The Wardrobe conversations with collectors Saskia Barlow
The Wardrobe conversations with collectors Saskia Barlow
Alasdair Peebles – Historical Boyswear Deborah Woolf (Synopsis) – Costume Jewellery and Accessories Joan Benham (Synopsis) – Designer Shoes
Brands Alexandre Stefani – Versace Liz Tregenza – Horrockses Seth Bradley – Moschino
History Rebecca Shawcross (Synopsis) – The History of Shoes William Banks-Blaney – 100 years of Haute Couture Cleo and Mark Butterfield (Synopsis) – 100 years of Affordable Vintage
16 18 44 48
52 54 64 90
102 104 108 138
Geoffrey Marsh (Synopsis) – David Bowie
Susan Rogers (Synopsis) – Personal Collection
Kate Bethune (Synopsis) – The 80s ‘Club to Catwalk’
Image List Bibliography, Further Reading and Useful Links Acknowledgements
160 164 166
Interior of WilliamVintage, London
Preface â€œYou know the greatest thing is passion, without it what have you got?â€?
Vintage Moschino fabric print
Introduction ‘Collecting is in the air’ Alasdair Peebles - private collector While the subject of material culture has been
We live in a world where there are things everywhere,
researched extensively, collecting studies as a separate
and some might think that it is just a world of excess
subject is relatively new. The interesting thing about
and materialism. As anthropologist Daniel Miller
collecting is that the story of an object begins long
discovered in his book, The Comfort of Things, people
before it features in a collection. Every object has a
who have an intense relationship and connection to
past of its own, a life that has culminated in its being
objects have more fulfilling relationships with other
collected, whether in a museum, or as part of an
people. It seems that that it is based more on value
individual’s private collection. Often the path is rocky,
than on merely possessing. Museums and other formal
with value being the main fluctuating variable: what is
collecting institutions are one way to see historical
one person’s rubbish might be someone else’s treasure.
objects, but without that human interaction, they are
Ultimately, the meaning of these objects evolves over
just objects, sometimes taken out of context or even
time, depending on surroundings and situations, which
not on show at all, but left to remain in storage. By
is why museums and galleries are endlessly popular,
looking into the world of these collectors, one can see
and why collectors rarely find an end point to their
not only pieces of history, but of feelings, emotions
and a glimpse into what makes these people tick, because it is not just an accumulation of things, it is an
As a discourse, Collecting has been discussed at
extension of themselves.
length, with scholars such as Jean Baudrillard noting the difference between possession and usage. When
People engage with objects in a different way from the
something is collected, it is no longer utilised, so its
way they engage with words, so to be able to see and
value and meaning come entirely from the subject.
relate to an object is a more personal and enriching
experience than just reading or being told about it. It is
time, the act of collecting spread from being carried
often the stories that come with an object that intrigue
out just for academic purposes to being carried out
people today, and is a key reason why people collect.
for personal reasons. Cabinets of curiosities are a
Sentimental items are often kept because emotion
well-known phenomenon, beginning as a vehicle for
is projected onto them – the memory of a deceased
showing off exotic items collected to be admired,
loved one might be encapsulated within a piece of
but becoming, as the years went by, a great fashion.
jewellery, which ultimately brings comfort and solace
Often containing a range of items including preserved
through making the loved one immortal. Nostalgia is
fish, stuffed birds and animals, they offered a way for
key, with many people keeping baby clothes or a lock
individuals to make sense of a world that was growing
of hair, old photographs or love letters, and although
before their eyes. How people connect with things
most people wouldn’t say they are actively collecting,
offers insight into human behaviour, through which
it inhabits a similar idea of documenting history in a
the range of connections between objects and human
personal and particular way, turning the everyday
ideas, values and even emotions is displayed.
person into a cultural anthropologist. Personal collecting in the past would rely on processes Collecting
such as auctions, gifts and personal sales. Mary
significantly from the sixteenth century, when the
Antoinette is one person who was well known for
activity of collecting first exploded in Europe. A quest
her wardrobe, as she was dubbed ‘Madame Déficit’
for knowledge through the study of objects and human
as a result of her outrageous spending habits. Sadly,
behaviour was key to keep scholars at the forefront of
most of her vast dress and shoe collection was lost
research, which complemented the flourishing trading
or destroyed in the French Revolution, although a few
empires that proved vital for a collecting culture. Over
items of jewellery and scraps of fabric from garments
Navy blue corduroy suit, made to fit a 3 year old. c. 1900
Image from the David Bowie Is exhibition 2013 ÂŠ Victoria and Albert Museum, London
she owned have gone on to sell for thousands at
allows people to buy and sell from all over the world.
auction. One pair of Mary Antoinette’s green silk
Liz Tregenza, a seller and collector featured in The
slippers were sold in 2012 in Paris at auction for
Wardrobe, does the majority of her selling online, and
€50,000 (five times the expected cost). They were
although it may have its downside, (for example, there
included in an auction that featured more than 350
might be more of gamble when it comes to quality),
historical items belonging to various French royal
she knows it’s where the future of modern collecting
families. Often items throughout history have only
lies. It is simply evolving with the times, and because
survived because pieces are given as presents to
people want their results quicker than ever before,
servants. These slippers were no exception, due to the
online trading has widened the door of opportunity.
queen’s manservant, Alexandre-Bernard Ju-Des-Retz passing them on to his descendants. Even today, the
In The Wardrobe, the term ‘collector’ groups together
most amazing and high-quality pieces are from private
those who source, curate and trade fashion and
estates and old personal collections, auctioned off to
accessories as well as private collectors. These people
other collectors and museums.
all inhabit a passion and knowledge that surpasses facts from books. Through the fetish of difference
Although auctions are still taking place and estates
and possession, each subject collected becomes as
are still being sold, there is the newer phenomenon of
important as the next, due to the value projected onto
online selling that is dominating the modern collecting
the items by each collector. It is on the border of public
world. The collector of today might rely on the likes of
and private spheres, allowing the collector to curate
eBay in order to find unusual things at more affordable
and create something that is personal to them. Each
prices. Well-respected traders are using these outlets
collector has spent years and years of researching,
due to ease; many prefer a personal touch and it
learning and acquiring the experience to make them
self-taught experts. The experience gained makes
to take on, with many featuring rules such as a piece
them a unique and valuable resource to museums
of clothing must have all the relevant documentation
and academic researches alike. Most of the featured
and provenance. It is no surprise that this often means
people in The Wardrobe are involved with museums
that immaculate examples of historical clothing
in one way or another, whether they are buying from,
have to be overlooked, but luckily that might mean
lending to or even assisting curators on exhibitions.
a collector can snap up something special. Museums
Museums have a duty to educate, whereas a collector
and collectors come hand in hand, with museums
just has the privilege to enjoy. Passion is the glue that
currently using the collectorsâ€™ expertise like never
holds a collection together, and it is that that each
before. The Wardrobe plans to unlock these collectorâ€™s
collector has in abundance.
passions and pay tribute to some of these vastly under valued people, because ultimately, museums and their
The subject of acquisition policies and rules
collections sadly only represent a tiny morsel of what
surrounding museums is a theme running throughout
historical treats are out there. These collectors love
The Wardrobe, but although this might be a burden
the thrill of the chase, the excitement of what hasnâ€™t
in some cases, it also allows historical items to enter
been found yet is what drives many of them to keep
the everyday world; It makes the resources that
adding to what they have. There is always one thing
collectors buy from richer. Often there are old rules
they are looking for to make what they already have
and regulations regarding what a museum is allowed
Molly Parnis silk column dress, c. 1967.
Although collectors, such as Charles Saatchi, demonstrate a successful collection that is widely regarded as an insight into objects, it is the small time collectors that offer a more interesting and intimate narrative because it borders on the edge between the private and the public. As Alasdair Peebles, a private collector, states, â€œIt is something to do with particularity and individualism. Itâ€™s a way in which people can express subjectivity through activity and engage with the past.â€? They are objects put together by a personal influence and fantasy, proving no two collection is the same. Collecting is an extension of the self, of the identity of the collector in both emotion and in material terms. The value and nostalgia received from objects spurs them on, fueling the endless pursuit for the next item. The Wardrobe lifts the lid on a range of collectors of fashion and accessories, so in addition to a few private collectors, there are also a number of passionate traders who inhabit this compulsion, and share the same keen eye for detail. The Wardrobe aims to tell the story of vintage and historical fashion, not through the eyes of book smart historical institutions, but the individual people who know their chosen subject intimately, due to the sheer amount of items that have passed through their hands over the years. For it is them that have an overwhelming and undeniable relevance that exists far beyond the boundaries of museum policies.
Utility suit, 1945-52
Object Alasdair Peebles: Historical Boyswear
Deborah Woolf: Costume Jewellery and Accessories
Joan Benham: Designer Shoes 17
Alasdair Alasdair Peebles is the owner of an unlikely Aladdinâ€™s
Over the years, private researcher Alasdair has put
cave hidden away in the heart of London Bridge. With
together a rich and vast collection that aims to prove
his museum standard storage units nestled in his flat,
that boyswear is as worthy of attention as any other
his collection of historical and vintage boyswear is a
subject in fashion history. It is a surprisingly elegant
unique and unusual source of reference. Boyswear
and underestimated field, fighting its corner against
as a subject is severely overlooked and is something
museums and acquisition policies, and although there
that deserves some real recognition. It is always easy
has not been a book yet solely dedicated to boyswear
to focus on the more decorative womenâ€™s fashions
throughout history, in no means can it be described as
throughout history, but the various types of clothing for
boys offer something more intricate than first thought.
Alasdair aged seven wearing his Napoleon outfit.
“Collectors have a knowledge that isn’t just facts”
My collection puts the focus on things that have
also an interest of mine - so much so that my Mother
previously been ignored. Although you might say
made me my own Nelson uniform when I was 7. In a
that on paper, womenswear is more decorative and
photo of me in the outfit, you can see me standing
stunning visually than a man’s everyday suit, but
there proud as punch, and I think if you look at that
what people see in museums is a tiny fraction of
photo, almost without words you can see where this
what is out there. Museums produce an extraordinary
collection has come from. So for me I think this has a
dystopia on our view on fashion. Although some of the
certain narcissistic element to it, in a gentle sense, as
clothes I own are less exciting visually, but some are
it is about looking backwards and it is about exploring.
even more beautiful and interesting than you would
From my training as a fine artist, I have always been
imagine. I always found uniforms interesting, from
very visual, and that is why I am interested in, not only
the age of 6 I was obsessed with pictures of soldiers
the clothes, but the representation of the boy. The
in Napoleonic dress. The colours, the detailing and the
clothes are there to be worn, and when you have an
gold lace... I just found them incredibly beautiful. It
image of a boy in these items of clothing, it’s real and
was usually white britches, a blue or a red tunic and
a hat. Naval uniforms, and in particular Nelson, were
A colourful and intricate fancy dress outfit from late 19th to early 19th century. Made in the style of Balkan folk costume, it is in impeccable condition and comes together with matching shoe covers.
This painting of Alexander Constantine Ionides with his Wife and Children by GF Watts (1817-1904) shows a child in an almost identical outfit. The elder child is in a blue version, both complete with the decorative shoe covers. These outfits were chosen to feature in a portrait image to show the pride the family took in its origins.
This illustration and photograph depicts the elusive Norfolk Suit. A garment that, although it was widely worn over a substantial period of time, is impossible to find today. Perhaps due to the quality, material or just the fact that most children owned one, parents didn’t see it special enough to keep.
