Hello Chaps & Chapettes

I hope you have all been enjoying our little bit of summer and been out there either  topping up your tan or hiding like me under your parasol.

We have Fashion Legion Coco Chanel to thank for the fashion of  getting a sun tan, as after accidentally gaining a tan whilst sailing getting a sun tan became fashionable.

Coco Chanel also decided at this time that to keep cool whilst out in the sunshine baggy pyjama-style trousers – complete with a loose-fitting shirt or a sleeveless top – could combine elegance and comfort and allow her to keep reasonably cool.

And so the sparks of a new fashion tend were ignited.

Beach Pyjamas

Initially women in trousers in the 1920’s was still considered very risqué and many pyjamas suits were advertised for wearing whilst smoking.

Beach pyjamas however are recorded as being first seen on the Riviera in about 1927 worn by the smart set over their swimming costumes.

The very transgressive temperament of the seaside ensured that the creation of these outlandish garment became fashionable.

As a rule most beach pyjamas were made of crepe de chine, jersey, eponge (early towelling)  however, due to the ever-growing interest in creating synthetic fabric allowed beach pyjamas to be made of silk.

The Art Deco craze added another dimension to this eclectic fashion, that of geometric prints.

And so a trip to the coast, The British Riviera became a requirement to maintain an aspirational fashionable lifestyle.

It could be said that the seaside pier became the first catwalk as promenading became an essential part of “being seen” and held such high social significance.

Beach pyjamas gave women an unprecedented look, freedom and a more relaxed attitude which allowed them to be cheekier more playful, but always elegant and sophisticated.

The “BlueTrain”  as featured in Agatha Christie Poirot was a colloquial term for the train that rushed the rich English tourist to the Cote d’ Azur for the summer season.

It was members of  returning British Raj who brough pyjamas back to England from India, Middle and Far East as exotic leisure wear.

There is a strong Oriental influence to the beach pyjamas of the 1920’s and 30’s and this can be seen in the inspirational  lounge wear of the time.

Film star Anna May Wong is possibly the most famous Oriental film actress of this time.

The Oriental influence on beach pyjamas could be considered suitable for oue next dance event.

The Adventure of Fu Manchu Dance.

http://ow.ly/LbjI30159fH    Early Bird Tickets Now On sale.

So with that in mind I will sign off and hope you have enjoyed my latest blog post.

It would be lovely to see you in person at our next dance, but if not please leave a comment.

Please also check out our pintrest pages  http://ow.ly/OnTP302JWRx

Until next time

Rosie Lea xx

What about Mabel’s Naval.

What Ho Chaps & Chapettes,

This week saw the bikini turns 70 years of age.

Invented by former engineer turn lingerie designer

Louis Reard.Bikini 1

Le Bikini was invented in an attempt to win the race to produce the smallest swimwear; to win it was required to be able to fit through the wears wedding ring.

The Le Bikini was made up of four triangles made from just 30 inches of fabric, so small and indecent at the time in 1946 that Reard could find none of the models of the day willing to model it and so used erotic dancer Micheline Bernardini.

Bikini 1

Consequently the bikini arrived to an astonished and most unadventurous post world war world, many of whom could still remember when a glimpse of stocking was shocking but now Le Bikini was showing of the wears naval, hardly surprising that it was banned immediately in Austria, Spain, Italy and Belgium.

Although two piece swim wear were seen during the war years due to war time 10% reduction of fabric allowed for use of woman’s swimwear it was still out-lawed in many cities in the USA.

In 1951 the bikini was introduced at the first Miss World Contest in London causing such uproar and disgust that it was banned from pageants globally.



It took the stars of the mid 50s to make the bikini commercially popular, even so, in 1961 at the beginning of the swinging 60’s more than 50 bikini clad woman or unclad depending on your view-point were ordered off Bondi Beach Sydney Australia.

Many actresses of the time such as Jayne Mansfield who wore a leopard print  bikini in the 1956 film  Wild Thing.bikini 4

And the likes of Rita Haywood and the young starlet Brigitte Bardot who were snapped wearing the outrageous Bikini on the beach. 

Helped the bikini  become more acceptiable.

bikini 5          bikini 7

The release of the chart topping Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini by Brian Hyland in 1960 sent bikini sales soaring.    bikini 9

1962 saw Ursula Andress in Bond film Dr No iconic moment when she emerged from the sea wearing the now famous white belted bikini, which sold in 2001 for £41.000, Andress always stated that bikini was my golden ticket , it made me into a success.

bikini 8

Rachel Welch however, always claimed to have felt exposed in the fur clad bikini she wore in One Million Years BC.              bikini 6

But my favourite quote of the time is that made by legendary fashion designer Diana Vreeland who is quoted as say “It reveals everything about the girl, but her mother maiden name”.

