How to Join
the Fashion Spot / All Things Vintage / History of Style : a remembrance of things past
FAQ Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read Rules Links Mobile How to Join
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
06-01-2008
  1
Press escape to continue.
 
SomethingElse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Gender: femme
Posts: 5,517
1938- John Bates aka Jean Varon
Quote:
John Bates was born in 1938 in Ponteland, UK.

In 1957 at the age of 18, Bates worked as an apprentice under Gerard Pipart at the design house of Herbert Sidon of Sloane Street, London.

Two years later he became a freelance fashion illustrator. After a brief period with a wholesale design company, he was invited in 1958 to form the company Jean Varon. Under this label Bates contributed a wide range of youthful designs to the 60's and 70's fashion picture. He introduced some of the shortest mini-dresses in the early 60's, trouser suits in 1962, String vest dresses in 1963, a bridal Catsuit, striped tube dresses and stockings with matching dresses in 1964.

He formed his own label in 1972. John Bates designed black leather costumes for Diana Rigg in the role of Emma Peel in the British TV series the Avengers, including what he called "the smallest dress in the world". By 1965, copies of these clothes were on sale, and the leather outfits and the white vinyl coats were very popular. Another of his well-known dresses was the one Julie Christie wore in the film "Shampoo". Also in 1965, he brought out his "Bikini" dress where two halves were joined together with transparent netting.

Although he experimented widely with daring Op Art print fabrics and bold shapes, he stuck to a clear, simple silhouette and acquired a reputation for Empire Line evening dresses which were elaborately embroidered.

In 1973 he designed the famous backless evening dress and from the 70's onwards, evening wear played a major part of his collections. His clothes had a sophisticated youthfulness.

Financial problems forced him to discontinue his salon in 1980.

In 1989, he moved to Wales to live. He now lives in a cottage overlooking the river and designs for larger ladies freelance as well as perfecting his life-drawing.


fashionmodeldirectory.com . viewimages.com

__________________
“Above all, remember that the most important thing you can take anywhere is not a Gucci bag or French-cut jeans; it's an open mind” Gail Rubin Bereny
  Reply With Quote
 
06-01-2008
  2
Press escape to continue.
 
SomethingElse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Gender: femme
Posts: 5,517
Quote:
John Bates worked for a number of fashion design houses in London before setting up his own firm, which was called Jean Varon, in 1959. The firm specialised in well-designed, mid-priced clothes for women who did not have vast amounts of money to spend on dress.

By the 1970s John Bates was in charge of a thriving fashion business which sold in towns and cities throughout Britain, as well as internationally. Jean Varon closed in 1980.

John Bates was one of the main British fashion designers working in what fashion editors on newspapers and magazines had termed ‘the Puritan look’. Essentially, this was a neat phrase coined to describe ‘buttoned-up’ dresses in sombre shades, but with flashes of lighter colours.

The collection at the Fashion Museum includes over 500 dresses designed by John Bates for Jean Varon, as well as pieces from John Bates' own label. This collection has been donated to the Museum by Richard Lester, and by John Bates.


fashionmuseum.co.uk

  Reply With Quote
06-01-2008
  3
Press escape to continue.
 
SomethingElse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Gender: femme
Posts: 5,517
Quote:


The Museum of Costume in Bath [held] a retrospective of the designs of John Bates, one of the hottest names in fashion during the '60s, '70s and '80s



As well as designing the catsuit that Diana Rigg wore as Emma Peel in The Avengers, some fashion historians claim that it was he, and not Mary Quant or André Courrèges, who invented the miniskirt.



Bates created his designs, such as this one from 1963, under the label 'Jean Varon'.



A Jean Varon design from 1964.



A Jean Varon design from 1972.



A Jean Varon design from 1967.
telegraph.co.uk

  Reply With Quote
06-01-2008
  4
Press escape to continue.
 
SomethingElse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Gender: femme
Posts: 5,517
Quote:


Materially different

He was one of the hottest names in fashion for 20 years, dressing everyone from Princess Margaret to Diana Rigg. Then John Bates gave it all up to paint. On the eve of a retrospective, Brenda Polan meets the man who really invented the miniskirt

There's long been division in the ranks of fashion historians over who invented the miniskirt. Some insist it was André Courrèges in Paris; others assert it was Mary Quant in London. One authority who was there at the time, however, was certain it was someone else entirely.

