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Jerkin

1967 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

This slim-fitting jerkin, with its appliquéd design of an eagle's head, is in keeping with the late-1960s interest in 'ethnic' cultures. It was bought at Hung On You, an elite Chelsea boutique owned by Michael Rainey, who was married to the hippy socialite Jane Ormsby Gore, daughter of Lord Harlech. The couple were leaders of unconventional fashion in the mid-1960s, and were inspired by antique and exotic textiles.

The jerkin was worn by David Mlinaric, the designer, with a pair of Levi '501's, and thigh-high suede boots.


Object details
Categories
Object type
Materials and techniques
Suede leather, machine stitched and glued
Brief description
Suede leather jerkin, designed by Mirandi Babitz and Clem Floyd for Hung on You, London, 1967
Physical description
Suede leather jerkin with appliqued design of a stylised eagle's head. Pull-over, hip length with long sleeves, a stand collar and a centre front opening from neck to chest. Fastened by a leather thong threaded through eleven pairs of metal eyelets. The sleeves and most of the body are beige pig skin sued with the collar, cuffs and one side and the bottom made of navy blue sued leather.



On the body the navy blue suede is cut to the shape of an eagle with outspread wings that reach up the right side of the body and along the bottom of the jerkin with the head of the eagle in profile at the centre front. Coloured insertions of red, purple, green and turquoise suede are used for the eye and feathers of the bird. Inserted down the left front and centre back are diamonds of white pig skin suede. There are four inch slits at each side also fastened with leather thongs. The top edge of the collar is decorated with punch holes.



The label is of printed leather stuck to inside of neck. It is machine stitched throughout and there are also signs of glue on the seams.
Dimensions
  • Chest circumference: 36in
  • Chest circumference: 92cm
  • Weight: 0.72kg
Style
Production typeHaute couture
Credit line
Given by David Mlinaric
Object history
The label is of printed leather stuck to inside of neck. It is machine stitched throughout and there are also signs of glue on the seams. This is normal practice with leather clothing where glue is used to hold the leather together before stitching. The jerkin was purchased from 'Hung on You'.



This jerkin was specially made for David Mlinaric, the interior designer, by the husband-and-wife team, Mirandi Babitz and Clem Floyd. Between 1967-68, Babitz and Floyd were working in Earl's Court in London. Each garment they made was unique and completely one of a kind, specially made for individual clients.



Mirandi Babitz was an American, while Clem Floyd was British, having grown up in London. He had studied at, and graduated from the Art Institute of Chicago School of Design, and had worked at John Brown's Leather Shop in Chicago. Babitz had always made and designed her own clothes, and when she and Floyd met, they applied their skills to produce leather clothing under the "Mirandi" label.



This particular jerkin was one of the first garments that Babitz and Floyd made in London. Mirandi's sister, Eve, was a friend of Michael Rainey, one of the founders of the "Hung on You" boutique in Chelsea, London. "Hung on You" was the first boutique that Mirandi worked with. The jerkins they made were one of a kind garments, often made with a specific individual in mind, such as this one for David Mlinaric. Mirandi also made a jerkin for Mick Jagger through "Hung on You", with a design of Stonehenge inlaid in the back.



When Mlinaric chose the garment, he chose the design and colours in discussion with Babitz and Floyd, and it was made specially to his measurements. The technique of inlaying leather, rather than appliqué and overlapping patches, was a Mirandi trademark which gave the garments their distinctive, finished look. Mirandi garments were made at home, in the designers' small flat in Earls' Court, London. They had a heavy duty leather sewing machine and leatherworking tools, and used antique buttons and buckles from the Portobello Road market in their designs.



Mirandi went on to work for Blades, with Rupert Lycett-Green, where Mirandi Babitz received training in pattern-cutting. For Blades, Mirandi made leather hunting-shirts for aristocratic clients with inlaid family crests. They also made clothes for Countdown and other boutiques such as Gabor, Alsop, Annebella, and Brindle & Boyle. Typical designs were glove-leather mini-skirts and dresses. One of their dresses for Countdown was published in the Jan. 1968 issue of English Vogue modelled by Faye Dunaway.



In late 1968, Babitz and Floyd returned to Los Angeles, where they opened a boutique (also called Mirandi) on the Sunset Strip. They made stage leathers for performers such as Jim Morrison, Jefferson Airplane, Cream, Crosby and Stills & Nash, and clothes for the films. At the end of 1968, they relocated to Paris, and then came back to Los Angeles, where they divorced. Babitz carried on the leather business until 1979. Despite many offers to commercially produce their designs, Mirandi insisted that all their garments be one of a kind, completely unique.



Information courtesy of Mirandi Babitz, personal correspondence, December 2010.
Production
Attribution note: Specially handmade for an individual client
Subject depicted
Summary
This slim-fitting jerkin, with its appliquéd design of an eagle's head, is in keeping with the late-1960s interest in 'ethnic' cultures. It was bought at Hung On You, an elite Chelsea boutique owned by Michael Rainey, who was married to the hippy socialite Jane Ormsby Gore, daughter of Lord Harlech. The couple were leaders of unconventional fashion in the mid-1960s, and were inspired by antique and exotic textiles.



The jerkin was worn by David Mlinaric, the designer, with a pair of Levi '501's, and thigh-high suede boots.
Collection
Accession number
T.313-1979

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Record createdMarch 15, 2006
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