Archive for the Celebrity category

Mark Powell + Berluti Bespoke = sartorial splendour

Soho tailor Mark Powell is celebrating his association with shoemaker Berluti tonight (October 30) with a show which will surely deliver lashings of sartorial splendour.

Sharing a focus on traditionalism with a flamboyant and sometimes surreal edge, Berluti and Mark are made for each other. As detailed in THE LOOK, Mark has carved out a niche for himself as a truly independent figure in British fashion, whose tough, dandy aesthetic is often imitated but never bettered.

 

//Mark Powell menswear// 

Berluti meanwhile draws on a heritage going back to 1885 when bootmaker Allessandro Berluti left Italy for Paris, where he opened his first shop in Rue de Mont Thabor in 1928. 

 

//Mark Powell womenswear from his last show// 

His niece Olga continues the family line. Olga is noted for the ready-to-wear range inspired by a conversation with Andy Warhol; the great American pop artist once asked her to design footwear with visible patches.

 

//Mark in his Soho studio. Photo: Chris Clunn// 

Mark’s shows are always an event, with friends – either high-profile or faces-about-town – mingling with professional models on the catwalk.

Tonight’s event takes place at Berluti’s Conduit Street shop. All the tickets have gone but we’ll make sure that we post an image-heavy report soon.

Dudley Edwards: Pop art visionary

Tonight (October 29) sees the opening of an exciting exhibition celebrating the work of pop art visionary Dudley Edwards.

 

A Journey Into Vision & Sound at Liverpool’s Parr Street Studios investigates Edwards’ portfolio in the 60s, including his membership of groundbreaking design team Binder Edwards & Vaughan.

 

//Dandie Fashions, 161 King’s Road, Chelsea, 1967// 

BEV’s psychedelic murals adorned boutiques such as Dandie Fashions in the King’s Road and Lord John in Carnaby Street.

 

//Carnaby Street postcard, Lord John left, 1967// 

Outside of the BEV umbrella and under the guise of “OM Tentacle” (in conjunction with Mike McInnerney), Edwards was also responsible for the swooping serpent which formed the frontage of infamous Chelsea hangout, the Dragon Cafe.

 

The Dandie Fashions’ commission is significant; the shop exterior was decorated in lavish style for owner Tara Browne and manager John Crittle.

Just a few weeks back Big Biba designer Steve Thomas told THE LOOK that, as a student at nearby Chelsea College of Art, he was drafted in to paint the straight lines (as Edwards points out, the BEV team were more than capable of completing their own straight lines but the scale of the job required assistance from a number of students).

Edwards has related that when the team worked through the night they were often visited by intrigued local Eduardo Paolozzi.

Browne was on his way to view progress on the exterior when he died in a car crash in December 1966. This of course became one of the inspirations for the narrative of the Sgt Pepper track A Day In The Life.

 

//Left: BEV Cobra and Buick. Right: Poster for The Million Volt Light And Sound Rave// 

BEV also decorated interiors for Lord Snowdon, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, along with a stunning array of furniture and cars. In fact it was Edwards who painted McCartney’s piano; he lived with the Beatle for six months. “I wrote Getting Better on my magic Binder Edwards & Vaughan piano,” said McCartney recently. “Of course the way in which it was painted added to the fun of it all.”

This association led to McCartney contributing The Beatles’ experimental and still unreleased electronic track Carnival Of Light to BEV’s multi-media extravaganza The Million Volt Light And Sound Rave at London’s The Roundhouse on January 28, 1967.  

 

//Left: BEV with Tara Browne (back centre) 1966. Photo: musicpictures.com. Right: Dudley Edwards painting Paul McCartney’s piano 1967//

The Cobra is featured in this 1966 Pathe newsreel about BEV’s work shot at Robert Fraser‘s gallery at 69 Duke Street, Mayfair; that’s Browne sitting proudly in the car as it is hauled through the gallery window.

These days Doug Binder is curator at art centre Dean Clough in Halifax while David Vaughan (who was actress Sadie Frost’s father) died aged 58 in 2003.   

Dudley Edwards operates design company Amazed Ltd with his wife Madeleine, creating fabulous rugs and wall hangings for a variety of clients, from Tori Amos to Hugh Grant. 

Edwards will be at tonight’s opening event at Parr Street Studios which includes a DJ set from Will Sergeant of Echo & The Bunnymen.

Invites are RSVP only; the exhibition is on until November 30.

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.

Hot Diggity Hogg!

Just a couple of snaps which illustrate the sense of occasion created by Pam Hogg at last night’s showcase of her S/S 10 collection in the On/Off space occupying the car park underneath Somerset House during London Fashion Week.

