While the western end of the King’s Road became known in the Seventies as rather rowdy, thanks to the prevalence of the punks who would frequent Vivienne Westwood’s SEX boutique, the eastern end near Sloane Square was frequented by a far more conservative crowd.
As the area became more and more popular with wealthy residents, by the Eighties, the term ‘Sloane Ranger’ had been coined to refer to the young upper-class men and women who lived and hung out in Chelsea.
The term is a punning portmanteau of ‘Sloane Square’ and the television Westerns character The Lone Ranger. Female Sloanes, especially those involved in equestrian activities, were often seen around London wearing Hermès or Liberty silk head scarves distinctively tied just below the mouth, masking much of the face, which gave added meaning to the “Lone Ranger” jest.
Initially the term was used mostly in reference to women, a particular archetype being Diana, Princess of Wales. However, the term now usually includes men. Male Sloanes have also been referred to as ‘Rahs’ and ‘Hooray Henries’.
Today Sloanes are harder to spot, with many of the younger generations adopting less prescriptive fashions. Today’s stereotypical sartorial signifiers include headbands, Mulberry handbags, ballet slippers and quilted Barbour jackets for women, and coloured chinos, tweed, Barbour oilskin coats and jumpers worn over shirts.