Sunday, October 20, 2013

Interview with Gill Evans

This week, Ahoy hoy along with 2 of the top Mod blogs (and dear, dear friends of Ahoy hoy) We Are The Mods and Punks in Parkas are featuring segments with the Ace Face of modette's, a true original - Gill Evans!

Gill and her husband Del were among the original leaders of modernist style even before the term "mod" was coined. They were known as Continentalist - drawing inspiration from French and Italian fashion. Gill, being a talented clothing designer and maker created sleek pieces for Del and herself.

As a women who adores mod culture I find Gill Evans a total inspiration. So few do I come across someone who lived through the whole birth of mod yet alone happens to be a women with superb style and made her own clothing! I am as ecstatic as could be! And below is what happend when Ahoy hoy got a chance to pick dear Gill's brain about fashion, make up, and being an all-around top mod bird.

Ahoy Hoy: Hello Gill! Ahoy hoy is beyond thrilled to have the honor to interview a true original mod such as yourself. What was it about the scene that you found captivating and exciting? What was it like to be a mod women in such a male orientated sub culture?

Gill Evans: I never really thought of my self as a woman in a male orientated sub culture as I was always very confident and knew what I wanted to achieve. When I left Art School in 1960 and started designing and making clothes the word Mod had not been heard of. Originally Del & I called ourselves Continentalists because I had been interested in French & Italian styling whilst at Art School. Everything was new and exciting for us as we spent many hours designing and making clothes together in my bedroom at home, we were captivated with what we were creating. Fashion and music was our life and all we lived for.
                              
              


AH: I truly enjoy seeing all the photos of you and husband looking sharp in your chic ensembles. Where most the outfits designed and made by you? What do you think are some of the advantages of designing and making your own clothes as to purchasing them from a store? Are you still designing and making clothes?

GE: I designed and made all my own clothes, I found it easy to just keep coming up with ideas.I still have a Portfolio of my designs from early to mid 1960's. I hope to be able to put some of them into production soon- they are quite inspirational.Del designed his suits and I would sketch them and we would go to a Tailor and have them Made to Measure. I made him leather coats and shirts and ties and also we would buy shirts and cut the collars off so that he could wear white stiff collars on them. I still design and make clothes for my ModTogs collection and I always wear them myself. People I meet say to me 'Oh you're a Mod.


AH:  Any present day designers or celebrities who you think are doing the mod look right?

GE: I can't think of anyone in particular that has the Look quite right as I think you need to have been part of the scene back then to know exactly what it needs to be. Mini skirts were not a Mod thing- more Swinging Sixties.It was around 1966 before shorter skirts were worn by true Mod girls and then it was just above the knee. Hemlines were just below the knee or slightly longer prior to then.


AH:  Many of us have the idea that a mod make up look is heavy eye liner, pale lip and extreme false lashes (i.e Peggy Moffitt) What where the true mod girls of the 60’s wearing make up wise? What is the best beauty tip you can give us mod girls today?

GE: A Natural shade Foundation with a loose powder over- I always carried a Compact. Rouge placed just under the cheek bones to accentuate bone structure. A sweep of pale blue/grey eye shadow. Eye liner but not too thick. Fine Eylure False eyelashes. Lipstick in a Deep Pink or a Brownish Pink- I would wear one by Yardley called  Pink From Peru which always looked flattering.


AH: If a young reader is interested in the Mod scene and looking to change her wardrobe accordingly so, what would be 5 key pieces you would say she (or any mod girl) would need in her wardrobe?

GE: 5 Key pieces for the True Mod Girl look are as follows:-

A Suit.
A Pinafore Dress.
A Blouse with a collar and long full sleeves.
A simple design Dress either with long straight sleeve or a cutaway shoulder.
A Black Polo neck jumper or skinny rib jumper.

These can be mixed and matched and with simple jewelry will look perfect.


A very special thank Gill for her fantastic insight and for taking the time to answer our questions.

For more information (and great photos) of Gill & Del's mod fashions visit https://www.facebook.com/ModTogs

A

7 comments:

  1. What a great interview! I had never heard of Gill but ill have to do a little more reading on her now. Thanks!
    Oh and I agree with the "mod" make up. The painted face look was definitely more Dollybird than Mod, I die a little inside when I see Mod used incorrectly in any context

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for reading the interview Catherine! The make up question was one I was definitely excited to ask her. <3

      Delete
  2. This is a great interview, such an inspiring lady!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sarah, I'm glad you enjoyed the interview. Gill is truly a one of a kind gal! I look forward to doing more interviews on Ahoy hoy <3

      Delete
  3. OK not wanting to burst anyone's bubble here but :- where were Gill and Del living (it never seems to be mentioned anywhere) ? The point being Modernists were on the scene in London and other parts of the UK from the mid 50's. They seemed to be a break away from the Teds and the opposite to the Beatniks, but different. It's well documented about the modernists in the late fifties. Cecil Gees imported 'box' jackets in 59 and Austins sold American Arrow shirts, stocked specifically for Modernists also in 1959. The Modernists would go to jazz clubs like the Flamingo. So as this was becoming popular in 1959 my guess is it had been around since at least two years prior. Continental influence was never denied as a lot of the style came from Italy, France and America, but I've never heard of Continentalists. If Gill didn't start until 1960 then 'the scene' had been around for a few years already. If they wanted to be different to Modernists by calling themselves Contanentalists so be it, but they were following not leading. Sorry guys, but to be in at the very beginning you would need to be 70 years old and have started the scene in 1955, well roughly anyway. Me I started in 62 / 63 (was around 12 or 13) but was in a children's home then and 'didn't get out much', was 16 in 65, first scooter in 66. By that time the shops 'were in place' so you could just go and buy the stuff, but it still took a bit of savvy to have style and be out in front.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ok didn't quite know how to upload this but I'm not anon. My name is John Butler and I was a Mod in Reading in the 60's

      Delete