Sunday, 4 March 2018

Would you let your own daughter undergo - The Jimi Hendrix Experience 1967

                                             THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE
It was only a year ago, between the end of military gear and the start of Flower Power, that Jimi Hendrix, a completely unknown 22-year-old coloured American guitarist and singer, came to Britain. This autumn he topped the Melody Maker poll as the No.1 musician, and his group ''The Jimi Hendrix Experience'' goes out for £700-£1000 a night. All his records have been tremendous chart successes, but it is in his live appearances that he has made his mark. He burnt a guitar at the Monterey Pop Festival in June, the Daughters of the American Revolution complained that he was too sexy; he treats his guitar like sex-organs and his loudspeakers like lovers. On stage, dwarfing the three group members, are 12 giant cabinets containing 48 loudspeakers, each one of which can fill the Albert Hall with sound. The effect is rather like having the Albert Hall fall in on top of you. Hendrix and his group affect fuzzed-out hairstyles and a giddy variety of brocaded, multicoloured clothes on stage and off. But in spite of the noise, and a riotous, balletic stage act, he is a talented and even significant artist. For James Marshall Hendrix, like any other coloured American, and a generation of teenagers in the Western world, grew up with the violent, vivid tradition of the blues, the urban folk music of the West: and his playing and singing are closer to the blues than any artist of comparable popularity. In his fine, smoky voice can be heard an echo of one of the great hero-figures of the Negro blues, McKinley Morganfield, who is better known as Muddy Waters. For Hendrix, with his hair, the lucky charms hanging round his neck, and the devilish, overt sexuality, can be seen as an embodiment of Muddy's most famous song, the solemn, voodoo-tinged hymn of male potency 'Hootchie Cootchie Man'. Blues of this temper were popularised in Britain by the Rolling Stones, who took their name from another Muddy Waters song, 'Rolling Stone Blues'. But the twitching Mick Jagger can't conjure up the power that is Jimi's birthright. Jimi Hendrix is our very own Hootchie Cootchie Man, our noble savage, a hero riding in a fine frenzy high over the fairytale meanderings of Britain's psychedelic kids, who love him for his pretty clothes. The hard, tough lads who know dig him too. When Jimi first played at a club in London's West End, a young connoisseur turned to Paul McCartney, 'Look, I know blues mate - you need a guitarist like that in your band.'

                                   Jimi Hendrix photographed at his London flat by Terence Donovan, 1967. 

Hendrix was born in Seattle on the Pacific Coast in 1945. His father is a landscape gardener. In the honey-beige, wildcat face there is Red Indian from his pure Cherokee grandmother, whom he saw much of when his parents marriage broke up. 'I used to spend summer vacations on her reservation in Colorado, and the kids at school would laugh when I wore shawls and poncho things she made. But on the whole my school was pretty relaxed. We had Chinese, Japanese, Puerto Ricans, Filipinos - we won all the football games! I wanted to be an actor or a painter. I particularly liked to paint scenes on other planets. ''Summer afternoon on Venus'' and stuff like that. The idea of space travel excited me more than anything.' He has a child-like fascination with outer-space. One of his compositions is about visitors to earth from another planet: O strange beautiful grass of green, With your majestic silken scenes, Your mysterious mountains I wish to see closer, May I land my kinky machine? After landing from a three month tour of the United States, Hendrix and his group strolled casually through London Airport Immigration like other-world birds of paradise....Hendrix, tolerant, relaxed good humoured with the customs officials as they impound his portable stereo equipment, fingers his silk and velvet clothes. The entourage - drummer Mitch, bassist Noel, road manager Gerry Stickles, the assistant known simply as 'H', and promotion man Tony Garland - glide smoothly and efficiently past autograph hunters and into the hired Rolls. The chauffeur is apologetic...''The firm couldn't send the new one, sir, as last time it came back with ''I Love You'' scratched on the paintwork with a nail file.' It is all as normal as could be, all part of the gig. Three streams most usually taken by ambitious coloured boys in the United States are: the armed forces, sport - and music. Explaining this, Jimi's hands flutter, making freaky little science-fiction scenes, harps, waterfalls. 'After school I joined the Army Airborne, and got to Spec 4 - that's what you would call a corporal - but I got injured on a jump and hung up on the discipline. I was on the road for a while hitch-hiking with my discharge pay and a guitar. I got to New York. A big rock 'n' roll tour manager saw me playing in a vaudeville act and I started out to play backing guitar to all the big name combos.'  Jimi's Career for three years reads like the sleeve-note for an Identikit rebel, for every guitar-picker in every poor dusty town really hopes that his guitar will buy him a Cadillac and deep-freeze. But the way up the professional ladder for a Negro musician is tough. For Jimi, the discipline of playing on one-night stands behind the great names of the 'Solid Gold Soul' (where you could be fined five bucks for missing a step in the routine) was worse than the army.