 

//Alice Dellal models, Duggie Fields watches// 

With Pam’s signature geometric patterned Lycra designs being worn by everybody from Kanye West’s muse Amber Rose to Katie White of the Ting Tings, her deep musical roots and connections were underscored by the presence of Boy GeorgeRoisin MurphySiouxsie SuePaul Simonon, and Bobby Gillespie along with such friends and fans from Duggie Fields and Philip Sallon  to Kate Moross.

 

//Anouck Lepere in Pam Hogg bodysuit//

These photos – taken by Mrs G using her phone, she insists you know – hopefully convey the flavour of the event, which was accompanied by dry ice and a suitably bombastic soundtrack provided by the peerless Andrew Weatherall.

Viva La Hogg!

Anita Pallenberg – high priestess of rock chic

//Anita Pallenberg on the set of Barbarella, 1967//

One of THE LOOK’s most popular posts is based on an exclusive interview conducted a couple of years back with the high priestess of rock chic Anita Pallenberg.

 

The last month or so has seen an influx of new visitors and subscribers to our site, so here’s a refreshed and re-edited chance to appreciate this bewitching figure whose combination of innate style, fashion-savviness and earthy sexuality brought Continental sophistication to Swinging London and turned it on its head.

 

//German press coverage of her appearance in Mord Und Totschlag// 

Gawky gamins and dolly-birds melted into insignificance in the presence of the impressive 21-year-old who arrived on the scene in 1965 having already studied graphic design in her native Rome, assisted Vogue photographer Gianni Penati and modelled in Paris.

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=_57zXQL5MFY">http://youtube.com/watch?v=_57zXQL5MFY</a>

Nobody’s pet, her relationships with Brian Jones and Keith Richards added to her allure, as did appearances in such epoch-defining movies as Barbarella and Performance.

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=8iO-XRdChLM">http://youtube.com/watch?v=8iO-XRdChLM</a> 

All the while Pallenberg’s natural grace was accentuated by effortless merging of vintage pieces with the work of such giants as Ossie Clark and the crowd around Emmerton & Lambert and Granny Takes A Trip.

Through the 70s to this day, Pallenberg has embodied rock & roll chic – much emulated, never bettered.

 

The conversation below focused on the King’s Road in 1967 for a piece for Mojo magazine.Not that Anita was remotely interested in dwelling on the past; she was buzzed about visiting Karl Lagerfeld in Paris the next day, her interest in photography, the bargains to be found in charity shops, how the High Street chains are Carnaby Street reincarnated, and her thoughts on launching a new collection based on the MA show from her studies at Saint Martins in the 90s.

 

//Anita and I at THE LOOK’s event at Port Elio LitFest 2007// 

With her friend Anna Sui Pallenberg also participated in THE LOOK’s rock & roll event at the Port Eliot LitFest; it was an honour to give her a vintage Vive Le Rock tee, which she wore with customary élan.

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=fuc3JGAwom8">http://youtube.com/watch?v=fuc3JGAwom8</a>

Pallenberg is said to have suggested not only the samba beat for Sympathy For the Devil but also the “woo-hoo” backing chorus; in the clip above from Jean Luc-Godard’s movie of the same name she’s joining in dressed in a long cape. Pallenberg said that one of these nights she’ll DJ at a LOOK club-night. Having seen her move in person (after all it was she who taught Mick Jagger to salsa and mambo) we can’t wait!

So, where were you in 67?

I was living all over the place, sometimes in hotels with Keith, but I was hardly in London, because I was working a lot. That was my big year as an actress. I was making Barbarella in Rome, and then my German film (Volker Schlondorff’s Mord Und Totschlag aka A Degree Of Murder, for which Pallenberg’s former partner Brian Jones contributed the score).

 

Where did you shop for clothes?

We’d go to places like Emmerton & Lambert in the Antiques Market, Hung On You and Granny’s. I wasn’t into Mary Quant; she was too middle of the road, and that mod, op-art thing wasn’t really for me. And Biba was too big. I wasn’t into that very English look. In Italy we’d always had salsa, the mamba, all those Latin dances which gave me a different feel for things, so my style was fedoras, belts, little 20s jackets, lace that I’d collected. If I wore mini-skirts I’d have them made by Granny’s. We’d try on clothes and have a joint in the back. Granny’s was very small, just two rooms, so everyone knew each other.

 

//Anita, Keith Richards, Gram Parsons, and Gretchen Burrell, Villa Nellcote, 1971. Photo: Dominique Tarle// 

How did you feel when the “peasant look” (the rock & roll gypsy style created by Pallenberg’s combination of antique clothing and scarves with handmade belts and boots) was revived a couple of years ago by Sienna Miller et al?

