Browsing Tag Fashion

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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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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Head – From beehive to bob

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Dedicated Followers of Fashion: 1964-1970

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

nutsmag_kinks

For me, the 1960s was the decade where fashion and music really became the fabric of life; where purchasing that new record by The Kinks, or buying that new shirt like the one worn by Steve Marriott on the front cover of Fab 208, became more important than eating or sleeping. From John Stephen’s forward-thinking and quite brilliant kick-start to men’s fashion at the start of the decade, to Tommy Roberts’ wild and often ‘off-the-wall’ pop art creations towards the end, it can safely be said it was the decade where the clothing certainly did the talking.

As the ‘60s started to gain momentum, men’s fashions were changing at a rapid speed of knots. This was helped by the fact that television sets became a lot more accessible to the masses, and teenagers were exposed to many varied and informative music-related newspapers and magazines. With such an explosion in sight and sound, it was perhaps inevitable that impressionable young men were going to take heed. It is also important to remember that this was a worldwide phenomenon.

As the ‘British Invasion’ took hold of America, and eventually all four corners of the world, young men also wanted to wear the same clothing as sported by their musical heroes. This led on to a colossal increase in demand for fashionable clothing for the modern man. This in turn would influence and inspire the designers on their never-ending quest to find the new look.

With hindsight, you can now see what was happening once this fashion explosion took a firm grip all over the world. It could be described as almost like a cross-pollination of styles, fabrics and prints from all around the world, and all at once. And it could be argued that the bands were the catalyst for all of this happening.

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The Beatles were/are the perfect example of how music and fashion really evolved throughout the decade in perfect harmony. From their early collarless suits, designed by Pierre Cardin and Douglas Millings, to their mid-60s pin-striped suits, designed and provided by the King’s Road boutique, ‘Hung On You’. The Beatles took a firm grip of what they wanted to wear, and got to know many of the main designers of the time. This would come to an obvious conclusion, when they decided to open their first clothing enterprise in December 1967. Unfortunately, this business venture would only last until July 1968. The Apple Boutique is certainly a topic I will cover in more depth in a future article.

This first article is an attempt at giving you an overview of my thoughts on the decade that shaped my own way of life. Throughout future articles, I intend to highlight the clothes worn by bands, film stars and the fashion-conscious man on the street, in more detail – from designer to retailer, including closer examination of the shops and boutiques, underground and short-lived ventures to household names, for example ‘Granny Takes A Trip’. This isn’t only going to be a history lesson. I also want to bring things bang up-to-date, by featuring recent and current designers and proprietors, both in new and vintage clothing. It is very important for me to acknowledge how all of this fits in to our 21st century. I will sign off with these appropriate lyrics: “Girls will be boys and boys will be girls, it’s a mixed up, muddled up, shook up world”…

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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 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 Fashion: Adam of London

Early days:

01 Where are you from originally?

I’m from East London, Hackney, lived there all my childhood and teenage years, all in North East London, Hackney, Stoke Newington. Hackney wasn’t a quiet neighbourhood, like most inner London neighbourhoods, it was a little bit rough; you had to keep your wits about you and keep your eyes peeled.

02 What were your interests as a youngster?

Well from the age of about twelve onwards, I was really into clothes, and music, ‘cause I actually played in a band. Pop music, whatever the music was at the time, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Manfred Mann, that’s what I was into. I know people talk about Northern Soul, but that didn’t come ‘til much later, maybe a decade or so later. Bluebeat was around in ’63, ’64, at least the fringes of it, Prince Buster, I didn’t dislike it. I went to quite a few live gigs, The Rolling Stones for example I saw three times! I saw The Searchers, I saw Manfred Mann, I saw The Animals probably three or four times, really good band. There used to be a cool club in Tottenham, The Club Noreik, which had live bands. The clothes were important, even when I was at school, I used to buy these jeans, I used to buy them for fifteen and six old money, dye them various colours, and sell them for onwards for 30 shillings!

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03 When were you first aware of Mod?

About ’63 when I was 15. I had got myself a scooter, a black LI. I wasn’t totally into them. I bought it for thirty bob. A friend’s uncle was getting a car and asked if I wanted it. I rode it away, no tax and no insurance. Later on, I got a car, a red Mini, on HP, with an uncle as guarantor. No credit checks or bank references in those days. They’d check to see if you lived where you said you did, but that was it. I never had a parka. I had a Crombie, and a Sheepskin.

