July 24, 2017


In my last post on Spy Vibe I featured Bruno Benini, a well-known Australian-Italian photographer. One his best-known works is an image of model Jan Stewart in a mod geometric mini-dress that is always credited to Simona for Sportsgirl. It's a beautiful photograph and Stewart is absolutely stunning. Yet the design seemed awfully familiar to me. Indeed, we all know this design! Stewart was actually posing in a famous outfit designed by John Bates (Jean Varon) for Diana Rigg in The Avengers. His designs were in high demand. According to Richard Lester's (not the movie director) book, "By the summer of 1969 John's designs were appearing in the fashion press under five different labels, and a decade of relentless promotion meant the profile of Jean Varon was at a high, exporting to forty-four countries across the globe and with twenty-eight boutiques in the leading stores across the country." Simona was established in 1963 just before The Avengers fashions were about to hit, so I must assume John Bates licensed his design to them. Or was this simply a case of easy borrowing in the 1960s? I've written to Simona and will let you know if I receive further information. See for yourselves below: John Bates' original design for Diana Rigg, Jean Shrimpton dressed in the outfit with Avengers stunt director Ray Austin (see upcoming event!), and Jan Stewart photographed by Bruno Benini from my previous post. In other Australian news, have you heard Spy Vibe's segments on the Cocktail Natiion radio show? I introduce a spy film or series each month and play rare soundtracks and covers. Episode #1 (Danger Man) and Episode #2 (The 10th Victim), Epsiode #3 (On Her Majesty's Secret Service) Episode #4 (Roger Moore/The Saint). Related posts: Avengers Pop Art Interview, Diana Rigg Auto Show, Avengers Interview: Alan Hayes, Jaz Wiseman Interview, Avengers Interview: Mike Richardson, Casino Royale Interview: Mike Richardson, The Saint Interview: Ian Dickerson, Avengers Interview: Rodney Marshall, Avengers Interview Rodney Marshall 2, John Buss Interview, Farewell Steed, Shakespeare Spies: Diana Rigg, Lost Diana Rigg Interview, Diana Rigg BFI Screening, Avengers Season 5 Titles, The Avengers Sing, Lost Avengers Vol 2-7, Richard Sala Interview: Super Enigmatix, Adventures of Richard Sala Interview, Avengerworld, Integrity Toys Dolls, Enjoy!

Selected Spy Vibe Posts: Roger Vivier FashionSpy Vibe Radio 41960s Pop ModelsBatman GallantsAdam West R.I.P.Village TriangleRoger Moore R.I.P.Spy Vibe Radio 3Sgt Pepper 50thSatanik Kriminal OST60s OverdriveMake Love in LondonSpy Vibe Radio 2Spy Vibe Radio 1James Bond StripsPropaganda MabuseFahrenheit 451 50thInterview: Police SurgeonXTC Avengers1966 Pep SpiesBatman Book InterviewExclusive Fleming InterviewAvengers Comic StripsRobert Vaughn RIPUNCLE FashionsThunderbirds Are Pop!, Interview:Spy Film GuideLost Avengers FoundThe Callan FileMission Impossible 50thGreen Hornet 50thStar Trek 50thPortmeirion Photography 1Filming the PrisonerGaiman McGinnins ProjectIan Fleming GraveRevolver at 50Karen Romanko InterviewMod Tales 2Umbrella Man: Patrick MacneeNew Beatles FilmThe Curious CameraEsterel Fashion 1966Exclusive Ian Ogilvy Interview007 Tribute CoversThe Phantom Avon novels returnIan Fleming FestivalArgoman DesignSylvia Anderson R.I.P.Ken Adam R.I.P.George Martin R.I.P.The New Avengers ComicsTrina Robbins InterviewThe Phantom at 80007 MangaAvengerworld BookDiana Rigg Auto ShowThe Prisoner Audio Drama ReviewDavid McCallum novelAndre Courreges R.I.P.Who's Talking on Spy VibeUFO Blu-rayAvengers Pop Art.


  1. The Simona is a sleeveless dress, I see it's 1966 so must have been derived from Bates' '65 Calvary design

  2. The one other person I can think of who might know about Bates' relationship to Simona is Miss Peelpants (https://emmapeelpants.wordpress.com/) as she's both a 60s fashion expert and a big Diana Rigg fan.


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