Archive for the The Look category

Westwood asserts rights to Let It Rock + Too Fast To Live

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//Vivienne Westwood (third right) with LIR assistant Addy Isman + Teddy Boys outside 430 King's Road, Chelsea, 1972. Photo: David Parkinson.//

Vivienne Westwood has asserted her rights to the marks Let It Rock, Too Fast To Live Too Young To Die and Worlds End (the names of the shop at 430 King’s Road operated by Westwood and Malcolm McLaren in 1971-72, 1973-74 and 1980 to date respectively).

This is significant. While Worlds End has clearly been Westwood’s since she split with the late McLaren in 1984, they adopted a laissez-faire attitude to enforcing their intellectual property rights to the shop names and dozens of designs created during the 13-year partnership which also included the incarnations of 430 as SEX (1974-76) and Seditionaries (1976-80).

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Polaroids from THE LOOK’s launch party 2001

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The first edition of THE LOOK was launched with a party at Astral, Soho, in March 2001.

It was packed to the gills with media, well-wishers and many of the contributors.

Cover stars Pippa + James performed as Shopgirl and the DJs represented different eras covered by the book: Jeff Dexter played his mid-60s Tiles set; Don Letts + Dan Donovan shook the walls with the sounds Don played at The Roxy in 77; Jay Strongman span the early 80s music from The Dirtbox; and Count Indigo the 90s loungecore scene centred on his Madame Jo-Jo’s club Indigo.

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Yamamoto’s first UK show + the launch of Paradise Garage

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//From Daily Express, May 14, 1971.//

This photograph of designer Diana Crawshaw from the Daily Express Wiliam Hickey column was taken the day after a momentous event in post-war style; on Wednesday May 12 1971, Kansai Yamamoto showed his new collection at Tom Salter’s Great Gear Trading Company at 85 King’s Road, inaugurating appreciation of Japanese fashion design in the West.

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Tenth anniversary of THE LOOK

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The first edition of THE LOOK was published 10 years ago this month.

This is a corrected colour proof of the publisher’s “blad” – marketing/sales printed material for circulation in the book trade.

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An out-and-out rarity: Ossie Clark’s python coat

Ossie Clark python coat

Two years after we found a good home for Ossie Clark’s own snakeskin jacket, THE LOOK is pleased to feature another rare garment  made from the snakeskin rolls the designer famously uncovered in a warehouse in 1966.

According to the owner – who is now prepared to part company with it – this is one of only three python coats produced by Clark; one of the others was apparently retained by his business partner Alice Pollock.

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430 King’s Road pictorial on new blog

A pictorial tracking the incarnations of 430 King’s Road since the early 60s has been posted on my new blog.

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Fiorucci and Hysteric Glamour: Postcards from the cutting edge

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Apologies for yesterday’s interregnum; normal service is resumed and, by way of making amends, here are a couple of incredible postcards from THE LOOK archive.

The Fiorucci postcard (credited to Eric Shemilt Design Ltd) was contributed by the world’s best gal Mrs G and looks as though it dates from the early to mid-80s, when the label was in its pomp.

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The vicuna overcoat – menefreghismo to the max

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Nick Tosches’ Dean Martin biography Dino: Living High In The Dirty Business Of Dreams memorably defines its subject as a menefreghista – “one who simply does not give a fuck”.

And if ever there was a garment which oozes menefreghismo, it is the vicuna overcoat.

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John Simons’ new shop

John Simons new shop, Chiltern Street, London W1.

Final preparations are being made to John Simons’ new shop at 46 Chiltern Street, in the simpa area of London’s West End wedged between Baker Street and Marylebone High Street.

The sign has yet to be erected and there are many finishing touches to be made but already the space is shaping up to present a unique offer. “I’m juxtaposing the clothes with my abiding interests in art and design over many years,” says Simons.

As explored in THE LOOK, Simons is the nonpareil purveyor of the finest US menswear brands, in particular those associated with Ivy League and the 50s/60s modernist movement in clothes.

