We’re very flattered that this blog – “El Look” – is being featured today by leading Spanish online magazine Itfashion.
“The Look presents large amounts of new information, often first-hand from Paul Gorman’s personal archive, packed with fresh insights into a vast range of subjects,” writes Estel Vilaseca, who has run Itfashion since 1999.
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.
//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 (Biba, punk), 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.
Interviewed in the Financial Times, Antony says the 80s influence feels right for now.
“There is a touch of old Hollywood and, with a recession dictating that any money spent is spent well, it ticks a lot of boxes,” Antony explains.
“But there are two sides to the 1980s: a trashy, neon look, which appeals to younger generations, and a more grown-up, opulent look, which requires poise to pull off.”
Combining electric tones and sun-washed shades with Antony’s trademark elegant and sharp tailoring, the range of suits, shirts, ties, waistcoats and t-shirts draws on his close working relationship with such era-defining performers as Roxy Music and Duran Duran, as outlined in Chapter 17 of THE LOOK.
“I wanted to capture the lounge lizard/glam look and convey the feel of a long, hot summer,” says Antony, whose debut collaboration with The Look Presents in A/W 08 proved such a success that the new collection is also being stocked in Topman New York.
Double-breasted jackets, pleated trousers, lightweight cotton suits, short-sleeved shirts and cap-sleeved tops summon 40s Hollywood tough-guys such as Humphrey Bogart and Robert Mitchum, while tight sharkskin and taffeta suits in electric green and vivid purple transpose Soul Brother 60s style via Bryan Ferry in the 80s to the present day.
Meanwhile, over at SHOWStudio there is an excellent career resume, including footage from Antony’s extraordinary 80s catwalk shows, a profile and never-before seen sketches, samples and original artwork.
Dave Shimeld’s 70s Kensington store Che Guevara has been too often overshadowed by it’s more prominent neighbour Biba in London fashion histories, even though it had luxurious decor to match and drew on such design talents as Ossie Clark and Antony Price.
As detailed in Chapter 14 of THE LOOK, Antony created Che Guevara’s deeply deco silver and black interior at 23 Kensington High Street with his design partner Jane Whiteside, working to a commission from Shimeld and backers Ronnie Stirling and Geoff Cooper.
//Michelle Comber wears Che Guevara 1975//
Along with Price, Whiteside, Clark and Stirling Cooper, the store showcased young designers such as Erica Budd and Wendy Dagworthy.
So it was a delight to be contacted recently by Che Guevara’s assistant manager Michelle Comber, who recalls how Che was dead centre of London’s fashion scene at that time, with Biba down the road and Mr Freedom and Lee Bender’s Bus Stop around the corner.
//Antony Price for Che Guevara, Nova, March 1972. Photos: Jeanloup Sieff//
“We had fabulous times and all hung out together,” says Michelle, who started out running the store’s Mary Quant concession. “Everyone knew each other in the High Street, trading discounts and gossip. We’d go to the bars in Kensington and also up west posing in our outfits and Biba make up. Sometimes a few of us would take the train to Paris after work on Saturday and Monday would be our day off to recover. Everything was spur of the moment; there’d be bands, models and actresses snapping up the clothes, especially from the designer section upstairs.”
“Boyfriends and husbands would sit by the indoor fountain and listen to glam rock bellowing out from the speakers in every corner,” says Michelle, who modelled for a photo-shoot at Biba’s Rainbow Room and has supplied THE LOOK with images from that session and photo-booth snaps with her friends Carmel and Maria, who respectively ran Che’s French Connection and Strawberry Studio concessions.
“I wish I had more photos from those days,” says Michelle. “No-one thought to carry a camera around, especially because they were like house bricks back then!”
We’re particularly delighted because the soundtrack is by THE LOOK favourites The Dirty Three: Jim White, Mick Turner and Warren Ellis. Can’t get enough of Wazzer.