Ernestine Carter, while based in London, was an American, beady of eye and unswayed by cross-Channel chauvinism. She was the fashion editor of the Sunday Times and, reporting from Paris in 1967, she started her article by confiding how boring it was eternally jotting next to her sketches and notes: 'But John Bates did that first!' John Bates doesn't quite demur but he does say: 'A lot of fashion is in the air and everybody plucks it out of the air at the same time. But I do think that sensitivity to fashion's mood is a very English thing.'

We are sitting in the dining-room of his home in Wales. The walls are white and covered with paintings, some his own and some the booty of a lifetime of collecting. Through the interior window to the kitchen we are just aware of his partner, John Siggins, bustling about the business of cooking supper.

John Bates was one of the key designers of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. He is still, in his late sixties, very handsome, with an elegance of body and gesture only the long-limbed have, and is a modest man, almost self-effacing until someone egregiously fails to give him his due. So the fact that the Museum of Costume in Bath, where an exhibition of his work opens on 14 July, seems to be billing him rather as the forgotten man of the 'youthquake' is slightly galling. No true student of fashion has forgotten John Bates.

He was born in Northumberland in 1938. His brothers followed his father down the pit but somehow the family knew John would be different. 'My dad offered to take me down the mine once, to show me what I was missing, but I asked him: "Why would I want to do that?" I knew I wanted to go to London. I had no clear idea what I wanted to do but I was certain I was going to do it in London.'

As his National Service drew to a close, a friend asked him what he was going to do. Bates concluded that he might try fashion as he had always designed a bit for his mother. The friend knew Herbert Sidon, a society couturier. 'He had a huge archive of magazines,' Bates remembers, 'and he told me to study it, paying particular attention to Balenciaga, Givenchy and Molyneux and why those clothes lasted while others didn't. I recognised that the answer was simplicity; a strong, clean silhouette.'

In 1959, Bates set up the Jean Varon label. Whether he invented the miniskirt or whether it was blowing in the wind for sensitives like him and Courrèges and Quant to pluck out simultaneously, Bates was probably the most influential designer of the 1960s. He dressed Diana Rigg in The Avengers, and that alone affords him iconic status among fashion historians and fans of forceful women and slick fabrics.

He did the shortest mini-dresses. He was the first to advocate bralessness, and the first to bare the midriff. He loved to play the arrogant dictator of fashion. 'I think everything should show,' he said in 1964. 'Nothing should go underneath. All a girl needs is something to hold up her stockings.' I tell him that a decade's bralessness is something my generation tends to regret, what with gravity and all. He doesn't budge.

He had the ability to inspire why-oh-why columnists, as well as adoring fashion writers. 'Newspapers loved stirring up a storm about indecency. But the mini was innocent. It was never tarty. There's this idea that male designers love to make women look ridiculous. But most gay boys look at the female body in the most positive way and want to make it alluring.'

All through the 1970s, when he launched a label under his own name, Bates dressed royalty and society women, including Princesses Margaret and Alexandra. He dressed great actresses - Maggie Smith, Sian Phillips, Julie Christie - as well as Cleo Laine and Dusty Springfield.

He and Siggins moved to Wales four years ago and Bates began to paint. His subjects are people, always done from life. 'When we used to go to parties,' says Bates, 'John would work the room but I'd fade into the wall and watch. He'd tell me to stop staring. But it's not staring. It's looking hard. It's what a painter does. A designer must do the same. You can tell a garment designed on the body and one done on a dummy. The former has movement, life. The other doesn't.'

For John Bates the bodies have always been lithe and lovely. And they have always moved.
telegraph.co.uk

  Reply With Quote
06-01-2008
  5
Press escape to continue.
 
SomethingElse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Gender: femme
Posts: 5,517
Quote:
c. 1967. PVC (polyvinyl chloride), Lent by Elizabeth Eggleston


vam.ac.uk

  Reply With Quote
06-01-2008
  6
Press escape to continue.
 
SomethingElse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Gender: femme
Posts: 5,517
Quote:
Bath Museum of Costume 2006.