I just felt: ‘Where we you were all those year ago?!’ It all seemed a little late. I was always obsessed with clothes, but of a particular sort. I’d modelled in Paris in 63, 64 and the first time I was paid I went straight out and bought a snakeskin Marlon Brando-style motorcycle jacket in the Champs-Elysees. The second time I bought the second-hand red fox fur coat which is in Performance. I’d wear that to modelling jobs with just my underwear, boots and a bag because you couldn’t leave your clothes lying around. The other models would steal them!

 

//Early 60s modelling assignment// 

You didn’t mind wearing fur?

I had a ratty fake mink coat I wore to a gig by Hendrix somewhere on Chelsea Embankment. I went with (art dealer and member of the Stones inner circle) Robert Fraser. I couldn’t tell Keith; he wouldn’t have liked it at all. As we left Robert, gentleman that he was, picked up my coat from the cloakroom. I wore it for a couple of days and thought it was a bit tight before I realised he’d picked up the wrong coat, a real mink!

 

What was it like going back to college (Pallenberg studied textiles at Central Saint Martins in the early 90s)?

I loved it. One of my favourite fabrics is devore (printed velvet and satin) and so I did my collection for my finals in that. It’s really hard work because the process is so intense but I loved it. There’s a Michael Cooper photograph of Marianne (Faithfull) in a devore dress, which she probably nicked from me! We used to nick from each other all the time because they were all one-off pieces.

 

//Keith Richards and Anita Pallenberg, 1975. Photo: Getty Images//

What was Ossie Clark like?

He was a nasty piece of work, a trouble-maker. If he came to Cheyne Walk, he’d be so unbearable we had to throw him out. And he was like that till the end. He was backstage at a Stones concert a couple of years before he died (in 1996, murdered by his psychotic lover Diego Cogolato) and he was so loud, unpleasant and arrogant we had to throw him out again!

 

//Shoot for Italian Glamour magazine, 1994// 

What didn’t you like about the scene?

I remember walking down the Kings Road one time and everybody seemed to be on acid. There were kids running around with no shoes on their feet. I’m Italian; the last thing you’d do is go barefoot. Shoes are a status symbol, the first thing you get. Everybody in Rome walks around discussing shoes. I had my boots made for me back home, so I thought it was very weird.

 

//At Vivienne Westwood’s London Fashion Week show, 1998. Daughter-in-law Lucie de la Falaise far left// 

You weren’t really a hippie then?

No. Definitely not. Even though I was away in America for much of the 70s, when punk came along and Vivienne (Westwood) and Malcolm (McLaren) were making those wonderful rubber clothes I felt much more in tune with them.

 

Certain images have been sourced from the Anita Pallenberg archive on Multiply. We have attempted to credit where possible. Copyright owners please contact us regarding credit.

The tits tee: 40-year odyssey of a design classic

One of our most popular posts is also one of the earliest: The strange and intriguing story of the ‘tits tee’.

Who would have thought this single article of clothing would contain such a legacy?

Maybe it speaks of the universal breast fixation, but the fact is that this design – at once simple and complex – continues its journey from art project to novelty item to radical fashion apparel and eventually to 21st century art object.

Along the way this tale absorbs such disparate elements as Rhode Island School Of Design, Oz magazine, Bourbon Street, the King’s Road, Alice Cooper, the LA Free Press and Forum in the 70s, The Face in the mid-80s, the late lamented model, boutique owner and novelist Pat Booth, the implosion of the New York Dolls and the rise of the Sex Pistols, the Met’s Anglomania exhibition of 2006 and much, much more.

//Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones keeps ’em hid in Seditionaries version, Sweden, 1977. Photo: Dennis Morris//

Imponderables abound; the stock of the first edition produced for a college yearbook in 1969 was stolen by persons unknown, which maybe account for the variations down the years.

The final mystery is that nobody can remember the name of the original model.

A room-mate of the students who came up with the concept, like the Mona Lisa she has receded into history leaving not an enigmatic smile but a pair of perfectly formed breasts to entrance forever.

Look upon the following and learn:

Part 1: It came from Rhode Island

Part 2: Wonder Workshop’s wonderful breasts

Part 3: SEX & The Tits Tee

This is THE LOOK’s three part three-part special, based on testimony supplied exclusively by the key protagonists, presenting rarely seen images and previously unpublished and updated interviews and information for the first time anywhere, ever.

Enjoy!

