Today THE LOOK was granted a sneak preview of some of the incredible exhibits to be featured in Rebel On The Row, the forthcoming exhibition celebrating the talents and legacy of the late Tommy Nutter.
Curated by Timothy Everest – who was a Nutter trainee (others include John Galliano) – and the FTM’s Dennis Nothdruft, the show centres on exhibits contributed by such Nutter clients as Mick Jagger, Elton John, Cilla Black and Justin de Villeneuve.
//John Lennon, Amanda Lear + George Harrison (in a Granny Takes A Trip jacket) at the launch of Apple Tailoring at 161 Kings Road, May 22, 1968. (c) Bill Zygmant//
Sex, Drugstores and Rock & Roll, which opens at Proud Chelsea next week, is a photographic exhibition chronicling the music + fashion scenes in the Kings Road from the 1960s to the 80s.
The show was sparked by the realisation among Proud staff that their premises at 161 Kings Road were occupied in the 60s by Dandie Fashions (which, as explained in this post, became The Beatles’ bespoke business Apple Tailoring under the stewardship of John Crittle in 1968).
//Second right: Lennon; far right: T.Rex manager/stylist Chelita Secunda.//
Over the last couple of years, the recession has inspired the return to popularity of utility clothing. As this cutting shows, the first British workwear wave occurred in the early 70s when a former Beatle’s penchant for denim coincided with the opening of Paradise Garage at 430 Kings Road.
In London local newspaper the Evening Standard, Janet Street-Porter described how fashionistas and music fans took their cue from John Lennon’s US-flag emblazoned bib & braces and flocked to Trevor Myles’ shop in World’s End for hickory stripe dungarees, Women’s Land Army overalls and second-hand Levi’s.
//David Bowie wears John Stephen on a modeling assignment with Jan De Souza in Kingly Street W1 for Fabulous 208, 1965. Photo: Fiona Adams//
//Up on the roof, central London 1967. Photo: Kenneth Pitt. //
//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.
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.
//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.//
//Rocking the Keith Relf look with The Manish Boys, 1965. Photo: Bob Solly//
//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.
//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.
//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.
//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).
//Any Day Now Limited Edition with signed Gerard Fearnley photograph.//
To find out more and order copies of the limited edition, click here.
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.
In this I aimed to join the dots between Elvis in the early 50s, The Beatles, Biba and Granny Takes A Trip in the 60s, through Bowie and McLaren & Westwood in the 70s and 80s and the rise of MTV to the music/fashion link-ups of today, including Liam Gallagher’s Pretty Green, Pixie Lott‘s ranges for Lipsy, and Lily Allen’s new venture Lucy In Disguise.
It seemed to go down well; I was really impressed with the number of teenagers who knew and owned copies of The Look.
The event also gave me an opportunity to plug faves such as Peggy Noland + Ssion and heartsrevolution. Who’s’s to know whether the audience members will take to heart the “Choose your own revolution” message but those I spoke to afterwards were certainly sussed to the fact that the high street is a dead-end.
Exuding Them-ness from every pore, the enduring exquisite Duggie Fields pointed out that Sex was “not fashionable…bits of furs, porno embroidered T-shirts and humorous clothes. My idea of clothes is to make myself smile. I like that in others too. I don’t think clothes should be serious.”
This is an aspect of the boutique which is all-too forgotten; that, behind the commitment, subversive art and anarchic politics, lurked the wit and laughter which underpinned the late McLaren’s life and work. This attracted a clientele which was in no way “punk”, despite the revisionism of recent years.
Long before SEX served up, er, sex from 430 King’s Road, Mr Freedom – which started out from the same premises – supplied clothes which fused a celebration of sexuality with a bedazzling take on pop art and trash culture iconography.
This was outlined in a May 1971 eight-page colour feature in short-lived men’s magazine Club delivered to us piping hot from the archive of our pal Steven Millington.
The report by the ever spot-on Michael Roberts with photographs by Mike Berkofsky pointed to the fashion-forward velvet hot-pants, bumster trousers, ice-cream brooches and Disney licensing by Freedom founder Tommy Roberts and partner Trevor Myles (who exited to establish Paradise Garage).
By the time the Club piece was published, Mr Freedom had been based at 20 Kensington Church Street for six months. It’s interesting to note the range included “Teddy Boy suits” (as well as boiler suits and “huge bovver boots”), presaging in part the stock at Let It Rock when the late Malcolm McLaren took over 430 King’s Road from Myles in November 1971.
As it happened, Mr Freedom did not last much more than a year in Kensington. Lack of financial controls and overheads including the cost of operating a warehouse spelled the end of the shop, which was superceded by City Lights Studio in Covent Garden.
Still, the Club article provides a superb showcase for Mr Freedom, highlighting such clothes as the skull-and-crossbones tee as worn by Marc Bolan and Freedom designers Jim O’Connor and Pamla Motown‘s wonderful and now highly collectible baseball suit.
Around the same time Michael Roberts took the opportunity to include Roberts and Myles in a separate Club piece on six of London’s leading auto-fiends, Tommy with his pillar-box red V8 Pilot and Trevor with the Paradise Garage Mustang tiger-striped and flocked by Electric Colour Co.
We’re really grateful to Steven M for thinking of THE LOOK as the place to showcase these fantastic editorial pages; check out his alter-ego Lord Dunsby’s sterling retrographic illustrative work here.