I like to collect clothing that was worn by boys of
I try to avoid infant clothing because it has a different
around 6 or 7 to around 12 or 13, because when
sense about it, but my favourite ones are garments
you get any older it is difficult to decipher between
that are miniaturisations of older boys’ clothes. If I can
teenage clothing and men’s clothing. School age items
find something that is like a man’s suit but in a tiny size
are so rare, especially if you were to go back to 1850s.
then I am won over by it.
Because I have been collecting for so long, my habits
Most people at the beginning of a collection tend to
have evolved and changed over time. The last item I
collect everything in order to build it up. They are
bought was a Turkish fancy dress outfit. It is in the style
trying to create bulk, and when I personally was at
of Balkan folk costume and is extremely difficult to
that point I found that when I did discover something,
date but it is probably late 19th or early 20th century,
would unearth lots of them. In my case, I found a great
due to finding a beautiful painting from 1840 that
deal of mid 20th century utility period pieces. In recent
features a child in the exact outfit. I love those little
times I have tried to compact down my utility clothing,
coincidences like when you find a photograph or an
but I kept the pieces that were in the best condition
image that links to what you have collected; it is the
and that were most idiomatic. Recently my collection
researcherâ€™s recognition and confirmation.
has slowed, mainly because the things that I want and donâ€™t have, there is a reason for that. My dream would be that I was omniscient and all seeing, but of course that isnâ€™t a reality!
A white summer outfit with matching jacket c.1860. Most probably worn to the beach or similar outing, many donâ€™t realise that younger boys wore dresses. Complete with perfect Russian braiding, that would have matched the outfit worn by the childâ€™s mother.
Louis wears french wool jacket and cotton velvet breeches c.1790. The cut of the jacket with military inspired buttoned lapels belongs uniquely to this moment of the sans culotte and revolutionary fashion. Identical jackets were also worn by adult men.
What is your Holy Grail?
school. They were just ubiquitous. They probably
There is something called a Norfolk Suit, which
special items, so the everyday items get lost. Sailor
was a simple plain brown woolen suit with subtle
suits are always kept by families for example. No one
detailing. They are just everywhere in images, in both
saw beauty in the everyday garments, because they
photographs and paintings. I collect photographs
aren’t much to look at, which is really why most male
and images of historical clothing too, so it is only
collectors collect female dress. It is obviously much
systematic that a lot of them feature boys in these
closer to the notions of artistry and creativity, in both
suits. I have never found one in all my years of
in form and textile content, (unless you are collecting
searching, but because of how much they feature in
from 18th century when menswear does have those
images I know they were worn. I have learnt that they
qualities too), but lots of male clothing since 1800 has
were worn with minor adaptations, that reflected the
very little aesthetic. It certainly has an anesthetic, but
class system. They were worn by the boy who lives
it’s plain, simple, self effacing and modest - but those
in the country estate in Norfolk and they were also
are the values that they wanted to show, because that
worn by the East End boy who attends the local board
is what masculinity was in the 19th century.
haven’t lasted because people only tend to keep
Brown utility suit, c. 1945-52. Worn with a white shirt and a blue tie, decorated with cartoons of jockeys and horses. After downsizing his utility items collection, Alasdair has kept the best quality and most represented pieces.
Aside from the elusive suit, when buying new items for the collection I look for two things - they initially sound contradictory, but curiously they aren’t. I look to fill gaps in my collection and I also look to add pieces to areas of existing strength. It is up to you to guide your collection, and although information and context is good, it sometimes isn’t reliant on that. Consequently, a lot of the pieces I have don’t have provenance, but then again it allows me to go off and do the research myself, and that is really how you gain knowledge. The problem with boyswear is that there is not one book out there specifically on boyswear, so I have had to build up a connoisseurship myself.
Sailor hat dating to around 1912. Typically worn alongside a sailor suit, they were popular for occasion wear.
Without the information available from books, the
could see that it has been seamed then that is another
knowledge I have has been built up through exposure
alarm bell, as it would have just been course cut. Things
over time to real objects, that allows you to get a
like that I only know due to going to auction houses
sense of how an object is. For example, you might
and learning through experience. Aside from this, the
see a garment on eBay that claims to be one thing,
real problem is when you come across something so
but because a collector has seen so many things in
atypical that you haven’t seen anything like it before.
the flesh they will know that it isn’t accurate. There
That can take a few years to find out what it is. I have
could be a garment that is advertised as an early 19th
a number of items in my collection that are enigmas
century coat, but through time you get to know details
- I just don’t know what they are. Collectors do like
that prove it wrong. If I could see it was fully lined I
things that they recognise, because it means they are
would know it wouldn’t be accurate, as it would only
characteristic of the times.
have some lining in the sleeves and a bit elsewhere. If I
A unique and decorative tunic made for a 3 year old. Dated 1825 at the time just after the Napoleonic war, this item is still in perfect condition and one of Alasdairâ€™s favourite pieces in his collection.
How do you use your collection?
up borrowing a number of different things for the exhibition, including a trade catalogue, a duffle coat,
I try to get the word out by doing talks, to let people
a pair of sandals and a few other things. She said I
know I am open to lending out pieces to museums or
helped her quite a lot in the end, and it only became
for TV opportunities. I did lend some utility clothing
apparent to me at the time, because I was having to
to the Museum of London, through a chance meeting
pull a lot of things together for her, with very specific
with Beatrice, who is the Senior Curator of Fashion
requests. They know the framework and the structure
and Decorative Arts. I mentioned that I had a lot of
of the exhibitions, so it enables you as a collector to
boyswear from a certain time period and it just so
be able to get stuck in providing them with the right
happened that a week later she was contacted by
things. Collectors have knowledge that isn’t just facts,
a curator from MOMA [Museum of Modern Art] in
but they have a tendency of knowing other people
New York who was putting together an exhibition
that might have or know something you don’t.
on childhood: ‘A Century of Childhood’. She ended
A rare survival of an item worn extensively by boys (typically aged between five and thirteen years) from the 1830s through to the late 1850s. Stamp inside reads “As exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851”. The crown is made from horsehair and it has a japanned peak. The tassel and overall style borrows heavily from military head dress.
Collectors are sometimes overlooked and patronised,
contents of the museum in the next couple of years
but most of the time curators are happy to admit to
or so, so it will only be then when she will begin to
the fact that they can’t know about everything, and
engage and get to know what is there. Collectors
that they do in fact rely a lot on people who have
are looked upon with some degree of envy I believe,
these specialist interests. It strikes me that people
because what curator wouldn’t want to spend more
working in museums are spread so thin, that you don’t
time with their collections? Sadly it’s only a portion of
get the old fashioned type of curator that knew their
their job description.
collection very well and have spent years with it. Today
you get curators that don’t spend any time with their
Collectors know their subject inside and out and up
collections, taking things out of boxes or handling
and down, more so than museums. They might have
them, so they increasingly rely on collectors. I would
a lot of knowledge, but it won’t be situated in such a
love to have indulgent meetings with a curator - in
precise and thorough way. There should be more of an
particular the new curator at Bethnal Green Museum
interaction between collectors and museums, because
of Childhood. Has she got the time to do that? No
we have got so much to get from each other, it is not
probably not. She will probably start recataloguing the
one way traffic.
The jumper dates from the 1930s and is a genuine hand knit Fair Isle. Made very popular in the 1920s by Edward Prince of Wales. “This one belonged to my father and is wonderful quality, quite simply one of the most exceptional Fair Isles I have ever seen.” Alasdair
What keeps you interested after so many years?
My collection keeps my passion ticking over, with
It’s the thrill of the chase. It’s an important thing for
around unarticulated fantasies... Mine is anyway. My
collectors. You tend to ask yourself questions like
favorite pieces are the ones that embody and connect
“Why did you buy that”? There is always a degree
with images I collect. It’s hard to pin point what that
of questioning in any creative enterprise; a sort of
is exactly because it is my notion of historical and
restlessness. There are a few items in my collection
vintage boyswear; my notion of what was worn in a
that would feed my soul forever, but in a collection
certain period. An example of one ‘fantasy’ is that for
they are objects... The thing with clothes is that there
a long time I was looking for sweaters with patterns
is no one wearing them when they are stored. It’s
knitted into the collars, because I found countless
just not right! That is why they look best on a model.
photographs of boys wearing them. In order to make
Clothes can be presented as object but are they? Some
that picture a reality I had to find those pullovers - and
have sculptural or detailing beauty but without those
I did! To view my collection is like taking a glimpse
things it is more of a struggle.
into my personality.
the hope that I will find the few items I am looking for. People have collections because they are shaped
These shoes are extremely tiny, the 50p piece shows the scale and narrow shape of the shoe. It is not clear whether they would have been worn by boys or girls. Dated to the 1830s, they are an unusual, rare and interesting item in the collection.
Louis wears a French silk dress outfit, c. 1760s. One of the more damaged yet valuable pieces in the collection, it displays a beautiful pattern and detail.
Detail of French silk dress jacket. c. 1760s
Deborah Woolf is a successful vintage fashion collector
experience at MTV UK, she spent her time writing and
who owns Deborah Woolf Vintage in London. She
directing image campaign and trailers.
sources props, styles outfits and sells a vast variety of
vintage items, but is particularly famous for her vintage
Today, Deborah offers many different services, including
costume jewellery collection. Deborah has collected
working alongside stylists and fashion designers,
clothing, textiles, ceramics and antiques since she was
sourcing vintage for clients, and hiring different items
a small child. Her love for trading began in her teenage
for advertising campaigns. She also frequently sources
years, where she sold pieces at the Sunday stalls at the
one off or rare pieces personally, by taking the time to
old Swiss Cottage market in London, before moving to
find the best possible result. Although she collects a
Camden Market a few years later. As things progressed,
range of items, from Vintage clothing, accessories &
Deborah moved into the world of TV and film, where
textiles, to home-made objects and folk art, she has a
she worked for many years on TV adverts, music
real interest with unusual print design and jewellery.
videos, branding and art direction. Boasting 9 years of
Deborah specialises in unique and striking costume
jewellery from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. She also has a huge personal collection of costume jewellery in a wide range of materials, including acrylic glass, enamel and unique metals. Some of these are by a range of top designers, and some are, as Deborah describes them, ‘unsigned wonders’ of a particular period. Figural brooches, bracelets and pendants also feature heavily in her collection. Examples of these were sourced by Deborah for sale at the V&A Museum shop to accompany the V&A ‘Cold War Modern’ exhibition from 2008 - 2009. The majority of these were dynamic pieces of jewellery from the 1960s and 1970s, there to reflect the exciting aesthetic of the period. This was the second time Deborah has offered her services to the V&A Museum, due to the success of the items that were sourced and supplied to coincide with the 2007 - 2008 exhibition ‘The Golden Age of Couture 1945-55’, with original vintage 1940s and 1950s shoes, magazines, jewellery, bags and scarves that were sold in the museum shop. After the first exhibition at the V&A, things really started to take off for Deborah, when she opened Deborah Woolf Vintage. The unique thing about the store is that, first and foremost, Deborah is a collector. She prides herself on not being just a ‘resale shop or a dress agency’, as she states: “I don’t take things on commission or buy in bulk; I handpick everything.” Favourite items from her collections include a Jean Muir mini suede dress from the 1960s and a leopard print Biba jacket from the 1970s. Deborah states “All the male pop stars from that era, like Marc Bolan and Brian Eno were seen wearing this signature Biba-style jacket with their platform shoes and skinny flared pants.”