Part 2: Wonder Workshop’s wonderful breasts

“Ideas evolve and the artwork develops as you draw more from life,” says John Dove, who, with his wife and Wonder Workshop partner Molly White, was tuning into the zeitgeist at exactly the same time as the Gottwalds across the Atlantic.

 

//Photomontage of late Victorian pin-ups for shirt print, John Dove and Molly White, 1967// 

“In 1966 I’d made some drawings of Brigitte Bardot wearing a topless dress, and the following year we’d produced photomontage shirts of early 20th century pin-ups,” explains John. “And in 1968, prior to making the breasts screen-print, I’d drawn and montaged about 20 breasts images for a poster printed as part of OZ magazine no.12 with Barney Bubbles and a host of other artists.”

  

//Brigitte Bardot in topless dress 1966/Front cover Marshmallow Pie, Graham Lord, 1970. Both John Dove//

In 1969 John and Molly came up with the notion of Painless Tattoos; a series of prints on garments manufactured from sheer material.

“When I was delivering drawings to Nova I often talked to the fashion editor Caroline Baker about the tattoos, which she loved,” says John.

 

//Existence Is Unhappiness, OZ 12/Detail of breasts drawn by John Dove, May 1968//

“Honey magazine published a small piece of reportage in December 1969 and photographer James Wedge was in the Nova office with his portfolio one week around that time; he showed some interest in stocking the tattoo clothes for the shop he owned with his girlfriend Pat Booth, Countdown in the King’s Road.”

 

//Painless Tattoo photospread, Nova, April 1970// 

Booth was one of the key movers and shakers of the 60s and beyond, escaping a tough East End childhood to first become a successful model and then boutique owner before carving an international reputation as an author. Sadly she succumbed to cancer just a couple of months ago.

Nova showcased the Painless Tattoo collection in it’s April 1970 issue with photographs of Booth by Wedge. Around this time Wedge also photographed Booth’s torso for a new idea of John and Molly’s; the breasts shirt. 

 

//Pat Booth’s torso by James Wedge, 1970// 

“It was a natural progression on the trompe de l’oeil effect of the tattoos,” says John. “We printed it on an ecru jersey T-shirt, using the underwear manufacturer Morley, which made cotton and silk shirts made for the armed forces.”We also printed some sleeveless versions on vests by Invicta. The breasts were printed with a basic mono black and a fine blue tint and there were some sepia versions too. At the same time we did a short edition of prints on paper which Peter Bird purchased the prints for an Arts Council exhibition.”

Soon Countdown was stocking the breasts shirt and John and Molly also supplied a couple of stores in New York and continental Europe, though it likely that a maximum of 40 were ever made. 

“In 1971 we produced the T-shirt with a black back but we couldn’t persuade Trevor Myles to stock it at Paradise Garage,” says John. 

More interest was shown a couple of years later by Myles’ successors at 430 King’s Road, Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren, who visited John and Molly’s studio in Villiers Road, Willesden, north-west London in 1974 as they prepared the transition of the shop from Too Young To Live Too Fast To Die to SEX by researching the underground sex and fetish clothes market.  

 

//Trevor Myles receives a ticket outside Paradise Garage 1971. Pic: David Parkinson// 

“This was a little after Malcolm had returned from Paris, hanging out on the New York Dolls‘ European tour,” says John. “Malcolm looked a different kind of rocker from before: the Teddy Boy drape had given way to a blousey jacket and scarf, the Cockney accent had gone and he was wearing cuban high-heeled shoes. By then the Teddy Boy scene had backfired.

“We talked about sex clothing and the overlapping images of pornography and art. Vivienne said how they had found all these people making fabulous clothes for fetishists – an entire industry out there running under the surface which they wanted to bring into the open.

“Up until the late 60s, sex fetish clothing was still taboo but the ice was now wearing thin.”

John says that Westwood liked the Wonder Workshop Lips and Leopardskin Pin-up T-shirts.”But we couldn’t agree on a shape, a pattern or a label,” he adds. “We insisted that we could only supply T-shirts with our own labels. Then Malcolm noticed the breasts print on the wall and asked when we did it so we told him the Countdown story. Malcolm liked it and declared he was gonna do it.”

The quartet also discussed another T-shirt John had seen in Portobello Road earlier that year “like the one that Charlie Watts had worn on the cover of The Stones’ Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out!“.

 

//Molly in the Kitsch-22 breasts & tattoos tee 1977/From BOY Blackmail catalogue 1981//

In the event SEX did not carry the Wonder Workshop designs and John and Molly relaunched the breasts shirt with their shop Kitsch-22 in 1977, combining it with an overprint of their eagle & snake tattoo (which was reissued last year as part of their range for The Look Presents).

