Guest Blog - Antonia Scott January 25th 2012
Every month Jane will be inviting a Guest Blogger to write for her website! This month we hear from Jane’s lifelong friend Antonia Scott, who recalls growing up in the 50’s with Jane, embracing the fabulously explosive 60’s and how they found fashion and ultimately a love of shoes!
Back in the Day!
In the late 1950s we spent our school holidays and weekends cycling around the immediate locality of our homes and meeting up with the other children in the neighbourhood. That’s how I met Jane. We found that we both loved fashion drawing and spent lots of time at each other’s houses designing and fantasising about our future careers in the fabulous world of couture.
After a few years, we were thrown headlong into the fast moving ‘never experienced before’ swinging sixties. At the age of thirteen we were able to enjoy our own special identity and move away from the type of clothes that ‘cloned’ previous generations into adolescent replicas of their mothers. Jane adored the most unusual shoes – one pair I remember in particular were flat round toed black leather pumps with a high ankle strap fastened with a tiny button. I really loved these shoes and admired her talent because I knew she had designed them herself.
We both entered whole heartedly into these exciting times and were designing and making our own clothes. Jane and I both loved the Mary Ann style shoes that Anello and Davide and Gamba sold as stage shoes. We ordered them in different colours and I remember one pair that I had with a big silver buckle on the front – rather like Captain Hook’s shoes, and another pair that were grey suede with black satin ribbon bows.
Jumble sales were a huge attraction in those days where we found beautiful vintage clothes – some going as far back as the early 1900s. If we were very lucky we came across a feather boa with silk cord tassels – this was a real treat like hitting the jackpot! Jane and I bought satin velvet coats with leg of mutton sleeves and cut them down to wear with pride over our miniskirts or bellbottom jeans. Jane wore hers with a fabulous pair of black leather boots with Cuban heels that she had designed herself. Quite a change for her because she nearly always wore ballet flats much favoured by Brigitte Bardot – who we all tried to look like and spent hours practising her famous pout in the mirror. I spent ages pencilling a line around my lips until one of the boys in our crowd told me it looked like I had grown a moustache!! That put an end to my Bardot lookalike efforts I’m afraid.
We were rebels and must have taunted our parents to distraction but we were full of creative ideas in a hedonistic era. Everything was changing and offering us a freedom and fun that carried us away with it. I do remember that Jane became more of a ‘mod’ with short boyish hair and I was a ‘rocker’ with long messy hair and hoop earrings but we still loved our fashion whatever mode of dress we chose to wear. When the iconic Biba opened, firstly in Abingdon Road and most famously before its downfall in 1974 in Church Street, Kensington, we flocked up there in droves to kit ourselves out in all those amazingly cut clothes at very reasonable prices. Every penny I had was saved to go back to Biba where the clothes were hanging on old fashioned hat stands with matching hats, beads, boas etc. On one of my visits I wasn’t the least bit surprised to find my lovely, innovative friend Jane working there!
Jane and I both attended each other’s weddings in the ‘60s and I used to go to her house with my little girl, Jessica, to see her and her baby, Rebecca, during the next few years but then we somehow lost touch both whizzing off on the roller coaster of life. We found each other again about seven years ago and our conversation buzzed with reminiscent excitement about all the years in between and our times as children and teenagers. Ever the one with her finger on the pulse of fashion I wasn’t at all surprised to learn that she was an extremely successful shoe designer and was running a ‘super’, (a word she always used in the 60s) thriving business called French Sole!
Antonia Scott, Features editor, That’s Yummy Mummy