Every woman has heard of Manolo Blahnik. He is
including ‘Lara’, which are 13 years old but still in great
the legendary shoe designer who catered to Carrie
condition. When in doubt, I wear Lara.” Joan owns a
Bradshaw’s every need, supplying the set of Sex and the
few well known pairs, including the pair made famous
City with its enviable collection of heels. For many, the
by the Sex and the City movie - named ‘Something
hopes of owning a pair is merely a dream, but there is one
Blue’. Worn by Carrie Bradshaw in her wedding to Mr
lady situated in South London who hoards an impressive
Big, the blue stilettos were the statement to all hopeless
and jealousy enduing collection. Joan Benham is on first
romantics that love conquers all.
name terms with Blahnik himself, due to creating a
personal archive that sometimes even the man himself
Engrained in her memory, Joan is sure that she can name
needs access to. As Joan tells the Telegraph, “The first
each and every single pair by name. Her love evolved
pair of Manolos I bought were called ‘Lara’ - they were
from always being drawn to shoes over clothes, with
black and very high. I’d seen them in Vogue, but never
the addiction starting at the likes of Russell and Bromley
considered myself the sort of person who bought
and Charles Jourdan. After discovering the quality and
expensive shoes. I rang the shop and hung up three
comfort of Manolos, she rarely wears anything else.
times before enquiring about them, because I thought
It is the unique and unusual designs that keeps Joan
the assistants might laugh at me. Now I own 356 pairs,
returning again and again. She believes that Blahnik is
Manolo Blahnik ‘Something Blue’ - made famous by Carrie Bradshaw in the first Sex and the City movie.
the brand that is old fashioned and still independent to
Along with the pairs that Joan wears everyday, she
trends - something that she values highly. Joan states,
also has acquired pieces that are so special that they
“I’ve met Manolo a number of times and he’s an adorable
are only enjoyed visually. “I have a few pairs I probably
man. I’ve been to book signings and events. He made
haven’t worn, and some I purposefully won’t wear -
a pair of shoes for me as a gift for my 50th birthday:
Mr Blahnik made all the shoes for Sofia Coppola’s film
yellow sandals called ‘Urang’. When Mr Blahnik was
Marie Antoinette, and afterwards I bought them all.
illustrating one of his books he asked to borrow a pair
People tell me I should put them on eBay, but I’d like
I owned called ‘Chesner’, because he didn’t have them
to keep them for ever and pass them on. I don’t have
anymore.” This illustrates that sometimes even the
children, but my husband has nieces.”
source doesn’t hang on to pieces.
Manolo Blahnik ‘Lara’
Mrs Benham keeps all her shoes in the correct boxes,
Blahnik exhibition at the Design Museum and I wore a
that are due to be moved into a new shoe room. They
pair of shoes called Oscar. A lady who worked at the
are kept in immaculate condition - she tries “not to
Blahnik factory in Italy pointed at my feet and said, ‘I
stomp” when wearing a pair. The team at Manolo
made those shoes.’” Joan hopes to take her love of shoes
Blahnik considers Joan as a key and important client, so
to the grave with her - the last time she met Mr Blahnik
when she visits the store on the first day of each season,
she asked him to design and make a personalised pair
(in both January and August), when the new deliveries
for her funeral: “I’m not so sure whether he knew I was
arrive, the new styles are lined up and waiting for her. “I
serious... but I most definitely was!”
know the staff well and have the girls to dinners at my house”, Joan says, “I went to the launch of the Manolo
Liz in Horrockses with a Brigitte Denhert print, 1960.
Brands Alexandre Stefani: Versace
Liz Tregenza: Horrockses
Seth Bradley: Moschino
Alex My collection officially began in 2005, although I used
My first important piece and the one I believe started
to go regularly to Italy in the early 1990s to track
the collection was a Wild Baroque silk shirt. It was an
down discounted Versace pieces, because I could
expensive buy, and when I mentioned to an art curator
never afford the main collection. I would always go
friend that it was so special I probably wouldnâ€™t even
hunting for the free catalogues that would be on offer
wear it, he introduced me to the notion of collecting
from the boutiques, which I also collect now due to
clothes as art. Back then, only Paris and a few other
how many I own.
major cities had fashion museums, but he pointed out that it was a growing field and therefore having a collection might be useful to them and so potentially it could be an investment.
In the beginning I used to look for good deals, and
particularly rare. I also used to collect items from the
would probably buy a shirt as often as every two or
Versace women’s collection, but at the moment I am
three months, whereas today I tend to save it for the
selling them to be able to invest some more in the
top. I’m not going to lie - I do still enjoy a good deal,
men’s collections. I also used to buy into other areas of
and paying a low price is always a welcome surprise,
the Versace brand, including the second lines such as
but my main interest now is the quality, importance
Versus, Istante and Versatile, but over time my vision
and rarity of the items I collect. Size was something
has narrowed, although occasionally something still
I didn’t worry too much about in the past, but now
will catch my eye if it’s really special.
I only shop for things I myself can wear, unless it is
Alexâ€™s packed wardrobe full of his vintage Versace collection. Alongside his favourite silk shirts are a number of muscle style, geometric and colourful jackets.
It is the colours and the intricate designs that got Alex hooked on Versace, prompting him to take regular trips to Europe from Brazil to find new additions to his collection and everyday wardrobe.
I find pieces in many different places, as they all offer
shirts made with scarves. I do have a great number of
something different. You never know where you might
them, so at the moment I am branching out to other
find something - I have bought from vintage shops,
interesting materials, some of which include rubber,
online, auction houses or just someone selling off their
leather and metal. Some of these less characteristic
own collection. I am always looking for new places and
pieces, I think are also highlights of Gianni Versaceâ€™s
opportunities to find items. I have created an online
career as a designer.
community for Versace Vintage Collectors, where I
meet people with similar interests and I often find
My collection is nowhere near finished! There are some
people selling and I have managed to find a number
shirts that I have only seen in catalogues, and some
of pieces that way. I began collecting because I just
that I spent years trying to find after seeing it them
love the different varieties of prints. I personally think
online. Although I do love it when I find a piece that
that the best way to show them off and what were the
I tried on in a boutique decades ago, for a fraction of
most representative of Versaceâ€™s work were the silk
the cost today.
A close up of the neckline detailing Alexâ€™s Wild Baroque shirt. It was his first main piece and the beginning of his collection.
I have actually managed to secure my biggest desire
a Versace nut (and who has been going to shows since
- it is a muscle style quilted leather jacket. I own a
the beginning and owns nearly all the catalogues ever
similar one in red and dream of owning one in yellow.
made), to see if he had ever come across them. It took
There is always a list of things that I want and would
him some time but he managed to identify the trousers
honestly spend thousands to get my hands on them.
and sent me the pictures of it. After some searching
There was this one trip I took to Paris in the early
I found a pair on eBay, but initially I was not sure if
nineties, just after the Versace Boutique tour. I was
they were the same ones because although them were
really happy because I had just picked up loads of new
in my size, it stated that the waist measurement was
catalogues, and I saw a man working in a Jean-Claude
in fact 48 inches, until I realised that the pleats and
Jitrois boutique wearing an amazing pair of unusually
drapes would be created by a belt. I reckon that most
draped trousers - they turned out to be Versace. I had
people wouldnâ€™t have recognised them off a model
never seen anything like them anywhere, and just last
due to the unusual look on a hanger - I was the only
year I was describing them to a new friend who is also
I wear my collection everyday, it doesnâ€™t matter how
prints up close, so in a way I am offering knowledge
rare or expensive the item is, I love it and choose to not
to people just from wearing them. Although museums
let it go to waste. Wearing them brings them to life and
are there for education, private collectors have no
gives other people a chance to see something unusual
boundaries, so often the peculiarities of peopleâ€™s
and so what a genius Gianni Versace was. It surprises
collections are the most interesting part. Also each
people at how contemporary and timeless some of the
piece has a story and a memory, and so it becomes
prints are. Not many people have seen vintage Versace
part of life.
Liz A self taught expert on 1950s Vintage, trader Liz
It follows her interests and research discoveries,
Tregenza has developed her passion for clothes into
as well as documenting the new items regularly
a successful business. She also owns an extensive
joining her collection (with many bought with the
collection of Horrockses dresses, which means she
intention of being sold, but ending up in her wardrobe
gets to spend her time shopping, not only for trade
permanently). Lizâ€™s house in Sutton is bursting treasure
purposes, but for her everyday wardrobe. In addition
chest, with Horrockses dresses and stunning prints
to studying for an MA in History of Design at the Royal
flung over every piece of furniture. Adorned daily in
College of Art, Liz has established herself as a vintage
countless petticoats under her favourite full skirts, Liz
specialist and is in the process of writing her own book.
is a colourful advertisement for the vintage brand and
Her online presence is booming, complete with a blog
her thriving business.
that can get up to an impressive 15,000 hits a month.
Liz in her garden wearing one of her favourite Horrockses dress. This piece is impeccable condition, complete with a Pat Albeck print, c. 1955. Flowers were a typical subject of Pat Albeck, often placed with butterflies to create a feminine and detailed print design.
My mother and I both collect what she affectionately calls ‘top tat’, which can be anything really, but the primary thing I like the most is clothes. I have items from Victorian times to 1980s retro that I have collected, but my main interest is mid 20th century, so 1940s and 1950s. I love printed cottons, with a focus on Horrockses in particular. I have just set up an Etsy shop to help move some items, because it has got to a point now where I am trying to hone in my collection, and trying to make it slightly more compact. I keep saying I am not going to buy anymore - I got to 50 and said ‘‘I won’t buy anymore’’, got to 60 and said ‘‘I won’t buy anymore’’... and here I am at 66. I was recently asked to be featured on a hoarding television programme, and although I turned it down it definitely made me get rid of a few extra items!
An elegant blue dress that Liz bought in the midst of her blue phase. The dress came with a matching bolero, c. 1955.
‘“When it comes to buying Horrockses I have some kind of weird radar. I can spot one straight off, I don’t have to touch it, it’s just a case of having bought so many.”
Can you remember where it all kicked off for you? I’ve been collecting since I was 7, but I really started collecting vintage around 15, due to a pink Horrockses dress I bought off eBay in 2007. I didn’t really know anything about Horrockses dresses at all, but from buying that one it just sort of snowballed. I started buying before they shot up in price, and got really interested in the brand because of the good condition my first dress was in, which prompted me to buy more. They are all well made and have these fabulous prints, so the more I found out about them the more I fell in love - and the more I bought. I realised that it was relatively easy to track the garments, because they advertised so widely in magazines at the time, there were a lot of surviving garments, and there are great
archives at the V&A. Also, a lot of the designers for Horrockses have worked for big companies, so there is good information out there in that respect too. I think the Horrockses turned into a collection, aside from just loving the dresses, because I could be a historian too. It combines my love for clothes, spending money and history. That is really why I have ended up with so many of them. For my prom I wore a vintage dress, that was the first really lovely piece I had. It was a shift dress from 1961, completely covered in beaded tassels. It was the lady I had bought it off’s favourite party dress. I then went on to buy her dress from her engagement party and the second dress from her wedding. I think that was the thing that kicked off the buying vintage on a big scale: loving the stories behind the garments.
Do you sell any Horrockses?
be, although there is also a fear that I might wear it out. To a certain extent it is inevitable; there will be a day
I did sell one yesterday actually, it went literally within
when you will wear something and it will rip. It’s things
seconds of putting it on my Etsy shop. That made me
like that that make you understand museums, and why
think, “Oh no, should I have done that?”. The reason
they say that things in collections shouldn’t be worn,
I sold that one was because it was similar to one I
but then again a personal collection is different.
already had, and it was too big, so there was not much point in keeping it. I do get quite tempted to sell the
I often buy dresses to sell, then end up keeping them,
plain cotton ones, because once you’ve got a couple,
I think that’s how I’ve ended up with some really
it’s enough, unless it has interesting construction. With
valuable pieces, like I have a couple 1970s Ossie Clark
plain ones, it’s the work of just one person, with printed
dresses. I always seem to buy and keep the later dated
ones you have two. I think that it shows an interesting
items, because I do wonder whether they will go up in
level of history when you have got the two together.
value even further. Items from the 1940s and 50s have
My collection is equally my wardrobe as it’s a private
already hit a good place.
collection. It has become more so now than it used to
Horrockses c. 1955-58. Designed by John Tullis, with a ‘Sophia’ print. Tullis was known for his complex dress patterns, which is due to his training at Molyneux - a couturier in Paris. This is a less complicated design, and this one in particular is a “unit” design: the bodice are made from related but different patterns. This process was used for dresses when quantities were limited. As Liz points out, Tullis was the only fashion designer to ever be credited for his designs. This was probably due to Tullis’ couture credentials, which was also one of the reasons why he was hired in 1950, to bring prestige to the brand. This design has been recently reproduced as a bedding design.