This was also included in BOY’s mail order range Blackmail in the early 80s.

 

//From BOY Blackmail catalogue 1981//

“When M&V visited us in the autumn of 1974, it wasn’t purely a social visit – it was business,” stresses John. “I’m certain they hadn’t seen a tits t-shirt before that and even if they had, they hadn’t considered producing one. 

“Whatever the historical facts, all the novelty genre tits t-shirts in the world may have gone completely unnoticed had Malcolm and Vivienne not made that souvenir t-shirt their own. Lets face it – its a work of art! End of story!”

But the story doesn’t end there – in the next and final chapter Malcolm McLaren explains for the first time the exact circumstances of his discovery of the print and we look at how it remains as a high-end fashion item/art statement to this day.

Part 3: SEX & The Tits Tee

As John Dove points out, it took Malcolm McLaren’s unique combination of commercial nous and artistic insurrection to conduct a Dr Frankenstein and bring the tits tee back from the novelty graveyard for resurrection as a vital fashion statement.

//Steve Jones wears his tits with pride, 1976. Pic: Joe Stevens//

In  the spring of 1975 McLaren found himself far away from home. The previous year he had overseen the transformation of 430 Kings Road into Sex, aided by his design partner Vivienne Westwood with creative input from friends including Bernie Rhodes and Gerry Goldstein and the practical help of Vick Mead, a master carpenter he had chanced upon in his south London neighbourhood of Clapham.

//430 King’s Road, London SW3, 1975. Pic: Peter Schlesinger//

When the shop was open again McLaren had upped sticks across the Atlantic to work with the New York Dolls, but, as documented extensively elsewhere, their combined and gargantuan drink and drug habits mitigated against any hope of commercial resuscitation.

A final series of dates in the south had resulted in the collapse of the group. “The Dolls had broken up in Florida in a drunken, drug-induced frenzy, and left me with just two assets: a Les Paul guitar and a convertible car,” says McLaren.

“From the swamps of a trailer park I sped with the guitarist Sylvain Sylvain to the Big Easy.

//McLaren wades in at the Nashville Rooms, April, 1976. Pic: Joe Stevens//

“There, on Bourbon Street, I found the sexiest t-shirt of all, one with a blue print of a pair of perfect-sized tits so as to transform the wearer, man or woman. This t-shirt was purchased in what you would consider today some kind of little tourist boutique.”

//Anarchy In The Eighties, The Face, February 1986. Photograph: Nick Knight//

“I remember the shop clearly; it was opposite a house in which, on the second-floor window, there was an open curtain. Every 10 seconds a girl on a swing traversed the street in mid-air, her legs wide to an open crotch, and then back through the window and the curtain closed; it was a knocking shop and she was advertising the wares.”

Suitably impressed, McLaren included the tee in the haul he took back to London a couple of weeks later.

//Sex in Forum, June, 1976. Photographs: David Parkinson//

Reprinted, mainly in blue on white, and worn by rebellious teenagers of both sexes, it was to become a staple during the Sex Pistols’ rise after the line-up coalesced in August that year.

Guitarist Steve Jones and drummer Paul Cook were early adopters; Jones can be seen wearing it in the 1976 Forum magazine photoshoot on Sex and in photographs from many of the Pistols live performances.

Jones also makes sure that it is on full view during the epochal encounter with Bill Grundy on Thames TV’s magazine show Today in December 1976.

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=p25SdQEnhHI">http://youtube.com/watch?v=p25SdQEnhHI</a>

Thereafter it was worn by such SEX shoppers as Siouxsie Sue and was reproduced throughout the 80s by the likes of BOY and Kensington Market‘s Pure Sex, who provided the design for a Nick Knight-shot celebration of the 10th anniversary of punk in The Face in February 1986.

Siouxsie Sue in her tits tee, 1977/ 666 version 2009//

It is still available, officially in a number of colourways from Westwood, or unofficially via such repro companies as 666.

//Westwood MAN and Anglomania tees//

Four decades after this strange design was innocently produced for an art school project, the tits tee is more popular than ever, though there is something beautiful about the fact that it doesn’t look likely we’ll ever know whose breasts they were originally.

“The model lived downstairs from us in Providence,” says Laura Gottwald. “I forgot her name.”

Beyond Biba: Primark gaff underlines film’s flaws

The combination earlier this month of the premiere of new documentary Beyond Biba and a Q&A with founder Barbara Hulanicki at the V&A provided an intriguing – though ultimately unsatisfying – evening out.

Louis Price’s film covers all the bases in outlining Hulanicki’s extraordinary rise, succeeding where others have failed by encouraging this charming enigma to open up on film.

