Sunday, 13 April 2014

Bedsitter Girl - Jane Asher in Nova 1966

I'm sure that many of you are already quite familiar with this photograph of Jane Asher, it has been reproduced several times in various fashion books over the years, but was originally published in an article called The Time The Place The Dress and The Food by Molly Parkin for Nova in 1966, printed poster-sized over a double-page layout, measuring 51.5 cm x 34cm for full visual impact! Molly commissioned Ossie Clark and Celia Birtwell to design a dress especially for the feature, she specifically wanted something which represented not only the throwaway, transient nature of the current youthful attitude towards fashion trends but also something with enough decorative value to end up on the wall in a bedsitter as pop paraphernalia after it had been worn at the weekend rather than in the bin!  So what better candidate for potential 'wall art' than a printed paper dress!  Celia painted her initial ideas in gouache, inspired by the work of Paul Poiret and illustrations from La Gazzete du Bon Ton, the finished designs were then printed onto a suitable Johnson & Johnson manufactured paper by the company of Zika Ascher, and the dresses made to order for the sum of 17s 6d each. I love the fact that Celia also took it upon herself to paint the vinyl floor tiles in the mock-up bedsit, mirroring the design detail from the border of the garment to complete the overall look of the set and that Molly (a woman after my own heart) attributed just about every single item on display to it's source, from the Biba beads to the Woolworth lollipops and sticks of rock!

On the floor: Jane Asher in a dress designed by Ossie Clark made of printed paper fabric designed by Celia Birtwell; made to order in small, medium and large sizes, approximately 17s 6d. Bangle at woolworths, 2s 9d. Vinyl floor tiles painted by Celia Birtwell. Lilac patent shoe by Russell & Bromley, 7½ gns. Amber patent shoe by Elliot, 8 gns. Coloured cigarette by Sobraine, 7s 2d for twenty. Coloured crepe stockings by Russell & Bromley, 6s 11d. Pop tin tray by Goods & Chattels. 9s 6d.

                                     Close-up of the design detail from the border of the dress. 

Above: One of Celia's initial designs for the paper dress rendered in gouache, inspired by the work produced at the Martine School of Decorative Arts in Paris. The school was set up by designer Paul Poiret in 1911 at 'La Maison Poiret' in an endeavor to realise his dream of creating a decorative arts movement in France which would be on par with the new developments in the arts taking place in Vienna and Germany at this time. The students consisted of young working class girls between the ages of 12-15 years old, Poiret encouraged them to work freely from nature, organising trips to the countryside and conservatories whenever possible, but apart from this input they were otherwise without artistic supervision. His role was merely to stimulate their artistic taste without influencing or criticising them in order to maintain the purity of the original source of inspiration in their work. He would then select a range from the finished designs which were suitable for reproduction and have them applied to fabrics, wallpapers, carpets, cushions and ceramics. The work received an excellent response amongst art circles and the public alike, and following an exhibition at the Salon d'Automne in 1912 the demand was such that Poiret opened a retail outlet called 'Atelier Martine' on Rue du Faubourg St Honoré. With a very favourable review in Vogue, the Martines went from strength to strength, also using their designs to create magnificent large scale murals, transforming hotels, shops, offices, private houses and also the studio of dancer Isadora Duncan into exotic, oriental palaces in the process. An international reputation was quickly established, however, the gathering momentum of the Martines success was  stopped in it's tracks by the outbreak of WW1 in 1914. The school closed for the duration of the war, and although Poiret tried several times to re-establish his career and the Martine style, most notably in the mid 1920s at the International Art Deco Fair, both failed to regain the former popularity of their glory days.

Three designs for round carpets, typical of the Martine style, from the workbooks of the School of Decorative Arts.                               

The Table: green paper drum table by Hull Traders Ltd, £3 13s. On the table: Large glass jar, £2, full of Smarties, Liquorice Allsorts and Barratt's assorted sweets; glass-topped storage jar, 6s 6d, containing dolls' eyes from Pedigree Dolls; spice jars, 2s 9d; glass dish, 7s 6d a pair, contain bath oils at Boots, 6s 6d. All the glassware from The Scientific Glassblowing Co Ltd. Hexagonal coloured boxes by Goods & Chattels, £1 17s 6d a set.

On the wall: wooden beads at Biba's, 11s. Striped shoes at Fifth Avenue, £3 19s 11d. Red and green shoe by Walter Steiger for Bally, 9½ gns. Bead bracelet at Biba's, 5s 6d. Dress designed by Ossie Clark of printed paper fabric designed by Celia Birtwell, made to order, 17s 6d. Plastic earrings by Paco Rabanne, £1 10s. Bangle at Woolworth, 2s 9d. Pink patent shoe by Russell & Bromley, £3 19s 11d. Woolworth lollipops. Paper roses from Portobello Road market. Dried flowers at Natural Fern Display Ltd, from 3s 6d each. Large wooden beads at Biba's, £1 2s 6d. Pearly Queen dress from Hector Binney stall, Bermondsey market.