04 What or who do you feel was the greatest influence on your life?

As a teenager, my boss, wherein I served my apprenticeship. He was a Polish/Jewish tailor, he had a front of shop area and at the back was the factory. The cutters worked there, and the master tailors. Later, I met a German technician, called Edward Nobel, and in three weeks, I had learned more from him than in the three years of my apprenticeship. By technician, I mean a master pattern maker, and he would also show you how to make the actual garment.

Shop and customers:

01 When did you decide to run a one-stop shop for the Mod community, if you did decide?

I didn’t. I was more into manufacturing, supplying others. I went to the USA, and about ’84 I came back to the UK, to the Portobello, my daughter was doing some business with the Japanese, and a Japanese person asked me ‘Can you make us some mod suits?’ I started doing them for the Japanese market only, on average two thousand suits every two months direct to Japan. Later, I eventually opened a shop in Carnaby Street, and one in the King’s Road, in the 90’s.

02 What sort of people come to your shop? Aspiring or existing mods? 24 hour mods? Describe what you think your typical customer is like.

We get a lot of new mod types, youngsters. But our client base it sixteen to seventy five years old, they’re new and existing mods, no typical customer. We’ve got the next generation in the business already, who have their own views on things. It’s a real mixture and wide spectrum.

03 How far do you see yourself as a guide for the aspiring mods?

Yes, they do ask a lot of questions and I’m quite happy to answer them. They’re sometimes quite astonished when I tell them the truth about how we used to dress, because you realise the styles have all become bastardised, mixed up with the late 70’s take on things.

04 Is your stock formed by your personal taste? How far? Do you go for specific cloth and designs, or do you like to experiment?

I think any designer, no matter what he’s designing, it’s his view, but you are influenced yourself. I didn’t create this. Yes, these are original designs, but you are influenced by what people want and require, and you’ve got to put in a few changes here and there. We go one hundred per cent for specific cloth. First of all, I will only use English fabrics, Huddersfield, Bradford, and there’s a reason for it; it is the best in the world, simple as that. The mohair for the suits is specially woven for us. We select the yarn colours in the mill, and have them woven for us. We’ve got seven new colours of three ply mohair coming in soon, in the shop especially for Modstock.

You:

01 How would you rate yourself as a mod?

Then, twenty four hours, yes, but now? Lapsed a bit. I wouldn’t wear anything other than this, wouldn’t even think it. (Adam was wearing a smart three button suit, pocket square and three button cotton top). I might wear the tracksuit bottoms on a Sunday, even then, I’ve got a John Smedley, and a Crombie coat over the top!

02 Were you a fan of the mod revival bands of the 70’s?

Yes, some of them, like Weller, Madness, The Specials, loved the Specials, the boys in the band, a couple of them do come in here to shop, but no, didn’t go to any gigs. Mid-life, your family are far more important to you.

Opinions:

01 What do you think of the way young people generally dress today?

They’re a mixed bunch, no direction sometimes, a bit of a mish-mash maybe? Some of them are sussed, some are cool on very little money.

02 How about young mods? Do you think they’re getting it right? Compared and contrasted with revival mods?

Yes, they look smart, they’re nearly there, and I always say to them, ‘If it feels right, it is right.’ Not like the revivalists were. They weren’t getting it right at all. There’s a guy in Quadrophenia in flares, that’s supposed to be ’64, it’s more like ’74 isn’t it? Another good thing is, there’s no racism now among the young mods.

03 Do you think they’ll stick at it?

Yes, I think they will, it looks very smart, you stand out. It’s a great look. It’s timeless and classic.

04 Apart from mod, is there a subculture you think is particularly sharp or exciting today?

No, there isn’t really.

05 Are there any subcultures you don’t like?

That one where they wear their trousers hanging half way down the legs, and the baseball cap backwards. Do they not realise how unsightly it looks?

06 What do you do to relax? What makes you laugh?

My family, my grandson, driving, all help me relax. I like driving. I like a nice comfortable car, a nice drive down to the South of France. I drove to the South of France, in ’68, in a Triumph Vitesse 2 litre convertible. It rained on the way back, and a lorry ripped my roof off. For laughs, a good comedian can make me laugh, like Michael McIntyre, or Tommy Cooper.

07 Do you still like to listen to music? Are these the same bands as when you were younger?

I do, but I listen to whatever music’s around. I still like listening to The Rolling Stones, a bit of Pink Floyd.

08 If you could have been born in some other place, or another time period, what and when would it have been?

I’m quite happy with the time and place I was born.

…and being born early enough to appreciate the first flush of mod, who can blame him? Adam Shener, thank you.

09 Are you looking forward to the Modstock fashion show?

Very much, my sons will be at the helm, a new generation that are proud of the Adam of London name and heritage!

