From now on girls you can be YOUR OWN AVENGER

This winter, any girl can be her own Avenger. The ABC television series comes back this week with a new heroine, Emma Peel, whose wardrobe will be on sale all over the country.

But leather-and-kinks fetishists are not, as they may suppose, in for a bonanza. Cathy Gale's successor doesn't go in for that sort of thing.

She's described as "a younger, gayer, more feminine character than Cathy" -and in case Honor Blackman feels in a belligerent mood, I must explain that these fighting words are ABC's not mine.

The clothes designed for Emma, played by 27-year-old Diana Rigg who also modelled them, are young, gay and feminine too. Not even the fighting suits have the old menace: they're made of clinging stretch jersey as often as not, and where leather does crop up it's either disguised as snakeskin or softened with a crepe blouse.

During the day, skirts are very, very short - mid thigh, or as near as makes no odds. Plenty of room for movement.

Alternative day-time wear: a trouser suit with hipster belted trousers which can be swapped for a matching skirt.

There's a lot of black and white, and a lot of contrasting braid on coats and dresses. A recurring theme is the op-artish target symbol which crops up on the Avenger beret and even the Avenger watch. (You can do an Emma down to the last detail - gloves, shoes and all.)

But it's in the evening that Emma is really given her head. She's allowed to wear sinfully feminine fabrics like lamé, crepe, silk and even lace. (You couldn't imagine Cathy in lace. Far too cissy.)

And the clothes themselves, designed by John Bates at Jean Varon, are the sort which demand a second look: one little number, a bra top, plus hipster trousers, plus an acre or so of midriff, is guaranteed to cause a riot at any party, anywhere.

What with sensational outfits and television's hypnotic effect on the buying public, the Avengers clothes can't but be the success of the season.

It should be an interesting Christmas, with skirts up to mid-thigh during the day and midriffs bared at night.

Even if the leather fanciers regret Cathy Gale's departure, I feel that there are going to be a lot of men who feel cheered up by the thought of the Emma Peelers. It's an ill-gale...

From: The Daily Mail, England, September 27th 1965.

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