Illuminating about the challenging circumstances of Hulanicki’s upbringing in Palestine (her father was assassinated by the Stern Gang in 1948, prompting the family flight to austere Britain), Beyond Biba is underpinned by original footage demonstrating Hulanicki and her late husband Stephen “Fitz” Fitz-Simon’s radical approach to 60s retailing (as detailed in Chapter 14 of THE LOOK).

 

//Window at Big Biba. Design: Steve Thomas//

However, potentially uncomfortable areas are side-stepped, despite the input of such astute and entertaining commentators as Hulanicki’s friend Molly Parkin.

The environmental legacy of Hulanicki’s lifelong championing of “disposable” clothing (manifested as recently as 1996 in the New York boutique Fitz-Fitz) is not addressed, while Biba’s collectability – where much affection for Hulanicki resides – is brushed aside in the briefest of contributions from a fan. Presumably the subject wasn’t too keen for the film to dwell overlong on the past.

 

//Twiggy at Big Biba, 1973//

In routine fashion the blame for the brand’s collapse in 1975 is laid entirely at the door of property partners British Land.

There is no doubt that these were unsympathetic, divisive and non-creative backers, but this argument does not allow for the fact that the extravagance of the final phase as “Big Biba” was fatally out of synch with the prevailing mood of the times, and, as such, represented a lack of engagement with the cultural impact of such seismic events as the oil crisis, the three-day week and rampant industrial and social strife.

As Peter York wrote in the aftermath: “The mass market came to Big Biba, but only to look.”

 

Hereafter, Beyond Biba’s narrative jumps more than a decade to 1987, when Hulanicki and her family started life anew in Miami; no mention is made of the shop in Sao Paolo, the launch of the cosmetics brand nor the several unsuccessful attempts to revive Biba without her involvement.

Despite it’s title, Beyond Biba provides an insight as sketchy as Hulanicki’s fashion drawings into what she has achieved since then, with cursory and confusing coverage of the high-end interior design work for such patrons as Island Records founder Chris Blackwell.

 <a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=5t7hUvyZt8Y">http://youtube.com/watch?v=5t7hUvyZt8Y</a>

//Hulanicki-designed hotels in The Birdcage credits//

Blackwell is mentioned, but not one of his dozen or so boutique hotel commissions, nor those for any other client beyond Ronnie Wood (who is grabbed for a 30-second chat on the street outside a London exhibition of Hulanicki drawings) is presented or dissected.

Meanwhile the disconnect between Hulanicki’s avowed interest in “democratic” fashion (IE: well-produced clothing invested with design value and available at low price points) and her work on these outrageously luxurious and exclusive commissions looms large.

The film passes in a succession of perfectly pleasant though hardly gripping interludes involving Hulanicki chatting in her office, walking the Miami streets snapping Polaroids of Deco architecture and preparing for the aforesaid exhibition. Much is made of the attendance at the private view by Wood and his wife Jo, Kate Moss and Twiggy (who declares Hulanicki our greatest living fashion designer).

During the Q&A (conducted by the ever-impressive Hilary Alexander; somebody give her a chat show now) Hulanicki appeared genuinely excited about her Topshop collaboration, yet – and this is possibly due to her shy and retiring nature – delivered a series of faux-pas which left sections of the largely female and middle-aged audience distinctly unimpressed.

Asked by a visibly nervous former customer whether she would consider making clothes for women in their 60s, Hulanicki misinterpreted this as call for designs for the fuller figure and abruptly told her “to stop putting things in your mouth; that’s my doctor’s advice”.

A male fan’s query about Biba’s little documented menswear range was swatted in similarly peremptory style.

 

//The Angry Brigade announce the Biba bombing, IT, 1971//

Another audience member wanted to know what Hulanicki considered her contribution to have been to women’s liberation in the 60s. She responded by pointing out that The Angry Brigade had bombed her Kensington store in 1971 in a statement against consumerism.

“So that’s where politics got me,” Hulanicki announced.

Finally Hulanicki sparked hostility by declaring that her favourite fashion force is Primark “because you can buy a whole bunch of their flip-flops for £2 each and then throw them away when you’re done”.

When she was dressed down for the irresponsibility of such remarks by one audience member, Alexander bravely intervened with some damage limitation about the cheap clothing chain now addressing sustainability and labour issues. The evening was then brought to a close.

There is a great deal of goodwill, particularly among women young and old,  towards this fashion figurehead, one who has not only survived but blossomed in several areas of design against many odds, not least the relatively early death of her husband and partner in 1997.