Simons has long been at the forefront of the field, with such rich associations as Cecil Gee in the 50s, The Ivy Shop in the 60s and 70s and J.Simons in Covent Garden for more than two decades up until February this year.

John Simons at his new shop in Chiltern Street, London W1.

John Simons, Chiltern Street, London W1, November 30, 2010.

INSIDE JOHN SIMONS’ NEW STORE: “A MODERNIST’S DREAM”

[This was originally posted on December 7,2010]

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John Simons new store, Chiltern Street London W1.

Tomorrow see the opening of John Simons’ smart new retail outlet at 46 Chiltern Street, London W1.

These photographs were taken last week; much progress has been made since, but they should provide a flavour of the environment Simons and his team – including son Paul – are creating.

Formerly the site of a print shop, the premises have been transformed into a modernist’s dream, decorated with art, insignia, branding, furniture and design classics, some of which serve as fittings, such as the Penguin Donkey which will be used to display socks.

John Simons new store, Chiltern Street London W1.

John Simons new store, Chiltern Street London W1.

John Simons new store, Chiltern Street London W1.

John Simons new store, Chiltern Street London W1.

John Simons new store, Chiltern Street London W1.

As noted, the locale is perfect for Simons, whose outlet is in the company of such stores as Grey Flannel, Archer Adams and Mario’s barbershop.

John Simons new store, Chiltern Street London W1.

We wish Simons and his crew all the best in this new venture which returns this key figure to London’s style scene; next stop, apparently, is the online shop which follows soon.

John Simons' new store, 46 Chiltern Street, London W1.

Inside Betsy Bunky Nini

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Ahead of our exclusive on the fab Anna Sui book – written with Andrew Bolton of the NY Met’s Costume Institute featuring forewords by Jack White and Steven Meisel – here’s a tasty slice of rock design history Anna turned us on to a couple of months back.

This ad was shot in the legendary NYC boutique Betsy Bunky Nini, founded by Betsey Johnson, Anita Latour and Linda Mitchell in 1969 on 53rd Street, between Second and Third.

“Notice that they have Ossie Clark on the racks,” says Anna, who later lived on the same block (which, of course, was made notorious by The Ramones’ 53rd & 3rd).

“The other fashion stores on this block included Norma Kamali, whose shop at the time was all patchwork velvet and snake skin, and Sweet Shop with clothing from London. For a while Johnny Thunders and Sylvain Sylvain (of the New York Dolls) sub-let Norma’s apartment on 53rd Street.”

As well as designing, BN&N imported European lines and also styled shoots: they “stage managed” the front cover of Dolls’ debut album.

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When Johnson moved on to Alley Cat and then international success with her own label, Mitchell took over B&NN and shifted premises to 980 Lexington Avenue.

Read more about the original BN&N in Chapter 13 of THE LOOK – and look out for our exclusive on Anna’s new book: coming to this blog soon!

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Fabulous new David Bowie book is crammed with delights

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//David Bowie wears John Stephen on a modeling assignment with Jan De Souza in Kingly Street W1 for Fabulous 208, 1965. Photo: Fiona Adams//

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//Up on the roof, central London 1967. Photo: Kenneth Pitt. //

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//Ziggy Stardust’s first photo call, 1972. Photo: Brian Ward/David Bowie Archive.//

Any Day Now, the new book about David Bowie’s London life between 1947 and 1974, is hands-down the music book publishing sensation of the year.

Any Day Now Cover_smaller

And THE LOOK has been granted exclusive access to the new book, which has been written and compiled by Bowie expert Kevin Cann and is out next month.

Any Day Now’s 320-plus pages are crammed with delights both factual and visual, charting Bowie from his birth, background and childhood interests in music, design and art through to his beginnings in local beat groups and eventual world-beating success.