Links

adamoflondon.com
adamoflondon.com/shop
facebook.com/adam.oflondon


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Pip! Pip! Are the Creative Business Engine behind various music based organisations of the cool underground variety. Providing angst, confusion, bewilderment and annoyance in equal amounts. We design/host/manage great sites like this one! Why not hire us one day soon?

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March 7, 2014 By : Category : Fashion Front Page Interviews Style Tags:, , , , ,
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Mod Girl Fashion 3

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series Fashion Scene 1

Mod’s most influential women

Men have mostly turned to musicians, be it Marriott or Paul Weller, for their fashion direction. Both the so-called ‘Modfather’ and his 60’s forebears were quite blatant about their mod credentials, so it was easy for men to cotton-onto and copy their style.

For women, the net had to be cast a little wider. For the so-called second generation mods like myself, the 1979 cult film, Quadrophenia film left few clues on what to wear. The female lead role – ‘Steph,’ with her Farah Fawcett-style hair and long leather coat, was no mod icon in the way that Jimmy was for the boys.

Similarly the early mod girls simply copied the boys with their paired down androgynous look. It must have been a relief, when mods became more mainstream in the mid 60s, to be able to feminise their look with minis, handbags and make-up.

Mod girls of the 60s and those that have followed in their footsteps however have always tended to take their style cues from quite a small and select select group of fashion icons – the likes of Twiggy, Quant, Shrimpton, Hepburn and McGowan crop up time and time again. We take a look at what is it about these particular women that evokes such adoration among mods.

Twiggy: Probably the number one mod girl icon. Twiggy combined that androgyny that has always been a part of the mod look for women with a girlish femininity. Her short pixie cut and boyish frame suited the clean lines of her clothes. She was almost doll-like but not at all passive  n the her modelling – her shoots were full of character and that’s why we love her.

Mary Quant: Any lover of 60s fashion is hugely indebted to Mary Quant for her wonderful designs. Her pop-culture clothes came in strong silhouettes and bright and bold hues. She was also practical and her many innovations as well as the mini-skirt, included waterproof mascara and tights for mini skirts and she was also one of the first designers to use PVC.

Jean Shrimpton: Long and lean and lovely – that was ‘the Shrimp’. She managed to convey an air of innocence with just the right amount of haughtiness in her look. Famously photographed by David Bailey, her style was British with a beatnik twist. Again she liked to put her own slant on an outfit and in 1965 to much consternation, turned up at the Victoria Derby in Melbourne in Australia wearing a white shift dress, no hat or gloves and a man’s watch!

Hepburn: There’s isn’t much you can say about Hepburn that does her justice. Her looks were quite unique. Again, her form was gamine compared to the voluptuous beauties of the 50s. Her style was effortless and paired down to key pieces. She knew what suited her.

Cathy McGowan: The presenter of the 60s show Ready Steady Go was often dubbed, “Queen of the Mods” Twiggy even cited her as one of her role models saying she was: “one of us” Her attitude chimed with the youth of the day and so did her clothes. She was often seen wearing Biba and Quant and her eye-skimming fringe was heavy eye-make-up was copied by girls everywhere. She was the first real ‘it-girl’.

Who inspires you?

Karla Milton, singer with the Karla Milton Collective: “I get influenced by quite a lot, but I think Emma Peel’s style in the Avengers was fab along with Mary Quant, also Audrey Hepburn in ‘Two for the Road’. I like to mix things up though and not copy just one style. If I like something I’ll go for it.”

Midlands mod Jayne Kelly Norris: “Vidal Sassoon and his five point haircut, it was so short sharp and classy. Its a timeless classic that can be reinvented to suit all generations of mod. Mary Quant’s classic style influenced me a young 15 year-old mod in the 80’s. I loved her drop waist dresses and  kick pleats always worn with flat shoes. The zips the patterns and the colours were all so different from the awful fashions of the 80s. I moved on from there to low cut classic tailor made hipsters, chisel toe shoes and button down shirts this style was influenced by the mod scene exploding in Birmingham and London in the 80’s. As a mature mod now I like to mix up my style but everything I wear stems from my roots growing up within the mod culture.”

Maria Veall, original 60s mod: “I was a young teenage mod in the 60s. Twiggy was my icon and Mary Quant. We wore the shortest mini skirts and dresses and tights were a godsend as we had to wear stockings before that. Now I like the classic 60s styles that Jackie O (Kennedy) wore. In the 60s we were dolly birds and wouldn’t be seen dead in the clothes our Mums wore. Now I wish my Mum had saved all her clothes from then so I could wear them now.”

