Fashion: The Chelsea Invasion

Dashing as diplomats and espionage agents, grand as poets, even grander as kings, the British are notorious duds when it comes to fashion. Though endowed with better-than-average raw material, Englishwomen intent on clothes that set them off had to cross at least a channel, sometimes a sea, to find them.

Left to themselves, they relapsed into the national uniform of high-necked blouses, sensible shoes, tweeds, frowned on those who, like Lady Godiva, did not. There were local designers, but they tended to turn out clothes for the Queen, or for anyone interested in...