1960s Fashion - Exhibit at the V&A Museum London - Page 4 - the Fashion Spot
 
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Jerkin, Mirandi, About 1968. Museum no. T.313-1979

Jerkin
Mirandi
About 1968
Jerkin: suede
Retailed at Hung On You
Museum no. T.313-1979
Given by David Mlinaric

The figure-hugging jerkin decorated with the outline of an eagle is in keeping with the late 1960s interest in 'ethnic' cultures. It was bought at Hung On You, an elite Chelsea boutique owned by Michael Rainey, who was married to the hippy socialite Jane Ormsby Gore, daughter of Lord Harlech.

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Dress, Rose Bradford, About 1968. Museum no. T.463-1988

Dress
Rose Bradford for Quorum
About 1968
Synthetic fibre with Lurex
Museum no. T.463-1988
Given by Louise Barber

Quorum opened in 1964 with Alice Pollock as designer, to be joined a year later by Ossie Clark. In 1968, it was sold to a London wholesaler, Radley Fashions, who employed Rose Bradford to adapt Clark's designs for a wider market. This body-skimming shift is a rare example of a Rose Bradford label.

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Man’s sweater, 1969. Museum No T.14-2000

Man’s sweater
Mike Ross for RITVA knitwear [‘The Ritva Man’]
1969
Machine-knitted acrylic
Museum No T.14-2000
Given by Mike Ross

In 1969 Mike Ross designed a sweater called the ‘Homerun’, inspired by a traditional baseball under-garment. From this prototype, in two colours with a simple embroidered flower, there followed around 2500 original variations, with stripes, in unique colourways. Ross later produced two ‘Artist Collections’, a series of ‘wearable works of art’, with appliquéd designs by artist friends including David Hockney, Allen Jones, and Patrick Caulfield. Please note that this object is not displayed in the exhibition.

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The Heart of Swinging London
Carnaby Street 1964–1972


Photograph from Carnaby Street brochure published by I was Lord Kitchener’s Valet, about 1967

'Working class design, British fashion, Rock and Roll, The Beatles, Carnaby Street... You had all these rebels without causes, and all of a sudden everything came together. The gods smiled.' Robert Orbach, retailer.
Carnaby Street became synonymous with the idea of Swinging London. Using the skills of the established Soho 'rag trade', it sold relatively inexpensive, trend-driven merchandise that mirrored contemporary changes in society and culture.
In the early days, the clientele was linked to showbusiness. Then, from the mid 1960s, working-class Mods came flocking into the brash outlets of John Stephen (the 'King of Carnaby Street') in search of sharp Italian-style suits. By 1968 shoppers could also find mini-dresses, kaftans, shirts and accessories provocatively emblazoned with patriotic symbols and counter-cultural slogans.
Carnaby Street has often been dismissed as a garish tourist trap. But in its hey-day the clothes and attitude sold there revealed the key Sixties characteristics of innovation, iconoclasm and fun. Above all, they echoed the prevailing spirit of sexual and political revolution.

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Overcoat, Lord John, About 1968. Museum no. T.75-1983

Overcoat
Lord John
About 1968
Wool
Museum no. T.75-1983
Given by Mr David Shilling

Fitted midi- and maxi-length overcoats, dramatically belted, were a staple of the fashionable man's wardrobe between 1968 and 1972. This denim-style version with contrasting white topstitching was bought at Lord John, a boutique chain run by brothers David and Warren Gold. With his Rolls Royce, expensive jewelry and penchant for high-profile court cases, Warren Gold played up to the image of the self-made 'rag trade' king.

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Dress, Marion Foale and Sally Tuffin, 1966.

Dress
Marion Foale and Sally Tuffin
1966
Linen
Lent by Marit Allen

Foale & Tuffin's small headquarters in Marlborough Court became one of London's most fashionable destinations. The two friends were among the most forward looking of London's designers, anticipating trends such as the first trouser suits for women. This dress shows their characteristic attention to detail and finish - qualities not always associated with clothes bought in the Carnaby Street area.
View a rotating image of this dress.

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Suit, Take Six, 1967. Museum no. T.563-1997

Suit
Take Six
1967
Mohair
Museum no. T.563-1997
Given by Mr Carl Clifford

This distinctive suit, with its long frock coat and tall 'highway man' collar, was worn for public appearances by a member of the International Minipops, a cabaret group that toured their musical puppet show on luxury cruise-liners. Carnaby Street retailers such as Take Six's Sidney Brent courted showbusiness clients for their publicity value.

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Man's Shirt, I Was Lord Kitchener's Valet, About 1966-7 © Museum of London

I Was Lord Kitchener's Valet, Painted Shop Sign, Pat Hartnet, 1964. Museum no. E.1428-2001

Man's Shirt
I Was Lord Kitchener's Valet
About 1966-7
Shirt: printed cotton
Jeans: Levi, denim, about 1973
Lent by the Museum of London
Shirt worn and given by John Goodman
Jean worn and given by Peter Viti
© Museum of London

Union Jacks and RAF roundels were part of the Mod subculture, but with their cartoon-like simplicity and subversive intent they also appealed to an arty 'Pop' sensibility. I Was Lord Kitchener's Valet sold post-Imperial spoil - flags, ceremonial military tunics and other ephemera - first from their original shop in Portobello Road and then from branches in Soho and Chelsea.

