Brigid Keenan

Brigid Keenan is a former fashion editor for the Sunday Times and woman’s editor for the Observer.

What happened to Jonathan Aitken’s young meteors?

I am not bragging when I say that 56 years ago I was a young meteor. No: it is official. In 1967, Jonathan Aitken, then a young journalist on the Evening Standard (his uncle, Lord Beaverbrook, owned it at the time) wrote a book about the upcoming young movers and shakers in London – the stars of

Mary Quant 1930–2023

The fashion designer and icon Mary Quant has died at the age of 93. Brigid Keenan wrote the following piece in 2019. It is almost impossible to explain to today’s readers why Mary Quant (and the other Young Designers, as they became known) had such a huge impact. Over the half-century since, there have been

The style and substance of Michael Roberts

Almost 50 years ago, I was fashion editor of the Sunday Times and a man in his mid-twenties by the name of Michael Roberts was a junior editor. Born in Buckinghamshire in 1947 to an English mother and a father from St Lucia, he was handsome and stood very tall and straight. Even so, when he

The funny truth about life as a diplomat’s wife

In the early 2000s my husband, a diplomat for the EU, was posted to Kazakhstan, a vast empty steppeland next to Siberia. It was winter and the place was covered with thick snow. My family were in England, my husband was mostly in the office; I was 61 and I didn’t know a soul. Our

Europe’s panic: what’s behind their vaccine meltdown?

39 min listen

As the EU threatens a vaccine export ban, is their blind panic a sign of incoming crisis? (1:15) Plus, will a new Instagram account for teenage girls to report sexual assault restart a battle of the sexes? (18:05) And finally, what is it like to be one of the last British babies born under the

How Nova revolutionised women’s magazines

Batsford has just brought out a huge tome on Nova — ‘one of the most influential magazines in history’ — compiled by two of the magazine’s star art directors, David Hillman and Harri Peccinotti. It covers the ten years that the magazine existed, 1965 to 1975, and focuses on the brilliant and groundbreaking layouts it

There’s something about Mary

I think I probably qualify as the oldest fashion editor in the world, because in spite of my advanced age I am still writing about clothes (in the Oldie). This gives me one USP: it means that I was actually around — even wearing them myself — when the revolutionary fashion ideas that are now

A stroke in Sri Lanka

This time last year, it seemed that life couldn’t get much better for me: I had a new book out to appreciative reviews, had just returned from a literary festival in Mumbai and was en route to a few more, in Galle, Jaipur and Lahore. The Galle festival is small and cosy — a little

Passage from India

It is not fashionable to feel sympathy for the men and women who lived and served in the British colonies and who had to leave when independence came, whether it was from Kenya, Ghana — or from India, which celebrated the 70th anniversary of its freedom earlier this month. But I do, because I remember