
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Modstock 3 Fashion Show Review

Back at Modstock 2 in 1994 Pip! Pip! with the full blessing from Dr Robert at NUTs HQ came up with the novel idea and concept of a Modstock Fashion Show, not as a lecture or guide as to how to be a ‘mod’ but more as a way of showcasing some of the great fashion, style and clothing that is out there now, inspired by the Modernist tradition. That mixed with a nice dose of performance ‘art’,  scene sourced authentique models, onstage scooters and so on, it all rolled into place alongside the live showing of our bespoke Fashion Documentary ‘Ready, Steady, Sew!’ (big thanks to Angie Smith, Pete, Caspar De La Mare, and Sean Wilson & Alex Rupprecht from Boychild and The Gene Drayton Unit Soundtrack) we felt we had a decent shape of an evening that was fresh and fun!

So when Modstock 3 in 2014 came about we thought we would rinse and repeat but with even more fun and games! Enter Caspar de la Mare from Camden vintage clothes shop, A Dandy in Aspic, was given the task of staging the Modstock Fashion Show he knew he’d have to give us more than just a simple catwalk.

We also invited Adam of London whose fine line of British Classic ready to wear was to opening proceedings with a nice classic  no nonsense approach and appeal that rightly displayed the sheer quality of their cloth making experience at its zenith. A few tech hitches aside (our deepest apologies to Adam and his team), their segment of the show set the bar pretty damn high. The mix of pin-through cotton shirts, knitted and silk ties with matching pocket squares, exsquisite cut suits that hung to perfection, the cut and silhouette meant that they simply did not have to try too hard at all to get the message across. Their clothes do the talking, end of! Well done chaps for pulling it off! Their music and visual selections melded nicely into their show and left everyone to seek them out at their stall for more information. A job well done all around! Our thanks to Ritchie, Adam & Jeremy,  a big tip: seek them out for you next round of shopping chaps!

Next up was the longer and much more theatrical and arty approach of one of the scenes’ great characters Caspar and his team of dedicated believers.

After a few exchanges between Pip! Pip! and Caspar by the magic of Skype, he managed to come up with a piece of  true mod theatre. Based around a day in the life of a mod couple who go on a day’s shopping trip to London, the show featured a hand-picked group of models who Caspar knew from in and around the scene, Each who wore a selection of original 60s vintage clothing from Caspar’s own emporium and menswear specialists Adam of London.

“I decided to make the young couple the main focus of the piece with all the other models as extras showing a cross section of 60s styles from the early to the more swinging styles of Carnaby Street as would have been seen on streets of London at the time,” says Caspar. “I was trying to paint a picture of what it would have been like during that time and capture some of the spirit of the era using a fairly minimalistic and stylised approach aided by a carefully chosen projected slideshow and soundtrack.”

“This was a piece of entertainment that seemed to bring back fond memories to many who were watching as it reminded them of what it was like in the early days of the mod scene”

The A Dandy in Aspic segment of the Modstock fashion show was an unexpected (and highly enjoyable) piece of theatre with four scenes revolving around two central characters, a young well-dressed mod couple on a day trip to London to buy some fab new gear, hang out in a Soho coffee bar and then go to a nightclub to show off their new clobber. (A very familiar scenario played out across the decades within the mod scene).

In three of the scenes they remained frozen in time whilst all the action goes on around them with all the other models as extras. Showing off a cross section of fashions as they would have been worn in the 60’s ranging from early styles to the more swinging Carnaby Street variety. And lastly finishing with a simple but, well- choreographed group dance number. In between the scenes whilst the stage was being set we were treated to Jimmy Smith’s ‘Organ grinders swing’.

The show began with a well-lit stage, and a row of eight empty black and white chairs, with a backdrop slide show depicting various images of 1960’s London, a very visual opening. Next came some sound effects, which, slowly became clear as that of a train arriving at a station. Complete with made up station announcements. At this point twelve models, six men and six women, all wearing overcoats in a variety of colours, patterns, fabrics and styles entered the room in single file and stood on stage with their backs to the audience. After a very familiar “mind the gap”, the women turned and sat in the chairs holding up magazines and the men turned sideways and stood staggered in front of them with one arm up in the air as if holding a handle on a tube train, and the scene was set… very very clever indeed!