                               Jimi Hendrix live at The Monterey Pop Festival 1967 - Photograph by Bruce Fleming.

One of the big names he played with was the ordained preacher-rocker, Little Richard: 'He wouldn't let me wear the frilly shirts on stage, just these shiny silk suits. He said, ''I'm the only one allowed to be pretty.'' ' This conformity in dress, plus the endless repeated phrases in the music and the mechanical climaxes of commercial Negro bands, couldn't hold a young man with ideas of his own. Jimi kept missing the tour bus, checking out of motels, leaving songs he'd written behind in lieu of payment. Eventually, in August last year, he hitched back to New York. He was having a bad time in a small club in Greenwich Village when Chas Chandler, an English pop star in New York, heard him and saw how he might take to the British pop scene and it to him. Today Chas, long, sleek, and boyish, is at 28 a confident, expansive Geordie tycoon, happy with life.  'I saw Jimi as the governor rebel of all time. I mean he may be nice as ninepence as a bloke, mind, but here was the guy who was going to turn on all the chicks, crucify every blues guitarist in the world. 'He wanted to use a wider idiom than blues, and was being drawn towards Bob Dylan-type fantasy, so we could give him the chance to write his own songs, which he has done with great success. I went into partnership with my own manager Mike Jeffrey to manage Jimi. We spent £5000 before Jimi did a single gig, including wages for Jimi's group. For the group had to be the best possible, both temperamentally and musically.'

They got drummer John 'Mitch' Mitchell from Georgie Fame's outfit, and Noel Redding for bass, who together with the electric hardware make up the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Mitch, is small, alert, quick, an Ealing lad, who has been a child actor, with fond parents who sent him to the Corona Stage School ... 'I saw all my friends becoming faggots because it was the done thing. I thought - ''There must be something else.'' ' He had his twenty-first birthday in Miami Beach after playing the Hollywood Bowl at the climax of last summer's US tour. His parents in Bordars Walk, Ealing, had a cake made for him on his return in an exact full-size replica of a snare-drum with sticks. Mitch gestures  like Jimmy Cagney with 10 spread fingers, dead serious. 'I find so many British musicians go to the States determined to be inferior - I mean no one, no one scares me.' On stage his drumming matches Hendrix's pyrotechnics with perfect confidence. He wants to plough back his money into musical experiments, working with jazzmen, but couldn't resist buying a yellow Lotus Elan. Noel the bassist is slight, with a stringy frame, relaxed and laconic. He has a soft, handsome, bookworm's face, with steel rimmed National Health specs and a wooly buzz of hair more spectacular than Hendrix's. 'Mitch perms: mine's natural.'  Noel is a straight rock 'n' roller up from Folkestone: 21 years old, a hundred and fifty quid a gig, all the birds he can get and doesn't give a sod. He is a Red Barrel-and-gin man with long experience in groups. 'I've seen it all, been on the road for four years. I get very lonely but I don't show it. What I really like is making love to a girl and seeing her straight after standing there while I'm playing. I'm saving up to buy a nightclub in Spain. I see soldiers there sometimes looking at me, laughing. I just think to myself ''Who's the fool?'' ' Noel has the kind of steady temperament to stand up playing like an anchor, keeping the foundations solid while Jimi and Mitch are skyrocketing into the fourth dimension. Hendrix has three guitars on stage (he has smashed 13). Two are white and sculptural, and one is like a bizarre painted arrow. He has opened up the expressive range of blues. His playing sounds like about a thousand miles of thin steel sheet in the sky being ripped apart...Sounds like a posse of 500cc Rockers playing chicken in a tunnel...sounds like all the sawmills and goods yards in the world...Jimi rides it all like a child on the big dipper. A composition of his is called 'Stars that Play with Laughing Sam's Dice'. On one level it's all about a trip on a space rocket called 'Butterfly Rollerskate' and it all flies apart as it passes Mars 'somewhere on your left': Jimi himself can be heard shouting delightedly 'I hope you're all enjoying the ride - I know I am'. 