Here he is during a performance in which one critic detected Ellis dancing “like a tramp trying to stamp out a fire”; the best gig THE LOOK witnessed this year, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds at St Luke’s Church:
//THE LOOK and Nick Cave touch hands at 5.00//
A few Priceless A/W 08 items are left; Antony Price is currently beavering away putting the finishing touches to S/S 09’s colourful capsule collection.
Madame Miaow has thrown down the challenge by tagging THE LOOK among seven blogs choosing their current seven favourite songs.
The rules are set by Simon Reynolds: “List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re not any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now, shaping your spring. Post these instructions in your blog along with your 7 songs. Then tag 7 other people to see what they’re listening to.”
Well hey-ho it’s summer now, so here goes – at the end you’ll find the seven sites we are tagging. Click on the song titles to hear samples/buy them.
With cameos from Nervous Stephen, Ima Doll, Peaches Geldof, Tim Noble & Sue Webster and Will Self. We can’t better Pippa Brooks’ summation of Nick Cave’s current look: “Receding and droopy moustache…..he’s HOT from where I’m sitting, not since his junkie days with black black quiff, white white skin and huge blue eyes has he looked so perfect. Or imperfect.”
Today THE LOOK teases out the French roots of Kylie Minogue’s forthcoming KylieX2008 live extravaganza.
//Behind the scenes of the new tour//
The Australian star’s new tour fittingly opens in Paris on May 6, and will build on the Gallic sensibilities which have crept into her work, as pointed up by the sampling of the “woo-hoo-ha-hoo” hook from Serge Gainsbourg’s sublime Bonnie & Clyde on album track Sensitized.
Both appointments reflect Minogue and Baker’s abiding interest in fashion and music which broke ground in the 80s. As detailed in THE LOOK, Gaultier started his career as an 18-year-old assistant to Pierre Cardin in 1970 and later worked at Jacques Esterel and Jean Patou before debuting his own collection in 1976 with a range of dresses made from found objects.
//Gaultier tour costumes, Blonde Ambition, 1990//
Inspired by flea-markets – in particular London’s Portobello – and punk, Gaultier’s Dadaist show of 1983 marked the emergence of a startling talent, underpinned by funding from Far East manufacturer Kashiyama.Gaultier’s designs have been sported by many a pop star, including Grace Jones, Neneh Cherry and, of course, Madonna for her groundbreaking Blonde Ambition tour. He scored a minor hit in his own right in the late 80s and went on to firm up his musical associations by presenting the MTV Awards in Paris in 1995.
//Iggy Pop by Pierre et Gilles for Facade, 1977//
Meanwhile Pierre Commoy and Gilles Blanchard – who have also worked with Madonna and styled and photographed Gaultier’s parfumery campaigns – developed their hyper-kitsch aesthetic after meeting at a party in Paris thrown by Kenzo in 1976.
//Marc Almond’s A Lover Spurned, directed by Pierre et Gilles//
The French pair created treated photographic portraits of Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali, Mick Jagger, Iggy Pop and Yves Saint Laurent for Alain Benoiste’s now defunct Facade before moving into record cover design with their sleeve for 1979 Euro-disco classic Diamonds For Breakfast by the amazing Amanda Lear.
//Amanda Lear performs Diamonds For Breakfast//
By the 80s they were collaborating with performers such as Etienne Daho and the singer/actress Lio. In 1985 they directed and styled their first video, Naufrage d’hiver, a single by Mikado.
THE LOOK’S pal Trevor Myles has unearthed for us an amazing slice of rock and pop fashion history: a previously unseen and unpublished photograph of his shop Paradise Garage taken in 1971.
//Pic: Trevor Myles collection//
And, as if to take up the challenge, we are responding with a scan of a long-forgotten piece on the shop in Design magazine from the same year.
//Top left: The Paradise Garage Mustang, Design 1971//
Paradise Garage had already undergone some changes by the time Trevor took sole control of 430 King’s Road early in 1971, having been an unnamed clothes shop run by couple Bill Fuller and Carol Derry in 1966, Hung On You in 67/68 and Mr Freedom from 1968-70. And that was just the start. Under the command of Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood from November 1971 it was to evolve consecutively into Let It Rock, Too Fast To Live Too Young To Die, SEX, Seditionaries, and, to this day, World’s End.
