With WWI and WWII men's fashion, especially in England, had taken even more of a back seat than women's fashion in the first half the last century. The wealth and relative peace of the 1960s was an opportunity for change and optimism - a revolution was coming! The rock and roll of the 50s evolved into "Rock" and of course "Pop", and these rock stars wanted to look good, getting rid of their working class image of frayed shirts, cloth caps and dirty fingernails.
|The Beatles, 1963|
|Spike Milligan gets fitted for a suit|
Blades' began with (James) Bond style clothing - Blade's was the name of Bonds club, and also the name given to Victorian Dandies - but soon began their own look "trying to lead fashion, not follow it." Blade's designer Eric Joy began as a tea boy and apprentice in Saville Row in 1947, and in the early 60s he set up on his own, with backing from one of his younger, wealthier client's Rupert Lycett Greene, who also became a designer in the business. In 1965 photographer Cecil Beaton, a regular customer of Blades, stated "it's a marvellous combination of Carnaby Street Pizazz and Saville Row".
Carolyn Charles was another designer with a hot fashion house. She left art school after two years and worked as an apprentice to a London courtier, a sales girl for Mary Quant and an assistant to a fashion photographer before setting up on her own at only 22. Her big break came when buyers for Macy's in New York loved her designs and launched her in the US. It would seem she had no more world's to conquer, until Ringo Starr came along. Ringo loved his girlfriend's swinging dresses and asked Ms Charles to make him six swinging suits. He soon married his girlfriend, hairdresser Maureen Cox, in one of those suits.
If you've designed for Ringo, word gets around, and Ms Charles, used to designing for women, including Cilla Black and Hayley Mills, then found herself making an Edwardian style midnight blue suit for Aussie Actor Peter Finch, "and he looks marvellous in it," said the designer. Dancer Rudolph Nureyev then ordered a seal skin coat, and rolling Stones bad boy Mick Jagger a few corduroy suits.
|Mick Jagger and Aussie actor Peter Finch getting fitted for suits at Carolyn Charles’ London salon, 1965|
|Pop singer Mick Rowley in red leather waistcoat|
|Musician Peter Martin in a cord Norfolk Jacket by John Stephen, 1965|
|Leather coat with Prussian collar and cord hat|
|White reefer jacket and navy fisherman's knit jacket|
|Caramel double breasted reefer jacket & beige jacket with prussian collar|