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//In Paddington Street Gardens, central London, 1969. The bag was designed by Alan Mair of The Beatstalkers (and later The Only Ones). Photo: Kenneth Pitt.//

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//Rocking the Keith Relf look with The Manish Boys, 1965. Photo: Bob Solly//

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//With Angie (Angela Barnett) outside Bromley register office on their wedding day, March 20, 1970. The couple wore clothes bought the previous day at Kensington Market. Bowie’s Courrèges belt was a gift from friend Calvin Mark Lee. Photo: Kentish Times.//

As a document of the most important image-maker of our times, it is unparalleled, reflecting Cann’s decades-long absorption in his subject and access to original sources and important material.

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//In Mr Fish mandress on the cover of Curious magazine with Freddie Buretti, May 1971.//

Any Day Now is a must for fans of music and fashion, detailing Bowie’s stylistic development as he moved through r&b and mod via folkie and hippie to glam androgyny, drawing on such touchstones of THE LOOK as John Stephen, Dandie Fashions, Kensington Market, Mr Fish, Freddie Buretti, City Lights Studio and Kansai Yamamoto.

David Bowie. 1968

//At producer Tony Visconti’s apartment in Lexham Gardens, west London, 1968. Photo: Ray Stevenson.//

There is a fascinating foreword written by Kenneth Pitt, who managed Bowie between 1967 and 1970, and contributions from a cast of hundreds, including close friends and fellow musicians.

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//Any Day Now Limited Edition.//

A special limited edition of 475 copies is also being published in hardback, numbered and signed in black cloth-bound clam-shell cases with reproductions of tickets, posters and memorabilia. Each also contains a print of a rare colour photo taken of Bowie in 1967 by Gerald Fearnley (who has signed them).

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//Any Day Now Limited Edition with signed Gerard Fearnley photograph.//

To find out more and order copies of the limited edition, click here.

Paul Smith first look exclusive

Cycling enthusiast Paul Smith has granted us a first look exclusive at this new film he has created featuring the Rapha Condor Sharp cycling team training at the Manchester Velodrome…in his “London line” suits.

The film will be released to coincide with the UK’s biggest professional bicycle race, this month’s The Tour of Britain.

Read all about how cycling is inextricably intertwined with Paul’s fashion career in Chapter 27 of THE LOOK.

Exclusive: Amazing BOY pieces in 80s vintage sale

Here is a exclusive selection of images from a vintage 80s fashion collection going up for private sale this week.

 

The vendor is selling a prime collection of streetwear, including key pieces from the Chelsea boutique BOY.

As detailed in Chapter 21 of  THE LOOK, BOY was opened at 151 King’s Road in the spring of 1977 by  John Krevine and Steph Raynor in the wake of McLaren and Westwood’s Seditionaries (unveiled at 430 King’s Road in December 1976).

These days original BOY clothing in good condition is much sought-after.  The pieces in this collection date from 1982 onward.

The so-called black cotton “bondage dress” is a multi-layered wonder complete with straps, apron, metallic poppers, an attached belt, plastic buckles and adjustable three quarter-length sleeves.

Dating from 1983 is a roll-collared cream and orange batwing sleeved top with Japanese script.

A black and gold chemise dates from 1985, when BOY’s designs chimed with the developing clubwear aesthetic.

This is when BOY was championed by Boy George, who appeared in many BOY designs, posed for the boutique’s catalogue and even created a couple of t-shirts.

A red-on-black crew-necked sweater is also from this period. The vendor also has printed BOY stockings, leggings, and other items. as well as garments from labels such as Fiorucci and WilliWear.

Inquiries to the vendor may be made via THE LOOK.

Mick Jones on books, boutiques and the magic of Malcolm

Bit late I know, but here are some exclusive photos (courtesy of Chelsea Space director Donald Smith) from the recently staged discussion between Mick Jones and I as part of the Shards Of Utopia evening at Tate Britain.

