At the risk of repeating myself (I’m pretty sure I blogged Autumn last year) the weather is amazing at the moment: hazy, humid, rainy, uncertain. A few more hot days and I can relax into cooler weather at last.
A Sunday spent pottering, whilst it rains outside, has turned up magazines I’d forgotten I had. So I spent a good few hours leafing through them again. Some years ago a bookshop yielded a handful of copies of Queen magazine for my shelves. Real beauties from the mid-1960s, when it was bettering Vogue at most everything – graphic design, fashion, edginess (within high-society limits, of course) and, I suppose, coolness.
Queen eventually became Harper’s & Queen in the late 1960s and is now Harpers Bazaar, simply one among many in terms of its content and lacking even the society appeal it oozed in the 1980s.
This Queen magazine is dated 1 September 1965, so it will be 43 years old tomorrow. Visually it is crisper than most magazines on the shelves today. The bitten-off letter ‘Q’ in the title is great. The restrained copy across the cover such a relief. The David Montgomery photograph on the cover (and the spread inside) is so evocative of the period; models shot from below, a man for background interest, with angles and juxtapositions informing the models’ poses.
And the clothes, the clothes…
‘Shocking pink reversible velour day length cape with the hood cut in one with it. Rouleau edging round face and bow at neck. The cape is double-breasted with large round silk cord buttons. Slits for the arms at waist level. Her clothes and his jacket by Pierre Cardin.’
The cape is such a nice Autumn gesture and is back in again this year. Like all great fashion it would have provided a starting point for the high street in the 60s, not something to be copied verbatim. Pierre Cardin had real substance as a designer at this point, the true inheritor of Balenciaga’s strength of silhouette and pattern-cutting turn of phrase. Hard to remember, as by the late 1960 his name was licensed out onto everything and anything, the company greed cheapening it beyond saving.
But on that cover a perfect fashion moment was realised. And it is like melting ice cream that colour – so appropriate for the end of Summer.