An original Biba ensemble from 1973

Over on ebay this week I have some FABULOUS items listed but the absolute gem has to be the Biba cardigan suit I am offering.

Now 70s isn’t normally my thing, but as I said before when I was selling a fantastic Alice Pollock dress, I sometimes make exceptions, and this is one of them ( Actually I’ll be honest I’m getting more and more into 70s stuff all the time)

I’ve done quite a bit of background research into this wonderful suit and have been able to date it to 1973 after finding some amazing original images!

 The first image shows just the skirt, I found this online on Helga Von Trollop’s wonderful blog, I don’t have the original reference for it but I believe this was in one of the Biba books. Doesn’t it look fab? And also show her versatile it is.

The second image is the really exciting one, this is by photographer Brian Duffy, who took some of the most iconic shots of the 60s and 70s. He was the photographer for David Bowie’s infamous album cover Aladdin Sane in 1973. The photograph here features Jean Shrimpton and Barbara Miller and you can see Shrimpton in the background wearing an example of the suit I am offering for sale! I wish I had the hat too. That would be rather amazing. This image featured in the Telegraph in 1973
This suit is evidently an important ensemble, an example of just the jacket features in Marnie Fogg’s book vintage knitwear which was published a few years back (an excellent read, I highly recommend it)
This is a truly fantastic example and typifies the style of Barbara Hulanicki’s designs.
 The Biba chevron design stripe like this was hugely popular featuring on everything from tops to skirts to jumpsuits. I really like the deco 30s look to the design, again typical Biba. As this dates to 1973 it would be pre the Big biba store, and would have come from when Biba was located on Kensington high street.
So what else can I say? Rather than buy a modern Biba from house of Fraser why not have an ORIGINAL 70s one!
This week I’ve got lots of lovely things listed including a sensational Horrockses evening dress and a lovely polka dot CC41 dress too.

A vintage day out: Leeds town hall vintage fair

Today I decided that I needed a day out. Unfortunately I’ve been stressed out to the max with uni work and unless I am going to university or the post office I have altogether stopped leaving the house. (O.k. I did go to Bristol last weekend, but we’ll discount that) On the plus side this means that all I have been wearing on an almost daily basis is pajamas (no ironing, excellent), but on a negative note I will probably start suffering with some of vitamin D deficiency because I rarely see natural light (I’m only in uni two days a week meaning I really do barely leave the house). This is heightened by the fact that my bedroom is what would have once been the front room of the house, hence I don’t open my curtains. Anyway, that’s enough about the depressiveness of my life! The real point of this is that today I went to a vintage fair, not only that a really rather good one!
So, the location of the vintage fair was Leeds town hall. Which as a venue is somewhere that I totally love. Very Victorian and just very Leeds as well. Whenever the antiques roadshow comes to Leeds this is where they always go.
I cannot recommend this fair HIGHLY enough. Fantastic was not the half of it. The sellers there were all lovely, happy to chat and up for a bit of bartering. Unfortunately due to the precarious state of my bank balance at the moment I had to be a bit restrictive on my spending. I could have bought so much more because prices were (on the part of most sellers) very reasonable. I saw a lot of high quality 50s cotton dresses of the sort I normally by at around the 25-40 price point which I think is pretty good.
For anyone interested in antique clothing and textiles this fair is a must. I actually lost count of the number of genuine Victorian dresses I saw. There was a particularly spectacular purple Victorian silk dress that I was amazed to see there. The condition was fantastic and unusually the silk had not shattered. It was difficult to tell hanging up exactly the age of the dress although the vivid purple of it immediately made me think 1860s, AND it was only £95. If I had had my dealer head on rather than my student head I would definitely have bought it!
First up this little knitted dress which I picked up for the bargain price of £10. The seller whom I bought this from was selling things at pretty amazing prices.  It was marked up as being 70s, but I’m not so sure. Something is saying to me its earlier (unfinished seams inside and a very old looking metal zip). I love chevron designs and this dress is going to be a great little winter piece I think. It’s an excellent fit too!
or Goodlife vintage on facebook
 Then I bought these shoes, again this lady was selling her items at really great prices (£10!)  I vey much regretted not snapping up a pair of crazy 50s cats eye marbled sunglasses for £15. She also had THE most sensational 30s wedding dress which was an almost exact copy of the dress worn by Wallis Simpson in 1937. It was in excellent condition too, whoever snapped that up got an absolute bargain I think.  Nearly all of the images here are from this lady’s stall. Lovely stuff!