The voice of a young man came over the PA and a young mod couple then came running onto the stage through the audience and took their place on two vacant seats. The sound of ‘Go-Go train’ by Mike Stevens and the Chevelles filled the room and the models began moving as if on a travelling train with the exception of the young couple who remained frozen though out. At various intervals the name of a made up station was announced and all sound and movements ceased. A model would leave the scene followed by another and then a third.  Each time a catwalk pose was struck at both ends of the stage to show off their outfits, before they exited and disappeared behind a screen. This continued at each ‘station’ until there was only the young couple left. They then left the stage having reached their “destination”, and the lights went down. The audience responded with a very enthusiastic applause and cheering. That was great! Very clever staging

When the sound of ‘Jimmy Smith organ grinders swing’ could be heard, and the slide show changed with the chairs being replaced with other props it became apparent that more was to follow.

The lights came back up and we could see two full clothes rails at each end of the stage, with two mannequins, one male and female each dressed in a stylish long double breasted coat. A simple and very effective way to represent a boutique. After another voice over the young couple entered and made their way over to the two rails and froze into position. The sound of ‘Swinging London’ by The Hazy Osterwald Set then began to play, with each model taking their turn entering the boutique from behind a curtain (dressing room) and admiring their clothes in an imaginary mirror and then walking over and checking out other gear on the rails, to try on. Before coming back to the mirror with another  outfit in hand. The action continued around the couple until the music faded out and the young couple were the only ones left on stage. They each held an outfit and walked over to the mirror before exiting through the curtains. The clothes shown in this scene were mostly of the later swinging period and very colourful. Ladies trouser suits, culottes, men’s dandy jackets, candy striped blazers. In the background a slide show of 60’s boutiques, fashion and mods/people trying on clothes helped add to the boutique feel. Again huge applause and cheering as the lights went down.

The slide show then changed to images of 1960’s coffee bars and girls in mini-skirts .And the stage was re-set. The lights came back up, and we could see four black and white tables with black and white chairs. After a voice over with reference to ‘frothy coffee’ the young couple entered with coffee cups and shopping bags and sat at a table. ‘music to watch girls go by’ (an instrumental version) set the scene and the stage was transformed into the exterior of a Soho coffee bar, with models entering the stage and  sitting down for coffee or disappearing into the cafe. A succession of mini skirted models walked across the stage in a highly choreographed fashion striking poses from left to right. All the while, being admired by two seated male models drinking coffee. Another couple were looking through newly purchased (original) 60’s LP records of soul, jazz and rhythm &’ blues, another model reading a newspaper. Before leaving the stage each model showed off their outfits to the full. A good cross section of mod, beat, and classic 60’s styles with a summery flavour and some classic sunglasses in tow. An extremely stylish scene .One of the best performed segments in the show. It really made you feel like you were outside in the summer sun enjoying a frothy coffee with them. Good job!

The final scene wrapped up the show within a nightclub, to the sounds of ‘The in Crowd’ by Dobie Gray and ‘Burt’s Apple Crumble’ by The Quik in front of a backdrop slide show, of 60’s night life  and dancing. On a stage were six chairs and a black and white chequered dance floor.

This was performed in two parts. Beginning with models walking on stage as couples, to the sound of Dobie Gray, and criss-crossing each other from left to right, striking a catwalk pose at each end of the stage, highly stylised choreography. The men were all wearing Italian cut three buttoned suits in a variety of complementary colours, very sharp, and stood to the right of the stage, as if standing at the bar. The women who were all wearing various evening outfits of silver, gold, black, all sat down on the chairs.

The scene ended with the young couple entering the stage to the sound of ‘Burt’s Apple Crumble’. Wearing the outfits that they had in their hands in the boutique scene. After walking to the front of the stage to strike their catwalk pose. They then start a very simple clapping dance. With each of the other couples joining in until they are all dancing in unison. As the music began to fade out, each couple bowed before exiting and then reappeared through the curtains to line up along each side of the stage. They all turned backstage and gestured for the creator of the show Caspar de la Mare, who then came on through the curtains, took a bow and proceeded with all his thank you’s as he was also the compere too!

This was a very simple story, but presented in a very stylised and stylish way and really gave one the feeling of being transported back to the 1960’s with great attention to detail from the make-up and authentic hairstyles provided by Jenny Green to the props, original magazines and newspapers (Evening News), original 60’s A to Z, coffee cups/saucers etc. and of course all the original 1960s clothes that were being showcased. Judging from the rapturous applause at the end, the audience enjoyed it as much as the models did performing it.

All in all a very entertaining and enjoyable evening was had by everybody. Massive thanks to all that were involved!

Photos by: © Ramees Farooqi


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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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July 8, 2014 By : Category : Events Fashion Front Page Reviews Style Tags:, , , , , , , ,
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