John Bates: Fashion Designer

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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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781851495702
  • Publisher: Antique Collector's Club
  • Publication date: 12/15/2008
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Lester trained with Sotheby's in the early 1990s having worked for Osborne & Little and Liberty and combines writing with running an online vintage fashion business based in Sussex. In 2004 he donated a large collection of designs by John Bates to the Fashion Museum in Bath and assisted in organizing the designer's retrospective exhibition at the museum in 2006.
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Table of Contents

Foreword: Marit Allen 6

1 A foothold in the business 10

2 New materials, new shapes 24

3 A defining moment - 1965 and The Avengers 36

4 The great hem debate - a new geometry in fashion 54

5 Retail revolution 66

6 Producing and marketing a collection 86

7 Prints and Puritans 96

8 1974: John Bates - 'Almost couture ready-to-wear' 114

9 Rule Britannia - the international market 128

10 Choosing a full stop 150

11 The designer in person 160

Index 174

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  • Posted December 18, 2008

    more from this reviewer


    Few women who watched the 1960s hit television program The Avengers did not want to look and more specifically dress like Diana Rigg who played Emma Peel. Her clothes were like none seen before - daring, eye catching, high style, and ultra flattering, that is, of course, if you had a figure like Diana Rigg. Nonetheless, remarkable marketeer that he was John Bates, the designer of these incredible fashions, made a collection of Avenger inspired clothes available to the public and they were soon seen everywhere.<BR/> Bates had a golden touch - not only that but he was very handsome, and at the top of British fashion for some 20 years, designing for such names as Twiggy and Jean Shrimpton before his retirement to paint in 1980. This generously illustrated volume (110 color, 159 black and white) not only traces Bates's rise from a gofer for courtier Herbert Sidon to the apex of the fashion world but also reveals the man who won over 300 appearances in the pages of Vogue.<BR/> While Bates attributes his success to "A part of it is luck; being in the right place at the right time," he is far too humble in his assessment. It took determination and a great deal of hard work on his part. His beginnings could not have been more modest, "I started by taking messages, cleaning, being taught to sketch. If the tea needed making I'd make it, if a client came in I could watch how they were dealt with...." <BR/> Fortunately, part of his training was to study old fashion magazines, and eventually two of his designs were included in a show "to a middle market wholesale firm," and both were bought by the firm. Bates was offered a job by the wholesalers, and he was on his way.<BR/> What a pleasure to revisit his designs as we remember the "swinging sixties," and an even greater pleasure to know that this man with such an accomplished eye for beauty continues to demonstrate his art through his paintings.<BR/> Recommended.

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