photo: ronald traeger

Colorized version of the September 1967 Ronald Traeger portrait of the three Beatles’ wives and Jenny Boyd posing in fashions by The Fool for the soon to open Apple Boutique. The colors of Pattie, Cynthia and Maureen’s clothes are accurate as described in the original article published in 1967 (reposted below). The colors of Jenny Boyd’s multi-colored outfit are unknown and completely my interpretation.

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September 1967 - This fashion study was taken to announce the opening of the Beatles’ Apple Boutique in Baker Street. Beatles’ wives Pattie Harrison, Cynthia Lennon and Maureen Starkey with Jenny Boyd posed for the stunning portrait taken by Ronald Traeger and commissioned by Brigid Keenan for the Sunday Times

The Fool, a four member Dutch design collective and band designed for the Apple Boutique. They were discovered by photographer Karl Ferris among the hippie community in Ibiza in 1966. He took photographs of clothes designed by them, and sent them to London where they were published in The Times and immediately caused a sensation. 

Pattie Boyd Harrison was an early customer of their fashions. Other iconic projects by The Fool included: psychedelic designs for Brian Epstein’s Savile Theatre; painted designs on John Lennon’s upright piano at Kenwood and one of his Gibson acoustic guitars; Julian Lennon’s gypsy caravan; George and Pattie Harrison’s lavish round fireplace mural and parts of the exterior of their home, Kinfauns; George’s Mini car and several of his guitars. The Beatles wore The Fool’s designs during the satellite broadcast of All You Need is Love on June 25, 1967. The Fool also worked on the set design for Joe Massot’s 1968 film Wonderwall for which George Harrison composed the soundtrack. Most famous and controversial of all was the huge three-story mural painted in psychedelic colours on the facade of the Beatles’ Apple Boutique (months later, the mural was painted over by civic order, due to protests from other local businesses). (The Fool members included: Simon Posthuma, Marijke Koger, Barry Finch and artist Josje Leeger.)    

In America this iconic photograph appeared in the first issue of Rolling Stone, dated November 9, 1967. Later displayed in London’s National Portrait Gallery in 2002-03 it was by then described as a “remarkable lost portrait”. It has been published many times, but the best quality version appeared in the 1977 book: The Women We Wanted to Look Like, by Brigid Keenan (from which I made this scan).

The following is the original photo caption and article that accompanied the full page newsprint version of the portrait published in the legendary first issue of Rolling Stone, November 9, 1967:

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  Photo caption: Beatle wives and a sister-in-law in clothes from the Apple. Left: Pattie Harrison in blue satin shirt and red satin pantaloons. Back center: Cynthia Lennon in pink-purple chiffon dress with a gold lame tunic and mauve stockings. Right: Maureen Starr in apple-green jacket embroidered in gold, over midnight-blue baggy pants applique with yellow stars. Front: Jenny Boyd (Pattie’s sister) in a print trimmed jacket, gathered skirt and chiffon trousers.   London The Beatles following their new pattern of ever-increasing involvement in the outside world, are putting up money to back a London boutique. The shop, christened Apple, will open in November and will stock clothes designed by Simon, Marijke, Josje and Barry, four designers from Amsterdam.   “I don’t know how we met them,” says Pattie Harrison, “they just appeared one day.”   Presumably appeared like wandering medieval tradesmen carrying exotic cloth from the East, in fact their designs look like medieval fancy dress; they use cloth from India, beads from Greece, jewelry and shoes from Morocco, embroideries from second hand stalls. Anything that is bright, beautiful and exotic gets piled on, creating an effect described by one fashion writer as “gypsies in extra glorious Technicolor.”   One of their outfits was worn by Pattie when she left London Airport with George on their trip to San Francisco; band across her forehead, sandals thonged to her knees, beaded bolero and chiffony dress. Next day her picture was carried by every newspaper in London.   Simon, Marijke, Josje and Barry like to endow their clothes with mystical meanings. They themselves do it like dressing up as Water, Nature, Fire and Space. They call their company The Fool, which according to their biography, “symbolizes the truth, spiritual meaning and the circle, which expresses the univeral circumference in which gravitates all things.”   Until Apple opens, their clothes are only available to private customers with “very much money.” This is one of the reasons for having a shop. “It is wrong that only a few should be able to afford our things,” says Simon. “We want to be for everyone.” * * * * Scan from the Something About Pattie Boyd group at Yahoo!

September 1967

Beatles wives (Cyn-orange, Maureen-blue & Pattie-purple) and Jenny Boyd posing in clothes designed by The Fool for The Beatles’ Apple Boutique.

Photographer: Ronald Traeger

(Photo credit goes to Irene Klag who coloured and so graciously allowed me to post it here. Thank you.)