Beautiful People - 60's counterculture fashion
Providing the credits, content details and some background to the photographs used in the Beautiful People blog: https://www.c20vintagefashion.co.uk/blog
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Christopher Gibbs wrote the Vogue article which featured his assistant Jane Ormsby-Gore as a fashion forward, edgy style icon. The most important aspect of her individual dress sense was her use of vintage clothes. Nigel Waymouth remembers this article being published and as Granny Takes a Trip had only just opened, selling Sheila Cohen's vintage clothing collection, this was a timely piece of publicity for the shop. Chelsea's wealthy debutant's like Jane were the boutiques first customers.
Chirstopher Gibbs was an antiques dealer and interior designer with a particualr passion for Moroccoan design and decorative furnishings. His appartment, over looking the Thames at 100 Cheyne Walk, became the inspiration for Turner's (played by Mick Jagger) house in Performance. He was one of the central figures of the Chesea set and famously hosted a party for Allen Ginsberg, which Princess Margaret attended. The hash brownies hospitalised Her Royal Highness blamed on “severe food poisoning.”
Donald Cammell and Nicholas Roeg's Performance is quite remarkable a film. Made 68, released in 1970. Nigel Waymouth told me Performance is completely about Chelsea and the vibe of the late sixties: the Picasso coffee bar and The Pheasantry (the club which became flats in 1966) and where David Litvinoff lived. Litvinoff was an advisor to the film and tutored James Fox. He had connections with the art world (he knew Lucian Freud & Francis Bacon) and East End gangsters (the Krays).
This is Jenny Spires who was one of the original English Boy models and close friend of Syd Barrett. It's interesting she's wearing a Morris print jacket as this is the only photo I know of of a woman wearing one. Granny's was a unisex boutique and Waymouth told me that in Granny's all the clothes would be displayed on one rail. Mens & womens all mixed together. So customers looked at everything and if it fitted you, why not wear it.
This is a still from Antonioni's Blow Up with model Verushka. The dress is a sequinned and beaded tunic from about 1910-20 and originally would have been worn over another dress. It ws one of Sheila Cohen's original collection of vintage clothing which was the original stock for Granny Takes A Trip.
I like this picture of Joanna Lumley with her son. She's wearing one of Sheila Cohen's dresses made from cotton Indian bedspreads which she and Nigel Waymouth had seen in Pontins department store. The dresses were made up and sold in Granny Takes A Trip.
This photograph comes from an article called "The Englishman: the best dressed man in the world?" from the first issue of Men In Vogue, November 1965. Christopher Gibbs wears a double breasted suit from Blades and he would be a good candidate for the prize. The winner of thier worst dressed man of 1965 award went to prime minister Harold Wilson. Christopher Gibbs also wrote the shopping guide for the magazine. I'm afraid I can't find out who the photgrapher was.
This photo was one of a whole series of pictures taken during the filming of the Paperback Writer / Rain promo on 19th May 1966. Famously one ends up on the back cover of Revolver. But I'm particularly interested in John's shirt which is by Granny Takes A Trip and has that very distinctive, huge beagle ear collar. The print is from Liberty's and called Makates.
This fabulous colour version of Ronald Traeger's photograph really bring the clothes to life, and those colours really do sing! Marijke Koger and Yosha Leeger of The Fool designed all of the clothes and they were typical of the items sold in the Apple Boutique. It's a riot of jewel coloured satins gold braid and what looks like old embroidered trim on the waistband and cuffs of Pattie's blue blouse. The green moire patterned jacket is the star of the show for me though. Such fab sleeves!
The International Times was a counterculture newspaper launched on 15th October 1966 with a concert at the Roundhouse in Chalk Farm London. The concert was called: "A Million Volt Light And Sound Rave" and featured experimental tape/electronic music by Paul McCartney, Unit Delta Plus (Delia Derbyshire, Brian Hodgson and Peter Zinovieff) live sets by underground bands Pink Floyd and Soft Machine. The newspaper was raided by the police from April 1967 onwards presumably to force closure.
I've written about this in the blog post, but I think it's great to see the map and location. Masons Yard is just off Duke Street, home to Robert Fraser's Gallery and close to Jermyn Street, the home of gentlemans shirt makers including Turnbull & Asser where Michael Fish trained and worked before opening his own shop in Clifford Street.
All the Beatles partners, except Jane Asher, wearing clothes designed and made by Marijke Koger and Yosha Leeger of The Fool. Marijke has provided me with a fabulous colour version of this print which I'll definitely post later. The colour is such an important element for all the clothes from this period. Thanks Marijke!
The Scotch of St James was just one of the private nightclubs that had opened in the mid-1960s as late night drinking venues for "Swinging London's" young social elite. The Scotch opened on the 14th July 1965 as a night club/live music venue just around the corner from Robert Fraser's 69 Duke Street gallery (opened in 1962) and the soon to be opened Indica bookshop and gallery (September 1965), it replaced the Ad Lib as the main venue for those with counter cultural ideas.
Yoko Ono had come to London to attend the Destruction in Art symposium on the 9th to 11th September 1966. While installing her work at the Indica Gallery in November, John Lennon walked in. Ono's conceptual work was influenced by the ideas of composers La Monte Young and John Cage and the Fluxus group of artists. She'd previously visited Paul McCartney's home asking for a Lennon & McCartney manuscript to include in Notations, a book of music manuscripts compiled by John Cage.
"We had a casual way of running the gallery. I never took it seriously as a business in the way that they do now...... The gallerist Robert Fraser liked what we were doing and subsequently gave John Lennon his first one-person show there. We were the first post-war generation, and the biggest changes happened then. It was a very different time. Everything was on the move – it made you want to do new things, whether it was in art, film, music." John Dunbar quoted in Tate Magazine (Summer 2004)
Paul McCartney had told Life Magazine that he'd taken LSD on the day before his 25th birthday. The day afterwards he did the ITN interview. I was impressed by how confident and self possessed he was in the interview, constantly pushing the responsibility back onto the interviewer. His admission, made in June was surely in support of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards who had received unjustly harsh sentences on drugs charges at Winchester on 10th May the same day that Brain Jones was busted.
Barry Miles' biography of Paul McCartney says: "McCartney recalled the inner-gatefold image as an example of the Beatles' interest in "eye messages", adding: "So with Michael Cooper's inside photo, we all said, 'Now look into this camera and really say I love you! Really try and feel love; really give love through this!' ... [And] if you look at it you'll see the big effort from the eyes." John Lennon said it showed "two people who are flying [on drugs], and two who aren't".