Christopher Quayle's Posts (1)

Modernism 1961

Whilst I can see a plethora of 'style' articles on here that feature mohair-suits, Fred Perry shirts and parkas I can find no mention of my earliest generation of modernists from '61 thru '62 in London.

The lightweight suit (mohair) was important and so was the button down / tab collar shirt ( all plagiarised from visiting US modern 'jazzers' or seen on album sleeves) The US clothes were bought at Austin's specialist menswear store on Shaftesbury Avenue. Shirt brands such as Hathaway /Arrow etc.

However, where have the 'plastic' Pakamac type  raincoats with the 'Peter Pan' collars buttoned-up, gone? Even the beige duffle-coat and Univ-scarf had it's place at one time!

The deliberate choice of 'round-toed' leather shoes (as opposed to the pointed winkle-pickers of the Teds) or 'Penny loafers'? (obtained mail order from US)

The short-hair was mainly in the 'Ivy League' actor Tab Hunter cut, not back combed (later) Casual wear was usually Levi's/Wrangler's or Lee which were usually purchased from Shipping & Merchant Navy outfitters near Docklands.

Sailors 'washed-out' and softened' their somewhat  stiff,16oz denim jeans by putting a rope thru' the belt loops and throwing them over the stern. for a days sailing time.

We had to use a bath with a tiny drop of bleach and our mother's laundry 'mangle' to get that 'just right' blue (jeans, sometimes having a 1" turn-up, or 'cuff' sewn up -years later adopted by skinheads)

Tight-fitting, fine-knitted short sleeve Italian cycling shirts (with pockets on the hips) pre-dated the Fred Perry tennis-shirt. The longer sleeve 'John Smedley' type casual shirt, in merino-woll was usually an Italian import and as now, very expensive.

The Madras striped 'boating-jacket' came about after seeing French film star Alain Delon wearing one in the 1962 french-movie (with sub-titles) 'Purple Noon' (later remade years later as 'The Astonishing Mr Ripley') In that movie Delon also wore a pair of white buckskin slip-on loafers!

Music? Was mainly cool-jazz, or french-singers such as Juliette Greco/ Jacques Brel and of course Jacques Loussier's orig 'Play Bach' album. Black music was only played on AFN (American Forces radio) out of European military bases. It was on this barely audible  radio-station (long before VHF came along), that I first heard the iconic 'Green Onions' in 1961. Stevie Cropper's guitar blew me away! So much so, that I tool an interest in blues and almost gambled my money on buying an early-import  Buddy Guy album from Dobell's in the Charing Cross Rd. I believe Eric Clapton bought his about the same time.

And of course there was immaculately applied (by your girlfriend) eye-liner and mascara...which guy has put their hands up to that one?

To be honest, 'real' modernism was dead by 1964. After that, a bunch of fashionable street-kids took over and the media dubbed that wave 'Mod'. Soon, almost everyone across the UK was a 'Mod' and the flannel-suited, Harris-tweed sports-coated, Double-Two shirted and Brylcreem'd man of the 1950's was but a distant memory.


Hope this is of interest, as I'm now nearly 67 yrs old!


Christopher Quayle

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