John Bates was acknowledged as one of the big four names of British fashion in the 1970s along with Jean Muir, Bill Gibb and Zandra Rhodes. Nowadays, however, his name is less well known amongst the fashion conscious, although ‘Jean Varon’ is a name with which women of a certain age will be familiar. John Bates had been under-valued in fashion history. This exhibition redressed this inbalance.

John Bates’ intention was to produce good fashion design that could be afforded on a secretary’s wage. This exhibition showcased 90 ensembles which bear out the designer’s words. From the Empire line styles and daring see-through mesh dresses of the mid 1960s to the bright prints, floating chiffons and couture clothes towards the end of his career, this was an exhibition for everyone, young and old, who is interested in fashion of the 1960s and 1970s.




john-law.org.uk . fashionmuseum.co.uk


Last edited by SomethingElse; 06-01-2008 at 05:49 PM.
  Reply With Quote
06-01-2008
  7
Press escape to continue.
 
SomethingElse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Gender: femme
Posts: 5,517
Ahhhh, this is sooooo cool. Totally Alice in Wonderland!

Quote:
Short fur coat, made of panels of black and white coney (rabbit) fur joined together to give a diagonal and checkerboard pattern.

The coat was designed by John Bates as part of the Jean Varon Avengers Collection, which sold in shops throughout the UK from late September 1965, to co-incide with the first series of The Avengers TV programme starring Diana Rigg as Mrs Peel. John Bates designed the clothes that Diana Rigg wore in 14 of the 26 episodes of this series of The Avengers.

'His clothes are 100% modern. He has shortened the skirts, re-designed the black leather fighting suits into modern one-piece jump suits, introduced tailored snake skin and a whole range of op art furs'. So said Anne Trehearne of the 'Avengers' clothes. She was the fashion expert commissioned by ABC Television to give Mrs Peel a more up-to-the-minute look than the previous female lead, Cathy Gale (played by Honor Blackman). Anne Trehearne in turn chose John Bates to design the costumes for Diana Rigg.

As well as designing costumes for the TV series, John Bates and Jean Varon Ltd collaborated with 12 well-known fashion manufacturers to design a collection of 35 garments and matching accessories to be sold under licence as the Jean Varon Avengers Collection. This collection was immediately available in shops once the series started in October 1965.

This coat was made by Mr Reginald and cost 22 guineas. The collection also included boots by Rayne (cost 5 ½ guineas), a beret by Kangol (cost 17 shillings 11 pence) and gloves by Dents (cost 49 shillings 6 pence).

This coat was bought by Richard Lester on ebay in 2004. Given to the Museum of Costume by Richard Lester.


fashionmuseum.co.uk

  Reply With Quote
06-01-2008
  8
Press escape to continue.
 
SomethingElse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Gender: femme
Posts: 5,517
Spring 1971.



viewimages.com


Last edited by SomethingElse; 06-01-2008 at 05:56 PM.
  Reply With Quote
06-01-2008
  9
Press escape to continue.
 
SomethingElse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Gender: femme
Posts: 5,517
Summer 1973.



viewimages.com

  Reply With Quote
07-01-2008
  10
Press escape to continue.
 
SomethingElse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Gender: femme
Posts: 5,517
Quote:
Shift style dress with short sleeves and a V neckline edged with a scarf tie detail, made of bright pink, yellow and cream woven wool crepe. The colours of the dress make you think of a Neopolitan ice cream. The bodice and sleeves are yellow, the skirt is bright pink and the midriff panel and scarf tie collar are cream.

We think that this colourful wool crepe day dress designed by John Bates for Jean Varon / Prêt à Porter is from the Spring / Summer 1967 collection. In an interview in The Sunday Mirror in July 1966, John Bates talked about his use of bright colours in his work: 'I'm doing easy-to-wear clothes. Very soft fabrics which show off quite a lot of the body without being vulgar. Instead of coming out with rotten old winter colours [there are] lots of mad pinks, yellow and green. Vaguely neon ... so at least if you are freezing you won't look it'.

The dress has the label 'Made in England for Sakowitz, Houston'. It was made for an American store.