The Bed: emerald green wooden bed by Gary Griffiths at Vasa, approximately £30. Green sheets at John Lewis, £5 19s 6d a set. Orange and red shoe by Walter Steiger at Bally, 9½ gns. Leather and suede shoe by Salvatore Ferragamo, 14 gns. Woolworth's rock, 1s a stick.

                                                           IMAGE CREDITS

All images & original Text scanned by Sweet Jane from an original article by Molly Parkin for NOVA, September 1966.  Model; Jane Asher, Photographs by Duffy. Celia Birtwell design in gouache scanned from Celia Birtwell by Celia Birtwell  *Close-up of border design detail on printed dress courtesy of the V&A collection. Carpet designs from the Martine School of Decorative Arts scanned from A Fashion For Extravagance by Sara Bowman


                                                  Visit the Celia Birtwell website here.

                                        Listen to Molly Parkin on Desert Island Discs here.
                                     Watch Great Lives-The Molly Parkin Documentary here.

                                       Read about the life and times of of Zika Ascher here.
                                    View an issue of La Gazette du Bon Ton from 1912 here.

                   Read about the career of designer Paul Poiret  & view examples of his work here.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Get Out Of Town - Fast! 1966

So the petrol war is hotting up? Get on the winning side, fast. Ride Regent - the lively one that's waking up Petrolsville.

                                                               IMAGE CREDIT
Image & original text scanned by Sweet Jane from the Observer magazine, May 1966. Model: Caroline Sanders. Photograph by Duffy.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

The Campbell Hang-Up Poster: John Alcorn 1968

                                   INTRODUCING THE CAMPBELL HANG-UP

A wild, wacky way to have your soup and get a way-out poster, too! Turn your wall souper-delic! This poster's a "biggy" - 2 feet by 3 feet. Get it by sending 3 different labels from either Campbell's Tomato, Vegetable Beef, Chicken Vegetable, Chicken Gumbo, Chilli Beef or Beef Noodle Soup, and 50¢ with the coupon below. The Campbell'll make Campbell kids everywhere say...M'm! M'm! Groovy!

                                                                   Image Credit
       Image & original text scanned by Sweet Jane from LIFE, December 6, 1968. Illustration by John Alcorn.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Velmar Girls...Vogue 1967

Velmar deep pile fabrics are the wild ones. You'll find the swinging purple label on all sorts of bright fashion ideas. On coats, hats, jackets and boots. Inside or out. When Velmar and Courtelle get together, you get the softest, warmest, easycare clothes that ever turned heads. Velmar turns an everyday journey into a whistle stop tour. Try it.

                                                                  IMAGE CREDIT
                Image scanned by Sweet Jane from VOGUE September 15th, 1967. Model Heather Daltrey.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Co-ordinated Quant 1966

For really co-ordinated chicks here's the topmost in organised planning! For the first time you can get really co-ordinated with dresses, coats, skirts 'n' shirts and handbags that have a make-up designed to match them. And for girls who want their make-up purses to carry through the really cool look there are packages galore that really swing in space-age steel and stark blacks and whites with a delicate daisy motif. So for that all-over look, mind you use MQ-MU - Eve Pollard.


                                                             IMAGE CREDITS
All images & original text scanned by Sweet Jane from PETTICOAT magazine 7th May 1966. Original article by Eve Pollard, Photographs by Nigel Redhead & Michael Legge.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Biba: Mini, Minier, Miniest! 1967

                                                                IMAGE CREDITS
All images scanned by Sweet Jane from LOOK, November 1967. Original article by Henry Ehrlich. Photograph by Douglas Kirkland.


Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Betsey Johnson's Dress for the Non-Seamtresses 1966


The mini-garbed blonde in this shimmering sequence of paste-it-yourself dressmaking is a New York model named Lauren Hutton who cannot sew and for once in her life can say....So what? 
Starting with a basic dress in see-through plastic shown below, Miss Hutton shows how even a girl who is all thumbs can glue together an eye-catching number. All she needs to do is apply adhesive-backed foil scallops to the vinyl surface in a layer on layer fish-scale pattern. The cut-outs come in a $5 kit sold with the unadorned $15 dress, and include not only the economy-size sequins but also, in separate kits, wiggly strips and bright stars. Dresses and cut-out kits are the whimsy of a 23-year-old designer named Betsey Johnson. In a year of work for the Paraphernalia shops, Miss Johnson has made a name for inventive ideas - none more so than this one, which permits a girl to clothe herself using the techniques of gift wrapping. The emergence of the fish-scale dress is shown in four stages from top to bottom, variety achieved by using different cut-outs is illustrated in the star and strips patches on the final dress. Shoes with clear plastic heels are by Herbert Levine ($38).

Close-up of cut-outs show scallops, curvy strips - enough in each kit to cover one dress, plus extra sheet of foil for free-form designs.

                                                              IMAGE CREDITS

All images & original text scanned by Sweet Jane from LIFE International September 1966. Model Lauren Hutton. Dress by Betsey Johnson. Photographer Howell Conant.