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Go-Go Boots – are Go!

Go-Go boots. They're up there with Dorothy’s red slippers, Roger Vivier’s Pilgrim pumps and Audrey Hepburn’s Penny Loafers in footwear folklore. Not just an icon of the 1960s, go-go boots are among the most iconic shoe and boot trends of the 20th century. André Courrèges was the magician who introduced the go-go boot.  A white mid-calf boot with a flat black heel, they anchored his space-age look first sent down the catwalk in 1964. The boots were made from leather, matte and patent, vinyl or PVC. Styles had either a cut-out around the top or pleated detail. An instant hit, they defined both the youthquake movement of the time, and the sophisticated look of French stars such as Catherine Deneuve. Where did the name come from?  Theories abound....

You Say You Want A Revolution?

You Say You Want A Revolution opener
Excited? On hearing news of the V&A's latest blockbuster show You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966 - 1970, we were ecstatic! It's a subject right up our street and we were thrilled to be invited along to the opening. Laid out in six sections, with an accompanying soundtrack, it explores the political and cultural revolution of the time mostly spearheaded by youth – in 1966, half the US population was under 25, and in Britain baby boomer teenagers were in their millions. It begins with a scene-setting collection of press cuttings, mags and pics showing how the foundations for change were laid before moving to the first room: a recreation of Carnaby Street, reflecting 'Swinging London' as a centre of fashion, music and art. Next up is a focus on the growing counter culture of the...

Neon Wonderland

Las Vegas Neon Museum: Shoe
Casinos, the strip, wedding chapels, shows … Las Vegas is not short on tourist attractions, but top of our list is the Neon Museum. We took a trip there when we were last in Vegas, exhibiting at the FN Platform show, and just loved it A visual feast of a slice of Vegas history, packed with signs and neon that at one time illuminated Vegas, both literally and spiritually. The Stardust, Sahara, Algiers, Tropicana … exotic names and futuristic motifs from when the city was a mecca for the good, the bad and the ugly. They are, unsurprisingly, dazzlingly familiar. Seen countless times in films and books, it is slightly surreal to see them up close. Really close. The neon museum is no ordinary museum and none of these signs is behind glass....

Red is the Colour

Red Patent No10s
Red. It comes in many guises – scarlet, cherry, poppy, ruby, crimson, berry. It’s confident, bold, head turning and bright. A standout on its own, it can work as a dashing neutral and a perfect base for any outfit. It demands attention – red letter, red carpet, red hot; it spells danger – red alert, red flag, red light; it indicates passion and it stands for love. It’s played a starring role in the movies – The Red Shoes; songs – Little Red Corvette; and fashion – both for Valentino and Vivienne Westwood. At Ops&Ops we’re big fans. Our Red Bumper Car and Patent and No10s work as a burst of colour against more retiring shades, a contrast or match-up with accessories, and the starting point for head-to-toe daring days....

Camouflage: Dazzle not Disguise

Camouflage comes in many disguises. Military. Animal. Plant. Colours too, from khaki, tan and green through black, white and fawn, to blue, greys and black – just like our Camo Blue No10s. Designers have favoured camouflage for decades. Leopard prints have been popular since the 1920s, reaching their zenith in the 1960s when Jackie O was a fan. Salvador Dalí wrapped himself in zebra print back in the 1930s and Andy Warhol, Bruce Weber and Versace all paid homage. Victorian palm house motifs and foliage and Art Deco palms proved a huge inspiration for House of Hackney and their Palmeral pattern used both in clothes and furnishings. But it is military garb that springs to mind first when talking camouflage. Camo was introduced by the French at...

The Man With Two Names

Jean Bates in his studio
The man with two names. Is he John Bates or Jean Varon? He is of course both, one of Britain’s most influential designers, ever, and one of Ops&Ops favourites. It is easy to see why. The shortest mini skirts and dresses, trouser suits and catsuits, cut-outs, op-art black and white, matching coats and dresses, dresses and tights, and sheer and futuristic fabrics, he designed them all, created even – he tops the who-invented-the-mini-skirt list. He was making plastic garments as early as 1962. With no training, John Bates worked for Herbert Sidon of Sloane Street and was a fashion illustrator before opening Jean Varon, aged just 21, in 1959 – he chose the French moniker Jean to chime with fashion’s love of all things Parisian,...

Courrèges: King of the Futuristic

André Courrèges: king of the futuristic? Always. He studied civil engineering before deciding to pursue a career in fashion, and ten years after working under the guidance of Cristobal Balenciaga, Basque-born Courrèges decided to go it alone.  In 1964 he launched the Moon Girl collection. Go-go boots, trapeze dresses, space-age designs, mini skirts and helmets in a colour palette of dazzling white and silver, he was for a time the cosmonaut of couture. Trouser suits, too, became a signature of his label, both smart and laid-back – a real departure for women of the time. He was a team along with his wife Coqueline, who choreographed his shows with soundtracks and sporty vibes. Courrèges finally left fashion to paint and sculpt, but his legacy remained,  as relevant today as it always has...

Design Deity

Design deity
Design deity. That's Bauhaus at the Vitra Design Museum. A perfect match, a double delight and the Bauhaus #it'salldesign exhibition a definite doozy. This is a show with knobs on. Offering a 360-degree view of design at the Bauhaus for the very first time, it enthralls with a roster of rare, some never-seen-before, exhibits. All the major disciplines of the movement – design, architecture, film, art and photography – are covered, and all of it housed in the Frank Gehry designed wonder that is the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhine. Bauhaus is an adored, well-loved institution, long synonymous with pared-back geometric cool. At its inception students were expected to stretch the boundaries of design to transform society. The brilliance of #itsalldesign is how it clearly illustrates the Bauhaus relevance today. Contemporary works...

On Fire!

Parisian Lizzy Mercier Descloux was a true innovator. A poet, painter, actor and musician in her native France, she was also influential in the New York underground during the late 70s where she struck up a friendship with Patti Smith. Fire, which she performed on French TV with Serge Gainsbourg, is the first track on her 1979 debut album Press Color, released on ZE Records. Experimental and fun, a kind of loose punk sound with a disco twist, it's become a No Wave cult classic. The LP is the first in a full reissue series by Light In The Attic. Lizzy spent the 1980s and 1990s travelling the world – Africa, France, New York, South America and the Caribbean, where she continued to make music, before settling in Corsica...

Flats On Film

Lena Dunham in Red Patent Ops&Ops
OPS&OPS IN STARRING ROLE We were thrilled to catch sight of Lena Dunham wearing our Red Patent No10s while filming Girls' season 5 in New York. The show will be on TV early next year. Inspired by the thought of seeing our flats on film, we've collected some of our favourite celluloid shoe moments. So, in no particular order … Blow Up Jill Kennington leads the graphic formation, Peggy Moffitt is second, for hip photographer Thomas’ famous fashion shoot in Antonioni’s London-shot Blow Up. 8½ Gloria and Guido’s brief dance scene in Federico Fellini’s 8½ stands out for the most perfect pair of kitten heels. It also inspired Mia and Vincent's twist in Pulp Fiction. Avengers Mrs Peel visits Piedi’s “the most exclusive shop in town” where Piedi himself becomes enthralled by Emma’s “two pairs of...