John Bates had been selling to American buyers for a couple of years by 1967. He frequently commented on the conservatism of the women in the US who bought his dresses, with particular reference to the lengths of skirts which they would or would not find acceptable. An interview in The Daily Mirror in May 1966, picked up on this: ''Of all the buyers who have ordered this season, only the Swedes are taking deliveries in the sample length', said John Bates, one of the prime epousers of the short skirt cult in England. 'All the other store buyers, except for a couple of boutiques, have asked us to add about 4 or 5 inches on the hemline. So that's what we do'.'

He went on in the interview to say that one American boutique had ordered stock at the sample length of 34 inches, and that all the other shops in New York required a length of 38 inches. He was rather disparaging about the stores on the West coast of the US, commenting that they had all ordered at the 'miserable length' of 39 inches.

This particular dress was bought by Richard Lester from a dealer in Houston, Texas, in 2005. Given to the Museum of Costume by Richard Lester.


Having to ship longer hem lengths to the US is so funny!
fashionmuseum.co.uk

  Reply With Quote
07-01-2008
  11
Press escape to continue.
 
SomethingElse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Gender: femme
Posts: 5,517
Quote:
Slender column-like evening dress with narrow shoulder straps, made of bright emerald green synthetic silk with black polka dots. The dress has a high waist which - like the edge of the bodice and the hem of the dress - is picked out with applied narrow black braid.

With 'the straps set apart for a scoop neckline' (a description of the dress as featured in The Daily Mirror on 21 February 1966) this evening dress, designed by John Bates for Jean Varon, became a best seller in early 1966. We know that the dress was sold at Chanelle in Knightsbridge, at Marshall and Snelgrove in Leeds and at Macdonald's in Glasgow. It must have retailed in other shops throughout the UK too. The Museum collection includes another version of this dress, this time in white with black polka dots.

The dress was first shown to UK fashion buyers in Autumn 1965 (in order for them to place orders so that merchandise would be in the shops in early Spring 1966).

The dress had also featured in a special trip to the USA by John Bates at Jean Varon and 16 other British wholesale fashion firms in order to generate sales of British fashion amongst American buyers. The group travelled to New York on the Cunard liner the Queen Elizabeth, and then held four spring fashion shows on board for American buyers on 4 and 5 November 1965.

While this evening dress excited no comment amongst either the American or British press reporting these shows, The Daily Mirror on 5 November 1965 noted '... what really shocked them were some of the skirt lengths (for day wear). Not one was below the knee and some were 5 inches above'. The New York Times on 5 November 1965 identified John Bates as the designer of the shortest skirts '... John Bates for Jean Varon showed some of the shortest skirts ever seen on these shores'.

This dress was bought by Richard Lester in Portobello Road in 2005. Given to the Museum of Costume by Richard Lester.


fashionmuseum.co.uk

  Reply With Quote
07-01-2008
  12
Press escape to continue.
 
SomethingElse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Gender: femme
Posts: 5,517
Quote:
Shift style dress with narrow shoulder straps and scoop neckline, of orange and navy blue printed synthetic linen in compartmentalised design, reminiscent of Moorish tiles. The dress has a tiny bodice which is joined to the straight skirt by a midriff panel of navy blue mesh made of synthetic fibres.

The fashion pages of all the major British newspapers in Autumn 1964 were full of the bizarre Spring / Summer 1965 fashion craze for dresses based on mens' string vests. This is what Brigid Keenan writing in The Sunday Times in October 1964 said: '... it started this summer ... this year girls cottoned on to the sexy see-through craze and bought string vests. You would have thought this dotty holiday idea might die out with the winter, but it hasn't. The holey stringy look has become fashionable for sweaters and stockings, and now real string vests have even been made into evening dresses ... The most daring is John Bates' version.'

This dress, called 'Casbah' and designed by John Bates for Jean Varon for Spring / Summer 1965, was part of the same mood for mesh for that season. The dress featured in Vogue fashion magazine in January 1965, with a photograph by David Bailey of model Jean Shrimpton in a sexy twisting pose, perfectly suited to the see-through nature of the dress. The caption to the photograph read: 'Skimp dress, bikini top and short short skirt netted together in navy...'.

'Casbah' retailed at 6 guineas, and was available in Woollands in London and Darling in Edinburgh, as well as in other shops throughout the UK.

