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Goldsmiths' Official Student Magazine

Rejecting Penny Lane: Marianne Faithfull’s diversion from groupie style.

March 23, 2016
Eleanor Philpot takes a look at fashion icon Marianne Faithfull; the epitome of 60s fashion and idol to the likes of Kate Moss.

Marianne is not a groupie, but a headstrong woman with a strong sense of style. Her late sixties style was a dichotomy of flamboyance and subtlety, which has made her one of the leading style influences of the mid 20th century, the likes of Kate Moss have cited her as one of their style inspirations. Even in today’s modern fashion world, when rifling through images of Alice + Olivia and Anna Sui’s AW 16/17 fashion collections, one cannot help but feel Faithfull’s influence. All cute bow ties, pant suits and sophisticated fur. Marianne is still a fashion icon worth discussing today. Unlike groupies, such as Pamela Debarre with their flower crowns and mini skirts, Faithfull style is everlasting and here’s why. 12957192_281891595475766_1193568709_n

Ever since she hit the popular folk scene in 1964, Marianne’s style was one of sophistication. She could be seen in iconic shows such as Hullabaloo sporting a well cut midi dresses adorned with simple and plain patterns. Think white lace dresses with a large a black bow and plain white dresses with black trimming. Her style of dress during this period not only encapsulated the rising mod trend of the early 1960s but more importantly reflected Marianne’s preference for boyish tailoring over more stereotypically feminine cuts. A grave misconception created by the fashion world is the belief that this is the epitome of her style. Some magazines show Marianne to be associated with peter pan collars and cutesy floral numbers. This is incorrect and is not Marianne in her fully realized form, but pubescent choices made by a seventeen year old, before she really came into womanhood. But it cannot be denied that the boyish combined with the frills of feminine fashion are presented here, and allude to the classy subtle flamboyance of Marianne’s fashion heyday.

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The year is 1967, and after having been involved with Jagger for a year or so, the Faithfull style finally reaches its heights. In her 1994 biography, ‘Faithfull’, Marianne states that she always felt more comfortable in men’s clothes. For the first time, she started to rock a suit like it was nobody’s business, gee she did it well. But it wasn’t suits for suits sake with an unimaginative lack of accessorizing; Marianne paired double-breasted suits with strappy sandals, silk scarves, and lace cravats and large brimmed fedoras. Her suit wearing was not about conservatism and masculinity but exploring how to be a girl in boy’s clothes. Her pairing of lace with stiff blazers, turned the stereotypical use of lace on its head, usually associated with the sexualisation of women it was now being used to almost liberate women through fashion. Lace could be as bossy and commanding as a suit.

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Marianne rocked a range of looks throughout her time. She’s also been famed for her mini skirts and knee high boots combo. She never gave into the gaudy side of the 1960s, always choosing browns, blacks and whites over more garish colours. This is what gave her the edge over the other fashion competition, as her colour pallet was always so subtle, therefore pulling off mixes of patterns and styles, such as silks trousers and military jackets. A personal favorite of mine is her white angora sweater with the black bow accessory, classic but playful.

Since the 1960s, the Faithfull style is as classic and edgy as ever. She continued to be found in white bell sleeve blouses and killer boots. Always looking classic and edgy, showing that definitely doesn’t go down hill after leaving your rolling stone beau. When she was dating Jagger, did she wear these fabulous flared sleeves? No. She even started to wear glitter, but in a subtle way of course, embellishing the sleeves and shoulders on a deliciously luxuriant jumpsuit. She was never the groupie, she was the always the rock star waiting to be found and her kick ass fashion sense says that for it itself.

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By Eleanor Philpot