Saturday, 17 July 2010

TinTrunk dips a toe into the fashion world

I'm a one-man band, a small-time vintage seller trying to establish a business, and my resources and capital amount to pretty much zero.  But sometimes friends can surprise you.

One friend of mine - Elizabeth - is a stylist with some seriously impressive credentials, and we had talked about organising a photo shoot of some TinTrunk prime stock for some time.  Yesterday, thanks to her, it happened.

There was a pretty vague, bullet-pointed brief about Englishness, eccentricity, awkwardness, unlikely combinations, plus a dash of surrealism and straight-faced humour, and some definite ideas about what to avoid - cosy nostalgia and whimsy, straining for 'authentic' replications of period fashions, chintzy floral teacups, and most of all cupcakes!  I'm not a hater by any means, and I'm happy if those aspects of the current vintage trend work for other people, but they just don't work for me. 

Elizabeth suggested I prepare a mood board of ideas and inspirations, which ended up being dominated by some of my collection of old photographs.  I love the weird tension of self-consciousness and self-display seen in old snapshots and cheap studio portraits, but I was keen to avoid any kind of sepia-toned, slavish recreations.  It was more about taking the mood and atmosphere of these anonymous shots and mixing it up with some David Hockney dandyism/Nancy Cunard decadent glamour/gender mix-up playfulness.

We had lots of ideas, but only one short day to shoot as much as we could.

A dear family friend, Helen, agreed to let us use her house and garden as our location.  This house was a derelict 18th century farm building that she has, over a period of about 40 years, turned into an exquisite little cottage packed full of fascinating treasures, and surrounded by a lush garden with some surprising features.

Personally, I was happy to outline the brief and inspirations/influences and let Elizabeth and her talented young recruits run with it, and wait to see what happened.  But bless their hearts, I was consulted at every step along the way.

Here's Rosa, one of the two intimidatingly lovely models, working my 1960s Pucci skirt with a black and white striped 70s blouse that Elizabeth pulled together (something that would never have occurred to me!), being photographed by the newly graduated Sally Davies.  Incidentally, Sally has earned herself a first, and having seen her in action I can understand why.

Sally here is photographing Rosa with Hugh, our male model, who had a deliciously louche appearance - somewhat like a bored, seen-it-all aristrocrat - although he was in fact a very quiet and sweet young man.

I didn't take many photos myself, because I was a little bit preoccupied about looking after all my precious stock.  Some of the items we used are very collectable (meaning they have some value) and I personally treat them with the care and scrupulousness of a museum curator since any damage, stains or flaws will reduce their value considerably.  I tried to switch off that 'conservationist' voice in my head because it was such a privilege to see them worn and styled so imaginatively.  This seemed to work for the duration of the shoot, and I'm so glad I stopped myself from intervening too much!

Helen's rotating summer house, provided a splendid backdrop for Rosa in a 1980s olive green plaid jumpsuit with vintage 1970s Terry de Havilland snakeskin platform shoes, and some bright green gloves that my sister gave me (not for sale, sorry!)  Hugh sports some bright yellow trousers that Elizabeth had daringly combined with a 60s tweed women's cape and a bold polka dot tie.

You can also see Elizabeth poised and ready to pounce with a green suede 60s hood, but its anyone's guess as to whether Hugh or Rosa will end up wearing it.  Which was one of the best aspects of the shoot - the garments were treated neither reverentially nor conventionally and Elizabeth just went with what seemed to work, based on her highly attuned fashiony instincts.

So here's a sneak preview of some of Sally's shots, and I'll leave it to you to decide if they fulfilled that brief detailed earlier.

Not that it matters anyway.  I'm cock-a-hoop about them regardless, and I'm looking forward to exploiting them to the full for the forthcoming TinTrunk website, not to mention flyers, business cards, signs, badges, banners, fridge magnets, coffee mugs, t-shirts, mousemats - blimey, there's so much potential!