This dress was chosen as the Museum of Costume's Dress of the Year 1965 by the Fashion Writers' Association. The Dress of the Year scheme is the way that the Museum keeps its collection of modern fashion right up to date. Each year the Museum asks a different fashion expert to choose the dress or ensemble from the international fashion collections which has most appealed to them. The dress that is chosen is generously donated to the Museum by the designer. Together, the Dress of the Year selections are therefore a permanent record in the Museum of Costume of the most directional or significant pieces of modern fashion.

Given to the Museum of Costume by Jean Varon Ltd.


fashionmuseum.co.uk

  Reply With Quote
07-01-2008
  13
Press escape to continue.
 
SomethingElse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Gender: femme
Posts: 5,517
Quote:
Column-like evening dress with scoop neckline and narrow shoulder straps, made of bright acid green synthetic silk. The dress has a high waist and the bodice is covered with squiggles of applied baby blue ribbon, which gives a textured effect. The applied blue ribbon decoration continues in a single vertical line down the centre front of the dress, and then to a looped border decoration all around the hem.

There was a description of this very dress in Vanity Fair magazine in October 1966: 'The new surprise of acid sharp lime green accented with swirls of baby blue ribbon embroidery. This covers the Empire-look bodice, streaks the skirt from high waist to hem'.

The dress is called 'Venice' designed by John Bates for Jean Varon in Spring / Summer 1967. It was a top seller when it was first stocked in the shops (it was shown to the fashion press and fashion buyers the previous Autumn so that orders could be placed for delivery in early 1967). The dress retailed for 16 ½ guineas.

This particular dress belonged to Jenny Agnew. Jenny started her first job in London in 1967, as PA to the managing director of an American owned pharmaceutical company whose London offices were in Berkeley Square. She bought the dress in Peter Robinson (a big department store in the West End) one lunchtime; it cost her the equivalent of one weeks' salary. Jenny absolutely loved the dress and wore it to death. It did her for all her friends' 21st birthday parties, including a particularly grand dinner dance at The Dorchester on Park Lane in London. 'Venice' is made of Tricel georgette.

Given to the Museum of Costume by Jenny Lane.

fashionmuseum.co.uk

  Reply With Quote
07-01-2008
  14
Press escape to continue.
 
SomethingElse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Gender: femme
Posts: 5,517
Quote:
Column-like evening dress with scoop neckline and narrow shoulder straps, made of light pink synthetic silk. The dress has a high waist and the bodice is covered with squiggles of applied light pink ribbon, which gives a textured effect. The applied pink ribbon decoration continues in a single vertical line down the centre front of the dress, and then to a deep border all around the hem.

This pretty pink evening dress, designed by John Bates for Jean Varon for Spring / Summer 1967, shows just why The Evening Standard on 4 September 1967 stated that '... John Bates has a magical gift of combining extreme modern chic with delicious wearable feminine prettiness'.

John Bates had been designing Empire line evening dresses since the early years of Jean Varon, from around about 1963 onwards. It was an enduringly popular style throughout the 1960s. If a style continues to sell then it makes good business sense to continue to produce the line. This is exactly what John Bates did, and there were many variations of the Jean Varon Empire line dress for a number of years.

This Empire line dress is called 'Venice' and was one of Jean Varon's top sellers. The Museum collection includes five versions of this dress, all in different colourways and colour combinations.

'Venice' is made of Tricel georgette. The dress sold for 16 ½ guineas and was first shown to fashion buyers in Autumn 1966, ready for orders to be placed and stock to arrive in the shops in early Spring 1967.

Given to the Museum of Costume by Richard Lester.

fashionmuseum.co.uk

  Reply With Quote
07-01-2008
  15
far from home...
 
DosViolines's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Gender: femme
Posts: 3,253
Great thread SomethingElse

To be honest, I've never heard of him before...
I might have read something about him when the Avengers movie came out, but I can't remember...oh well, I'll try to find something to contribute

__________________
And I am nothing of a builder, but here I dreamt I was an architect
And I built this balustrade to keep you home, to keep you safe from the outside world
  Reply With Quote
Reply
Previous Thread | Next Thread »

Tags
1938, aka, bates, jean, john, varon
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

monitoring_string = "058526dd2635cb6818386bfd373b82a4"


 
All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:16 AM.
Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
TheFashionSpot.com is a property of TotallyHer Media, LLC, an Evolve Media LLC company. ©2014 All rights reserved.