Vintage 1970s does 40s Futurist Paul Nicholas Laura Nichols Black pencil wiggle dress red piping trim crepe satin bands Numanoid Gary Numan
Vintage black dress with satin bands across a crepe like material, likely synthetic but a good quality like wool crepe, that dates from the late 1970s and has the Paul Nicholas label, made by Laura Nichols Ltd London W1.
It can be best described as a 1970s vision of a 1940s Futurism. Ideal for the pin-up or rockabilly girl who want's something of a futurist twist on a wiggle dress.
This is a modern UK size 6 to a small 8 and very flattering.
34 inches bust
26 inches waist
34 inches hips
These dresses were done in a variety of colours I recall seeing one similar in white with the satin bands and an emerald trim, and they were also in Cheongsam style. I suspect other companies used the unusual fabric too.
But the black with red trim one had a special place in terms of style culture: they were in demand with the 'Numanoids' , the fans of Gary Numan , and other Futurists, a spin off of New Wave with influences from bands like Kraftwerk who also had red & black themes. While often they frequented the same clubs, and there was some crossover with New Romantics the look was in many ways opposite: there were no Romantic frills and flounces with the Futurists. The look was tight and shocked, near uniform of imaginary Future dystopia. And so tight dresses coats and suits with shoulder structure in red and black flew off the hangers.
The dress was likely produced sometime between 1977 and 1979, as prior to that Paul Nicholas designs were associated with styles, though very lovely, derivate of Lee Bender's Bus Stop label and Biba. Then New Wave came along and the more Futurist look, though with a nod to the 1940s styles too, rather than 30s of Bus Stop.
It is in good vintage condition, though not as new as it were despite having no serious flaws, mainly eg the label has yellowed and faded, and also some 'crease' stress where it's not been hung properly but I think these may come out with a steam which I will do after shooting so if this worries you (no need, its vintage 1970s so isn't going to be perfect and don't notice when on really) let me know for an update.
The shoulders and flattering wiggle shape are just amazing and well worthy of a new home ...especially if you like the drama of the forties, with a little dystopian Futurist spin, or are a 'Numanoid' ! Though may also find favour in the pin up girl rockabilly wiggle dress aesthetic as it has that forties diner dress shape, but perhaps more Dystopian 1940s Airline hostess or cosmetics counter vibe.
The red piping is on the high arm cuffs and also on a slit at the front of the dress, and it has front pockets just below the waist and a neat close front neck split . Knee length and very fitted tailoring with back zip (where the zip edge seam line is a little creased as described and visible on pics but no big deal for me just to let you know).
"Now the light fades out
And I wonder what I'm doing in a room like this
There's a knock on the door
And just for a second I thought I remembered you....
You know I hate to ask
But are 'friends' electric?"
Sang Gary Numan and Tubeway Army 1979, and I am pretty sure this dress will have danced to it at the time too....
top of page
bottom of page