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.
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.
“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.
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:
The publication of veteran music critic Nick Kent’s new memoir Apathy For The Devil brings to mind the first serious attempt by the UK music press to acknowledge the vital relationship between fashion and popular music.
//Page 20, NME, April 6, 1974//
Headed “The Politics Of Flash”, Kent’s article in the New Musical Express in the spring of 1974 is a crucial snapshot of a scene at an important transitionary stage: the theatrical costumery of such fol-de-rols as Gary Glitter, Elton John and Queen is about to give way to the shock of the new being rolled out by the likes of Malcolm McLaren and Antony Price.
Just six days prior to publication date Television played their first CBGBs gig, setting up a scene which would lure McLaren to New York and on return help focus his working relationship with young customers Steve Jones and his mates in The Strand.
The fetish gear was already in stock, though the pink rubber Sex sign was yet to be erected and the store awaited installation of the”gymnasium” interior by carpenter Vick Mead.
In fact McLaren told Kent he has just decided against an extremely long new name. This was to have been a quote from a pornographic magazine which turned up on a number of garment labels: “The dirty stripper who left her UNDIES on the railings to go hitchhiking said you don’t THINK I have stripped all these years just for MONEY do you?””
//Antony Price: “My ideal rock band would be four Amanda Lears.”//
Kent simultaneously ended the relationship and Hynde’s employment at the shop by attacking her on the premises over a perceived infidelity.
//Chrissie Hynde & Nick Kent in Sex threads, 1974. Photo: Joe Stevens//
He then wove the incident into a forlorn NME review of a solo album by Van der Graaf Generator’s frontman Peter Hammill.
//The Rock Taylor team: “The Sweet spend £1,000 a month on clothes.”//
The Politics Of Flash is thoroughgoing, taking in Freddie Burretti’s design relationship with David Bowie (though Burretti declined to be interviewed), Ossie Clark‘s with Mick Jagger and Annie Reavey‘s creation of flamboyant stagewear for Elton John.
//Annie Reavey: “Elton approaches garments as artworks.”//
Mr Freedom, City Lights Studio and Alkasura are all name-checked and the Rock Taylor quartet – Geoff Clark, ex-Alkasura Jean Seel (later Boy George’s landlady), Graham Springett and Keith Hartley – discuss their customers The Sweet. Meanwhile former Ruskin’s designer Julian Kraker says that he believes his clients Slade are “to the 70s what the Stones were to the 60s”.
//Gene Krell: “The kids have always started the rock fashion ball rolling.”//
At Granny Takes A Trip (where Kent has since acknowledged he regularly scored heroin), co-owner Gene Krell was forthright about the shop’s role for such regular clients as Keith Richards and Ron Wood. “We’re not dealing in fashion…that’s a bunch of crap!” he told Kent. “We have our own style which is nothing to do with good taste. Our clothes are very proletarian, very, very reactionary against English provincialism.”
Our partner in Priceless, Antony Price, sums up the inertia which gripped mid-70s London. The man who, within four years, would be operating amazing King’s Road outlet Plaza, told Kent: “We’re all so shrouded by this spectre of the swinging 60s. There’s no such thing as futuristic fashion in England. It’s all dead and there aren’t even any decent clubs for them to show off the extent of their decay.”
THANKS are due to the world’s greatest music journalism resource, rocksbackpages.com, for providing us with this vital item from their incredible archive. Visit it now.
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?
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.
This evening’s launch of Kirsty Hislop and Dominic Lutyens’ estimable 70s Style & Design provides an opportunity to show off a couple of rare photos we’ve gathered from one of the places which receives extensive coverage in the book: the pioneering boutique Mr Freedom.
//Snapped at the Mr Freedom Kensington opening party, 1970. Top in hat: Pamla Motown//
The above shot of scenesters and fashion movers and shakers was taken at the opening party of the Mr Freedom branch at 20 Kensington Church Street in December 1970. From left they are: Micky Solomons, Mona (Solomons’ girlfriend at the time), and Ken and Pam Todd.
Top, in the hat, is designer Pamla Motown and we’re reliably informed that Ken Todd’s jacket was from Cockell & Johnson.
The shot has been supplied to us by Trevor Myles, who co-founded Mr Freedom with Tommy Roberts; not long after the Kensington store opened, they went their separate ways. Myles returned to the site of the original shop, 430 King’s Road, and relaunched that as Paradise Garage.
//Mr Freedom, 430 King’s Road, 1969: Trevor Myles, Tommy Roberts, John Paul and Gerald Tilling//
The first Mr Freedom was opened by Myles and Roberts in 1968, taking over the premises from Michael Rainey’s Hung On You.
Decorated by Electric Colour Company, one of its notable faces was flamboyant manager Gerald Tilling, while Roberts’ friend John Paul was brought in ahead of the move to the more ambitious store in Kensington.
//Pop art is covered from Allan Jones to Jon Wealleans’ design for the Mr Feed’Em restaurant//
Mr Freedom, Paradise Garage and Pamla Motown (in particular her association with fellow designer Jim O’Connor) all feature in the new book which is illustrated with 430 images, many rare.
//The vintage boom begins, featuring (centre) Anna Piaggi and Vern Lambert//
Hislop and Lutyens have covered the waterfront, checking for everyone from Swanky Modes, Fiorucci and Johnsons to Nova, the back to nature movement and radical architecture.
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