Yet there were dark mutterings as we filed out; the impression lingers that the film and it’s subject have failed to cater to the intellectual curiosity and increasingly responsible requirements of contemporary fashion consumers of all ages.

Mick’s Rock & Roll Library back in action

Mick Jones’ Rock & Roll Public Library has re-opened at a new venue for the next few weeks.

The installation/collection was unveiled at Chelsea Space a few months back, but at 2 Acklam Road (fittingly right underneath the Westway) the new manifestation has a more orderly, “curated” feel, with the lock-up flavour replaced by dedicated sections for Jones’ voluminous collections of clothes, magazines, books, equipment, games and all manner of knick-knacks as well as new additions such as Mick’s “office” and a rehearsal studio.

Also up for grabs is the most excellent comic Tales From The Rock & Roll Library, a collaboration between Jones and artist Crispin Chetwynd.

In a reversal of the usual routine, we contributed a couple of tomes to the library: The Look, naturally, and Reasons To Be Cheerful, which features contributions from Jones’ spar Tony James.

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=0au5VfT0OO0">http://youtube.com/watch?v=0au5VfT0OO0</a>

Can’t wait to see how this project progresses; it’s great to see Jones’s “stuff” positioned dead-centre of the Clashman’s – cliche coming this way – “spiritual heartland”.

Get along if you can.

THE LOOK in the LA Times

THE LOOK is featured in the LA Times’ spotlight on South Paradiso Leather new store on Sunset.

 

//South Paradiso exterior +Romulus von Stezelberger. Photos:  Ricardo DeAratanha/LA Times//

Read Booth Moore’s article here and our previous coverage of South Paradiso here.

Ossie Clark’s own snakeskin jacket found?

Here’s yet another exciting exclusive from THE LOOK: images of what is claimed to be not only a snakeskin jacket designed by Ossie Clark – the world’s most collectible post-war fashion designer – but worn by him in a famous photograph taken in July 1970.

//Front view (c) THE LOOK 2009//

Interest in original designs by Clark – who died in near-penury at the hands of his psychotic lover in 1996 – has boomed over the last decade, stoked by exhibitions including a V&A retrospective and referencing by Kate Moss in her collections for Topshop (for whom his former partner Celia Birtwell also designs).

Last year witnessed Marc Worth’s relaunch of the Ossie Clark label, with which Birtwell is not associated. Although this has been greeted with a decidedly mixed reception, the appetite for original clothing remains unabated.

And now THE LOOK has been contacted by the owner of a zippered python skin “rocker” jacket who presents a convincing case that it is the very same garment as in the photograph below. This is Birtwell’s favourite photograph of her late partner.

//Ossie Clark 1970. Pic: Hulton Getty//

“I was living in London in the early to mid-70s and given the jacket by a friend who told me it once belonged to Mick Jagger,” says  the owner. “Knowing my friend that was feasible. When I looked at the photograph I saw that it is the EXACT same jacket that Ossie is wearing.”

//Label (c) THE LOOK 2009//

The owner – who is contemplating selling it – says the jacket is in excellent condition: “The leather is soft and not cracked, and all the zips work. Only the lining is slightly worn.” It measures 28in from shoulder to hem at the front and 27.5in at the back. The length from shoulder to cuff is 22.5in.

//Back view; front detail (c) THE LOOK 2009//

Artist Peter Schlesinger wears a python jacket made by Clark to the same design on the cover of his photographic memoir of the late 60s and early 70s Checkered Past.

 

//Schlesinger on the Checkered Past cover in his Ossie python  jacket, Los Angeles 1969//

The owner of the jacket in the photographs we are publishing today is adamant: “The one on Peter is the same design, but I’m convinced mine is the one worn by Ossie. I’ve studied it carefully.”

As recounted in Chapter 15 of THE LOOK, Clark introduced his fitted leather rocker jackets in 1966 in stark contrast to the effortlessly feminine attire for which he became best known. That year, Clark recalled in his diaries, he chanced upon rolls of python and watersnake in a “Dickensian”warehouse; the skins had lain untouched for 20 years.

Among the first articles he made from the material was a suit for Linda Keith , who modeled it for Clark in London on April 14, 1967 as part of his presentation of his A/W 67 collection alongside Chrissie Shrimpton, Suki Poitier, (whose ensemble included a snakeskin bodice) and Annie Abroux (wearing a black leather biker jacket with matching cap).

 

//Linda Keith, Chrissie Shrimpton, Suki Poitier and Annie Abroux, 1967. Pic: Hulton Getty//

Clark created his snakeskin clothes from diagonal strips, and the watersnake was dyed while those made out of python appeared in natural hues of grey/blue and brown. “The biker jackets were in a lot of different colours and materials,” says Celia Birtwell in THE LOOK . “They were absolutely beautiful.”