And to think Louis Reard Le Bikini was invent purely to win a contest and now most female on the beach this summer will be clad or unclad in one.

I personally prefer Beach Pyjamas bikini 10

Until next time

Rosie Lea xx


The End of an Era Goodbye Madame Holloway.

And so Madame Holloway is to close, not the beautiful and draconian Holloway prison that was opened in 1852 and became a female-only prison in 1903 through whose "grand turreted" gateway so many infamous prisoners passed and which was tragically lost during the redevelopment on the original sight between 1971 and 1985.

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But the modern carbuncle which is the pretender / imposter that she is.

The real Madame Holloway housed Infamous prisoners such as aristocrat and Hitler admirer and supporter Diana Mosley who during World War Two, was imprisoned in Holloway after being deemed "A danger to the King's Realm"

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 "Crime of Passion"                                                

Later in 1955 the tragic Ruth Ellis was also detained at Holloway Prison after being convicted of the murder of her lover, David Bleakley .

David Bleakley was said to be a alcoholic and a woman beater.

After receiving a blow to the stomach Ruth Ellis is said to have miscarraged his child.

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Ruth Ellis was drawn into the world of London nightclubs and became a nightclub hostess through nude modeling work, and finally turned to prostitution.                                                                                                     

13 Jul 1955, England, UK --- Dies on Gallows in London Holloway Prison. London, England: Twenty-eight year old Ruth Ellis, shown in a photo made prior to her arrest, died on the gallows in London's Holloway prison today for the murder of racing car driver David Blakely. The streets outside the prison walls were jammed as the one time model an nightclub hostess went to her death. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

In 1951, while four months pregnant, Ruth appeared, un-credited, as a beauty queen in the Rank film Lady Godiva Rides Again starring Diana Dors.

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 Please Read our previous Blog and find out more about Diana Dors.


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Ruth Ellis and Diana Dors became friends during the film and were often seen out in London  together.


On Easter Sunday 1955, Ellis shot David Blakely dead outside the Magdala public house in Hampstead, and immediately gave herself up to the police.

On 20 June 1955, Ellis appeared in the Number One Court at the Old Bailey, London, before Mr. Justice Havers.

Ruth Ellis was dressed in a black suit and white silk blouse with freshly bleached and coiffured blonde hair.

Her lawyers expressed concern about her appearance (and dyed blonde hair), but she did not alter it to appear less striking.

At her trial, she took full responsibility for the murder; and her courtesy and composure, both in court and in the cells, was noted in the press.

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On Wednesday 13 July thirty seconds before 9 am, the official hangman, Albert Pierrepoint,    hol 9 and his assistant, Royston Rickard, entered the condemned cell and escorted Ruth Ellis the 15 feet (4.6 m) to the execution room next door.

Ruth Ellis had been weighed at 103 pounds (47 kg) the previous day and a drop of 8 ft. 4in (2.54 meters) was set. Pierrepoint carried out the execution in just 12 seconds and her body was left hanging for an hour. Her autopsy report, by the pathologist Dr. Keith Simpson, was made public.

Ruth Ellis was hanged at HM Prison Holloway she last woman to be executed in the United Kingdom.

Public opinion at the time of Ruth Ellis’s hanging was that she should have been reprieved as her crime was considered by many a “Crime of Passion”

Thousands of people signed a petition asking for the death penalty to be lifted in the case of Ruth Ellis, including 35 members of London County Council who delivered their plea to the House of Commons

"The personification of evil"

The next infamous woman to be imprisoned at Holloway was Myra Hindley who along with her lover Ian Brady was sentenced two concurrent life sentences

On 6 May 1966, at Chester Assizes soon after 5 p.m. Myra Hindley mounted the 18 steps into the glass-screened dock for the last time.hol 11


Myra Hindley, 23, was sentenced to two concurrent life sentences for the murder of Edward Evans and Lesley Ann Downey and found not guilty of the killing of John Kilbride

Myra Hindley was reported as having left the dock fully composed.

Some prison officers continued to insist Hindley should not be trusted, describing her as “cold, calculating and devoid of emotion” — an “arch manipulator with a massive ­superiority complex”.

Myra Hindley transferred from Holloway Prison  to Highpoint Prison, Suffolk in 1998, and was serving her 36th year behind bars when she died in nearby West Suffolk Hospital at Bury St Edmunds on November 15, 2002.

No female murderer has been so despised as Myra Hindley.

No multiple murderer who has come to light since has replaced her as the face that personified evil;

Public opinion was that she should have hanged and was known as until the day of her death. "The most Hated woman in Britain".

The bricks and mortor that made Holloway Prison may be razed to the ground and erased from our vison but the impact it had on so many woman lives and our history will never be erased.

Until next time

Rosie Lea x