JOHN BATES AT JEAN VARON

Jean Varon was one of the hottest labels in British fashion for over 20 years before fading into obscurity.

The label was started in the 1960s by one of the countries most innovative designers John Bates.

Bates was fashion fountitled 2rward and regularly made bold choices, using unexpected space age fabrics and sheer panels. Many claim that he invented the mini skirt. That may be the subject of another blog, but it is clear that his styles were certainly shorter than many of his contemporaries

It was this inventive streak that led to Bates getting one of the most sought after commissions in fashion, designing Emma Peel’s costumes in the ’65 series of The Avengers.

Jean Varon designs were worn by high society and celebrities alike. Princess Margaret was a fan, and Cilla Black wore one of the mini dresses on her wedding day. Julie Christie wore many of his dresses in the film Shampoo and the fashion pages of Vogue were filled with them.

The label closed in the 1980s and John Bates now works as an artist and lives in Wales.
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The fashion Museum in Bath held a retrospective of Bates’ work in 2006. It acknowledged his place as one of the big names of 70s fashion alongside Jean Muir, Bill Gibb and Zandra Rhodes. An exhibition of his finest
garments is currently on display at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool.

Jean Varon is no longer a household name but as Bates’ reputation continues to re-emerge his dresses are becoming increasingly
collectable among the fashion conscious.

This black full length gown is one of his softer more feminine pieces. It is typical of his designs in it’s combination of elegance, youthfulness and glamour. Using the label we can date it to the late 1960s. It remains in excellent condition, it was lightly used and well stored, it is very wearable today.

If you like John Bates’ work but this dress is not quite right for you please email me with your specifics and I’ll get in touch if I discover anything that fits your size and style requirements.

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