                                                               IMAGE CREDITS & LINKS
All images scanned by Sweet Jane from an original article by record producer, graphic artist, painter, lyricist, poet, manager and film-maker Austin John Marshall for the Observer Magazine, 3rd December, 1967. Jimi Hendrix photographs © Terence Donovan and Bruce Fleming respectively. Jimi Hendrix lyric © 1967 A. Schroeder Music Publishing Co. Ltd. Discover more about the photographer Terence Donovan and view his portfolio of work via the Terence Donovan Archive. Visit the Bruce Fleming Photography Website here. An interview with Bruce Fleming: On Jimi Hendrix, the 1960s and the Art of Photography and you can also listen to a podcast about the time that he spent Christmas with Jimi Hendrix. A great piece on Jimi Hendrix's arrival in London in September 1966. More on the Jimi Hendrix influence from this period in one of my previous posts, and view Jimi wearing a shirt by the label Sam Pig in Love created by Paul Reeves, a new line of clothing available from Kleptomania Boutique in 1967. Discover more about this particular clothing label over on The Look: Adventures in Rock and Pop Fashion. And finally, pay a visit to Jimi's London flat on the upper floors of 23 Brook Street.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Le Masculin Féminin - Dépèche Mode 1971


                               LE MASCULIN FÉMININ  

The mini-skirted tailored suit on the right is probably the earliest example of Thierry Mugler's work that I've ever seen, judging by the date, this would have been created during the period when he was freelancing for various ready-to-wear fashion houses throughout Europe, precisely two years before he designed his "Café de Paris" Collection, the first one to have been designed under his own name in 1973, and long before he became known for the sculptural, futuristic designs, which we now associate  with the peak of his career in the 1980s and 1990s.  It was also interesting to note that the printed blouse worn underneath the suit was designed by Gérard Silvi, who was part of his circle of friends, along with Claude Montana and Guy Paulin. I hadn't previously been aware of the fact that Gérard Silvi had also moved into fashion design, I only knew of him as a model/stylist. As you can see in the last image below, he had great personal style, this photograph of him by Chantal Wolf, was included in a feature on Dandyism for Plexus in 1967, and you can view the original article in one of my previous posts Les Assassins du Bodygraph - lancent le prêt - à - choquer from a number of years ago.  

From left to right: Double-breasted trouser suit, closed by 6 buttons, in black and grey striped flannel (Miss Diff). Saint-Clair blouse. Tilbury shoes. Felt Fedora from Madelios. Feremé frock coat, with 6 button closure, in finely striped black, grey and white cotton (Sim's Imper). Pink silk blouse from Saint-Clair. Stockings by Sisley. Danaud shoes. Softly curved semi-fitted suit with shoulder pads and very short pleated skirt in black crȇpe. (Thierry Mugler for Karim). Blouse in printed crȇpe by Gérard Silvi. Felt hat by Jean Charles Brosseau. Stockings by Exciting. Shoes France Favert.                                                        

                                        Designer Gérard Silvi - Photograph by Chantal Wolf (1967). 

