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The End of the Affair

Posted by Liz
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Crossover dress ties low on hips. By Simon Massey.

 

A ship abandoned - a fashion relaunched.

This gorgeous editorial was photographed aboard the Mauretania a year after her decommissioning, and nearly thirty after her launch. It takes styling inspiration from the glamorous age she represented, with an emphasis on satins and 1930s-influenced hairstyles. It is a fascinating insight into this key period of British fashion, showing a different side of the Boutique look to the 'Swinging London' cliches we are all used to, and pre-empting the heavy 1930s influence on fashion in the early 1970s.

It is not surprising that this piece is styled by Prudence Glynn, who became the first Fashion Editor of The Times later in 1966 and was one of the first people to champion Ossie Clark, which had an enormous influence on his early success. In fact, she became a vocal supporter of small British Boutique brands, such as Stirling Cooper and Marrian-McDonnell, and worked hard to encourage the British fashion industry to be more supportive of its most creative design talents. 

Here we can see early appearances from boutiques Quorum and Biba, well before they had hit their stride and created their most recognisable styles. The op-art Quorum fabrics are typical of Ossie's earliest designs, and the sweet Biba satin evening dress is credited as from the very first shop on Abingdon Road. I love that both these labels would go on to become the greatest proponents of the 1930s revival, a revival which would not have looked out of place aboard the Mauretania in 1939.

 

Photographed by David Olins. Woman's Mirror, 2nd April 1966.

 

 

Smooth satin dress cuts away from shoulders to diamante-banded collar. By Simon Massey.

 

 

Wavy line flaring pants and full-sleeved blouse tying tightly on hips. By Quorum. Shoes by Andrea aux Jeunes from a selection at Biba.

 

 

Long satin dress with bra-style bodice and narrow diamante shoulder straps. From Biba, Abingdon Road. Shoes by Dolcis. Feather boa from Woollands.

 

 

Bell-bottomed trousers and blouse that can be tied to reveal a lot or a little cleavage. By Simon Massey. Shoes by Dolcis.

 

 

Wavy-patterned satin with plain short sleeves. By Quorum. Shoes from Biba.

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