What are you passionate about at the moment?
were both too expensive for me at the time. That’s still
I think it is trying to not buy things that are blue and floral
couple in order to be able to afford it.
something that I really want... I am at a point now that I would spend as much money as I needed to and sell a
- I spent an entire week recently in a different 1940s floral dress every day. It’s just through chance, but I am
Anything Pat Albeck I love, because she was just such
trying actively not to buy anymore blue. I’m into really
an innovative print designer. If I can find anything
strong novelty prints at the moment, and ones with
that include designers or artists outside of the general
people in them. Dancers that you find in American jive
remit I have to have it. I have heard that Lucienne
prints are great; they were popular on British products
Day may have designed some prints for Horrockses.
in the late 1950s. Another dancing themed one I am on
It’s known that Horrockses bought designs off her, but
the hunt for is a Pat Albeck Horrockses with a Sophie
then again they frequently overbought on their prints
Fedorovich print, that has lots of tiny dancers on it.
so they may not have got around to putting them into
Sophie was a theater designer and Pat Albeck turned
production. Eduardo Paolozzi for Horrockses is also a
her designs into prints. I have seen two dresses, but they
desire, but they really are as rare as hen’s teeth.
Horrockses dress c. 1953. The lemon and orange print was designed by Pat Albeck. She also designed a similar one with apples and pears. A relatively new favourite to Lizâ€™s collection, she sometimes wears up to 6 petticoats at any one time to give the full skirts the desired volume.
One unusual thing that I love are Rayne shoes. They did
bad the quality was. It annoys me sometimes when
a collaboration with Wedgewood, so there are Rayne
people make sweeping statements and say “Quality
shoes with beautiful Wedgewood jasper cameos on
was so much better back then” because I have seen
them. I am also still on the hunt for a good 1950s C&A
some really poorly made 50s items that even have shop
dress. I can’t find one anywhere; I think it’s because
labels in them. I want to see just how bad it got even
they were such poor quality they just haven’t lasted.
lower down; was buying a C&A piece the equivalent of
It’s something that I want to look at, to see just how
buying Primark today?
This dress comes together with an image of Queen Mary visiting Horrockses in London, c. 1948. The print is an Alastair Morton design, with an unusual off the shoulder cut.
Queen Mary visiting Horrocksesâ€™ London offices 1948 Image courtesy of the Victoria and Albert museum archives, from the Betty Newmarch archive: AAD/1995/16/4/2. From Christine Boydell, (2010). Horrockses Fashions: Off the Peg Style in the Forties and Fifties.
The three different Horrockses labels that spanned 18 years. 1946-52, 1952-58 and 1958-64 respectively.
How do you use your collection, aside from wearing it? I often take some dresses with me when I give a talk. Itâ€™s better than just showing a drawing or a picture when talking about fashion of the 40s or the 50s, because people can engage with something physical, rather than just having visuals. My background is working in museums, where I see everything all shut away, which does make me really sad. I know it is essential to conserve garments, but one of the great things in having a personal collection is that I can take it out there, I can get people to engage with it and get people interested. From fashion historian training, I have to say having a personal collection is definitely a good thing, although volunteering at the V&A surprised me in how relaxed they were when handling garments. I suppose if you are allowed to handle things without gloves on, overall you will probably handle the piece less than if you were wearing gloves, because you canâ€™t feel what you are doing. The V&A is great, whereas smaller museums are overly vigilant.
Illustration of a Horrockses dress c.1948.
Horrockses dress, c. 1955. Print designed by Pat Albeck. Although Horrockses used prints from a range of designers, Pat Albeck produced a large amount for the brand. This is a typical Albeck design, with her illustrative style and mixture of flowers and butterflies, it is still in fantastic condition and one of Liz’s favourites.
Do you have to date items you trade or from your collection?
From working for the V&A, I know that they rarely take
Yes, which is a real challenge sometimes, because
overcrowded they don’t want something without
people have always been making things from old
provenance. You also have to think about what
fabric. I think that I’m good at dating things now; I
visitors want to see in exhibitions, but then again if
have handled enough pieces in my time to know. I
they aren’t given the chance, they might not know
have a guidelines that I follow, but when you feel
these other items exist. There is a whole lot of things
something physically in your hands it is very different.
out there that aren’t seen.
anything that is unlabeled. I have some really amazing things that are unlabeled, but because museums are
People often email me asking if I can date things, but you need to see and feel it to be sure. I do pick up
The stories behind the clothes are the most fascinating
a lot of things with provenance, which is great, but
thing - people love to be nosy. I ended up acquiring
at the same time it makes it harder to let an item
one elderly lady’s wedding dress and shoes, and in the
go. You start to worry whether the person you pass
time I bought and received them her daughter told
it onto will bother to remember those tiny details,
me she had passed away. It was really touching and
because I think (coming from a museum background)
sad, and I will never sell those pieces on. Wedding
provenance is something that is important to me
dresses are one thing that I get sent a lot of over the
personally, and some of the earlier collectors such
summer months to sell, but as they sell the best in
as Cecil Cunnington are looked down upon because
winter I end up storing them in huge numbers. It is a
they didn’t log any information. For that reason it is
real fear of mine that I will one day bring home a man
always in the forefront of my mind.
and he will stumble into the room that is stacked full of wedding dresses... He would run a mile!
Liz in Horrockses dress from 1952 with a Pat Albeck Giraffe print.
So what it is about Horrockses specifically that has got you hooked?
difficult to go and talk to people. Luckily I found when
I think it’s about showing off to be honest. I can be a
and why I will never be someone who dresses in just
bit of a snob sometimes - I just love saying “Yes it’s
jeans and a T-shirt. I love seeing my mother squirm
authentic!’’. Quality wise it’s good, and aside from the
and say “What on earth are you wearing?”. That is the
fact that vintage has got a lot more expensive in recent
reaction I hope for from her, although as I get older
times, when I think about what I buy, it works out
she is starting to like more of what I wear... I’m not
cheaper too. From my degree in fashion design, I love
too sure how I feel about that(!). Collecting is a very
to see how clothes are made, and I love just wearing
personal thing, and I am proud of it and enjoy it, as
something a bit different. I was always too lazy to
do my friends when they want to play dress up. One
make my own clothes, so having older clothes like
thing I will admit is there is a hint of embarrassment
these means I can wear something different without
when I take a step back and look at how big it has got
me having to create something. I am also really shy,
- I’ve even had to take the doors completely off the
and was even more when I was younger, so I found it
wardrobe because of the bulge.
I was wearing a 50s dress, often people would come and talk to me. That is definitely a huge thing for me,
Illustration copied from illustration in Vogue, June 1952 of Horrockses dress. Liz notes, the caption of the illustration reads “Serene sightseer…gay, cool and appropriate all day in a red cotton print skirt, sleeveless black jersey, print scarf with black reverse-wear it alternatively as a tiny shawl. By Horrockses, £7 19s.”
â€œI used to be really shy, but I found that when I was wearing a 50s dress, people would come and talk to meâ€™
Seth Zone7style began back in early 2007 as a humble blog
Looney Toons painter hats from the early 90s. Made
covering my exploits. It started with getting up at 5am
famous by renowned hat maker Dorfman Pacific,
so me and a friend could make it to car boot sales in
they had characters on them like Mickey Mouse and
Surrey and Kent. At that time we were buying art deco
Donald Duck that proved to be popular. We sold them
reproduction and selling it on eBay, and as time went
to many different shops in Central London, and due to
by we started to look more for clothing. We struck gold
the success it made me think about turning it into a
when we discovered a huge collection of florescent
I approached the Princes Trust for funding and after 6
From there I was working alongside a number of
months of working on a grueling business plan I was
high profile clients who would wear clothing and
granted a start up loan, but by that time my friend
accessories I had sourced in film, television and live
had left to pursue other things. The business remained
performances - so that was great for PR. After 2 years
small up until about 2009 when I decided to step it
of having a showroom in Shoreditch I went into a
up a gear and set up a pop up shop on the top floor
shop together with my eyewear supplier on Redchurch
of a pub in Islington. Not long after the first event I
Street, but not long after that I had moved to New
was approached by an eyewear company to represent
York to pursue other things. I still collect today and
the vintage side of their business, that ended with me
Zone7Style is still running online as a visual archive.
setting up a showroom in Shoreditch.
“I’ve always been obsessed with interesting prints.” My obsessive nature is what spurred me on to collect
It is hard to pin point my inspiration sources as I’ve
interesting prints, as I was always obsessed by detail
been moved by so many different things throughout
right from a young age. I can remember a handful of
my life. It sounds cliché but I’ve always been inspired
the things I was immersed in as a child cruise ships,
by people who choose not to follow the rules.
skyscrapers and cars. If there was something to collect,
Interesting artists, designers, architects and musicians
I would collect it. My bedroom walls were entirely
are always a motivation. I never was one to accept
covered with flyers that came from Rough Trade
what people put in front of me, so I have never
records in Portobello Road, where I used to spend a
watched much television and if I’m honest I do still try
lot of my time. The shoe obsession came from the
to keep my distance from popular culture. Having said
first time I saw a Nike Air Max shoe back in 1994, in a
that, there is real comfort to be found in the familiar
Littlewoods catalogue no less!
realm of conventionalism. London has been one of my biggest inspirations throughout my life, The Notting Hill Carnival was a great and exciting introduction into West Indian culture and that shaped my youth.
Over time my collecting habits have got a lot more
After that chapter the customer base was broad,
refined, so I am currently focusing on cutting back
through focusing in on colourful prints and different
and stripping away the excess. When I first moved to
accessories and brands that appealed to all age
New York I spent weeks clearing out boxes of stuff, it
groups. I am particularly interested in Moschino prints,
was surprising how much I had accumulated. Now I’m
and wrote about them substantially on the Zone7Style
left with the pieces that really mean something to me
blog. I have always thought Franco Moschino was a
and I know it would be really hard for me if I ever had
pioneer, his print archive is one of the greatest in the
to let them go. I still like to focus on collecting Best
world in terms of that loud ‘poppy’ style. He took
Company from Italy and Ralph Lauren is also a label I
everyday common objects and plastered them over
can’t resist. There are also a few holes in my Missioni
stylish shirts and jeans. The fact that there was always
Sport graphic tee collection that I’d like to fill.
an underlying political message behind his clothing is something that I am intrigued by. The last piece I
Of course my initial clients when selling the Looney
bought was a Cheap & Chic shirt with a print of what
Toons hats were around the 18-25 bracket, but at
looks like a Moroccan street seller all over it. Every
the time the New Rave scene was well underway.
piece is different and interesting.
How do things differ in New York to London? They are both very different indeed, with ‘football casual’ defining Europe while hip hop dominated in the States. Now I think it’s all blended together, but I do find that the British consumer continues to be a little more refined than your average American; Basketball and Baseball are so influential out here. I remember when I was in New York back in 1996 my cousin gave me a pile of snapback hats. It was something new to me as hadn’t really paid any attention to them before then. I recently attended the annual Lo-Life BBQ in East New York, which is an annual gathering of Original Lo-Lifes and Lo-heads (collectors of Ralph Lauren Polo). It was amazing to finally meet some of the pioneers of the movement. We did the usual posing for group photos and had a good time. Lo-Life culture has changed but it has strong roots in NYC and the movement continues to grow globally.
