Sex, Drugs n' Fish & Chips

The Reading Rooms at the V&A began the run up to London Fashion Week and celebrated the annual Vogue’s Fashion Night Out on Thursday evening with an intimate talk by author and first men’s editor at Vogue, Geoffrey Aquilina Ross. Appropriately held in the library at this V&A outpost, surrounded by coffee table books and catalogues from the worlds of art, design and fashion, Aquilina Ross began his introduction of his new book, The Day of the Peacock: Style for Men 1963-1973 with a title bestowed on him in recent years, “… they call me a veteran editor”.

Geoffrey Aquilina Ross in conversation

While not in the fashion mix anymore, Aquilina Ross went from fish & chip shop to the inner sanctum of Mr Fish during the swinging Sixties – a career path that one can only imagine today from an era that certainly deserves the veteran status – and he amuses at the title as if the decade of sex, drugs and rock n’ roll was a war which he survived and is able to tell the tale. Many unfortunately are not. The Sixties proved to be a curious time of social shifts: when straight-laced boys from the King’s Road joined the punk rock youth of Carnaby Street to meet at a sartorial crossroad on Savile Row. The banker, the rock star and the dandy developed a market within the fashion world that had showed very little interest for the male consumer in the past. The cut of your cloth was just as important as the tailor cutting it and as popularity grew thanks to icons such as Cecil Beaton, Mick Jagger and Peter Lichfield, the shifts towards men’s fashion throughout the decade saw the limitations of bespoke transform into off the rail production, providing male identity to the masses.

The Day of the Peacock: Style for Men 1963-1973 travels from Granny Takes A Trip to Mr Fish as well as everything in between and charts the Vogue editor’s shoots with legendary photographer David Bailey of the movers and shakers from a decade that pioneered male expression through cuffs, hems and lapels.