                                                                   IMAGE CREDIT & LINKS
All images scanned by Sweet Jane from an original fashion feature in Dépèche Mode, May 1971. Photograph by Jean-Paul Merzagora. Models uncredited. Gérard Silvi photograph by Chantal Wolf, scanned from Plexus Issue No. 9, 1967. It's good to see the Masculin Féminin look resurfacing so strongly in 1971, five years after Yves Saint Laurent had debuted his somewhat controversial Le Smoking suit, and also to see the continued influence of the Bonnie and Clyde 30s era and 1940s Gangster style revival, which was triggered by the 1967 Arthur Penn directed movie of the same name. This is a recent review of ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ at 50: A Revolutionary Film That Now Looks Like the Last Work of Hollywood Classicism - by Owen Gleiberman for Variety (August 2017). Some more examples inspired by Chicago's gangsters of the 1930s in these Hats by Edward Mann from his 1966 Collection. Twiggy modelling the Masculin Féminin Dandy Look for Vogue in 1967, and once again here for the Biggy Twiggy Super Poster 1967. Another poster girl of the look - Faye Dunaway, star of Bonnie and Clyde, and the inspiration behind a full-blast return to '30 styles in 1968. Discover more about the origins of the Frock Coat here. Thierry Mugler, a monster talent - an in-depth article on the elusive designer by Eric Dahan for Vanity Fair (2016). View a Thierry Mugler - Designer Profile by Jeanne Beker for Fashion Television. And finally, while putting this post together (not being a native French speaker) I found myself a little bit Lost in Translation on Google Translate once more.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Multiplex Minis by Peter Max 1970

                                     ✰ ✰ ✰ MULTIPLEX MINIS BY MAX ✰ ✰ ✰

''You can fall under the spell of astrology and plan your life accordingly. Or you can go beyond it and control the star power yourself.'' Who's the speaker? Peter Max, one-man design explosion and Pied Piper of effervescent young ideas. His joyous creativity begins here, bursts into fashion (for the first time!) on the following pages and practically paints this whole issue in the warming colours of peace and love. His message above is simply this: ''Everyone has to make choices and there are some that only you can make.'' We'll go along with that! 

Make tracks to Peter Max-land, where joy and freedom reign supreme! Here, his exuberance fairly bubbles on a lanky, tanky streak of star power. A triangled crest shields the front; if you swivel round, you'll show the rectangular version. Wear-Dated dress of basically-plum Stretchknit fabric double-knit of Monsanto's Blue C nylon. Sizes 3-13. For Bryant 9; about $27 at Lord & Taylor, New York. Panty hose designed by Mr Max, for Burlington-Cameo. Background artwork also by Peter Max. Our model is Bonnie Lysohir; her helmet of hair by Phillip Mason of Vidal Sassoon. Photographed by Bruce Laurance. 

A more recent example of the Peter Max dress above, with an excellent shot of the aforementioned geometric design on the back, which although referred to in the description, wasn't photographed for the original editorial. Sadly the item is no longer available for sale, but you can still view the listing and several other photographs on the Circus Cat Vintage shop website.  


Zap! Here's Peter Max, splashing phantasma-graphics on little-knit cutups (it's his first flash into fashion-we'll try to decode the messages). From the left: Love is in the stars, blinking pinks on a sink of soft-bodied knit. Mark XIV choker, spiraling Eye Plus bracelet. Harmony arrives in three tiers: red stars announce the pull-dress, the inner circle is a wide work-of-art midriff, green gives the go signal! 


Happiness is an exuberant shirtdress, clowning around with a dotty top. The budding Peter Max tie hides a placket: the skirt cuts corners for a latticed print. Shoes, so far, by Latinas. Balance is the mirror-imagery reflected in a supple symmetrical knit buttoned up and dotted down. Fashion Craft shoes. All by Bryant 9; each $27. Pantyhose by Peter for Burlington-Cameo.


Some more examples of the trend for painted tights in this Petticoat fashion feature, which was published around 5 months after the previous Peter Max editorial appeared in Seventeen Magazine.

