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Afternoon In A London Townhouse

Going retro-chic

Singers Françoise Hardy and Jane Birkin were the poster girls of the Swinging Sixties and Bohemian Seventies. Cool Parisian IT-girls, they created a look that was far removed from the tailored couture-style fashions of a previous generation. Their undone, androgynous insouciance established a carefree-careless attitude to fashion that is still emulated by young French women today, dressed in their leather jackets, mini-skirts and jeans.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak self-winding watch, pink gold case set with brilliant-cut diamonds, yellow sapphires, red garnets and orange spessartite garnets. www.audemarspiguet.com. Dior sweater in red technical cashmere, mohair and silk knit, straight-cut pants in Multicolour Metallic and Idylle Ballet Pump in embroidered denim. www.dior.com.

“sharp cheekbones,
long unkempt hair
and androgynous charm…”


With their sharp cheekbones, long unkempt hair and androgynous charm, these two style icons were the antithesis of the sexed- up Bardot baby-doll look of the period. They earned their street-cred amongst the youth by wearing short skirts, long coats, flared pants and berets by day and Saint Laurent Le Smoking tuxedos and Paco Rabanne sequin minidresses after dark.

The mantra was never to look “dressed” and so a man’s cotton shirt with a sequinned skirt, a shirtless tuxedo, or a paisley dress feather-trimmed grounded by leather boots, became the short-hand for their image. Today, that look remains very relevant, with designers inspired by the sequins, feathers and minidresses of the Sixties and the lush richly coloured velvet and brocade trouser suits of the Seventies. The silhouettes and fabrics are softer, but there’s still that hint of androgyny in the oversized jacket and the masculine shirt with the addition of a chunky gold sports watch looping the wrist. Jewels are precious, but worn sparingly.

From Left to right: 1. Connolly navy double-breasted wool suit. www.connollyengland.com. Van Cleef & Arpels Palmyre necklace and Lotus pendant in white gold and diamonds. www.vancleefarpels.com. 3. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak self-winding watch, pink gold case set with brilliant-cut diamonds, yellow sapphires, red garnets and orange spessartite garnets. www.audemarspiguet.com. Dior sweater in red technical cashmere, mohair and silk knit, straight-cut pants in Multicolour Metallic and Idylle Ballet Pump in embroidered denim. www.dior.com. 4. Azzi & Osta black jacket. www.azziandosta.com. L’Agence embroidered silk and velvet trousers. www.lagence.com. Chopard cuff bangle from The Haute Joaillerie collection, featuring blue and violet sapphires, lazulite, amethysts, rubellite and tourmalines, set in white gold and titanium www.chopard.com. Jimmy Choo black leather boots. www.jimmychoo.com

Jane Birkin and Françoise Hardy were part of Paris’s emerging music scene in the 1960s: Birkin was the Paris-based British singer and actress who, together with Serge Gainsbourg, became the pop world’s gold- en couple. She inspired a famous handbag that commands thousands of pounds today, but personally had a penchant for I-just- woke-up glamour. Meanwhile Hardy’s first hit singles “Oh Oh Chéri” and “Tous Les Garcons et Les Filles” propelled her to the forefront of the Yé-Yé pop stardom. Hardy believed the secret to her success was actually her style prowess. She told a reporter in 1968, “If it weren’t for the way I dress, no one would notice me.” Given their prevailing influencevon fashion, she may be right.

Stylist/Creative Director: Marcella Martinelli @marcellastylist
Photography: www.johnrowley.co.uk
Words: Francesca Fearon
Makeup: Carol Sullivan @arlintgtonartist using Jones Road beauty
Hair: Tim Crespin @timcrespinhair
Model: Courtney Allen @ Models 1
Location: No1 The Townhouse www.greatscotlandyard.com

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