Thursday, February 3, 2011

Babydoll Venuses

Pat Russo does babydoll in November 1965

Agent Triple P was presented with an unexpected treat last week in Istanbul when his particular friend B, after a rather good dinner at the Pera Palace hotel, invited him up to her room for some Turkish delight.  Disappearing into the bathroom to "change into something more comfortable" (she had eaten rather a substantial dinner) she reappeared sometime later in a black babydoll and matching knickers set.  It was almost identical with this version worn by Playmate Pat Russo in 1965, complete with the slashed front.  This, we have to say, is not her usual style but she recognises Triple P's interest in the retro and decided to do something delightful about it.

Carroll Baker in Baby Doll (1956)

This is only the third time that Triple P has been presented by a lady who wears babydolls and we have to say that the sight of her pottering about the room in this ensemble was, as HMS would no doubt have said, "most diverting".  This particularly diverting article of women's clothing gets its name from the 1956 film Baby Doll starring Carroll Baker who wears such an outfit and, thereby, caused an overnight fashion sensation, to the delight of men everywhere.

Originally this style was designed for children so having an adult wearing something so short was extremely daring even though Baker's outfits from the film look comparatively modest by today's standards.  Also, in the film, the garments were dresses, not nightwear so the evolution into something to wear to bed took a little longer.

Christa Speck in 1961

Nevertheless, from the late fifties through the sixties the nightie version appeared and got briefer and more transparent, with some designs featuring the semi open front seen on Miss Russo.  Playboy had put many of its Playmates in sheer chiffon nightdresses but these were invariably long.  It wasn't until  Christa Speck in September 1961 that we got babydolls in the magazine.

A dolled-up Christa

Agent Triple P's first experience of a babydoll was in Paris in 1972.  The entire first year of Triple P's school went on a French trip to Paris and Dieppe.  In Paris we were put in small dormitories of about eight, in a special international schools hostel.  Triple P, and his classmates, Lugs, Dobbin and Smuttley (the latter two he still sees; one is a property lawyer and the other a BBC TV producer) for some reason ended up having to share with five Germans who were considerably older than us (we were twelve).  That first night three or four very well developed German girls appeared in the dormitory after lights out, to see their male friends.  All were wearing chiffon babydolls with knickers but, very obviously in at least one case, nothing underneath the top.  Triple P and Dobbin, who were somewhat more mature than the other two at this stage (in fact, Triple P was about 5' 10" tall at this time), were exceedingly diverted by these gorgeously leggy (one of the side effects of a babydoll is that anyone wearing one looks leggy) young women who were, probably, about seventeen.

Jennifer Castle in 1963

The German girls thought we were "dear little English boys".  Dobbin and Triple P thought they were the ultimate  personification of female sexuality (it was an all boys school).  The fact that they then sat on our beds almost drove us insane.  One of these girls actually patted Triple P on the head and everything under the top half of her nightie jiggled enticingly. 

The outstanding Fran Gerard for March 1967

This first proper encounter with the opposite sex had emboldened us both. We then moved to Dieppe for the second half of the trip.  Foolishly, the teachers put the four of us in a small annexe to the main hostel.   Within minutes Dobbin and Triple P were out onto the street and down the road to the local magasin where we brought several litres of cider (we looked older than we were, luckily).  In the shop we met two French girls who were also staying at the hostel  who, whlist older than us (they were fourteen), were not as intimidating and out of reach as the Germans.  They needed little persuasion (fortunately Dobbin's French was much better than Triple P's) to return to our lonely annexe, where they happily swigged our cider and, in return, stripped to their underwear, which was considerably more French than we imagined the girls in the school next doors to ours wore.  So, it was thanks to the confidence given us by talking to provocatively babydoll clad German girls that we had our first proper snog and, indeed, our first squeeze of a lightly clad female breast.  We still remember her name, Francoise.  Any further developments were stalled by the unexpected arrival of the wife of one of our French teachers.  Fortunately, she was French herself, so just politely told the girls to get dressed and disappear.  She poured the rest of the cider down the washbasin but never said anything to the French teacher.  In fact she was trying not to laugh all the way through the process.  What a sound lady!

Our second, and until last week, only other encounter with a babydoll-wearing girl was the one worn by a serious former girlfriend, V, who was staying in Triple P's house.  Triple P was at law school, living at home with is mother (his sister was, thankfully away at university).  V was living with her parents too, some fifteen miles away.  They were considerably more conservative than Triple P's mother, who always thoughtfully retired to bed when V came round for the evening (meeting up at V's house and having any prospect of naughtiness would have been impossible).  Anyway, V had a company car so could get over to Triple P much easier than we could get to her on public transport.  So far we had engaged in quite a lot of manual and oral activity but hadn't done anything more as V, being a Catholic, was keen to preserve her virginity.  One week, Triple P's mother asked him if he would like to ask V to stay Friday and Saturday night.  This was an unexpected but welcome development.  V had to tell her parents she was staying with  girlfriend.  She arrived and was put in the spare bedroom, conveniently next to Triple P's room.  Unusually, Triple P's mother was in a sociable mood and so did not go to bed until around eleven.  As a result Triple P ended up in his room alone whilst V got ready for bed.

Some time later V knocked on Triple P's door and slipped into his bedroom.  She was wearing a very short pale blue chiffon babydoll with matching knickers.  It had a tight plunging top (V had a splendid bust) and was very voluminous, so it floated about as she moved.  We had not had an opportunity to both remove all of our clothes in our previous encounters so Triple P was hit by a terrible dilemma; he wanted to remove her nightclothes as soon as possible and she was particularly keen to show of her bust but then she looked fantastic in her baby doll.  In the end she kept it on, at least initially, and we enjoyed the visual and tactile effect enormously.  Incidentally, she also decided that we had become regular enough that she was happy to forget the pure until marriage thing.  Maybe wearing the babydoll had a similar effect on her as it had on Triple P!

We later discovered that she had a number of babydoll outfits including a coffee coloured one in which she seduced Triple P into performing, for the first time, what at that point in the UK was still an illegal act with a woman. 

So, it can be seen that the appearance of B in her little number in Istanbul brought back a flood of memories which, when we stated that babydolls had had an important role in our development, she of course wanted to know about.  Feeling that it was not an appropriate time at that point to be discussing other women we have saved our explanation for this post, therefore.

One of the great moments in cinema history.  Ann Margaret in Murderer's Row

Now, for obvious reason, relating to the above, we feel that proper babydolls should be chiffon and have enough material in them to drop into pleats and "float".  The ultimate apotheosis of the babydoll nightie was the one worn by Ann Margaret in the Dean Martin, Matt Helm spy spoof Murderer's Row (1966).  It's blue, has pleats, a halter neck, is extremely short and of course has those feathers (and matching slippers!). 


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