Archive for the Graphic design category

David David pops up again

David David scarf

Tonight see the launch of the new pop-up shop from designer David Saunders’ print label David David.

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Spirit of Hapshash invoked for Lucy In Disguise

Lucy In Disguise poster by Nigel Waymouth and Tim Watkins

Within hours of mentioning Granny Takes A Trip and Lucy in Disguise (the new label from Lily Allen and her half-sister Sarah Owen) in the BBC Blast presentation, this beauty arrived in my in-tray – a poster for LID by Granny’s founder Nigel Waymouth with Tim Watkins.

As detailed in Chapter 10 of THE LOOK,  while he operated Granny’s in the 60s, Nigel joined forces with the late Michael English as Britain’s foremost psychedelic art/design team Hapshash And The Coloured Coat.

These days a prominent portraitist, Nigel collaborated with us on a fabulous line of t-shirts for THE LOOK PRESENTS a couple of years back. Congrats to him on invoking the spirit of Hapshash for the 21st century.

Willow wins 70s Style & Design competition!

We have a winner of our competition for a copy of Kirsty Hislop and Dominic Lutyens’ estimable 70s Style & Design.


Congratulations to Willow Timmons of Cardiff, whose name was picked out of the hat for providing the correct answer to the question:

Which album design by Barney Bubbles for Ian Dury & The Blockheads featured 28 front cover variations of 1970s Crown wallpaper patterns?

It was, of course,  Do It Yourself – read all about the story behind the design here.

Your copy of 70s Style & Design will be winging its way from publisher Thames & Hudson to you very soon Willow.

Commiserations to the many other entrants and best of luck next time – we have more exciting competitions coming this way soon.

Win a copy of 70s Style & Design!

We’re celebrating the New Year with an exclusive competition to win a copy of the spiffing new book 70s Style & Design.

The competition is in conjunction with the Barney Bubbles Blog; the fine folk at Thames & Hudson have supplied us with the prized copy which will go to the person who answers correctly the question at the bottom of this post.


We’ve already detailed the excellence of Kirsty Hislop and Dominic Lutyens’ book here; suffice to say that it is packed with such nuggets as the “Mondo Trasho” spread above, which treats us to views of Duggie Fields in his Earls Court apartment (which he once shared with Syd Barrett) in the mid-70s – that’s Duggie top left in a red cerise SEX t-shirt.

On the right is the 1977 interior of The Rocky Horror Show designer Brian Thomson‘s abode, where flying ducks are matched with a lampshade made from a Seditionaries‘ Anarchy In The UK tee.

For a chance to win a copy of this visual feast, send us your answer to the following question:

Which album by Ian Dury & The Blockheads featured 28 front cover variations of 1970s Crown wallpaper patterns?

MAIL YOUR ANSWER TO: thelook@rockpopfashion.


Be lucky and Happy New Year!

Reasons To Be Cheerful: MOJO’s Book Of The Year!

We’re proud to announce that MOJO magazine has declared sister title Reasons To Be Cheerful BOOK OF THE YEAR!

//Page 50, Mojo, January 2010// 

 Read all about it here.

Stunning t-shirt designs on the BB blog

Head on over to the Barney Bubbles Blog for a butcher’s at some of the great designer‘s t-shirts, including this previously unpublished sketch for a tee to go with the Hawklords multimedia project.


//Barney Bubbles t-shirt sketch, 1978. (C) Reasons 2009. Strictly no reproduction without permission// 

We’ve lined up his tees for The MuleskinnersElvis Costello, Ian DuryHank Wangford and a very glam pink and black number punctuated by an embedded diamante for long-forgotten 70s band Alfalpha.


//Alfalpha t-shirt detail. (C) Jeff Dexter. No reproduction without permission// 


Read all about them here

Paul Smith: Curiouser and curiouser

In his introduction to THE LOOK, Paul Smith reveals how he has maintained his enthusiam for fashion in the four decades since he started out as manager of Nottingham’s The Birdcage.


//Paul Smith, Nottingham, mid-60s. Courtesy: Paul Smith// 

Smith said: “You need an inner love, a passion for fashion and a curiosity for “stuff”: art, music, graphic and product design, what is happening in these interlinked worlds.” 


//Paul Smith and Paul Gorman, Tokyo, 2006. Photo: Meri Juntti// 

That passion was made manifest when Smith not only hosted the launch of THE LOOK in Tokyo but also invited me to curate an exhibition of photographs from the book in his Space gallery .


