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Emma Peel in The Avengers was my very first style icon. The leather catsuits, the bouncy hair, the kung fu kicks. She could look after herself and had a Jean Varon wardrobe (designed by John Bates).

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Now in her seventies, actress Diana Rigg is still working (she was in season four of Game of Thrones), and there’s a very funny interview with her HERE. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the catsuit-loving secret agent joining the Avengers, I couldn’t resist putting some Emma Peel-inspired pieces together:

 

20 thoughts on “It’s the 50th anniversary of Emma Peel

  1. I had an Emma Peel catsuit back then, it was purple with a wide white stripe down each side and a large O ring belt at hip hight, I thought I was the bees knees! I have a photo somewhere. Thank you for the memory.

  2. Well, you’ve certainly captured my attention today! I became fascinated by Emma Peel when I was ten years old. Growing up a smart, feminist (before that was a thing) little girl, faced with television heroines like June Cleaver and I Dream of Jeannie, when the brilliant, charming, badass Mrs. Peel appeared, I was delighted! At last, somebody I wanted to be like! I never quite managed to BE like her; but who could, really. But to this day, I love Champagne and clothes with zippers!

    Btw, I don’t watch Game of Thrones, but my two college age daughters do. And they are well aware of the awesomeness of Diana Rigg….not just because Mama raved about her all the time!

  3. I adored the Avengers. I was allowed to stay up later to watch it on Wednesday nights and Diana Rigg is amazing at any age. Love these style pieces.

  4. Crikey I’ve just realised the origin of my enduring love of leather and anything with an exposed zip……. For women of a certain age Emma Peel was the first style icon to actually physically batter the hapless men who attacted her rather than relying on witty put downs or languishing beautifully in captivity. I loved her and her zips!!!

  5. I’ve always loved Emma Peel, and I never liked The Avengers if she wasn’t in it (although I love Joanna Lumley now). Diana Rigg gave Mrs. Peel such cool confidence (and, of course, a smouldering rapport with Steed) – I can’t wait to read Dame Diana’s interview.

  6. You made some lovely choices but it hit me like a ton of bricks that my wardrobe hasnt changed since the sixties, really. My closet is full of turtlenecks, boots, and black. A bit of a well-ploughed furrow rather than a rut.

  7. I thought that “The Avengers” was hands-down the best series on American television and particularly enjoyed the witty repartee between the Diana Rigg and Patrick MacNee characters and their cosmopolitan energy. I realize now that I wanted to be a woman with Emma Peel’s independence. (How interesting that that character originally was written as a man!) I was not aware of being influenced by the fashion Ms. Peel wore, but I was devoted to a purple jumpsuit. I still hope to see Ms. Rigg on stage someday!

  8. OMGosh!!!! This takes me back to middle school back in the 60’s. You just don’t know how Emma Peel and Mr. Steed affected the shy and unconfident me back then…and my love for their style and all things British! I still love them. ­čÖé

  9. I still love Emma Peel and watch the re-plays on afternoon TV, hmm quite a lot. She was my style icon during my teens and gave me the first taste of what it was to be an independent female and that both sexes could get on well without having an out and out love affair, at least there was more to their relationship than obvious attractions. The repartee was a refreshing change and as for the clothes, wow – another eye opener, just what I needed back then. I too still have a wardrobe full of black polo-necks and flat boots. I also love champagne. Oh I forgot to mention the hairstyle and colour, I have been in and out of that style along the way too. Emma Peel was the best of Steed’s partners, Joanna Lumley not a bad second. Sorry Tara you just didn’t do it for me, that accent ??
    Congratulations Dame Diana,
    Swan

  10. Oh, Emma Peel! I loved her even more than I loved John Steed..! I loved the way that she could handle herself and look great doing it! To this day, when I’m wearing head to toe black leather [which happens quite often…!!] I call it my “Emma Peel” look…!

  11. I dressed up as Emma Peel last night, 14th November, and stayed dressed that way while working as a hostess in a restaurant and then at a country bar. She was a fashion icon, and very stylish. Happy 50th, Emma and glad to have found this site. Victoria

  12. The near perfect ultra-feminine lady ! She was the ” perfect storm ” of beauty, brains, class & sleek, sexy, androgenous fashions. Those sleek pants, riding boots were the ultimate in sensuality.

  13. Love love love Emma Peel still watching them on True entertainment and the fashion is wonderful so different from the drab old stuff in fashion today.

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