Happy Dancer, 2020. Softcover, 3-hole-bound, 21 photographs printed in duotones, 32pp., 9.5 x 9 inches
Teddy Girls brings together, for the first time in one publication, images taken by Ken Russell of this scarcely documented subculture. Taken around London in January 1955 and published in the Picture Post on June 4th that year, these photographs are a testament to the supremely stylish young women depicted. The style of the Teddy Girls, like that of the Teddy Boys, grew out of a trend for Edwardian influenced fashion in post-World War II London. However, these women should be seen as more than a feminine facsimile of their male counterparts and Russell’s images document the ingenuity and complexity of their sartorial choices. As well as recording the style of the Teddy Girls, these images also provide a snapshot of London in 1955, a city in flux, still rebuilding itself after the damage inflicted by war. An essay by the fashion historian, Mairi MacKenzie, considers the cultural history and context within which these women lived and the photos were taken.
Text by Mairi MacKenzie