//THE LOOK exhibition, Space, Tokyo, 2006. Photo: Meri Juntti// 

Smith’s inquiring passion has enabled this charming enigma to maintain his position outside of the corporate whirl, all the while heading up a global retail empire to which has recently been added a new shop in Marylebone, central London.


//Smith’s new store in Marylebone High Street, London W1//

A quick glance at Smith’s current activities underlines this curiosity: at his Nottingham shop Willoughby House there is a David Hockney exhibition, while fellow artist Robert Clarke’s show British Birds & Dogs is at the Paul Smith shop Globe at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 until tomorrow.


//Left: Wood Duck, Robert Clarke. Right: The Blue Guitar, David Hockney// 

Read all about Paul’s enthusiams and interests, as well as his adventures in rock and pop fashion, in Chapter 27 of THE LOOK.  

Jah Wobble exclusive: Sartorial memoirs of a geezer

The publication of this year’s best autobiography – Jah Wobble’s intriguing and inspirational Memoirs Of A Geezer – has coincided with John Lydon‘s decision to take  Public Image Ltd on the road for the first time in 17 years (bassman Wobble and fellow founder members guitarist Keith Levene and drummer Jim Walker are not taking part).


What with Undercover’s recent PiL-inspired clothing range, it seems timely to celebrate the fantastic visuals delivered by Wobble  to match the towering music he has created over the last three decades.


In this exclusive interview with Wobble, we also explore the importance of PiL photographer/design director Dennis Morris and a figure who has remained in the sartorial shadows for far too long: Kenny MacDonald.


//Jah Wobble, east London, 1981//

We also have a copy of Wobble’s book to give away; details below.

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It’s well documented that Wobble – real name John Wardle – knew Lydon long before he joined the Sex Pistols when they were part of the teenage gang the Four Johns (including John Beverley aka Sid Vicious and John Gray) knocking around east and north London, following football and voraciously consuming music from Can to Hawkwind to Big Youth and beyond.


//Public Image Limited, summer 1978. Photos: Dennis Morris//

In 1974, the Johns paid a visit to hairdresser to the rock elite Keith Wainwright at his Chelsea salon Smile and had matching haircuts. “Round about that period me and my mate Ronny were wearing pleated Army trousers from Laurence Corner, the ones American GIs would wear,” says Wobble.

“It was a soul boy look, very smart with cap sleeve t-shirts and those half sandals/half shoes, not the plastic beach sandals which some people wore. They were horrible.”

With The Great Gatsby influence merging with the Glenn Miller revival, the teenage Wobble scoured the second hand clothes shops of Brick Lane on Sunday, picking up drape jacketed 30s and 40s suits.


//Jah Wobble, 80s//

Although he was at the epicentre of the punk storm, Wobble avoided adopting the fashions of the era. “It just wasn’t my cup of tea,” he says. “I’m from the East End. It’s in our DNA to sport the Terry Venables look: smart grey jackets with black polos, loafers and well-pressed trousers.”

When he was recruited into PiL, the original line-up jibbed at the punk uniform with an absurdist appearance. Lydon, for example, wore hand-painted shirts supplied by Mark Gray.


//Front and back cover, both sides of inner, First Issue, Public Image, Virgin Records, 1978. Photography and design concept: Dennis Morris//

For the sleeve of debut album First Issue, photographer Dennis Morris – who also created the band’s enduring logo and was responsible for the packaging for second album Metal Box – conceived a plan to present the four members as cover stars of various magazines.

Wobble is depicted as a Ronald Coleman-moustached matinee idol in a Vogue pastiche, wearing a blue pinstripe suit he’d had made for himself the previous year.  “You didn’t get many 18-year-olds doing that,” he says. “It was perfect for that shoot. Dennis was very important to PiL. He understood the humour and chemistry of the band and bought in Terry Jones from Vogue to help style it, which made it proper.”


//12″ Metal container sleeve, Metal Box, PiL, Virgin Records, 1979//

Kenny MacDonald was another integral figure, producing tailored traditional style menswear with a twist long before it became the High Street norm. He was introduced into the circle by sometime PiL member Jeanette Lee, who had managed King’s Road store Acme Attractions with her then-boyfriend Don Letts.


//Letts and Lee, Acme Attractions, Kings Road, London, 1976. Photo: Sheila Rock//

“Kenny was very quietly spoken and thoughtful, a real London bloke,” says Wobble. “You would not get someone like him anywhere else in the world at that time. He was absolutely London.”

MacDonald was such a fan of classic movies that he put on screenings himself at the Kings Cross cinema The Scala.