 Beads and Bows

And finally my absolute gem of the day. A wonderful 70s Radley dress with a (probably) Celia Birtwell print. When I get a spare five minutes I am going to do a little bit of research into this and try and find out for sure that it is but I’m pretty sure it’s right. The dress is in wonderful condition and fits me like a dream. I’m so happy with it! The seller who I bought this from was wonderful. I can’t enthuse enough about how great her stock was. For someone who rarely does 70s it was a dream. She had lovely Radley pieces as well as some Bus Stop and Ossie Clark. I could have spent a few hundred on her stall alone!

Lady Jane’s vintage bandwagon

This is my outfit for the day, all this not leaving the house means that when I do go out I tend to make an effort! The dress is a Horrockses (what a surprise) and I’m wearing one of my fave pairs of vintage earrings from Brilliant in Kingston (Surrey). The cardi is a non vintage one. It’s from American eagle. I think I’ve had it since I was 12 or 13!

Also, I just thought this was a nice opportunity to throw in a few of my vintage outfits of late! Please ignore the mess of my room in the background of most of the pics. I’m not the tidiest of people at the best of times!
My all time favourite vintage dress (I think). This was the first Horrockses I ever bought, its getting a bit tight on me now but I still adore it. I was actually dancing manically around my room at the time, hence the picture of me jumping off my bed. It’s a pretty good action shot! In the background you can just about see my vintage wardrobe, yes I do have a specific wardrobe for vintage!!!
Ace novelty print 50s American skirt here. The necklace is from one of my fave vintage shops Mela Mela in Teddington
One of my blanes dresses. You may have seen my blue one in a previous post about the last vintage fair I went to.

A dreamy Alice Pollock dress

Alice and Ossie

Anyone who knows me knows that I rarely foray into fashion past the early 1960s, but there are a few designers for whom I will make an exception. One of these is Alice Pollock. I feel that Pollock is still quite an underrated designer yet she discovered one of the best design talents of the second half of he 20th century so really deserves to be celebrated more ! (commands high prices, without the level of respect she deserves is what I mean)
Pollock is probably best known for her boutique Quorum which she set up in 1964. Not only was she a wonderful designer herself, but she had an excellent knack for spotting the latest design talent. Quorum is probably best known for the desiger Ossie Clark. Clark started working for Pollock in 1966 after she spotted his designs and ordered a selection of dresses for the Quorum boutique. At the time she was buying dresses from Ossie for £10 a batch (imagine Ossies for £10) The early Ossie garments for Quorum (1966) were mostly plain floaty pieces in cream or white chiffon.  It was Pollock who apparently pushed Ossie Clark to work with Celia Birtwell (apparently she wanted a more organic feel for the designs).
Typically of the swinging sixties though the Quorum brand reached trouble (business management was not either Clark or Pollocks forte- they regularly gave away pieces or they simply disappeared). I’ve found contrasting information as to when exactly Pollock sold out Quorum to Radley. (Some sources say 1967 others 1969) although I think they were receiving some financial backing for sure form 1967 onwards.
So why the all the info about Alice Pollock? It’s all because of this dress. Which I am infact selling at the moment on my ebay here.

 What I particularly love about this is its rouleau loop fastening (something Clark began experimenting with in 1967) it really is a glamorous feature that calls to mind the deco designs of the 30s that were so inspiring designers in the late 60s and early 70s.
I love the quality of the moss crepe too. Another thing which calls to mid older vintage dresses, it really is a beautifully made piece, I can totally see it being appropriate as a wedding dress!
The dress is an absolute dream to wear (I swanned about in it for a good 15 minutes before telling myself, no you can’t keep it you need to sell it, sob). It really does cling to you in a way that the dresses  by this “set” can- Pollock and Ossie Clark mostly although I did once try on a Thea Porter dress that made me feel just as wonderful.
As you can probably tell I’ve attempted to do my research into the designs of Alice Pollock and I am a little bit stumped by this, it is difficult to give an exact date, although I have seen very similar pieces by her dating to 1973, so I would take a stab that this is an early 70s piece.

All in all a lovely piece. What I am intrigued about is when did Alice Pollock actually dissapear as a designer? I think the latest Pollock I’ve ever seen is 1974…the mind boggles.