My sincere thanks to:

Elizabeth Cardwell/Moss - super duper stylist and all-round organisational talent.
Sally Davies - photographer (she can also style and create garments and is a very accomplished all-rounder in all kinds of fashiony stuff).
Kaye - our makeup artist who worked magic on Rosa for this shoot.  Once I find out her full name and any website/online details these will be added here.
Rosa - the beautiful female model - ditto for details.
Hugh - the handsome male model - ditto for details.
Helen - for allowing us all to run amok in her fabulous house and garden.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Get dressed in the NME, 1981-5

Boy advertisement, NME, 19th December 1981, page 83. 

Here's the last of the clothing ads from the small pile of NMEs remaining in my possession, and these date from 1981 to 1985.  You might notice that most of them come from the bumper Christmas issues, which were the ones I was most likely to keep for their end-of-year summaries, not to mention the hugely enjoyable collections of fatuous quotes from pop stars cherry-picked from the year's interviews.

So Boy's advertisement (above) for a party dress is rather confusing.  It looks like a summer dress to me, especially accessorised with the headband/sweatband.  Mind you, "rude print[s]" are appropriate for all seasons - and wouldn't you love to know what that "rude print" they so primly didn't show was?

Another all season item is the studded leather belt and Tyneway Video (?) has a very nice pyramid stud example on offer, along with wrist bands and boot straps:

Studded leather advertisement from Tyneway Video, NME, 19th December 1981, page 83.

You might remember Roy's Fashions from the previous post, and his December 1981 ad doesn't disappoint:

Roy's Fashions advertisement, NME, 19th December 1981, page 83.  Click on the picture for a larger view.

Roy's range has definitely gone more New Romantic, with a dashing unisex pirate waistcoat and matching pirate shirt, a balloon-legged unisex Bowie suit and what is billed as a "1920s look" suit, although from that sketch it couldn't look more 1980s to me.

Afghan coats from The Station Shop, NME, 3rd January 1981, page 33.

Are those hippies still here?  Well clearly they are, and the Station Shop is still flogging these wretched Afghan coats to them.  Just stay out of the rain if you're wearing one - if you've ever smelt a wet Afghan coat you won't want to repeat the experience.

And now a scanner-stretching long ad from Melanddi, proud suppliers to the Jam, from December 1982:

Melanddi advertisement, NME, 25th December 1982, page 75.

The printed canvas jeans remind me that I thought I'd find an ad for Modzart, who were the prime purveyors of printed canvas strides at the time - and I was sure their ads were regularly featured - but I didn't find one.

Moving swiftly on from that deeply uninteresting observation . . .

Melanddi advertisement, NME, 24th December 1983, page 75.

Here's Melanddi's Christmas 1983 ad, with a rather curious "Stiletto Tongue Boot" among its newer offerings. 

Mark Lord Promotions advertisement, NME, 24th December 1983, page 75.

Mark Lord Promotions have a novel line in black-dyed military surplus which I'm struggling to associate with any particular youth culture grouping of the time.  Its a bit too butch for the goths (hang on, when did New Model Army appear?), maybe a bit too austere for the punks . . . any help here would be much appreciated.

Phaze advertisement, NME, 24th December 1983, page 75.

Phaze of Newcastle has some proper cartoon goth gear, including some splendid bleached spider (web) jeans.  The note at the bottom that cheques should be made out to "Tyneway Trading" might suggest a link with the Tyneway Video studded leather ad earlier.

Spencers Trousers advertisement, NME, 24th December 1983, page 75.

I love the specialist suppliers' ads, and Spencers Trousers' one is a goodie.  In case you didn't believe they were "direct from the factory" there's a picture of it right there.  Despite the rather conventional graphic design, this ad inspires confidence in their trousers, and will you look at those Bowies - magnificent!

Schuh pointed bootee advertisement, NME, 24th December 1983, page 75.

A modest start for one of the familiar names on the British high street these days.  Schuh's pointed bootee is rather lovely, and comes in an extensive range of colours, plus leopard skin fabric.  I'm picturing Fay Fife of Edinburgh's finest, the Rezillos, in these. 

And here's another familiar shoe retailer, although possibly past its prime now:

Shelly's of London shoe advertisement, NME, 24th December 1983, page 76.