“It was interesting because he was a black bloke into the public school look, making fake Jockey Club ties and talking in a upper-class accent,” says Wobble.


//Jah Wobble, 90s and 80s.//

“That was strange and somehow great. And he’d always do the unexpected. When everyone else was producing pegged trousers, he did a straight-legged, conservative cut. When everyone was wearing low, long thin lapels down to one button, quite 50s, he made a higher cut jacket, slightly uptight, very English.”

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MacDonald’s flamboyant masterstroke may well have been the giant and brightly coloured Teddy Bear fur coats he made for the band; John Lydon sported the red version for a performance on The Old Grey Whistle Test.

Wobble’s was in green and yellow “like something worn by Flanagan & Allen. Oh man. I wore it with a Homburg from a local Jewish outfitter, a Daniel Hechter suit and walked into The Globe public house; they all  started singing Underneath The Arches!”

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Through the 80s Wobble checked for Daniel Hechter, buying suits two at a time from his Bond street shop, and into the 90s had a wide variety of suits made in the Far East, one in Versace logo material.

“It had this Roman element with the beautiful dark blues and gold,” he says. “And it was mixed with the East, which is very sensual; I love silk.


//Jah Wobble 2001//

These days he still has bespoke suits made in the Far East and persists in hunting down quality second hand clothes.”I’m like those older guys who chase young women: I play the percentage game. They’ll keep knocking on the door until they get one, though of course the law of diminishing returns kicks in.

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“I keep going into second-hand shops and about one in every hundred visits pays off: you come across a fantastic, hardly-worn Armani suit or something.”

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He is also a great fan of Missoni. “I have quite a few jackets; there’s something wonderful about their interwoven material, it’s kind of like the stuff Kenny was doing. Not predictable grey and black.”


//Chinese Dub tour, 2008.//

For last year’s acclaimed Chinese Dub live extravaganza, Wobble and his wife, the ghuzeng player Zi Lan Liao,blended authentic eastern styles and artistry into a visual tour-de-force to match the spectacular nature of the music.

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And what about the stubble? Some might argue that Wobble’s refusal to shave was his most radical visual contribution of the post-punk era, given the silent new wave “no facial hair” diktat of the times. By doing so he predicted the 80s “designer stubble” fad by a good few years.

“Initially it came about through laziness, but then I started to use a trimmer,” he says. “In those days it was akin to luxuriant prairie grass. Now it’s like bramble. If you try and carry it off you look like old man Steptoe!”

To win a copy of Wobble’s most excellent book, mail your answer to the question below to : the

We’ll pick the lucky winner from a Homburg on November 24. Best of luck!

Q: Which item of clothing is also the title of a track on PiL’s album Metal Box?

Web exclusive: Amazing images from 70s Style & Design

THE LOOK has been granted a web exclusive we can’t wait to share with you – a couple of the amazing images from this year’s must-have fashion book, 70s Style & Design by Kirsty Hislop and Dominic Lutyens.


//Jim O’Connor and Pamla Motown, 1972. Photo: Steve Hiett//

Dominic and Kirsty have served up a feast in terms of the visuals and verbals, exploring the art, architecture, fashion and design of the decade that really delivered.

THE LOOK is proud to have made a contribution to this cool tome which covers the boutiques, designs and leading figures such as Lloyd JohnsonPamla Motown and Jim O’ConnorAntony PricePaul ReevesMr FreedomSEXBiba, Fiorucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Thierry Mugler and many another.


//Edwige, Maripol and Bianca Jagger. Photo: Edo Bertoglio// 

With (appropriately enough) 430 eye-popping images, 70s Style & Design succeeds by steering clear of the cliches (platforms, polyester flares) and crisply presents the reality of the era: creative, iconoclastic and, in contrast to the elitist 60s, healthily democratic. 

Saluting but avoiding entrapment in the better known aspects (Bibapunk), the book charts areas and movements not commonly identified as having an impact on visual culture at the time, such as eco and high-tech architecture, minimalism, the cult of androgyny, the proto-punk craze of kitsch and the impact on style of the black civil rights and women’s and gay liberation movements.


// 70s Style & Design cover. “All Weather” shoes by Thea Cadabra. Photo: Ian Murphy//

Above all, this book is enormous fun: simultaneously an education, entertainment and celebration.

THE LOOK will return to 70s Design & Style (with a chance to WIN a copy!) soon; in the meantime we urge you to seek it out.

70s Style & Design is published on November 2 by Thames & Hudson.

