Friday, 27 March 2009

The Way They Were

Peter Schlesinger documented the jeunesse dorée of the 60s and 70s - and some not so young icons of his stylish world - in a delicious book of intimate portraits called A Chequered Past [pub. Thames & Hudson London 2003]. Our images of these people, like Manolo Blahnik, may have moved on so I thought it would be good to see the way they were. Many years ago I saw Cecil Beaton on Salisbury station wearing that very hat. You wouldn't have snapped such a great man on a camera phone even if they had been invented by then.

Wayne Sleep then Principal Dancer with the Royal Ballet. Paris, 1970. He is remembered for dancing with Princess Diana at the Royal Gala Performance at Covent Garden in 1985.

Fashion photographer Eric Boman with Paloma Picasso au naturel 1971

Moments later: Paloma after she had stumbled down the front steps in her wedgies and lay giggling on the gravel, not realizing that she had broken her foot.

Min Hogg, founding editor of World of Interiors 1978. The actor Rupert Everett cites her as a wicked practical joker. Who would've believed that?

Manolo Blahnik in a stylish take on pyjamas 1973

Blahnik revisits the famous image of Nancy Cunard for a drag ball at The Porchester Hall swimming pool and Turkish baths 1972

The fabulous socialite Lady Diana Cooper who had a penchant for yachting caps. This is in London, 1977 and not the Cowes Week Regatta. That would have been too utterly predictable.

Celia Birtwell, textile designer, whose partnership with Ozzie Clark was iconic in the 70s

Hockney draws Cecil Beaton at Reddish House 1969

Top: Cecil Beaton and David Hockney at Reddish House, Beaton's country house in Wiltshire


  1. this is the most interesting post i've read in months anywhere! You win blog of the year in my book! I'm off to get THIS book now!

  2. Thank you Stefan! I love to see your footprint on my blog.

  3. What a fabulous trip through London of yore.

  4. I can not imagine how I missed this one! Wonderful. LA

  5. I think this may be the first I've ever visited your site, although I've seen it through friends in common. Good to make your acquaintance even if it is to comment on a post whose shelf life is somewhat dated, but certainly not diminished.

    This is in a word - magnificent! What a time travel. Can hardly wait to devour it.

  6. EA I am delighted to make your acquaintance too and thank you for your kind comments. I have a had a peep at your blog and it looks exquisite. I shall return soon.

  7. what great excentric people


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