I had no idea they supplied footwear to the World Disco Dancing Championship, which is quite some endorsement for the quality of their shoes.  The WDDC provided some golden tv moments in the late 70s and early 80s, and there's plenty of clips to enjoy on Youtube.  I've just spent far too long watching a few of them, but I failed to spot Shelly's breaker boot with the "disco" sole. 

The Cavern advertisement, NME, 22/29th December 1984, page 75.  Click on picture for a larger view.

The Cavern is strictly mod, and I think its rather nice that they name their models.  So please meet Carl, Dave and "Boney" Tony.

Phaze advertisement, NME, 23rd February 1985, page 37.

Phaze return in 1985 with their goth range, and a smattering of punk.

And finally, Mark Lord Promotions' 1985 ad (now trading as 'The Mark') has dropped the black dyed combat jackets and gone a bit New Wavey.  And the Bowie trousers endure:

The Mark advertisement, NME, 23rd February 1985, page 37.

If anyone has any surviving items from these advertisers, or remembers wearing any of this stuff, your comments would be most welcome.

The only things that I recall having are the Sid-Vicious-on-tv t-shirt I mentioned in the previous post, plus a Boy punk shirt that was a copy of the Sex/Seditionaries ones with a woven patch of Karl Marx and a bleach written message "Only Anarchists are pretty."  This I bought from the Boy shop rather than mail order, and, incidentally, was filmed doing so by a Japanese breakfast tv show!

Oh yes, and some Shelly's extra-thick crepe soled brothel creepers.  Ah, memories . . .

Directory of advertisers

The Alien, 20 Corporation Street, Bolton, Lancs (skinhead coats)

Baxby Fashion House, 227 Portobello Road, London W11 (punk and mod)

Boy, 153 King's Road, London SW3 (punk)

The Cavern, 22 Fourberts Place, Carnaby Street, London W1; 19 Ganton Street, Carnaby Street, London W1 (mod)

Fab-Gear, 42 Call Lane, Leeds (also X Clothes shop premises) (punk/new wave)

Furs and Jeans, 48 Manor View, London N3 (Afghan coats)

The General Franchise Co. Limited
, 22 Park Grove, Edgware, Middlesex HA8 7SJ (Ted/rock'n'roll)

J. Holdsworth, 95 Lots Road, Chelsea, London SW10 (punk and mod)

P. Leach, 50d Redcliffe Gardens, Chelsea, London SW10 (punk)

Mainline, 51 Two Mile Hill Road, Kingswood, Bristol, BS15 1BS (punk)

Mark Lord Promotions
(mail order) Ltd, Airfield Industrial Estate, Wellesbourne, Warwickshire CV35 9JJ (black dyed army surplus)
By 1985 advertising as 'The Mark' at Unit 9, Western Road Industrial Estate, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire (new wave)

Melanddi, 43 Carnaby Street, London W1 (mod, new wave)

Phaze, 44/46 High Bridge, Newcastle-on-Tyne NE1 6BX (punk, goth)

Printout Promotions
, 28A Abington Square, Northampton (punk, mod, metal)

Punters Choice by Cadiss, 117 Hammersmith Road, London W14 (slim ties)

, 1st Floor, Virgin Records, Union Street, Glasgow and 3 Dundas Street, Edinburgh (retail stockist of P. Leach, punk)

Retro, 26 Union Street, Broadmead, Bristol 1 (mod leather)

Roy's Fashions, 1st Floor, 45 Carnaby Street, London W1 (new wave, mod, new romantic)

Schuh, 9 North Bridge Arcade, Edinburgh (new wave shoes)

Shapes, 252 High Street, Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, EN8 N78 (hippy/ethnic)

Shelly's of London
, 159 Oxford Street, London W1; 19/21 Fouberts Place, Carnaby Street, London W1; 146 Kings Road, Chelsea SW3 (mod, punk, new wave shoes)

R & E Spencer Ltd, Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire, HX6 2BR (trousers)

The Station Shop, Lancaster Gate Underground, Bayswater Road, London W2 (Afghan coats)

Tyneway Video, 6 Goldspink Lane, Sandyford, Newcastle-on-Tyne (studded leather)