Collecting still has an important place in culture today
of the unknown and to bring products to the table that
because as time has gone on and the accessibility of
not many people are familiar with, while staying within
information has become instantaneous, many things
the realms of relevance. I think timelessness is a key
that were less known 10 years ago are now at the
factor, and various fashions continue to stand the test
forefront of fashion. Original movements began
of time. Collectors celebrate the different elements of
without the aid of technology, and instead were
fashion and keep it alive in a time that is dominated by
shaped by the surroundings and people involved; they
technology and fast paced fashion. There is a lot to be
reflected lifestyle and raw culture. Weâ€™ve all had to
learnt by the past and it continues to inspire.
really step up our game to dig deeper into the vaults
Dior Haute Couture two piece dress suit, c. 1968.
History Rebecca Shawcross: The History of Shoes
William Banks-Blaney: 100 years of Haute Couture
Cleo and Mark Butterfield: 100 years of affordable vintage
The Elephant Boot is one of four boots made by Lotus for the British Alpine Hannibal Expedition. The expedition aimed to recreate and track Hannibal’s route during his invasion of Italy in the 3rd Century BC. Although often disputed by historians, chroniclers reported that Hannibal crossed the Alps with 37 surviving elephants to take into battle. The expedition’s elephant Jumbo traveled 150 miles in 10 days from France to Susa in Italy, proving it could be done.
Rebecca Shawcross is the curator behind the beautiful
The Shoe Collection also contains an extensive range
collection at the Northampton museum of shoes.
of men’s footwear, largely influenced by the fact
Home to the world’s largest accumulation of vintage
that Northampton as a shoemaking town has always
shoes, ranging from ancient Egyptian to contemporary
been known for its manufacturer of men’s footwear,
design. There are over 12,000 items on site, including
both domestic and military. As quoted from the
accessories, such as buckles, laces, shoe horns, trees,
Northampton museum website: ‘In 1660, Thomas
spats, leggings and polish. In addition to shoes, there
Fuller wrote that “the town of Northampton may be
is also a large collection of retail trade and archive
said to stand chiefly on other men’s legs…the most
material, including advertising items, trade journals,
cheapest, if not the best, boots…in England are to be
company catalogues, books and photographs. There
bought in Northampton.”
is also a section dedicated to fine and decorative art,
that features paintings and prints depicting shoes
When Rebecca Shawcross started working at the
and shoemaking. There is also some more unusual
museum a number of years ago, she was met with
material, such as an index of concealed shoes hidden
comments that shoes as a subject might be quite
in buildings; this was often done to bring good luck.
limited, but through learning one on one with the
Jeffrey-West Shoes. Featured in the recent popular exhibition was ‘If We Could Be Heroes’, which celebrated the 25th anniversary of the iconic Northampton based company Jeffery-West.
collections she realised that this was not the case.
social history, styles and methods of making various
Building on her museum background, where she
types of shoes and even the psychology of wearing
worked with exhibitions and collection management,
shoes, such as what shoes express about the wearer.
she has developed her skills and knowledge in every
aspect of shoes. Rebecca states, ‘It has grown from
There is a huge range of shoes from many different
almost nothing to knowing the history of shoe fashions,
places, including a number of really unusual pairs,
the industry in Northampton and further afield, the
such as some ‘impossible’ wet look ‘fetish’ court shoes,
ability to date shoes and facilitate peoples’ enquiries
complete with a seven inch heel. The shoes are dated
whether they be “my grandfather was a shoemaker do
from 1975, and are size 11 which hints that they were
you have any information on him?” to school children
made for the male fetish market. They were purchased
undertaking a project on shoes.’ It is important to
in the 1980s for the museum’s collection. Visually they
note that shoes as a subject overlaps with many other
are stunning, although sadly there is no information
different types of information, such as industrial and
about who wore them or who they were made by.
Vivienne Westwood. ‘Super Elevated Ghillie shoes’ c. 1998.
Rebecca loves the stories behind shoes, and sometimes
when he attended school dances in the 1950s. On the
it is the most unassuming pairs that have the best
death of his father the donor inherited them and wore
history: ‘We accepted as a donation a few years
them at his own wedding in the early 1920s. He too
ago, a pair of black leather Oxfords, that under usual
wore them at many functions including those held
circumstances we would have probably said no to but
at Buckingham Palace and Westminster. He finally
they come with an amazing history attached to them.
donated them to the Shoe Collection because they
In brief they were bought by the donors father in the
had become uncomfortable to wear. So, although they
1920s and then worn at his wedding in 1923. They
look like any other well worn shoes, they have a great
were worn at many functions and loaned to the donor
story behind them.’
William William Banks-Blaney is the founder and heart of
Anderson, which brings together unique items of
WilliamVintage, an unedited and heavenly source
Haute Couture alongside extraordinary Adler jewellery.
for any Couture junkie. With a passion for designers,
With a pop-up store in Selfridges and an online store
Williamâ€™s London store is filled with rare one off
opening in the Autumn of 2013, WilliamVintage and
pieces from the last 100 years. Vintage expert William
the intimate team behind it are hurtling from strength
hosts the annual WilliamVintage Bafta Dinner with
Golden Globe, Bafta and Emmy winning actress Gillian
What is the WilliamVintage look?
don’t go according to size, label or price. If it’s a piece of clothing, obviously in the realm of vintage, that I
I vacillate between block colour or a very loud
like and that has a resonance to me personally then
patterns and very strong tailoring. Whether that is
I will buy it. I don’t really actively go out for a client
Fifties nipped or Sixties A shape. I don’t like ‘polite’, so
who says ‘‘I really want this or that’’, because it’s not
I tend to avoid small prints and detailing; I like either
really my thing. I won’t track or hunt those down, if
total austerity or total exuberance. When I source
you want something specific, go talk to Steve Rellik.
clothing, I go for what I like and what I’m drawn to; I
This dress, while labeled as â€˜Marthaâ€™, a high end boutique from the 1960s, it is most likely an early Oscar de la Renta. It was discovered by William as a part of a large private collection of 1960s Oscar de la Renta. The dress is an elegant clash of pattern, texture and colour synonymous with Oscar de la Renta of this period. The velvet skirt, chiffon top and gold brocade detailing all combine to create a luxurious version of the Bohemian aesthetic that emerged after the hard modernism of the mid 1960s.
Pierre Balmain, c. 1954. This Balmain dress is made of the finest ivory silk and entirely covered in embroidery worked in silver thread, glass pearls and solid crystal by Maison Lesage. The panel-cutting creates a flowing form that glints as it moves with a finely-shaped bodice and floor-length skirt, gathered and folded at the rear to create volume and a beautiful shape from every angle.
Pierre Cardin beaded dress. Intricate gold and brown beading around the neck, sleeves and hem give beautiful detail to the modernist cut characteristic to the Cardin aesthetic.
The first thought is always “God I bloody love that!”, and then immediately afterwards maybe, “Oh, and so will Nigella [Lawson] or Gillian [Anderson]”, but first and foremost I have to love it. Although I have my own taste, you can buy with different parts of your personality. I can be buying for the more austere and formal event, which I love, but equally that might be a muted plain sixties couture piece... but that doesn’t stop me from getting something bias cut and body skimming from the Thirties in black velvet. They are completely different ‘women’ but each piece has the same sensibility and commonality to the WilliamVintage brand, which is why I think when you walk into the store, people who don’t know what we are or haven’t read much about us, the first thing they might think is it is a contemporary collection, because we cover lots of price points and sizes spanning 100 years. We have Couture and prêt-à-porter, but there is an overall look, and that is because I do only pick up the things that I like. You have to have cohesion.
This Dior dress is far from the classic Dior hourglass shape, but shows the high quality detail through the intricate beading and detail. Still in perfect condition, WilliamVintage has dated this garment to 1959.
I have cities that I like going back to for certain styles. It’s good to follow the world spots and the cities that were the best at a certain time. Chicago had a massive construction period in the Thirties, Paris for the Sixties modernism, and New York in the Twenties. If you are into your A-lines you need to head to London; Carnaby street in the Sixties was the whole London scene. There are often tried and tested spots I hit, but equally when I go to a new place it’s not really off the back of doing much research... I tend to just wing it. Sometimes it is just talking to someone in the street, you occasionally have a sense of divination in investigating. I like pitching up in a place thinking “Right, let’s find out whether this is going to be fantastic or a bust!’’
Detail of Dior dress, 1959.
My taste has evolved from many sources over a long period of time, I think because I have always been very visual. As a child I was very into antiques and would read catalogue after catalogue. My degree was in History of Art, which I specialised in the conservation of historic buildings, where I then went into furniture and interior design. It has always been about the buildings we live in, the interiors we sit in or the clothes that are on our back. To me, it is about colours, textures and construction. It has definitely become more personal over time.
What is the most special piece you have ever found? There is one dress that I really wish I had never sold, which is a 1968 AndrĂŠ CourrĂ¨ges dress with mint green sequins with beautiful organza backing. It is the only piece I regret saying goodbye to - it was a long time ago and I still think about it. I have the original image of a model wearing it, standing next to CourrĂ¨ges himself. There is also a piece that I am trying to buy at the minute, to keep, which is almost totally destroyed, but it is just amazing. It is the bodice of a 1950s Dior
This Phyliss Ann two piece dress suit embodies the modernist 1960s style and proportions.
Haute Couture dress, which is entirely made up of Maison Lesarge embroidery with huge crystals. I want to float it on a perspex body in a box because it is just so beautiful. I keep thinking about keeping a personal archive, but there are only a handful of pieces that I would keep if I could, so it would only be small. The one garment that I would just die if I got my hands on it is the Balenciaga wedding dress from the 1967 spring collection. That’s the one. There are pictures of it dotted around, so although I’ve never seen it up close I know it is just the most perfect dress that was ever made. There is one in Madrid at the Balenciaga Museum, and I think there might be one in Tokyo. It’s just perfect. If I ever found that that would be the one I would never let go of, so when I’m 80 I can say, “I used to do this for a living and that is the one that I kept.” It’s the most perfect dress in every way.
Detail of the Phyliss Ann jacket, c. 1960s. The jacket has all the original buttons in colour-matched plastic, each of which is inset with crystals. A simple and elegant addition to a block colour outfit.
The iconic Balenciaga wedding dress from 1967. William’s number one wish, he states that it is ‘the most perfect thing ever’. Embodying the modernist sixties aesthetic, the veil merges into the shape of the dress, coming together to make an elegant and simplistic cone shape.
Although there are a few garments that I just want for
but you won’t have that happen when a lady might
me, overall I think I am just an old fashioned dealer.
spend the same amount on a vintage Balmain. There
I love sending clothes to fresh homes to be loved by
is a bigger resonance than just “because it’s cool this
someone new. I do worry sometimes that they might
season”, there is an understanding and appreciation of
not be kept properly, because in some cases they really
something so special.
are works of art done by the masters, but pieces of clothing are made to be worn. Some of our pieces
We also sell to museums, private collectors and many
are absolutely museum standard in perfect condition,
fashion designers. It goes over a few levels: wear,
but the unique thing with vintage when it’s at a very
absorb and curate. The fashion designers we sell to
high level is that when a woman loves a dress so
don’t just look at it and copy it, they buy a piece to
much that she will part with a considerable amount
absorb it. They study the language of the piece, the
of money, she respects the garment totally. You might
tailoring and the stitching. They study it and continue
get someone walking into Gucci spending £15,000 on
it in a different way.
this seasons ‘it’ dress and completely trash it at a party,
Yves Saint Laurent feather jacket, c. 1970s. 3 different types of feathers create the most amazing silhouette. The voluminous sleeves contrast the fitted cropped back. Truly a statement piece.