                                          IMAGE CREDITS & LINKS
All images scanned by Sweet Jane from an original fashion editorial in Seventeen Magazine, April 1970. All background illustrations and clothing designed by Peter Max. All hairdos by Philip Mason of Vidal Sassoon. An interview with cover model: Bonnie Lysohir - who went on to become executive vice president of Barneys Inc. and the director of women's fashion for the company. And although uncredited in the editorial, I think it's possible that the other model may be Joyce Wilford, who regularly featured on the fashion pages of the magazine during this period and also shared the cover with Bonnie a year later in the July 1971 issue. Peter Max sleeveless dress photograph courtesy of Circus Cat Vintage. Watch an interview with Peter Max on the classic public television talk program Day at Night which aired from 1973-1974. Some film footage of the Swami Vishnudevananda Peace Plane, designed by Peter Max in 1970. Discover more about the recent Wrangler x Peter Max collaboration and shop the limited edition collection. And here, you'll also find some vintage pieces from his original 1970s collaboration with the Wrangler brand. View one of my previous Peter Max Accessories posts from 1970, and another example of the trend for painted pop art fashion, accessories, and astrological fashion. The Petticoat fashion feature was scanned from Petticoat Magazine - 8th August 1970. Photographer and models uncredited. And finally, you can connect with Peter Max on his official Facebook and Twitter a/c.

Saturday, 20 January 2018

The Now Generation - 1970

                                                         THE NOW GENERATION
Groove through-the-looking-glasses with two eye catching knits of easy care Quintess polyester. In get-him-and-keep-him lilac, grape, sand or maize with white. Sizes 5-13. Each about $20.

Vintage mini dress clothing advertisement  from Seventeen magazine April 1970

                                                             IMAGE CREDIT
                              Image scanned by Sweet Jane from Seventeen Magazine, April 1970.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Qiana - Dépèche Mode 1970

Some fantastic illustrations, which were used to promote Qiana - a luxury, silk-like, nylon fibre developed by Stanley Brooke Speck for Du Pont in 1962. It was initially introduced to the fashion industry by Du Pont in 1968 through its association with various Couture Houses, such as Dior, Balmain, Pucci, Cardin and Ungaro. Eventually becoming widely used by ready to wear designers throughout the early 1970s as shown in these adverts, before filtering down to the home sewing market by the mid seventies. It then disappeared from view as a marketed fashion fabric brand and was banished to the fabric composition label as a 'blend' under it's original chemical name, when synthetic fibres had finally lost their allure as the 'miracle fabrics' of the future, and their reputation increasingly moved closer towards one associated with bad taste. It did have one 'last hurrah' though, via the black Qiana nylon shirt and white Dacron polyester suit as worn by John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever (1978), but could never truly shake off the reputation that it had acquired in the public mind as times changed, once it had fallen out of favour. I've included several links related to the fabric at the end of this post, including an incredible selection of DuPont Company films and commercials from the Hagley Museum and Library: Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department, there are some particularly interesting ones from the 1960s and 1970s which are definitely worth checking out.

                                                        IMAGE CREDITS & LINKS
All images scanned for the Sweet Jane blog from Dépèche Mode, March 1970, with thanks to Brad Jones. All illustrations by H. Majeha. The Hagely Digital Archive's collection of DuPont Company films and commercials. Discover more about the Daniel Hechter brand, and view some other examples of his designs as featured in Queen (1969).  Some rare film footage of designer Harry Lans at work, creating a silver foil mini skirt in Paris (1967), and more of his designs as featured in Elle (1969). View Du Pont's Heritage Timeline from 1802 to the present day. Marc Bohan's 1968 wedding ensemble designed for the House of Dior using Du Pont's Qiana, which has been donated to The Met Museum. Here you'll find some of my favourite psychedelic Dacron Polyester adverts, narrated by ken Nordine. And finally, footage from the last official 'hurrah' of Qiana by Du Pont, as worn by John Travolta in 1978.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Nature gave this girl dull brown hair - Jackie Magazine 1969

                              NATURE GAVE THIS GIRL DULL BROWN HAIR. 

