We did have this beautiful 1970s black lace dress by Jean Varon for sale. 



We are in serious danger of becoming beyond obsessed by a vintage designer called John Bates who produced a label called Jean Varon (he thought a French sounding name was more glamorous). It is a mystery to us why he is not as well known as Ossie Clark or Mary Quant as in our opinion his designs are just as stunning. He started designing under the name Jean Varon from the late 1950s and he is perhaps best known for Diana Riggs' outfits when she starred as Emma Peel in The Avengers.

The black and blue dress above is a 1970s Jean Varon for John Bates maxi dress which we had for sale recently (now sold). It is typical of his style as it is indeed glamorous, swirly, slightly boho, well made, lots of fabric and just all-round-gorgeous. We sourced it from a lady who is now in her seventies and it was bought for her by her husband to wear to a ball - she only wore it once and now wants someone else to enjoy it.

We now have many Jean Varon vintage pieces on Lovely's Vintage Emporium so do take a look. John Bates now lives in Wales somewhere and works as an artist...I have tried and sadly failed to track him down. If anyone has his details then email us immediately!

The dress below is a 1970s Jean Varon for John Bates orange and Navy maxi dress (now sold).

Anyone who was anyone in the 1960s and 1970s wore John Bates' designs. Penelope Keith always wore his 'Jean Varon' label floaty dresses in her role as Margo Leadbetter in The Good Life, Cilla Black got married in one of his designs, Julie Christie wore his dresses in the film 'Shampoo' and the fashion pages of Vogue were always filled with them.

Do please make a comment on this blog about his work as I love to hear from you.

Love Lynnette 

PS: If you want to find out more about
John Bates then read 'John Bates: Fashion Designer' by Richard Lester which you can buy on Amazon. Thanks to @bethancole on Twitter for this tip off.



Older Post Newer Post

  • Moira RIley on

    I have the above dress. I bought it in 1974. It was worn once (when I was 6 months pregnant) for a summer evening party. I have a photo of myself wearing it. I would like to sell it. It is in perfect condition as it has been carefully protected and stored for 45 years!

  • Richard Clews on

    I have an original bespoke 2 piece ball gown by Jean Varon that Diana Rigg can be seen wearing in the first 10 minutes of The Avengers, series 4, episode 26, ‘Honey For The Prince’.

  • david on

    Looking for any original outfits worn by Diana ring in,The Avengers.

  • Lovely on

    Hi Sandra, the dresses sound wonderful and what a shame you gave them away!!! love Lovely x

  • sandra brown on

    my friends Mother worked for John Bates…had the turquoise and lime green one..Cilla had it so did 1968 and a lovely black one and a to chiffony one with flowers sewn on it…just gave them away to charity..and my Ossie Clarke oh yes and my Mary sad

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published