Swinging international lifestyle dating

He saw endless glamorous debutantes, all part of the Chelsea Set.

There was always a terrible racket going on in our flat with all my jazz set staying. Once he came in and there were mattresses everywhere.

She was talking to Peter Stanford George Melly on the Chelsea Set I lived in Chelsea in the 1950s and shared a basement flat at the wrong end of Cheyne Walk.

It was the sort of area where MPs used to keep their mistresses.

The Chelsea Set had a brief heyday with the opening of Bazaar but within three or four years, it was over.

I went to Afghanistan for four months with Michael in 1958 and when I came back it had all gone.

And anyway I believe that it was the wartime generation who had changed the old moral standards. I'd already been married at 16, had a child and divorced by 18.

I don't think our behaviour was terribly rebellious. Michael was at the heart of the Chelsea Set in more than one way.

There was undoubtedly an element of snobbery about it all.We were constantly being told to make ourselves look older because fashion was directed at women over 30. We all admired her so much, but even though she was only three years older than me, I was very intimidated by her. In the late 1950s, Mary was the undisputed queen of the "Chelsea Set". That was part of the reason why I wanted to work there.Her whole demeanour was quite like a headmistress - a very nice headmistress, but a headmistress nonetheless. My friends could come in to gossip and giggle - though we tended to shut up when Mary walked in. I've read a lot about the Chelsea Set subsequently and its importance, but it didn't feel like that at the time.Even later, in the 1960s, when I was married to George and we used to go to dinner parties in her entirely red dining-room at her house off Sloane Street, I never really felt as if I was her friend. It was the same just along the King's Road at Kiki Byrne's, another boutique that opened at the same time, or at one of the two coffee bars nearby. There was a sense of the new and exciting, yes, of being in the forefront of change. There was Mary and some of the slightly older, wealthier women who came in to Bazaar to buy the clothes - people like Sonia Melchett, wife of Lord Melchett, or her sister Bunty Kinsman.They were the haunts of the Chelsea Set during the day. And, of course, we were always being written about in the papers. In October 1957, I made the front page of the Evening Standard in the later editions, displacing a story about the Queen in Canada, just because someone had hit me. And the next day the other papers were full of stories about how my assailant's mother had brought me flowers at the hospital. The only explanation is that there was something new, unusual or challenging about the Chelsea Set as far as the papers were concerned. If they gave parties, we'd dress up and be flattered to be invited, but really they were grander than us.

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