Now there's a natural solution to dull brown hair. A shampoo called Supersoft Hairtoner. It's a shampoo...but what a shampoo! Supersoft Hairtoner tones and tints as you shampoo, to bring out the true warmth in brown hair. To bring out exciting highlights...naturally and gently. There are four Supersoft Hairtoner shampoos, Brown soft, Brown Fire, Brown Gold, Brown Rich. Whatever shade of brown hair you have, Supersoft Hairtoner will make an exciting change.

Vintage 1960s hair colour print advertisement from Jackie Magazine

vintage 1960s hair colour advertisement from jackie magazine 1969

                                            IMAGE CREDITS & LINKS
All images scanned by Sweet Jane from Jackie Magazine No.277. April 26th, 1969. Model and Photographer uncredited by the original publication. View some of my previous posts about 1960s & 1970s Hairstyles here: Curls: The Nouvelle Wave 1967.  Leslie Cavendish - The Beatles' Hairdresser 1967-1975. Colour Crazy - Rave Magazine 1967. Let Colour Go To Your Head 1972. Plus some fantastic examples of 'Big Hair' by Derek Roe for Queen Magazine 1966 and also by Jean-Yves Elrhodes 1968. And finally, My Favorite Brunette

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Show Yourself In Your True Colours - Jackie Magazine 1971

                        SHOW YOURSELF IN YOUR TRUE COLOURS!
Does your personality show through your clothes? (You want to watch what you wear, luv!). No, really, you can tell a lot about people by the colours they wear - especially if they seem to favour one particular colour! To find out a bit more about your friends and also what type you are yourself, look over the colours we've chosen below as example.

If you seem to have more red gear looming out of your wardrobe than any other colour then as far as you're concerned RED certainly doesn't mean Stop!  You're the ''all systems go'' type, with no holds barred! You'll go all out to get what you want and if anything looks like standing in your way you can surmount it with the minimum of effort. Male-wise you go to the top. Good-looking, plenty  cash to see you have a good time, but he has to have an understanding nature because YOUR way is ALWAYS best!  Get yourself easily spotted in this one-button blazer and reverse print shirt. The shirt has long sleeves and stops at the waist.  Complete your outfit with a flirty skating skirt and hat.  Jacket from all branches of Bus Stop. Style No.498 £6.95. Fabric: Cotton. Colours: Red, blue, green or yellow, all with white. Sizes 8-14. Spottie blouse from all Bus Stop branches. Style No.3932 Price: £4.95. Fabric: Rayon. Colours: Red or Blue on White. Sizes 8-14. Skating skirt by Miss Impact.  Style No. C5024. Price: £1.80. Fabric: Jersey. Colours: Black, brown, purple, red. Sizes: 10-14. Woven hat from selection at Herbert Johnson. Style: Della. Price: £2.50. Colours: Natural, red, white, black, navy. Stripey socks from Mr. Freedom. Price: £2.40.

Lots of ''blue'' people are really ''reds'' in disguise because blue is the soft shade of innocence and a lot of crafty ''reds'' would like to think of themselves as such! But true blues are easily spotted. They have this warm friendliness about them which never fails to capture the hearts of those around. Love is the mainstay of their lives. Without it they can't survive so, needless to say, they are rarely without the company of a dishy bloke. Have a fit of  the blues—the happy kind of course—in a short skirt and sexy stockings. Shirt by Impact. Style No. D4070. Price: £4. Fabric: Bonded crepe. Colours: Black, brown, burgundy, purple, blue. Sizes: 10-14. Shorts by Medusa. No style number. Price £3.50. Fabric: Velveteen. Colours: Assorted. Sizes: 10-14. Socks by Morley. Style: Hot Socks. Price: 59p. Colours: White, navy, black. One size.

