I reminisce a work hard / party hard lifestyle in one of the most happening cities in the world, in my early 20's, London was the place to be.
During my lunch break, I'd meander through some of the back streets of the West End, browsing boutique shops and department stores, partake in a spot of window shopping, and stop by Marks and Spencer for my takeaway sandwich to take back to the office.
One street that stands out in particular, the pedestrianised shopping street, Carnaby Street, in the district of Soho. The late 1990's was probably not the most memorable time to visit the iconic street, but one of the reasons I'd enjoy exploring this particular parade of shops and eateries, was to imagine reliving a time when this street became the place to be in the 1960's.
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My parents, living and working in central London in their late teens and early 20's, have colourful memories of the fashion scene in Carnaby Street during the 60's.
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Mum tells me: "It (Carnaby Street) was very colourful and a happy place to visit. There were all the little side streets that transformed the area into a buzzy place to be. I can remember a friend of mine buying an electric green mini dress, with bat wings sleeves. The colours were so vivid - lemon or electric lime green, and it cost a fortune at £9.19s 11p, (that's old money, pounds and shillings) that was more than 1 weeks wages at the time!"
Interview with photographer Philip Townsend
Dad remembers: "High collared tab shirts that were floral and also satin, and all very colourful. Hipster trousers with very flared legs, and huge bell bottom trousers. The men wore high healed Cuban shoes. Also very popular were military jackets of all description (if you could find a real military jacket you were god!). Kipper ties with made from the same fabric as the shirt; paisley. Anything colour floral or stripey was worn. Look at the cover of Sargent Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles, you will see the style of clothes at the time. It could also have been the first time loud music was played from all the shops.. happy days" he says.
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Carnaby Street, Christmas 1964
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Love in Carnaby Street :: Solo-Vintage ::
Carnaby Street, illustrated book by Tom Salter and Malcolm English
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I'll leave you with a snippet from fictional character Austin Powers, and his reenactment of London's swinging 60's:
If time travel were possible (ha, ha!) which era, and place would you like to go back to?