A wonderful and iridescent couture dress by Halston, the designer synonymous with the luxurious fashion wave of the 1970s. This dress is constructed in the finest silk, printed with a rainbow like pattern and overlaid with thousands of clear, iridescent sequins that give a glowing, pearlescent feel to the dress. It lined in ivory silk organza.
This chic early Oscar de la Renta dress is a good example of late 1960s glamour and the return to a more luxurious, boho-inspired feeling following the sharp modernism of the mid 1960s. The dress, made of chiffon shot through with gold lurex on a bed of purple, green and ivory batik-inspired print, features sheer voluminous sleeves, an integral neck tie and the original belt.
What do you offer that you might not see in museums?
mannequin, which upsets me greatly, because they
I give people the opportunity to see things that are
garment hasnâ€™t been pressed or reformed, it has just
otherwise just stored away. There are so many pieces stashed away it is such a shame. The Met collection, for example, is so extraordinary and vast, that to take good photographs of all of it (in order to do the clothes justice), it would cost millions and millions of pounds. Some brands like Dior are archived well online, through amazing photographs with the garments on a mannequin with full motion. In contrast, if you go to Balenciaga, it is just photographed on an old seamstress
have Balenciaga that makes me feel ill because it is so beautiful. Those photographs are not great; the been thrown on and shot. They are working through their collection, but there is only so much they can do. I hate that there are loads of items that have gone into museum storage and are not archived online or being utilised in any way. Itâ€™s always sad when something has been decided internally that it will never be put inside a glass case for public display, and all they have of it is a crap Polaroid.
An amazing evening dress by Charles Worth, c. 1931. The dress has over 300,000 glass beads sewn onto the long threads hanging from the dress. It shimmers and sounds like glass shattering with every step.
Some are better than others of course, and it is also relevant to take into account the curators and gallery directors. You might have someone as brilliant as Harold Koda [Curator in Charge at The Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art] and his team, who are all completely amazing; then you have Olivier Saillard, [the Director of the Musée Galliera in Paris]. I think he is the first curator to really understand a piece of fashion as a piece of art. He thinks about the interaction between the exhibit and the viewer, rather than saying, “Look at this - isn’t it pretty?”. He views that interaction in a different way by remembering that clothes are designed to go against your skin, to be caressed.
Illustration of a silk-taffeta evening dress by John Galliano for Christian Dior.
Illustration of an evening gown by Lanvin, 1950. Image by De Marché for Hapers Bazaar.
Although sometimes museums offer some information
Our youngest client is 17 and our oldest 73, and
in the form of provenance, occasionally I find pieces
although they might want different things in a new
with an interesting back story too. My clients are
piece they all appreciate what we offer. Our primary
always interested and ask if there is an anecdote behind
market is around 30-55. These ladies want to claim
a piece. The romantic view of dresses always having a
their personal style, and are often bored at what is
glamourous history is only somewhat true. Sometimes
available generally. They understand what their body
they are given to housekeepers or forgotten in attics -
does, they understand their good and bad points. The
but personally I love that and find that interesting too
range of styles and occasions we stock for covers many
because I like the randomness of finding something
different aspects of life, so often I will categorise the
really exquisite in the most ridiculous place. That to
store by events - such as ‘Winter’, ‘Cocktail’, ‘Dinner’,
me is almost more exciting. The ladies who come
‘Boardroom’ etc. I have found some spectacular things
through our door come to us not just for that reason,
recently in Paris and the USA, some complete with
but that they know they are going to walk in and find
original corsets and horsehair underskirts. Although
a fabulous dress.
some might need a bit of restoration, we are luckily
Detail of an evening dress by the Parisian couturier Bruyere. The dress, of a very dark grey raw silk, is entirely covered with finely embroidered bugle beading, pear-cut crystals and sequins in an asymmetric pattern.
Illustration of a Richard Avedon photograph of an evening gown by Cristóbal Balenciaga, modeled by Dovima. Harpers Bazaar December 1950.
not limited by rigid museum rules, so we can find
once. Something like that needs to be worn and not
pieces that are unique and beautiful that someone will
kept on a still mannequin, because the other half of its
buy and love, whereas in a museum it just might not
spectacle is when it moves: with every step it sounds
fit in within an exhibition and so it sits in a storage
like breaking mirrors. It’s truly show stopping. We
cabinet. One spectacular dress that I found recently is
give clothes the opportunity to be worn and loved as
a floor length Charles Worth Haute Couture dress from
they deserve to be, after all they were made with this
1931 that is made up of long thin glass beads hanging
purpose in mind.
off threads - with around 300,000 glass tassels in total. It is in perfect condition due to only being worn
Pierre Balmain evening dress, c.1955. A superb example of Haute Couture and one of the most iconic pieces of the 1950s, this dress is created in deep blue silk with a wonderful asymmetric neckline that frames the face and neck without revealing cleavage and has an extremely flattering capped sleeve to enhance the shoulder line. The skirt is beautifully shaped with a rigidity to the silk and features a slanted pocket at each hip, creating a beautiful, wearable dress perfect for a host of occasions.
Although officially an â€˜unknownâ€™ dress, it is most likely an early Oscar de la Renta. The dress is a great example of chinoiserie-inspired design - something that was present heavily in the de la Renta house in the period. The gold braid at the neckline and gold braid fasteners at the front are set upon an Eastern-inspired floral pattern in a pink and lilac shot through with lurex.
Cleo and Mark Butterfield
Cleo and Mark Butterfield are both well known in
then went on to open a shop in Portobello in 1970 and
the vintage industry, with their vast collection of rare
then got a stand in Antiquarius antiques centre on the
vintage garments and accessories stashed away in a
King’s Road. I stayed until 1983. That was the heyday
country warehouse situated in the depths of Devon.
of vintage. Everybody wore it then. But I never really
Although Mark has only been interested and involved
just sold vintage clothing, I sold fashion. In this business
in the fashion world since they married 17 years ago,
you’ve got to change with the times. When we started,
Cleo began selling clothes at Portobello Market for
there were more people buying it and fewer dealers.’’
some extra cash. As Cleo told the Daily Mail in 2008, ‘‘I
Stamps from C20, the Butterfieldâ€™s Vintage Company, from when Royal Mail celebrated British fashion in 2012.
Cleo’s huge collection of vintage was based in Hoxton,
The thing that makes the Butterfield’s collection
East London, where she would frequently hire out
successful is the sheer size of it. It practically guarantees
pieces for film and television, notably Evita, (starring
visitors, because designers know that they can find
Madonna). Cleo still has pieces that she wore in the
anything they can think of in one place. Cleo and Mark
film today. After Mark joined the business, they moved
know that after a certain amount of time, many pieces
to Devon for more peaceful surroundings. As Cleo and
of history can be lost forever, therefore they keep
Mark told David Hayes from the Daily Mail, “We thought:
buying items in order to stop this happening - “Most
‘How can we make a living in the country?’. When we
of the important pieces from the Twenties and Thirties
were doing vintage fairs we realised most of the people
have already gone.”
we dealt with were designers, so we thought, we know
all about hiring because we have done it for films, so
With years of experience, they know the best places to
we might as well just hire to designers. And unlike a
buy from and what to look for: they spend a great deal
lot of vintage dealers who do the fairs, we haven’t just
of time on buying trips outside of the UK and visiting
got five or six rails of clothes, we have thousands and
vintage fairs, as well as buying from private collectors,
thousands of items.”
proving that there is a process of osmosis with different
Photographs of Cleo from her personal collection.
collectors and collections. Although their collection is
Topshop. As pointed out by David Hayes, ‘‘Some
growing steadily, it is evident that there is less quality
of Kate’s designs are almost exact copies of items
vintage to be found, with Mark stating, ‘’Things are
borrowed from the Butterfields’ collection - the late
getting rarer. We spend a lot of time looking but not a
Sixties print dresses, the Biba-style blouses and even the
lot of time buying.’’
gold chain-mail dresses.’’
It is through collections like the Butterfield’s that
important fashion exhibitions including the 2003 Ossie
designers can find inspiration from vintage items.
Clark retrospective at the V&A Museum, the 2005
Fashion is cyclical, and sometimes something has been
Chanel exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum in New
made in the most spectacular way that is just begging
York and the 2008 Bill Gibb retrospective at the Fashion
to be reabsorbed and remade into something more
and Textile Museum in London. Many famous designers
make use of the collection, including Kate Moss for
Scarlett Cannon wearing the Scarlet Dress designed by Juliana Sissons ÂŠ Photograph by Monica Curtin ÂŠ Victoria and Albert Museum, London V&A Website 2013
People Geoffrey Marsh: David Bowie
Susan Rogers: Personal Collection
Kate Bethune: The 80s – ‘Club to Catwalk’
Album cover shoot for Aladdin Sane, 1973. Photograph by Brian Duffy © Duffy Archive © Victoria and Albert Museum, London V&A Website 2013
The Victoria and Albert Museum 2013 exhibition
Brian Duffy; album sleeve artwork by Guy Peellaert
dedicated to David Bowie was popular hit with the
and Edward Bell; visual excerpts from films and live
public - selling over 40,000 tickets before it had even
performances including The Man Who Fell to Earth,
been opened. The exhibition’s main aim was to delve
music videos such as Boys Keep Swinging and set
into the broad range of Bowie’s collaborations with
designs created for the Diamond Dogs tour (1974)’.
artists and designers. Fashion, film, graphics, design,
Not only did the exhibition include things from Bowie’s
theatre, art were all represented through the display of
professional life, but there were also never-before-seen
over 300 objects. The V&A’s Theatre and Performance
personal items such as handwritten set lists and lyrics,
curators, Victoria Broackes and Geoffrey Marsh chose
sketches done by Bowie himself and diaries - both
the items that were brought together for the first time
musical and personal, original costumes, photography,
outside of the archive. As outlined by the V&A itself,
film, music videos, set designs, Bowie’s own instruments
some of these objects included Ziggy Stardust bodysuits
and album artwork.
(1972) designed by Freddie Burretti, photography by
Pierrot Costume courtesy The David Bowie Archive 2012 image courtesy V&A Images Phaidon Website 2013
David Bowie is exhibition, 2013. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London V&A Website 2013
The collection of David Bowie’s items is documented
album covers that could take more than a year to come
and kept in museum standard by Bowie himself,
out. The costumes were something that were probably
where an archivist has been working on it for years. As
designed only months sometimes days in advance.”
