Goat's Head Soup
We were looking up something on Christie's London website and came across a treasure trove of awesome Ritva Man sweaters which were auctioned off a couple of weeks ago. I've had the bottom photo of Allen Jones in an images folder for a few years but never new the yarn behind the sweaters until last week.
From the V&A website:
The knitwear business Ritva (1966 - ca.1980) was started by Ritva Ross, who had the idea of using crochet squares to make a dress, and her husband Mike Ross. The first designs were ordered by Annacat boutique in South Kensington. One was purchased by Lee Radziwell and appeared on the cover of Life magazine in November 1966. Having rented a flat in Chelsea which doubled as a workroom and showroom, Mike and Ritva Ross built up a network of out-workers using hand-operated frames.
The firm offered a limited number of styles but allowed customers to have garments made up individually in a range of colours and patterns. The brand was first publicized in Nova magazine and sold through stores and boutiques in London and in the U.S.A.. In 1969 Mike Ross started the Ritva Man label with sweaters inspired by baseball uniforms, and a Ritva boutique was opened at 8 Hollywood Road, Chelsea. Ritva knitwear was heavily influenced by popular culture and contemporary art and introduced innovations such as the knitted minidress. Mike Ross collaborated with David Hockney, Allen Jones, Elizabeth Frink and Patrick Hughes to produce the limited edition artists collection of sweaters. A Little Ritva label for childrenswear was also started and commissions were undertaken for the film and music industries. Mike and Ritva Ross separated in 1977 but Ritva Ross continued to operate the Ritva business abroad until ca.1980.
Michael Anthony Ross was born in 1936 in Portland, Maine, U.S.A. and was educated at Syracuse University. He settled in London in 1960 and attended the Royal College of Art painting school from 1963-1964. In 1973 he launched the Bear Creek General Store at 10 Hollywood Road to sell imported traditional American goods.
Ritva Ross (née Tera) was born in Helsinki in 1941 and moved to London in 1961 where she attended the London School of Printing and Graphic Arts. Prior to starting Ritva she also worked as a fashion and showroom model."
The collage of labels on each sweater is a little work of art in its own right as well.
All photos are from Christie's except the Goat's Head Soup Ritva Man, which is from the book Vintage Rock T-Shirts, and Allen Jones & friend.