Sue Littler, I am a Mary Quant fan and collector: “Since I was a little girl I have loved Mary Quant. Her designs are so simple, yet so stylish. I love the handbags and the clothes. I have lots of her things – including boots from the 60’s and even a headboard!”


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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 7, 2014 By : Category : Fashion Front Page Style Tags:, , , , , ,
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Mod Girl Fashion

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

Deadlier than the Mod Male 

Mod has always been a bit ‘mad about the boy’. Pick up any mod book or retrospective and its pretty much always about the mod male – the mod girl might get a cursory mention if we are lucky. Of course, during the 60s the social context was very different – women were still on the fringes both economically and culturally – they were used to riding pillion.

Even when I was a teenager at the beginning of the 80s we mod girls were more likely to be found on the side of the dance floor or on the back of a scooter. No matter how much you cared about music, it was really difficult to get yourself taken seriously in those heartfelt debates about whether Sound Affects was better than Setting Sons – this just wasn’t girls’ talk. Boy, has that changed though.

These days, fabulously dressed female mods seem to be all over. The dance floor is packed with them. Often it’s the blokes, not wanting to crumple their suits or get their shoes stained, that are clutching their pints on the sidelines. In fashion terms, eBay and our love affair with all things vintage has unleashed a veritable flood of on and off-line shops. In short, apart from 1964, I’d say there has never been a better time to be into the scene.

Gina Giraffe who got into mod during the revival thinks that part of the reason why women have more choice is because the scene itself is broader than it’s ever been. “Women are into the scene in their own right, not just Mod-WAGs who are dragged along for the ride. They are experimenting with different 60s looks, so the range of clothing and accessories to choose from is wider.”

She still thinks the scene very male dominated however. “In my experience I don’t think attitudes have changed a great deal since the revival. It’s still a male-dominated scene, just a quick glance around any gig, rally or ride-out will quickly prove that. These days women’s opinions do seem to be more considered and respected, but I expect that’s because many of the men of our age on the scene have wives and daughters of their own and have mellowed over the past 30 years. I think things will be very different for the new generation of female mods who are currently in their 20s. They have grown up in a world of real equality between the genders, so the imbalance we experienced won’t exist.”

The availability of original 60s clothing on sites such as eBay has made it easier than ever to get that authentic look. Whether your style in totally vintage or a mix and match approach seems to be a matter of individual taste. In the words of mod, Jane Buttery, whose wardrobe is mainly original 60s: “It’s just a personal preference. However, I find it hard to find many original vintage skirts/trousers, so I shop for skirts and trousers from good old M&S, Boden or Laura Ashley. What I like about it is that you can be creative and individual with how you put an outfit together knowing you can have your own unique take on that era.”

We also have the option of high quality reproductions from the likes of Carnaby Streak (thecarnabystreak.co.uk) who faithfully reproduce 60s dresses and tunics and will even custom size for those of us (i.e. most) not sporting a Twiggy-type figure. Angela Williams set up the company because she saw a gap in the market for: “Good vintage 60s original mod clothing.”

She says: “Much of the vintage clothing worn now is more bold and psychedelic than when I first got into the mod scene. I think this is the reason why so many women are choosing to buy new clothing over vintage. There are companies now that offer good quality clothes that actually look vintage.  Another option many have chosen is to have vintage clothes reproduced.”

There is also the fact that polyester and Crimplene may wash and dry beautifully quickly but it can be very itchy and hot to wear on a night out – so sometimes modern fabrics in a good 60s design are about function as well as form.

A cursory look at Vogue or Elle magazine will confirm that the obsession with the 60s it not over yet. It has been very hit-and-miss on the high street though, with some collections named and shamed by mods who’ve been dressing in a 60s style for years.

Angela hits the nail on the head: “I think the 60s will always be popular fashion-wise. It is such an influential era that it never really disappears from the catwalks. But it’s a double-edged-sword when fashion focuses on the 60s. Although I am introduced to a new generation of 1960’s lovers with every ‘revival’, the high street is flooded with cheap 60s-inspired clothing. These are mostly bad interpretations and the true mod will always seek out the more true to style and well-made clothing.”

Coming up

Over the coming months, we will run a series of articles on female mod fashion from the 60s through to the mod revival of the late 70s to the present day. We’ll be looking at the influential designers from Biba to Quant and how high street brands such as Fred Perry and Merc have evolved over the years to meet the needs of a young generation of women wanting to look stylish and hip. If there are any topics that you think we should discuss do get in touch at claire@newuntouchables.com or #clairem68 or facebook.com/clairelm68


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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 21, 2017 By : Category : Articles Fashion Front Page Style Tags:, ,
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