Geoffrey Marsh, the curator for “David Bowie Is’, states,
The amount of items that were available to the team
“There are pictures of him as a baby - a photograph
of curators was vast, and so there were many factors
of Little Richard that he had on his bedroom wall as a
that dictated which pieces were selected for the final
little boy which is in the exhibition. The first few times
exhibition. Different questions had to be considered,
we went there we were working from photographs.
including: “Do the objects work together visually; do
The first thing we actually saw were the costumes.
they tell important stories or illustrate key themes; are
And the strange thing about costumes is that when
they in a condition to be displayed without damaging
they’re sitting in a box, folded up, they don’t look like
them?” There were items that wouldn’t work in an
much. But then you conjure this image of them on
exhibition space, because of their age or structure, so
stage and weirdly, they’re like freeze frames of how
replicas of certain delicate pieces were made.
he saw himself at that moment - even more so than
David Bowie is exhibition, 2013. ÂŠ Victoria and Albert Museum, London V&A Website 2013
Some of the garments are well known and iconic, have become so iconic, including the Pierrot costume from Ashes To Ashes. Geoffrey Marsh describes seeing it for the first time in the flesh: “Looking at that, you think, ‘what’s all that about? Where did that come from?’ And I think the thing that got me - my Bowie moment, if you want to call it that - was when I realised that he had made all the drawings for the original designs himself. We have the felt tip pen sketches he made in the show.” Although what was on show was merely the tip of the iceberg in relation to the archive, the rich collection if items on show allowed the V&A visitor to see the evolution of creativity and the world behind the spectacle
From the age of 8, Susan Rogers has always been interested in vintage and collecting, with her first
When Susan went to college to study English and
venture being a Jumble Sale at a local village hall in
History of Art and due to existing on a Student
the early 1970s. Rummaging through the clothes piled
Grant, the only way she could acquire new clothes
on trestle tables she found some amazing nylon party
on a regular basis was to buy second-hand. It was by
dresses that were in Vogue for small girls at that time.
frequenting the Oxfam and Save the Children shops
Spending the few pence her parents had given her she
in Cambridge that she built up a collection of Vintage
bought one of these ‘glorious confections’ and used
Fashion. She was able to buy Vintage Liberty print silk
it for dressing up. She remembers an old caravan her
scarves and large wool shawls for ‘next to nothing’, as
and her friend were allowed to play in, that would
well as good quality wool jackets and skirts that saw
frequently be used to reenact scenes from their
her through job interviews and on into working life.
favourite American TV series at the time - “It Takes a Thief” with Robert Wagner.
When Susan went to college to study English and
collection, that doubles up as her wardrobe. She will
History of Art and due to existing on a Student
consider anything for the collection, from a Victorian
Grant, the only way she could acquire new clothes
mourning jacket that that was found at a house
on a regular basis was to buy second-hand. It was by
clearance in Brussels to a beautiful Etro silk waistcoat
frequenting the Oxfam and Save the Children shops
from a charity shop in Leuven. Although she likes
in Cambridge that she built up a collection of Vintage
to wear every piece in her collection, if something
Fashion. She was able to buy Vintage Liberty print silk
catches her eye and it doesn’t quite fit she will often
scarves and large wool shawls for ‘next to nothing’, as
buy it anyway - often lending items to her daughter.
well as good quality wool jackets and skirts that saw her through job interviews and on into working life.
Although she doesn’t spend lots of time looking for specific things - she “appreciates the quality
Since becoming more financially secure, Susan spends
and unique aspect” of Vintage clothing, she admits
more freely on vintage and retro clothes for her
that she does still rummage through vast crates of
handbags hoping to find a Hermes â€œKellyâ€? bag.
opportunity to see and use something special. Susan believes that private collectors should be celebrated
Susan makes use of the collection by not only wearing
as they bring together unique pieces that stem from
it - her every day wardrobe typically includes at least
their private passion and personal taste. The thing
one piece of Vintage clothing or jewellery. She also
with personal archives is that they offer a raw and
regularly lends her collection to her daughter Louisa, a
intimate insight into the collector, that is removed
photographer and stylist, who uses it for projects and
from professional curation.
photo shoots. Her love of vintage fashion has produced a unique collection of beautiful pieces that not only offers her a treasure chest of choice to get dressed from in the morning, but offers her close family and friends the
Inside the Club to Catwalk exhibition 2013.
Kate Bethune was one of the curators involved in the
one reason why the city’s design was so inventive and
recent V&A exhibition Club to Catwalk. It is the first time
individual at that time. Colleges including St Martin’s
that the V&A have put on an exhibition solely on 80s
and the Royal College of Art nurtured designers through
fashion. It came at the perfect time due to the recent
their advanced training opportunities.
interest in 80s fashion and club scenes. The main aims
of the exhibition was to not only celebrate the emerging
As stated on Modeconnect.com, that at night, “Young
designers at the time, that were influenced heavily by
designers’ imaginations were sparked by a vibrant
London’s vibrant club scene, but to also demonstrate
London club scene. John Galliano recalled, ‘Thursday
there is more to the simple stereotypes that exist of
and Friday at St Martin’s, the college was almost
the decade. Looks that were celebrated included the
deserted. Everybody was at home working on their
New Romantic style, featuring genuine outfits that
costumes for the weekend’. Designer Georgina Godley
were worn by the likes of Adam Ant and Leigh Bowery.
remembers, ‘Young London was all about taking risks
There was a clear link between the catwalk and the
and creating something out of nothing through passion
club, and how they each inspired the other to reinvent
and ambition’.” The exhibition, far from being merely
‘fashion’. The huge choice of London’s arts education is
a showcase featuring shoulder pads and leg warmers,
At Subway, Derek Ridgers, Black and white photograph, 1986 © Derek Ridgers © Victoria and Albert Museum, London V&A Website 2013
Sketch for customised denim jacket, commissioned by BLITZ magazine John Galliano, 1986 ÂŠ Victoria and Albert Museum, London From V&A website 2013
The Cloth, Summer Summit Anita Corbin, 1985 © Anita Corbin © Victoria and Albert Museum, London V&A Website 2013
it offers, through the use of over 90 styled and full
“There seemed to be such a fun, carefree attitude
motion mannequins, “The creative explosion of London
toward fashion design in the 80s. That is not to say that
fashion and the breadth of the creative talents working
people didn’t take their work seriously. Many designers
out of the city during the decade.” As Kate Bethune
we spoke to during the research stages told us that
states, “Prior to the exhibition, the V&A did not have
the 80s was a difficult time to try and forge a career
many examples of club-wear in the collection, and
in fashion. Fashion did not receive the same financial
our 80s collection tended to represent the work of
backing or support that it garners today; many designers
‘catwalk’ designers, although of course not exclusively
had little or no money, and they didn’t know whether
so. Exhibitions are important in exposing gaps in the
they would make it or not. Yet this uncertainty was
permanent collection and, as a result, they enable us
in many respects extremely liberating, and it enabled
to make strategic acquisitions to redress these. The
them to be bold and to take risks with their designs. The
exhibition has a remarkably broad appeal because
exhibition will appeal to people who lived through and
fashion and music are intrinsically linked and are an
experienced the 80s fashion and music scenes, it will
exciting and dynamic combination. It has been great to
be of interest to current fashion students and it will be
see people discovering the breadth and diversity of 80s
appealing to anyone with an interest in fashion or the
fashion for the first time and also to find so many people
in our club gallery reminiscing about their experiences of the 80s club scene.”
Image List Front cover
Detail of Pierre Cardin evening dress. Courtesy of WilliamVintage.
Children’s shoes, c.1830s. Courtesy of Alasdair Peebles and Lucie Jordanna Cohen Photography.
Vintage Versace print, Courtesy of Alexandre Stefani.
Detail of Pierre Balmain dress, c. 1954. Courtesy of WilliamVintage.
Fancy dress in style of Balkan folk costume, from the late/early 19th century. Courtesy of Alasdair Peebles and Lucie Jordanna Cohen Photography.
GF Watts (1817-1904) Alexander Constantine Ionides with his Wife and Children, 1840. Image courtesy of Bugler, C. eds. (2005) Art Quarterly: Autumn. London: The Art Fund. pp.26-27.
Illustration by Saskia Barlow.
Vintage photograph, courtesy of Alasdair Peebles, from his personal collection. Source unknown.
Bianco label 1967. Courtesy of WilliamVintage.
Interior of WilliamVintage. Courtesy of WilliamVintage.
White summer outfit, courtesy of Alasdair Peebles and Lucie Jordanna Cohen Photography.
Detail of Moschino print. Courtesy of Seth Bradley.
Vintage photograph of child from Alasdair Peebles’ personal collection. Source unknown.
Blue suit, c. 1900. Courtesy of Alasdair Peebles and Lucie Jordanna Cohen Photography.
Louis and kite, courtesy of Alasdair Peebles and Nic Jones.
Image from the David Bowie Is exhibition 2013 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Utility suit, 45-52. Courtesy of Alasdair Peebles and Lucie Jordanna Cohen Photography.
Molly Parnis dress, c. 1967. Courtesy of WilliamVintage.
Sailor hat - HMS Diadem c.1912. Courtesy of Alasdair Peebles and Lucie Jordanna Cohen Photography.
Pink boys’ tunic c. 1825. Courtesy of Alasdair Peebles and Lucie Jordanna Cohen Photography.
Military style hat. Courtesy of Alasdair Peebles and Nic Jones.
Alasdair’s father’s Fair Isle jumper c.1930s. Courtesy of Alasdair Peebles.
Portrait: Courtesy of Alasdair Peebles and Lucie Jordanna Cohen Photography.
Shoes 1830s. Courtesy of Alasdair Peebles and Lucie Jordanna Cohen Photography.
Image of Alasdair as a child: Courtesy of Alasdair Peebles.
Louis modeling silk French suit. Courtesy of Alasdair Peebles and Nic Jones.
Object Page: Utility suit, 195-52. Courtesy of Alasdair Peebles and Lucie Jordanna Cohen Photography.
Deborah Woolf Synopsis: 44-45
Horrockses 1956 dress, unknown print designer. Courtesy of Liz Tregenza and Lucie Jordanna Cohen Photography.
Blue Horrockses dress, c. 1955. Courtesy of Liz Tregenza and Lucie Jordanna Cohen Photography.
Horrockses c. 1955-58. Designed by John Tullis, â€˜Sophiaâ€™ print. Courtesy of Liz Tregenza and Lucie
Detail of Silk coat. Courtesy of Alasdair Peebles and Lucie Jordanna Cohen Photography.
Accessories from inside shop. Courtesy of Lucie Jordanna Cohen Photography and Isabella Thordsen. Accessories from inside shop. Courtesy of Isabella Thordsen.
Jordanna Cohen Photography. 74-75
Horrockses c. 1953. Print by Pat Albeck. Courtesy of Liz Tregenza and Lucie Jordanna Cohen Photography.
Liz portrait. Courtesy of Liz Tregenza and Lucie Jordanna Cohen Photography.
Alastair Morton Horrockses dress, c. 1948. Courtesy of Liz Tregenza and Lucie Jordanna Cohen Photography.
Image of Queen Mary visiting Horrockses in London, c. 1948. Courtesy of the Victoria and Albert museum archives, from the Betty Newmarch archive: AAD/1995/16/4/2. From Christine Boydell, (2010). Horrockses Fashions: Off the Peg Style in the Forties and Fifties.
Illustration by Saskia Barlow.
The three different Horrockses labels. 1946-52, 1952-58 and 1958-64 respectively. Courtesy of Liz Tregenza and Lucie Jordanna Cohen Photography.
Illustration by Saskia Barlow.
Joan Benham Synopsis: 49
Portrait of Joan Benham. Courtesy of fashion.telegraph.co.uk Manolo Blahnik Something Blue. Courtesy of Paintthetownfashion & Lara Manolo Blahnik shoe. Courtesy of oeede.com
Brands page: Liz in Horrockses with a Brigitte Denhert print, .1960. Courtesy of Liz Tregenza and Lucie Jordanna Cohen Photography.
Alexandre Stefani: 54-63
Selection of vintage Versace shirts, individual dates unknown. Courtesy of Alexandre Stefani, personal image collection.
Liz Tregenza: 64
Liz portrait. Courtesy of Liz Tregenza and Lucie Jordanna Cohen Photography.
Liz in Horrockses with a Pat Albeck print, c. 1955. Courtesy of Liz Tregenza and Lucie Jordanna Cohen Photography.
83-84 Horrockses dress, c. 1955. Print by Pat Albeck. Courtesy of Liz Tregenza and Lucie Jordanna Cohen Photography.
