elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,
elisa_rolle
elisa_rolle

John Bates & John Siggins

John Bates (born 1938 Ponteland, Northumberland) was a fashion designer who was part of the boutique scene that blossomed in London in the 1960s. He and his partner, John Siggins, his company's former PR, moved to Wales in 2002 and Bates began to paint. His subjects are people, always done from life. 'When we used to go to parties,' says Bates, 'John would work the room but I'd fade into the wall and watch. He'd tell me to stop staring. But it's not staring. It's looking hard. It's what a painter does. A designer must do the same. You can tell a garment designed on the body and one done on a dummy. The former has movement, life. The other doesn't.'

They live in some seclusion in a converted farmhouse in Carmarthenshire. There they garden, exercise, do lots of dog-walking, and entertain as lavishly as they did when they had a swish apartment in London and Bates drove a white Rolls-Royce.

Bates apprenticed under Gerard Pipart at Herbert Sidon. From 1959 he began designing under the name Jean Varon.

Bates' work as Jean Varon in the 1960s was particularly modernistic. He designed dresses with bare midriffs, sheer panels, and very short hemlines, and as early as 1962 was designing high-fashion plastic garments. In 1965, one of his dresses with a mesh midriff was chosen as the Dress of the Year and donated to the Fashion Museum, Bath, which in 2006 held a major retrospective show of his work.


John Bates was a fashion designer who was part of the scene that blossomed in London in the 1960s. He and his partner, John Siggins, his company's former PR, moved to Wales in 2002 and Bates began to paint. His subjects are people, always done from life. They live in some seclusion in a converted farmhouse in Carmarthenshire. There they garden, exercise, do lots of dog-walking, and entertain as lavishly as they did when they had a swish apartment in London and Bates drove a white Rolls-Royce.


Evening ensemble, 1979
Black jersey evening dress trimmed with beaded tassels, with embroidered shoulders. The high necked bodice, with a mandarin collar and puffed sleeves, is cut away immediately below the bust with a draped, wrap-around trained skirt "tied" to the bodice front and draping around the hips.The skirt extends into a long pointed train with a tassel at the end.
Accessorised with patterned nylon tights and black patent leather shoes with metal heel



Wedding ensemble, early 1966
The fashion journalist Marit Allen wore this dramatic white gabardine and silvered PVC mini-dress and coat ensemble when she married the film producer Sandy Lieberson on June 10th 1966. It was designed by John Bates, one of the most innovative and original designers working during the 1960s.
During the mid-60s, Bates's designs were at their most modernistic, as this one-off wedding outfit demonstrates. His mid-60s work often featured bare midriffs, sheer panels, and very short hemlines. Bates introduced plastic garments into high fashion as early as 1962, and was one of the first to design miniskirts. Allen credited him as the creator of the miniskirt, rather than Mary Quant or Courregés.
Marit Allen (1941-2007) was a leading British fashion journalist who started as an assistant at Queen magazine in 1961. In 1964, she joined British Vogue, where she stayed for ten years. Her 'Young Idea' pages were hugely influential. Many young and innovative designers, such as Bates, received their first significant exposure through Allen, who not only gave them magazine coverage, but happily wore their clothes herself.



Mini Dress, 1966
This bold minidress was worn by the fashion journalist Marit Allen. In 1964, Marit joined British Vogue, where she stayed for ten years as editor of the hugely influential "Young Idea" pages. Many young and innovative designers, such as John Bates, received their first significant exposure through Marit, who not only gave them magazine space, but happily wore their clothes herself, such as this tiny micro-minidress
During the 60s, Bates designs were at their most modernistic. The most futuristic of his mid-60s designs featured bare midriffs, sheer panels, and very short hemlines. Marit credited him as the creator of the miniskirt, rather than Mary Quant or Courregés. This fluorescent green micro-minidress is made from a shiny nylon-blend fabric with a machine-like sheen. The simple straight-cut silhouette, deep armholes, and contrasting pink binding to the seams emphasise its sporty youthful quality.



Chorister, Day ensemble, 1971
In the later 1960s and early 1970s high waistlines were popular. This outfit was part of a collection of winter wear that ranged, in bold looks, from the puritan to the choirboy. This particular ensemble was called "Chorister". One dress in particular was an instant success. Within a week of its appearance, cheap copies (with slight adaptations) were available in certain chain stores.
This ensemble forms part of the Cecil Beaton Collection, brought together by the society photographer Sir Cecil Beaton (1904-1980). With great energy and determination, Beaton contacted the well-dressed elite of Europe and North America to help create this lasting monument to the art of dress. The Collection was exhibited in 1971, accompanied by a catalogue that detailed its enormous range.


































One of Bates' most influential champions was Marit Allen, the editor of British Vogue's Young Ideas spread, who considered Bates the true inventor of the miniskirt, rather than Mary Quant or André Courrèges. Ernestine Carter also observed Bates' originality, noting that the Paris fashion collections for 1967 contained many looks which Bates had done first.

In 1965 Bates designed memorable outfits for Diana Rigg to wear for her role as Emma Peel in The Avengers, including Op-Art mini-coats and accessories in graphic black and white, and a silver vinyl ensemble comprising a bra bodice, low-slung trousers, and a jacket. In the same vein he designed a modernistic space-age wedding outfit for Marit Allen in 1966 consisting of a white gabardine mini-coat and matching dress with silver PVC collar and lapels.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Bates_%28designer%29

Further Readings:

John Bates: Fashion Designer by Richard Lester and Marit Allen
Publisher Antique Collectors Club Dist; 1St Edition edition (November 15, 2008)
Language English
ISBN-10 1851495703
ISBN-13 978-1851495702
Amazon: John Bates: Fashion Designer

Throughout the 1960s and 70s John Bates dominated the British fashion scene with a unique brand of style and innovation. No other designer had such a comprehensive influence on what the UK wore.

More Fashion Designers at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Art

More Real Life Romances at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Real Life Romance

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Tags: gay classics, lgbt designers, persistent voices, real life romance
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