1970S fashion illustration from jackie magazine

We all have our problems, dear. We won't go as far as to call you a ''schizo'' - just a bit mixed up! One minute you're bombing about like a mad thing and the next you've got a hefty dose of the galloping gloomies! You're one of those people who enjoys a challenge but once it's beat, you immediately lose interest. You never stick to any particular thing-including blokes! Your man will have to be willing to share you with lots of others because you change fella's just about as often as you change your gear. Mix yourself up in a myriad of colours. Two t-shirts—one a vest and the other with short sleeves by Maudie Moon. Short sleeve Style No. MMM5. Price: £2.50. Fabric 100% Acrilan single jersey. Colours: As illustrated. Sizes: Small, medium. Trousers by Travers Tempos. Style No. 527. Price £5.75. Fabric: Facecloth. Assorted colours: Sizes 10-16. Flattie shoes with instep lacing from main branches of Lilley and Skinner. Style: Astra.  Price: £4.99. Fabric: Suede. Colours: Raspberry/pink. rust/brown. black/purple. Sizes: 3-8.


                                                            IMAGE CREDITS & LINKS
All images scanned by Sweet Jane from Jackie Magazine No. 402. September 18th, 1971. Illustrations/Artist uncredited in the original publication. Further reading on the subject of Colour Psychology and The Emotional Effects of Colours. The role and meaning of colours for a spiritual seeker, and how colours can have a significant effect on our lives. Color is for everyone! 1968. She Comes In ColorsAny Colour You Like, She's like a Rainbow. View some of my previous Jackie Magazine posts from 1969 and 1970. Discover more about Herbert Johnson Hatters and view Twiggy wearing one of their hats in Vogue, 1967.  A forum for anyone that remembers or worked in Kensington Market London 1970s - 1995. And finally, the excellent Fans of Jackie Magazine UK  Facebook group. 

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Courrèges: Clothes of the Future 1965

                         CLOTHES OF THE FUTURE ARE HERE
Of all the couturiers now working in Paris, Courrèges is the one whose designs are really revolutionary. He questions some of the basic conventions of women's dress: Why should skirts go down to the knee? What's the use of jewellery? Why shouldn't fashion be functional? The clothes of Courrèges have been called ''Space Age'' clothes - but, as our pictures show, this doesn't mean bizarre pressure-suits and odd helmets, it means clothes for the Space Age: the age of action, freedom, and participation, of the woman who moves around. They are designed to simplify her life. The less important details may change from season to season, but Courrrèges remains faithful to his own fashion belief. Here photographer Hatami records Courrèges evolving the look of the seventies and the new excitements of this season's collection, while Joy Tagney tells what the 40 year old designer is like.

                                                                              Cover Photograph by Hatami.

                                                           THE ENGINEER OF CLOTHES
In his short white jacket, André Courrèges looks like a very healthy doctor. With his athlete's build and addiction to rugby, he's a long way from the popular image of the willowy couturier. In more than appearance, Courrèges brings a breath of sturdy rural individualism into the hothouse world of the salons - he was born in the Basque country 40 years ago. ''I often drive to Pau, to see my family and friends who still live there. I like to slip out of Paris whenever I can, to see the green fields, the trees, the clear sky - I love nature.'' Indoors, he likes the theatre, cinema and Plato. But it's his admiration for the simplicity of the seventeenth-century Flemish painters, and for Le Corbusier and Kandinsky's geometrical abstractions, that tells most about him as a designer and a man.

                                               Fashion designer André Courrèges. Photograph by Hatami.

For Courrèges, who likes to think of himself as an engineer of clothes, started life as an engineer of bridges and roads. ''I wanted to be a painter,'' he says, ''but my parents persuaded me to study civil engineering at the college in Pau. They thought it would be a steadier career. I enjoyed the drawing and designing, but I left before taking my exams. I knew I would never become an engineer.'' ''While still at college, I began designing men's suits for a local tailor, and also did a little shoe designing. In 1948 I came to Paris and spent eight months at a small fashion-house. But just designing wasn't enough. I wanted to learn the secrets of dress-making techniques for myself. A real couturier must be able to do everything.'' ''Then I discovered Balenciaga's work. It was a revelation, the perfect balance between technique and art. When the chance came to join his house, I jumped at it. I went into his workrooms at 25 like the youngest apprentice, knowing nothing about needles, scissors, sewing-machines. Eleven years later he made me his first assistant, and I took charge of his salon in Madrid. I admire him tremendously and like him very much.''

