BEING GREEN: Felicity Green, the British fashion journalist and former newspaper executive once known as the First Lady of Fleet Street, can still charm a crowd. And that’s just what the spry 88-year-old did on Thursday night at the launch of her book “Sex, Sense and Nonsense,” at the Athenaeum Hotel in London. The book chronicles the “swinging, fast-moving” styles of the Sixties, and how she came to be at the forefront of British journalism.
During her long career, Green ascended from secretary at the magazine Woman and Beauty, to being the first female to serve on the board of a national paper, The Daily Mirror. As fashion editor of the Mirror, she set the precedent for engaging commentary with her witty take on the decade’s styles, asking questions such as “Who needs tights up to the chin?!” She chronicled the era’s Youthquake, shot Mary Quant’s skinny-sweaters and minis on Twiggy and Penelope Tree, and gave Biba’s Barbara Hulanicki her big break.
During her time writing about fashion, the Mirror’s audience swelled to 5 million, and Green was rewarded with a promotion to the board, where she spent 18 years. “I was definitely a woman in a man’s world, a tiny pin-prick of estrogen in a vat of men,” she told WWD. “I think they got used to me once they realized I could do the job, so I just got on with it.”
Veteran editor Jeremy Langmead, who is now chief content officer at Christie’s, said she mentored him when he was a student at Central Saint Martins. “She was nice, but scary; her eyes bore through you. You always knew that she knew what you were thinking,” he said. Joan Burstein said Green has “always been a character with warmth and wit. We go back to about 1944 — and she hasn’t changed.”
The book has been a long time coming, said Green who is now a guest lecturer at Saint Martins. “I was determined to finish it before I depart,” said the ever-witty Green. As for the fashion world today, she said: “There’s no such thing as rules in fashion anymore. You can wear what you want, and others can like it, hate it, admire it, or dismiss it.”