Hiroshi Fujiwara’s Personal Effects: A design odyssey

For the last week THE LOOK’s head has been buried in Personal Effects, the new book from Hiroshi Fujiwara which collects together 100 of his favourite personal possessions. 

The deceptively simple format – a photograph of the item faced by a brief description by Fujiwara – delivers a substantial amount of information about this retiring major domo of international street fashion and style; his likes and dislikes, his abiding fascination for, and deep knowledge of, design and product innovation, his interests in both tradition and adaptation. 


Wrapped in a charming tracing paper slip cover, the book delivers a personal design odyssey, taking in such apparently disparate objects as Dayna Decker candles, Louis Vuitton teddy bears, Highwayman leather jackets as worn by Sid Vicious, the Kangol caps with which Fujiwara is strongly associated, a 100-year-old Hermes haute a croire bag, 80s Adidas Campus sneakers (as worn by the Beastie Boys) and Apple‘s AirMac Express base station.

“They’re selected because I’m using or wearing them currently,” says Fujiwara.


Some of the objects are those that he has been involved in producing via his design interests in such labels as AFFA (run with compadre Jun Takahashi), fragment design, Uniform Experiment and Nike.


Many are customised not only with Fujiwara’s trademark double-lightning flash but also accoutrements: his Goyard Saint Louis tote bag is strung with a couple of pendants and the heels of the Visvim FBT moccasins are decorated with appropriate Native American-inspired badges created by jeweller and silversmith Goro Takahashi.


Such was my absorption that within minutes of being given the book I was snapped by Facehunter Yvan Rodic poring over it…


Personal Effects is available here.

The brilliant Kate Moross


//Kate Moross during her presentation at design conference Semi Permanent, Auckland, August 15, 2009. Photo: Otis Hu// 

Over at companion blog Reasons To Be Cheerful we’ve just posted a special on the wonderful Kate Moross here.

You’ll see how, as ever, KM is firing on all cylinders; and the S/S 08 Top Shop collaboration has transmuted into some very cool apparel available from her website.


//La Roux Icon T-shirt// 

We don’t want to steal Reasons’ thunder, so check it out. Meantime, enjoy these style-centric images, a couple of which aren’t posted on our sister blog because there just wasn’t the space.


//Kate Moross tees for Telepathe and Simian Mobile Disco//

Damn that KM is one hard-working graphic designer/illustrator/art director/indie label operator/fashion designer/film-maker/etc!

For the full story go here.   

Quentin in bugger’s mauve

Ok we nicked the headline from Madame, but this is definitely the best t-shirt of the summer so far. It also happens to be the very first one from M.Goldstein.


They’re available from the shop at 67 Hackney Road from Saturday (June 27), but at the moment in one size only, so hurry, hurry, hurry.

Other sizes are coming on stream soon as well as fresh designs featuring more heroes and heroines.

Visit M. Goldstein’s online home here.

New Knockout R&B Tonight t-shirt

To mark the recent launch of our Barney Bubbles blog we’ve produced a limited edition t-shirt based on the one in Barney’s award-winning poster Knockout R&B Here Tonight.

//New women’s tee (c) Reasons 2009// 

The original was a one-off which Barney created in 1964 to name-check Twickenham art school band The Muleskinners, whose ranks included Ian McLagan, superstar keyboard player with the Small Faces, The Faces, the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan. 

//T-shirt detail (c) Reasons 2009// 

To seal the connection, the back of our new tee has a reproduction of the “Cossack” ticket for a Muleskinners’ gig on Eel Pie Island (or “Eelpiland” as Barney called it).We’ve given tees to his family members as well as close friends including Mac, who was suitably knocked out when we saw him a couple of weeks back. 

//Custom-made tags (c) Reasons 2009// 

To cover the costs of production we are now making available a very limited number in Men’s L and Women’s M sizes. These come with tags with a potted history of the shirt and a reproduction of a frame from the photo-shoot.

For more info and to buy, click here.

The bolero connection: From the Apple boutique to Hawkwind

In yet another exclusive, THE LOOK brings you images of an extraordinary one-off jacket just loaded down with historic rock & roll fashion connections.

//John May’s amazing Apple label  bolero jacket//

But first here’s the backstory: in the early 70s John May was making his way in the counter-culture, having carved out a career in the underground press at Friends (the magazine which transmuted into Frendz).

//Nik Turner blows his stack for Friends//

Through the scene around the magazine’s offices in Portobello Road, John came to know the designer Barney Bubbles  – the subject of the acclaimed book and our exciting new blog –  and also Barney’s pals, the incredible Hawkwind.

