Blog

  • British Boutique labels of the 1960s and 1970s: Bus Stop

    Bus Stop store frontBus Stop is one of our favourite labels at Candy Says. We are particularly fond of their 1940s inspired tea dresses, but there was so much more to this colourful and daring British Boutique label!

    Bus Stop was started by Lee Bender along with her husband Cecil in the late 1960s. They had previously produced clothing under their 'Lee Cecil' label earlier in the 1960s, and went on to open the first Bus Stop shop in 1969 in Kensington's fashionable Church Street, right next door to the iconic Biba.

    The Bus Stop name was chosen as it represented something identifiably British, and the red interior of the shop continued this theme based on the colour of telephone kiosks, post boxes and London buses.

    Deco jacketBus Stop label 

    Bus Stop 1940s inspired jersey jacket with deco fan print, and Bus Stop label 

    The Bus Stop ethos was to bring designer styling to the high street, at prices that everyone could afford - a mission that proved to be the secret of their enormous success.

    They aimed to produce collections of stock that could be mixed and matched - the concept of co-ordinates had rarely been envisaged before their launch, so Bus Stop was something of a pioneer in this area. Tops, jackets, coats and sweaters were produced as matching ensembles, with the opportunity to purchase trousers, dresses, skirts and accessories to combine with your outfit or wear as separates.

    A visit to their bright red shop (originally Victorian grocers) was a real experience - as well as the racks of colourful clothing, you could find all manner of accessories from scarves, hats, belts and bags, to resin jewellery made by pop star Adam Ant (who was studying at art college at the time).

     

    Wool Bus Stop jacket 

    A plaid wool tailored Bus Stop jacket

    Their clothing was manufactured in their own factories, and Lee insisted on trying on the stock herself to ensure that it was made to the proportions of 'real' women, hence Bus Stop designs were always beautifully tailored and flattering to wear. Joan Collins, a celebrity customer of Bus Stop, named Lee Bender as one of her favourite designers, claiming "She designs clothes for ladies with boobs and bums".

    Bus Stop excelled at creating quirky fashionable designs across a whole range of styles - from multi stripe jerseywear and glam rock threads to Fair Isle knits, tartan, op-art prints and military styling - and of course, their infamous range of elegant 1940s inspired tea dresses in a myriad of adorable novelty prints. 

     

     Bus Stop cockerel print tea dressClose up of cockerel print

    Bus Stop cockerel print jersey tea dress and close-up of print


    Famous customers included Brigitte Bardot, Marianne Faithfull, Pattie Boyd, Angie Bowie and Nina Simone - quite a star-studded clientele ...

    In 1977 Bus Stop began producing lines for the Grattan mail order catalogue, so girls all over the country could purchase the latest trends without having to travel to the nearest shop - something we really take for granted in the internet age!

    Velvet Bus Stop dress

    Stunning blue velvet Bus Stop disco dress with cut-out back

    In the ten years from 1969 to 1979, Bus Stop became a chain of twelve stores within the UK, and even expanded into the USA, Amsterdam, Canada and Japan. The chain was bought by 'French Connection' in 1979, and in the early 1980s Lee and Cecil Bender opened the London boutique 'Arcade'. 

    Bus Stop designs are sought after now for their flattering cut, beautiful prints and fantastic fabrics. You can view our current collection of Bus Stop stock here

    Bus Stop book 

    For more information on Bus Stop, treat yourself to a copy of 'Bus Stop and the influence of the 70s on fashion today' by Lee Bender.

     
  • ← Next Post Previous Post →
  • Comments on this post (15 comments)

    • Sylvia Jones says...

      Yes I worked in the The Bus Stop in Kensington High Street in the early 70’s. I still have a black velvet jacket with silver birds on it size 10. Sadly no longer fit into it.
      Remember those says fondly I remember Lee Bender and her sister who had lovely long red hair.

      On July 14, 2014

    • Bronwen says...

      I too worked at Bus Stop and loved it! I remember being very impressed by a cooworker who drank lots of Tabs from Tesco’s round the corner as I’d never seen diet coke before – strange what you remember! After Kensington I moved to Chelsea and worked at the big modern drugstore on the King’s Road. Great times!

      On June 23, 2014

    • Rosemary Anderson says...

      My favourite shop in Liverpool. Remember my gorgeous green halter neck. Buttoned down the front and swirled out from the waist. Wish I’d kept it.

      On January 23, 2014

    • Roberta Gaffney says...

      Oh yes remember it well used to go in with my big sis to the 1 in Union Street in Glasgow i was too young to buy anything out of it but just loved it x

      On January 21, 2014

    • Gillian Hearn says...

      I worked at the Kensington Church St branch in late 1969/1970. I loved it there and the staff were allowed to choose one piece of clothing every month and had to wear it when working. The working day started at 10 and finished at 6. I feel privileged to be part of fashion history.

      On January 21, 2014

    • Gerry says...

      I loved this shop in Newcastle. I bought a beautiful white blouse and a fabulous suit. Felt like a million dollars. Great memories of a unique age.

      On December 24, 2013

    • Gail says...

      Loved buying my 40s style clothes at Bus Stop in Newcastle early seventies. I felt great in these clothes – instant attitude and just loved the allure of this magnificent red shop. Brilliant times.

      On December 05, 2013

    • L connolly says...

      that blue crushed velvet backless dress wore it many times thought I was fantastic in it, it was my sisters she had one in a beautiful red as well I also wore that had so many nice garments from that shop in casey street Liverpool wish it was still going

      On November 02, 2013

    • Barbara says...

      Church St Ken Bus Stop was a little goldmine with well tasty dresses + great shoes on the corner of Church St and High St with Biba just round the corner. Bliss …….

      Barbara – Watford

      On October 25, 2013

    • Jane ..was sly says...

      I worked in Birmingham bus stop from about 1975 to 1978 with Shan Evans ..jean Delaney ..Linda Morgan when I started our manageress was sue kinloch and then Julia rose to name a few …best time of my life ..:)

      On September 25, 2013

  • Leave a comment