The Courrèges 1965 trouser suit has a jerkin with cut-away armholes, and hipster trousers with a looser leg than last year's. The goggles are slit to see through. Photograph by Hatami.

In 1961 Courrèges left Balenciaga to start his own fashion-house in the Avenue Kleber. The decor is almost entirely white - Courrèges's favourite colour - but the atmosphere, though dedicated, is far from clinical. Big gilt mirrors relieve the white walls; the white curtains are draped softly, and bobbled; vases of pink and white flowers stand on white carpets. His first collections were in the tradition of Balenciaga. Then in his fifth he showed a number of trouser suits, and became famous as the Trouser King. For Courrèges, trousers are not just a gimmick, but part of his fashion philosophy. ''I get my inspiration from simple, natural things. I don't like any form of artificiality, in people or life. I don't make clothes for women who lead an unreal, pampered life, but for girls who go shopping, run for buses, women who have jobs as well as being wives. My clothes aren't particularly feminine - I design for a world where women are often as successful as men, if not more successful.'' Courrèges's is one of the rare fashion-houses that don't sell perfumes: ''Most couturiers only exist because of the money brought in by perfumes - the clothes play a very small part, they're really just for the publicity. I appreciate the commercial side - it's very necessary - but I don't let it dictate to me; I won't be bound by anything. When I bring out a perfume I want it to be a thunderbolt, a flash of lightening, and part of the collection - I'd like it to be free.'' 

The Courrèges trouser suit for evening has hipster trousers on braces and a cropped bolero jacket in pink and white check sequins, worn over a white top. Photograph by Hatami.

At present Courrèges needs no lightening-flashes to electrify audiences. His shows are startling experiences. Models march on and off like robots, giving themselves just enough time to display the clothes with quick, jerky movements. The telephone rings constantly. Musique concrete thumps from stereo speakers. The music is the creation of Coqueline Barrère, Courrèges's first assistant. She too comes from the Basque country, and has known him for over 15 years. Asked about the future, she says: ''His evolution has always been very slow. It will continue like this, always in a straight line, one foot in front of the other.'' This rings true. Whether or not his present success in the fickle world of salons continues, Courrèges will evidently go on producing clothes of scientifically precise design and wonderful craftsmanship. The straight line shows no sign of wavering.

The Courrèges 1965 coat grabs the eye with deck-chair stripes of white and pistachio. It is cut double-breasted with a neat stand-up collar and caught by a belt at the hips. Photograph by Hatami.

French pop star Francoise Hardy wears a white suit designed for her by 'Trouser King' Courrèges. Photograph by Hatami.

His party dress for 1965 is shaped like a gym-slip with a deep, square neck. The white top is latticed in pink and the skirt sequin-covered in pink, with boots to match. Photograph by Hatami.

As the Courrèges collection ends, Rose-marie, his pretty German model, in brief top and pants, holds in front of her a hankie shaped banner with FIN embroidered in silver sequins. Photograph by Hatami.

                                           IMAGE CREDITS & LINKS
All images scanned by Sweet Jane from the Observer Magazine March 1965. Original text and interview by Joy Tagney. All photographs by Hatami. Read 'Mère Courrèges. La femme du célèbre couturier des année 60' - a very interesting interview with Coqueline Courrèges, creative partner and wife of André Courrèges. Discover more about The Work of Legendary Photographer Shahrokh Hatami, including Ronan and Mia - a 23-minute documentary which was shot and directed by Hatami during the making of Polanski's Rosemary’s Baby, Part one, Two and ThreeVogue Remembers André Courrèges. And finally, some film footage of Courrèges Collections from 1968 , 1969 and 1970.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...