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By the summer of 1972 the unlikely band of hippies, poets, bikers and dancers had scored a surprise hit with the single Silver Machine, and used the money to fund an elaborately staged 30-date tour conceived by Barney and the similarly-missed poet, playwright and performer Robert Calvert:  The Space Ritual.

//Barney’s cover for Hawkwind live album Space Ritual//

“I was  always known as a bit of a mover, and one day at Friends (Hawkwind horn player) Nik Turner invited me to join them on the road as a dancer,” says John. “I thought I’d better get some decent gear together and remembered I had these label rolls from the Apple boutique.

“I can’t remember where they came from nor, I’m afraid, the name of the girl who made the jacket for me. I think she was making a lot of costumes for that tour. It was definitely her idea and design.

“She lived in a house with a large overgrown garden that  a plaque on it for the writer and naturalist WH Hudson, which would make it 40 St Luke’s Road, W11.”

//94 Baker Street, London, December 1966. Rex Images.//

You can read all about the Apple store in Chapter 5 of THE LOOK; appointed by The Beatles,  the chief designers were Dutch psych-art collective The Fool who insisted garment labels were four-colour printed silk versions of the original Apple logo. This pushed prices way out of the league of the average fashion consumer.

//The original Apple logo as fashion label//

When the shop’s manager Pete Shotton – a long-term Beatles associate who had been in John Lennon’s first band, The Quarrymen – pointed out that the labels were doubling the price of the clothing, Lennon snapped back, “We’re not business freaks. We’re artists.” The boutique closed after just seven months of trading.

John May says that he lasted six gigs dancing along with the legendary Rene Le Ballestre and Stacia.

//Jacket shoulder detail//

“It was fantastic fun,”  says John, who went on to make make a name for himself as an investigative reporter at publications including NME (as “Dick Tracy” from 1976-1982), The Face and the Sunday Times and now blogs as The Generalist.

And now members of Hawkwind are back in the guise of Hawklords to perform The Space Ritual 09, at The Roundhouse on March 9. Read all about it and subscribe to the Barney Bubbles blog here.

As for John he says he won’t be wearing the jacket that night, though THE LOOK is looking forward to watching him revive some of those onstage moves.

See you there!

James Lebon: Gone but not forgotten

For many individuals in the worlds of fashion, music and film, Christmas spirits will have been dampened by news of the death last week of James Lebon at the age of just 49. 

//The original International Stussy Tribe; James Lebon centre// 

THE LOOK didn’t know Lebon at all well, though a handful of encounters left the impression of a hugely affable and multi-talented person, one who occupies an important place in propelling streetwear from the concern of a couple of hundred music-mad youths in London, New York, Los Angeles and Tokyo a quarter of a century ago into the central place it occupies in today’s global pop culture.

It was Lebon who brought back crucial news of the emerging New York rap scene which in turn sparked the establishment of the UK’s first and most significant hip-hop club, the Language Lab in the early 80s. 

//James Lebon and friend, Cannes 1988. Pic: Ellen von Unwerth//  

Cutting a swathe through London’s demi-monde with his photographer brother Mark, James Lebon was in his time a leading hairdresser (with his Cuts salon in west London), an accomplished promo and commercials director, a model and member of Ray Petri’s influential Buffalo collective, and also a recording artist

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//Montage of Lebon’s commercials work//  

Lebon often worked in conjunction with his compadre,  streetwear guru Michael Kopelman.

Interviewed at the Gimme 5 offices for THE LOOK, the friends chortled at the memory of paying repeated visits to Harlem to pick up a white leather tracksuit Lebon had ordered at Dapper Dan’s, the crucible of 80s urban fashion on 125th Street.On each occasion, they would make the trek uptown only to find that the article of clothing had been sold, because a procession of customers had seen the suit on display and persuaded the owner to sell it to them.

Kopelman and Lebon were among the first to pick up on the magical graphics being produced by surfer Shawn Stussy out of his Laguna Canyon studio in southern California in the mid-80s, and were part of the original International Stussy Tribe, as the image posted above and given to THE LOOK by Kopelman testifies. 

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//Fascinated by Lisa B. Directed by James Lebon// 

Read about Lebon’s crucial role in communicating awareness of such labels as Stussy, BAPE, Neighborhood and Goodenough in a recent interview here.

A Facebook group, The Don And Not Forgotten, features many touching photographs and reminiscences of this charming man. You may join it here.