Sunday, November 25, 2012

Granny Takes a Trip coat

Recently I was fortunate to find a gorgeous coat a long way from its original home. The coat has a label that features, along with a mushroom, Granny Takes a Trip - The World’s End - Chelsea

Granny Takes a Trip was founded in 1965 when a vintage clothing dealer (and at that time, vintage was most likely to be Victorian and Edwardian garb), her artist/designer boyfriend, and a mod tailor, set up shop. 

Sheila Cohen was the clothing collector, Nigel Waymouth the artist, and John Pearse the tailor. Granny Takes a Trip became the hippest boutique on the planet, with vintage clothing and newly fashioned clothes that departed from the mod look. The Granny look was showy, vintage-inspired and rich, using satins and velvets, tapestries and color, color, color. Granny may have started the Peacock Revolution. The shop certainly dressed it. 

I first became aware of the story behind the label from my fascination with the Beatles.

The Beatles wearing Granny Takes a Trip, 1966—The Beatles and The Rolling Stones were early customers
Now I see practically everyone found their way to the King’s Road boutique. 
Jimi Hendrix in Granny

Pink Floyd in Granny

Ossie Clark in Granny
Keith Richards in Granny

The list goes on. This excerpt from a BBC show features some period images of the shop, including Nigel Waymouth playing with a toy car, and the present-day John Pearse:

From a recent postage stamp series commemorating British fashion design icons
George Harrison in the original
The shop’s founding trio went its separate ways in 1969, but the store’s manager brought in the new team of Gene Krell and Marty Breslau who continued to design for high-profile rock clients and other stylish types. It is from this second incarnation that the coat I found dates. 

Here is the coat’s label:, I didn't try licking it! (see video above)

Currently available in the denisebrain web store (image by Margaret Wilds/denisebrain)

(image by Margaret Wilds/denisebrain)

(image by Margaret Wilds/denisebrain)

Apparently this style of paneled velvet coat was something Granny was doing in 1971. Here is a look at the men’s suit version on two gents:

It’s a coat of impressive quality and timelessly cool style. Through Twitter I asked Pamela Des Barres if the coat rang any bells for her, to which she replied:
 ~ Wish I still had mine!

I'm not sure if she had this very style, but it seemed to ring some bells!

One more piece of eye candy:
Granny Takes a Trip leather and metal jacket, Met Museum collection

“One should either be a work of art or wear a work of art” —written over the door to Granny Takes a Trip

For more about this shop and clothing label, I recommend the great VFG Label Resource entry by premierludwig: Granny Takes a Trip; also recommended: Boutique: A ‘60s Cultural Phenomenon by Marnie Fogg.

Many thanks to my colleagues at the Vintage Fashion Guild for the interesting leads and information about the history of this coat, to Liz Eggleston of Vintage-a-Peel for the date when it was made and other useful tidbits, and to Jenny Stabile of Carousel for this and other great vintage items.

Other than my own images and the one from the Met Museum, all the shots above are widely seen online. 


Peter said...

If you don't mind me asking, how did you find it? Did you specifically look for Granny's piece or did you just randomnly find it in a vintage shop(I guess that's unlikely ,No one gets this lucky!)
I've been trying to find anything from granny's for years, but I've never even seen anything for sale (it probably would be beyond my budget anyway)...

denisebrain said...

I found the coat in a vintage shop here in Spokane. I know that's as improbable as can be...I practically fainted when I saw it!

I asked the shopkeeper how this came to be in the shop, and she said a 26-year old girl brought it in, saying it belonged to her grandmother.

I know I am unbelievably fortunate.

Giselle said...

So cool, I can totally see a glam rocker wearing that jacket. What a great find!

Lizzie said...

Such an incredible find! It's the type of thing that keeps us all on the hunt.

denisebrain said...

Absolutely! I love that feeling of complete, unmitigated joy that you feel when you know you've got something great!

Christina said...

What a great find Maggie! That's a coat with attitude.