Liz in Horrockses dress from 1952 with Pat Albeck print. Courtesy of Liz Tregenza and Lucie Jordanna Cohen Photography.
Illustration by Saskia Barlow, copied from illustration done in Vogue, June 1952 of Horrockses dress.
Liz in Horrockses, c. mid 1950s. Courtesy of Liz Tregenza and Lucie Jordanna Cohen Photography.
Seth Bradley: 90
101 Selection of images: vintage Moschino prints, individual dates unknown. Courtesy of Seth Bradley, personal image collection. See Zone7style blog for visual archive.
WilliamVintage shop interior. Courtesy of WilliamVintage.
115-117 Red Dior dress c. 1959. Courtesy of WilliamVintage. 118
Phyliss Ann two piece suit. Courtesy of WilliamVintage.
Balenciaga wedding dress.Courtesy of William Banks-Blaney’s personal image collection.
YSL feather jacket, c.1970s. Courtesy of WilliamVintage.
Halston evening dress. Courtesy of WilliamVintage.
Oscar de la Renta dress, c.1960s Courtesy of WilliamVintage.
Worth glass beaded evening dress, 1931. Courtesy of WilliamVintage.
Illustration of a silk-taffeta evening dress by John Galliano for Christian Dior. Original image from Riegelman, N. (2006). Colours for Modern Fashion: Drawing Fashion with Coloured Markers. Los Angeles: 9 Heads Media.
Illustration of evening gown by Lanvin, 1950 by De Marché for Hapers Bazaar. Original image from Claire Wilcox, 2007. The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947-57: Courtesy of V&A: E.685-1997.
Detail of an evening dress by the Parisian couturier Bruyere. Courtesy of WilliamVintage.
Illustration of evening gown by Cristóbal balenciaga, modelled by Dovima. Harpers Bazaar December 1950. Photo by Richard Avedon. Original mage from Claire Wilcox, 2007. The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947-57.
Dior Haute Couture two piece dress suit, c. 1968. Courtesy of WilliamVintage.
Rebecca Shawcross: 104-107 Images of shoes at the Northampton shoe museum. Courtesy of Bootsshoesandfashion. com William: 108
Portrait. Courtesy of WilliamVintage.
110-111 Unknown dress possibly Oscar de la Renta. Courtesy of WilliamVintage. 112
Pierre Balmain evening gown, 1954. Courtesy of WilliamVintage. Pierre Cardin evening dress. Courtesy of WilliamVintage.
Pierre Balmain evening dress, c.1955. Courtesy of WilliamVintage.
‘Unknown’ Oscar de la Renta dress. Courtesy of WilliamVintage.
Image of gothic women - At Subway, Derek Ridgers, Black and white photograph. 1986. © Derek Ridgers. Courtesy of V&A Website.
Sketch for customised denim jacket, commissioned by BLITZ magazine, John Galliano. Courtesy of V&A Website. 1986. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Group of people - The Cloth, Summer Summit, Anita Corbin. 1985. © Anita Corbin. Courtesy of V&A Website.
Detail of Molly Parnis Dress. Courtesy of WilliamVintage.
Cleo and Mark Butterfield: 138
Portrait of the Butterfields. Courtesy of D. Hayes, Daily Mail online.
Stamp images courtesy of fashion.telegraph. co.uk
140-141 Photos and exterior images, courtesy of Guise Magazine online.
160-166 Vintage Versace print, Courtesy of Alexandre Stefani. 167
Scarlett Cannon wearing the Scarlett Dress. Dress designed by Juliana Sissons. © Photograph by Monica Curtin. Courtesy of the V&A Website. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Pierre Balmain Label. Courtesy of WilliamVintage.
168-169 Detail of Pierre Balmain dress, c. 1954. Courtesy of WilliamVintage.
Geoffrey Marsh: 145
Portrait. Courtesy of V&A website. ©Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Image of Pierrot costume, courtesy of Phaidon website.
147-149 David Bowie Is exhibition. Courtesy of V&A website. ©Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Susan Rogers: 150-153 Selection of images courtesy of Susan Rogers, sent from personal images collection. Kate Bethune: 154
Interior of exhibition, image courtesy of DHA Designs online, V&A Club to Catwalk.
Bibliography, Further Reading and Useful Links Books Armstrong, J. & Arroz, L. (2012). A Guide to Buying and Collecting Affordable Couture. London: Vivays Publishing. Bardey, C. (2002). Wearing Vintage. New York: Black Dog and Leventhal Publishers. Baxter-Wright, E., Clarkson, K., Kennedy, S. & Mulvey, K. (2008). Vintage Fashion. Ltd eds. London: Carlton Books Limited.
Pearce, S. (1994). Interpreting Objects and Collections. London: Routledge. Pierce, S. (2008). Collecting in Contemporary Practice. London: Sage Publications. Riegelman, N. (2006). Colours for Modern Fashion: Drawing Fashion with Coloured Markers. Los Angeles: 9 Heads Media.
Blom, P. (2003). To Have and to Hold: An Intimate History of Collectors and Collecting. Woodstock & New York: The Overlook Press.
Rucci, R. (2007). The Art of Weightlessness. New Haven & London: Yale University Press.
Boydell, C. (2010). Horrockses Fashions: Off the Peg Style in the Forties and Fifties. London: V&A Publishing.
Seeling, C. (2000). Fashion: The Century of the Designer. English eds. Cologne: Konemann Verlagsgesellschaft.
Bugler, C. eds. (2005) Art Quarterly: Autumn. London: The Art Fund.
York: Alliance Publishing, Inc.
Ewing, E. (2001). History of 20th Century Fashion. 4th eds. London: B. T. Batsford Ltd.
Wilcox, C. eds. (2007). The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947-57. London: V&A Publications.
Elsner, J. & Cardinal, R. eds. (1997). The Culture of Collecting. Reprinted eds. London: Reaktion Books Ltd.
Yohannan, K. (2009). Valentina. New York: Rizzoli International Publications.
Harris, C. (2000). Collecting Fashion and Accessories. London: Octopus Publishing group. Kellogg, A. T., Peterson, A., Bay, S. & Swindle, N. (2002). In an Influential Fashion. Westport, USA: Greenwood Press. Lafuente, M. (2005). Essential Fashion Illustration. Gloucester, USA: Quayside Publishing Group. Mendes, V. & De la Haye A. (2010) Fashion Since 1900. 2nd eds. London: Thames and Hudson. Miller, D. (2008). The Comfort of Things. Cambridge: Polity Press. Odulate, F. (2006) Shopping for Vintage. London: Quadrille Publishing Ltd.
Pavitt, J. (2008). Fear and Fashion in the Cold War. London: V&A Publishing.
Smith, P. (1995). Vintage Fashion & Fabrics. Brooklyn, New
Websites A Well Kept Secret. Guise Magazine. (2013) http://www.guisemagazine.com/behind-the-seams/a-wellkept-secret/ Allen, E. (2012). Style Sequel Chats. Number 2. Mark & Cleo Butterfield http://www.stylesequel.com/blog/2012/07/04/style-sequelchats-number-2/ David Bowie Is. (2013) http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/exhibitions/david-bowie-is/ Club to Catwalk: About the Collection. (2013) http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/exhibitions/exhibition-fromclub-to-catwalk-london-fashion-in-the-80s/about-theexhibition/ David Bowie Is - An Interview with the V&A curator. (2013) http://uk.phaidon.com/agenda/art/articles/2013/march/18/ david-bowie-is-an-interview-with-the-vanda-curator/ Deborah Woolf Vintage Fashion and Collectables Website. http://deborahwoolf.com 28 Church St, London NW8 8EP DHA Designs, V&A Club to Catwalk. (2013) http://www.dhadesigns.com/blog/?p=491 Fried, L. (2013). A Portrait in Flesh. http://unmakingthings.rca.ac.uk/2013/david-bowie-is-aninterview-with-the-assistant-curator/
Manolo Blahnik Lara Suede Laced-Ankle Pump. (2013). http://www.oeede.com/2013/10/manolo-blahnik-larasuede-laced-ankle-pump/ Marie Antoinette’s slippers sell at auction for €50,000. (2013). http://fashion.telegraph.co.uk/news-features/ TMG9617062/Marie-Antoinettes-slippers-sell-at-auctionfor-50000.html Nisita, L. (2013). The Most Famous Fashion Hoarders In History. http://www.refinery29.com/2013/10/55722/best-fashioncollectors#slide-1 Raivio, V. (2013). Interview with Rebecca Shawcross. http://www.keikari.com/english/interview-with-rebeccashawcross/ Royal Mail Celebrate British Fashion with Stamp Collection. (2012) http://fashion.telegraph.co.uk/galleries/TMG9264195/ Royal-Mail-celebrate-Great-British-fashion-with-newstamp-collection.html The Shoe Collectors. (2010). http://fashion.telegraph.co.uk/news-features/ TMG7928826/The-shoe-collectors.html WilliamVintage. www.williamvintage.co.uk 2 Marylebone St, London W1G 8JQ 020 7487 4322
Hayes, D. (2008). The King & Queen of Style who Provide Kate Moss and Top Designers with Vintage Inspiration. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1069512/TheKing--Queen-style-provide-Kate-Moss-designers-vintageinspiration.html
Liz Tregenza http://advantageinvintage.co.uk
In pictures: Northampton Museum’s shoe collection. (2012) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-englandnorthamptonshire-17597260
Vintage Versace Community
Ultimate Resource for Vintage Fashion http://vintagefashionguild.org
Larocca, A. (2007). From the Well-Stuffed Closets of Mrs. Thomas L. Kempner. http://nymag.com/fashion/features/25012/
(2013) An Interview with Councillor Brandon Eldred & Northampton Shoe Museum http://bootsshoesandfashion.com/an-interview-withcouncillor-brandon-eldred-northampton-shoe-museum/
Cassidy, T. & Bennett, H. 2013. The Rise of Vintage Fashion and the Vintage Consumer. Fashion Practice: The Journal of Design, Creative Process & the Fashion Industry. Volume 4, Number 2, pp. 239-262.
Bradley, S. (2013). Zone7Style Design Resource. http://zone7style.blogspot.co.uk
Steele, V. 2008. Museum Quality: The Rise of the Fashion Exhibition. Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body & Culture. Volume 12, Number 1, pp. 7-30.
‘Zizi’. (2011). Paint the Town Fashion. http://paintthetownfashion.blogspot.co.uk (2011) Black Patent Leather Heel Day. Northampton museum blog. http://northamptonmuseums.wordpress.com Probyn, A.(2013). Kate Bethune, Assistant Curator of V&A’s ‘Club to Catwalk’ . http://modeconnect.com/club-to-catwalk-interview-katebethune-victoria-and-albert Thordsen, I. (2013). Lovely Vintage Shop. Isabella Thordsen. http://isabellathordsen.dk/2011/12/lovely-vintage-shop-2/
Acknowledgements I would like to thank the collectors, both featured and not featured who answered my many questions and so kindly gave me their time. Special thanks to Alasdair Peebles, Seth Bradley, Liz Tregenza and William Banks-Blaney for the numerous meetings, time and information they have given me. Many thanks also to those individuals who have given amazing guidance to this project: Andrew Tucker, Catherine Lamb, Amanda Carr, Loren Platt, Judith Clark, Amy de la Haye and my wonderful classmates. And finally to Jane Snowling for the stellar graphic design and Lucie Jordanna Cohen for the amazing photography and editing, and especially for her generosity in giving up so much of her precious free time for this project.
The Wardrobe combines photography, illustration and archival material together with personal anecdotes to tell the story of vintage and historical fashion through the eyes of passionate collectors. They are the unsung experts of their collected field and are often museumsâ€™ secret weapons, offering niche and insightful knowledge that is only learnt through vast personal interaction and experience.
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