//SEX 1976 and World’s End 1984//
The snap of the shop at the top of this story was taken by one of Trevor’s friends in the early summer of 1971. The familiar landmarks of this cultural crucible – which measures no more than a few hundred square feet – are all in place: the phone box outside of which Westwood, Jordan and others were to pose for a Seditionaries fashion shoot in 1977, the forbidding brickwork of Chelsea Conservative Club next door, the ever-changing restaurant which shares the street number on the other side.
In 1971 Trevor had split from Mr Freedom partner Tommy Roberts and opened up this new establishment which sold Osh Kosh B’Gosh and used denim, Hawaiian shirts and other retro and rock & roll styles.
//Trevor Myles, King’s Road 1971. Pic: Michael Roberts//
As revealed in Chapter 17 of THE LOOK, Trevor directed interiors team Electric Colour Co to cross South Seas charm with American authenticity. The bamboo sign was erected onto painted corrugated iron, a 50s petrol pump was placed outside (sometimes with Trevor’s tiger-striped Mustang parked nearby) while inside there were caged lovebirds, a jukebox and and even a tiny dance-floor.
And Design magazine quickly picked up on these radical moves being made down the wrong end of the King’s Road. In the Things Seen section of the September 1971 issue, it printed a photograph of the car alongside this copy: “Paradise Garage is not, as might be expected, the home of this flock-finish Ford Mustang – but the name of a shop doing brisk trade in second hand US boiler suits and dungarees. The proprietor of the shop, Trevor Miles (sic), also owns the Mustang: its tiger-striped finish, now looking a little grubby from King’s Road exhausts, was created by the Electric Colour Company.”
Paradise Garage became a focal point for creativity that year. New York Doll Sylvain Sylvain recalls hanging out at the store on a trip to London with his knitwear brand Truth & Soul, while the design team there included John & Molly Dove. While using the premises as an impromptu studio they created the infamous Wild Thing t-shirt which is reissued next month by our own new label The Look Presents.
//The NY club Paradise Garage and its logo//
The Paradise Garage name was snaffled in the mid-70s by the gay disco crowd who launched the historic nightclub at 84 King Street in Greenwich Village which spawned such giants of the dance scene as the late uber-DJ Larry Levan.
//New wave band The Perfectors outside Paradise Garage Cardiff 1980//
And by the late 70s it was also adopted by ex-Amen Corner member Alan Jones for his punk shop in Cardiff, which became a magnet for the burgeoning Welsh new wave and new romantic crowd, including Chris Sullivan and Steve Strange.
//New LaRocka styles from Myles’ company Secret Ingredient//
Trevor, meanwhile, moved on to to such brands as Million Dollar in the 80s and recently his company Secret Ingredient has been working with King’s Road legends Lloyd and Jill Johnson on reinventing their LaRocka brand for the Noughties.
//World’s End today//
The World’s End shop has become the home for the clothes which express Westwood’s Active Resistance manifesto, as discussed in her book Opus. In these post-globalisation times, it is staggering to conceive that, apart from a brief spell of financial insecurity in 1986-6, 430 Kings Road has now continuously traded in cutting edge ideas and adventures in rock and pop fashion for more than 40 years.
A chance encounter with a marvellous batch of images of Lady Keir has underlined the playful and sexily adventurous style of this multi-faceted, multi-talented performer/DJ.
//Periwigged and buffalo-ed in London 2003//
Here are just a few ferocious images to drive home her position as an enduring style icon.
//Playing house mid 90s//
//Pro Choice with MC Lyte, Corina, Juliet Cuming, Kim Gordon, Kate Pierson, Tina Weymouth and Crystal Waters 1990//
Having come across these fantastic photos while browsing through master mixologist Scientitian’s weblog, it was mandatory that we show them here to make up for the Lady’s glaring absence from our recent tale of rock and pop fashion’s catsuit connection.