 

//Listening to the introduction from the evening’s moderator Jen Thatcher// 

Donald is the key connector: Mick’s Rock & Roll Public Library made a return for a concentrated period to Chelsea Space as part of the gallery’s fifth birthday celebrations, while my Barney Bubbles exhibition will be held there in September – more details soon.

 

Clad in an Adam Of London chalk-stripe two-piece suit against a backdrop of some of the paperbacks from his collection, Mick revealed he has two copies of my Barney book Reasons To Be Cheerful. This was flattery indeed; my admiration for the man goes back to The Rainbow in May 1977 and flourished through his B.A.D. years onto Carbon/Silicon and the recent and rightly acclaimed collaboration with Gorillaz

 

//With Tate curator Cecilia Wee// 

Shards Of Utopia was curated by writer/academic Cecilia Wee; Mick and I were down to natter about the sci-fi and conspiracy theory books in his library but we couldn’t let the opportunity go without discussing the importance of Malcolm McLaren

 

My fascination for McLaren’s creation of brave new worlds, alternate spaces and artificial environments (see Let It RockToo Fast To Live Too Young To DieSEXSeditionariesWorlds End and Nostalgia Of Mud) was enlarged upon by Mick’s formative memories of not only frequenting those shops but also witnessing the Sex Pistols live for the first time.

 

“You came away a different person from all those experiences,” he said. “Without Malcolm, none of us would be doing what we’re doing today. It’s so sad we won’t hear any more of his great ideas; not just the Pistols and the shops but things like Waltz Darling, the Surf Nazis film, Duck Rock…it was just endless with him.”  

 

For a select few the evening ended with Mick accompanying himself at Chelsea Space on acoustic for a rendition of Should I Stay Or Should I Go?. Amid rumours of a B.A.D. reformation, the success with Gorillaz and the acceptance of the Rock & Roll Public Library as a living, breathing and evolving creative environment, the answer is a very definite: don’t be going anywhere soon, Mick. We loves ya.

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=sVWWs-kWbMU" onclick="javascript:pageTracker._trackPageview('/outbound/article/youtube.com');">http://youtube.com/watch?v=sVWWs-kWbMU</a> 

Since the genius Shawn Stussy has recently re-entered the game with a great new blog and new label S/Double Studio (thanks for hipping us, Disney Rollergirl) it seems fitting we should play out with a fave of THE LOOK and one which inextricably links Mick to the International Stussy Tribe – B.A.D.’s The Globe:

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=wfpvvnnC5ek" onclick="javascript:pageTracker._trackPageview('/outbound/article/youtube.com');">http://youtube.com/watch?v=wfpvvnnC5ek</a> 

 

430: Mr Freedom in living colour

Props to the eagle-eyed Miss Peelpants for spotting the series of youtube clips using footage culled from 1969 German TV documentary London Aktuel.

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=9NYNJenLyJc" onclick="javascript:pageTracker._trackPageview('/outbound/article/youtube.com');">http://youtube.com/watch?v=9NYNJenLyJc</a>

Our favourite is this clip filmed in and around the recently opened Mr Freedom at 430 King’s Road, Chelsea. Seeing the fabled jersey t-shirt dresses in all their glory is a special treat, as is this clear evidence of Tommy Roberts’ and Trevor Myles’ fashion-forward approach to licensing Disney images and incorporating them, Pop Art style, into design. 

 

//430 King’s Road ,London SW3 1970. Pic: David Parkinson//

Read all about that in Chapter 16 of THE LOOK.

Also note the black with red piping bolero top worn in the latter half; this was one of the incredible creations of the sadly-departed Dinah Adams, who also worked for Granny Takes A Trip just down the road at 488 King’s Road.

 

//Dinah Adams, 1970: “A brilliant innovator.”// 

As former Granny’s owner and King’s Road scenester Gene Krell has said here before, Adams was “a gifted personality…a brilliant innovator who never got her due”. There are other London Aktuel segments – with more space-age bachelor pad music – featuring Biba, Laura Of London and Mary Quant.