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Suit, John Stephen (1934-2004), About 1970. Museum no. T.214-1997

Suit
John Stephen (1934-2004)
About 1970
Wool
Museum no. T.214-1997
Given by John Stephen

Though John Stephen is often associated with the gimmicky, ephemeral aspects of Carnaby Street, he also had a rounded understanding of all aspects of the 'rag trade'. One of his lines was an update on the classic ready-made suit. In 1968 he advertised 'Mohair, cashmere, wool and worsted jackets and suits…cut with the flair of John Stephen designs - but gently.'

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Dress, Marion Foale and Sally Tuffin, 1969.

Dress
Marion Foale and Sally Tuffin
1969
Printed silk, designed by Bernard Nevill for Liberty of London
Lent by Marit Allen

While at the Royal College of Art, Marion Foale and Sally Tuffin were taught by Bernard Nevill, who was consultant designer to Liberty of London. Nevill revitalised Liberty's traditional prints and made them a major influence on international fashion. This 'mini-kaftan' dress is an early example of the 'mixed pattern look' that became a Foale & Tuffin trademark in the 1970s.

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Exoticism and Nostalgia
London’s Bohemia 1967–1973


'Second hand furniture, old houses, old clothes… Oh God, those vast, whitewashed rooms with bare floorboards and a mattress in the corner with an Indian coverlet on it…. The pure asceticism of the late sixties.' Angela Carter, novelist
In the late 1960s futuristic themes gave way to exoticism, romanticism and nostalgia. Drugs, the counter-culture and the hippy trail to India suggested an alternative to the commercial fashion scene. Rediscovery of Victorian artists such as Aubrey Beardsley and William Morris stimulated a revival of historic and rural styles. The result was an eclectic combination of the ethnic, the antique and the psychedelic.
Many of the clothing trends of the early 1970s originated in the decadent milieu of London's bohemian quarters: Chelsea, Notting Hill and Kensington. These districts offered a faded grandeur that appealed to those with limited budgets and boundless imaginations. Large derelict flats and empty retail spaces offered an ideal environment for pop stars, artists and entrepreneurs to develop alternative approaches to life, business and fashion.



Dress, Annacat, 1968-9

Dress
Annacat
1968-9
Velvet with machine lace
Lent by Elizabeth Eggleston
In 1965 two socialite friends, Janet Lyle and Maggie Keswick, opened the Kensington boutique Annacat. Their high quality clothes were characterised by a sense of glamour and fun. Like this Edwardian style mini-dress, they were completely in tune with the mood of historical romanticism of the late 1960s.

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Sweater, Bus Stop, 1968. Museum no. T.151-2000

Sweater
Bus Stop
1968
Knitted wool
Museum no. T.151-2000
Given by Sue Binns
Displayed with wool skirt, Foale & Tuffin, 1968. Lent by Marit Allen
Lee Bender opened Bus Stop on Kensington Church Street in 1968, next door to Biba, and went on to develop a successful chain of twelve boutiques nationwide. Her early designs looked back to the 1940s with accentuated shoulders and waists. This jumper, designed with a traditional Fair Isle pattern, brings a wartime look up to date.

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Dress, Thea Porter (1927-2000), 1970. Museum no. T.900-2000

Dress
Thea Porter (1927-2000)
1970
Silk chiffon, brocade and velvet
Museum no. T.900-2000
Thea Porter designed elaborate outfits for clients such as Princess Margaret and Elizabeth Taylor. This style was named after Faye Dunaway, another customer. Deeply inspired by antique oriental silks, braids and beading, Porter's clothes had an international and timeless appeal.

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Dress, Countdown, 1970. Museum no. T.728-2000

Dress
Countdown
1970
Printed cotton and rayon
Museum no. T.728-2000
Given by Lady Ritblat
This dress uses old-fashioned prints, combining them in a seemingly haphazard manner to reinvent the archetypal English summer dress. This use of traditional floral prints in contemporary fashion was a look that was later popularised by Laura Ashley.

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Biba
Kensington and Beyond 1964–1974



Biba, Kensington Church Street. about 1966. Courtesy of Philip Townsend

'The most 'In' shop for gear…. A must scene for the switched on dolly bird.' Time, April 1966
Barbara Hulanicki opened her first Biba store in an old chemist's stop in Abingdon Road in 1964. Her last, and most ambitious, enterprise was to take over Derry & Tom's department store on the High Street in 1973.
What linked all the Biba stores was Hulanicki's skill in creating environments that complimented the romantic, sensual appeal of her clothing. The atmosphere was unique, with loud music, stylish staff, dimly lit period interiors and chaotic changing rooms. The clothes were also good value, so young working women could shop alongside models, singers and TV personalities.
Through a combination of mail order, distinctive branding and an understanding of its customers' dreams, Biba set a template for the 'lifestyle' approach that would go on to support British retail successes in the 1980s and '90s.

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