//The catsuit queen 1990//
Way back when the deathless Groove Is In The Heart side-swatted aside indolent indie, acid, techno and nascent boyband pop to bestride dance-floors around the world, Keir showed how an all-in-one should really be worn, as demonstrated in the Groove promo video and witnessed first-hand by THE LOOK in the UK (supporting a later version of B.A.D. at Ally Pally) and a couple of years later at the Palladium in LA, where, no word of a lie, Dr Timothy Leary led the cavorting in the crowd.
Since that heady period as part of Dee-Lite, after which she dropped the “Miss” from her moniker, Lady Keir has kept moving on all fronts, as an internationally renowned DJ (next up spinning for Conde Nast Traveller in NYC on April 17) as well as front-woman of her own band (there’s a gig on April 4 at San Francisco’s Rickshaw Stop).
//DJing in Miami 1997//
//In Vegas in the late 90s//
You can find many, many more great images of Lady Kier here, where she can be seen hanging with Peaches, Joey Arias, and Debbie Harry as well as performing and DJing in all kinds of circumstances (on stage with Bootsy Collins in 1991, playing to London’s jungle massive in the 90s and at the Chicago Gay Games in 2006).
I’m sitting here with bated breath, checking the fan blogs every day. I’m waiting on Roisin Murphy’s new video – the next instalment in the campaign for her Overpowered album, styled by Róisín and creative director Scott King. The campaign marries the extraordinary with the ordinary, and exemplifies the style combustion that THE LOOK loves so much.
To recap: so far we’ve seen Roisin in a jumbo-knit, noshing at a caff for the album cover; sitting on the loo in Gareth Pugh (Henry Holland style pun unintended) for the Overpowered video – THE song of 2007; down the shops in a Viktor & Rolf rigging dress in the artwork for the same song, and rrrrocking those Maison Martin Margiela shoulders on tour and in the Let Me Know video.
King, late of Sleaze Nation (and the man behind the infamous Cher Guevara cover) approached the campaign with the concept of Róisín as extraordinary pop persona, a “street-diva” – in ordinary situations wearing outlandish garb. He cites his inspiration as David Bowie, the ultimate rock alien, strolling the London streets in the video for the 1979 song DJ.
Roisin’s musings on fashion and performance were a key part of the collaboration. “I don’t wear that stuff in a fashion way” she told Clash magazine “I wear it like a performer. I wear it at a jaunty angle, thrown on with absolute irreverence and that’s they way it should be for me.” She’s a true fashion animal but it’s not something she waxes lyric about in interviews. She makes mistakes, she admits in the Telegraph, because she’s brave and self-styled. She’s incredibly modern but there’s always depth to her looks – references, puns, details.
The “conceptual fashion alien just landed in Kilburn” idea isn’t a world away from her previous stylings in Moloko, which always brought to my mind the glam-space-funk vibe of Labelle, Silver Convention or even Parliament. The Pure Pleasure Seeker clip is a tongue-in-cheek nod to Roxy and Bootsy via Whispering Bob Harris, and the space-flapper cum disco-ball of Sing it Back is pure Amii Stewart.
Whoever the references and whatever the occasion, Roisin gives great look every time.
//Roisin in Pam Hogg and Les Chiffoniers, styled by Kabir for the new Drama magazine//
The artwork for the forthcoming single You Know Me Better sees her down the pub, sipping a Guinness in another extra-terrestrial outfit by Basso & Brooke (Is it? I’ll ‘fess up – that’s a bit of a guess. Susie Bubble – can you help?!!?)
//The cover for the new single//
But who will she wear for the video? My money is on Balenciaga, or maybe Scott Ramsay Kyle. Whoever it is you can bet that poppettes everywhere will take note. Roisin’s fashion wake is resonating – witness Kylie in the Gareth Pugh “Overpowered” dress in her latest offering.
In a recent interview Roisin bemoans the fact she can’t persuade her friends to stay out dancing with her any more. Well I’m up for it. We can hit the town and dance all night to Supernature and Voodoo Ray, head to a caff for a fry-up on the way home and take our Jack Russells for a walk in the park – Gareth Pugh frocks de rigeuer.
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