There is an element of truth in that the oldy worldy days of Beau Brummel and his Military Navy inspired vests, breeches and blousons are ostensibly the touch paper of modern menswear.
Over the years out and out military has pogoed into the zeitgeist most notably for us: Mr Massimo Osti's world, Katharine Hamnett, Ralph Lipschitz, Helmut when he still ran Helmut Lang and this here 1967 trend of sporting full on guards wear- which is covered in this 12th March Sunday supplement magazine.
The 1967 dandy trend is set in aspic today with the famous scouser LP cover compiled by Robert 'Groovy Bob' Fraser and completed by a hugely underpaid and highly rated Sir Peter Blake - yes that LP cover. The Libertines easily carried the look off the most convincingly.
The old folk in 1967 had a real problem with this 'look' as it was seen as mocking the military with their foppish hair and teamed Coldstream Guards jackets with scruffy denim running around London.
The national service in the UK had ended in 1960 and so in the eyes of the old guard they had no right to sport military uniforms and in some crazy situations the young guns were fined £1 for flexing military regalia which in 67' was a hefty fine for a young flaneur. Colin Jones the photographer of this Observer shoot was one of the last Brits to do national service with the Queens Royal regiment in 1960. Poplar East London born Colin was also a ballet dancer and shot the great and the good of swinging London, I wonder how he felt shooting this new model army.....
Much like the hippies in San Francisco and the more militant MC5 band look anti Vietnam protests across the pond. Many people were wearing US military surplus most notably M41 to the M65 at this time. Rebellion and military garb was something of a square peg, round hole situation and the dichotomy is fascinating. The establishment got so riled at the time about this craze as written on the cover it was policed!
Aged 17 I was sitting in a Baltic cold Birmingham beer garden too young to go inside the warm pub. A scrap had broken out again between some townies and the older pub age Mods. The land lady had, had enough she stormed out to the beer garden in her pink fluffy slippers and instructed: "all you lot in green coats piss off". It stuck with me for donkeys years as to why she didn't tell: "all you lego looking trainer wearing, acrylic Argyll, ill fitting trouser, silly haircut types" sod off no she picked on us military parka lot- it was a rubbish pub anyway.
Talking of pubs if you dig this look the next time you are sauntering through Belgravia London, I do recommend having a glass or two at The Grenadier on 18 Wilton Row SW1.
Military styles, details are rife today I'm sure some of the togs you have on right this minute have a military slant. Be thankful to these wardrobe warriors that you can lie there in your Japanese label made in U.S.A, Czech Republic army archive inspired shorts and not get a slapped wrist!
Meanwhile at the wrong end of Portobello Road
When I got to London in 1991 I was well aware of Laurence corner situated between Camden and Fitzrovia. Apart from supplying the TV & film industry, the likes of magazines: Blitz, Arena and i-D et al would often do art like photoshoots purposefully blurred from the waist down and credit say 'Cargo trousers £15 and Commando boots £22 from Laurence Corner. It became the go to place for militaria sadly closed down in the early 2000's but it had a very good innings.