//Keith Richards in Ossie Clark snakeskin jacket with Charlie Watts, Sticky Fingers, 1971//

Clark’s music connections went every which way, particularly with the Rolling Stones and their circle including Anita Pallenberg and Marianne Faithfull.

Brian Jones intermittently lived above Quorum – the Chelsea boutique which launched Clark’s career – and introduced bandmate Keith Richards to the designer’s printed satins and skin-tight jewel-coloured trousers. Richards wears a Clark-designed black snakeskin rocker jacket in the photographic insert with the original vinyl release of Sticky Fingers.

Clark was such a firm friend of the ousted Stone that they spoke on the day that Jones drowned in his swimming pool, July 3, 1969.

Clark was also backstage at the free concert the Stones gave in Hyde Park a few days later, and he collaborated with Mick Jagger on performance clothes, including the diabolic black cape worn by the Stones’ frontman at Altamont in 1969 and the skin-tight studded jumpsuits for the notoriously drug-addled 1972 tour of the US.

Inquiries about the Ossie Clark python jacket featured here should be made in the first instance to THE LOOK.

 

Pam Hogg riding high

Pam Hogg‘s re-entry into retail with a pop-up shop in Soho’s Newburgh Street – just a few doors away from the premises she inhabited in the thoroughfare in the late 80s and early 90s –  looks like a more enduring prospect than the four weeks it will remain open. 

//Outside 9 Newburgh Street on Tuesday night. Pic: Susie Bubble//

There is no doubt that the pop-up shop represents consolidation of the hard work Pam has put in over recent years re-establishing her name as a formidable fashion force (as covered in Chapter 30 of THE LOOK).

//Pippa Brooks with Pam Hogg and Mark Powell. Pic: Caz Facey//

With the crowd including friends wearing catsuits and other glamour-puss Hogg Couture designs, Pam’s ability to draw the widest variety of bods never ceases to amaze.

//Michael Kostiff and Pam inside the store. Pics: Pippa Brooks//

From celebrity offspring Peaches Geldof and Jaime Winstone through Nick Cave and Susie Bick to Pippa BrooksPrincess JuliaMark PowellPhil DirtboxSusie Bubble, Jefferson Hack and Anouk Lepere, Roisin Murphy,  Henry HollandDougie FieldsTerry de HavillandMichael KostiffJohnny Blue Eyes and THE LOOK, we were all there to pay homage to the wonder that is Pam.

//Screens with footage of Pam’s original Newburgh Street store// 

Her first show in over a decade at the recent London Fashion Week wowed journalists and the industry alike, and with Roisin, Siouxsie Sue and Kylie Minogue sporting her clothes on-stage and in videos, the sky seems to be the limit, even with the attention given to such fans as Thierry Henry’s ex-wife Claire Merry at the Star Trek premiere.

//Trademark rock & roll glamour-puss style. Pic: Susie Bubble// 

As well as the catsuits, dresses and tops, the pop up shop is stocking t-shirts, posters badges and signed CDs.

 

//Hogg homeware includes plates and mugs// 

Pam’s pop up shop is open for another three weeks. We urge you to get yourselves along.

New Priceless collection spearheads 80s men’s wear revival

The Look Presents’ new Priceless collection from rock couturier Antony Price is spearheading the 80s men’s wear revival.

 

Available in-store and online from May 14, Priceless S/S 09 is the second range to spring from the partnership between Antony and our label The Look Presents.

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.

Mick Jones’ Rock & Roll Public Library

Nipped back to Chelsea Space gallery yesterday for a better peak at Mick Jones’ Rock & Roll Public Library, the environment/junkstallation unveiled last week at a packed private view attended by such faces as Paul Simonon, whose own exhibition we covered here last year.

 

 

The aim of the show is to present for public consumption the sheer amounts of “stuff” Jones has collected since he was a football, fashion and music-mad teen. This is all now housed in two giant lock-ups in west London, one of which acts as the rehearsal studio and writing space for Carbon/Silicon, Jones’ band with old friend Tony James.

 

 

The studio lock-up is lined with red velvet and features a changing selection of posters, books, mags, DVDs, record sleeves, toys and games intended to spark creative ideas; as a one-time art student Jones proves himself adept at creating an environment.

 

 

Yesterday the exhibition/installation did indeed have the air of a library; visitors, including students from the Chelsea College Of Art behind Tate Britain (where Chelsea Space is situated), flicked through the mags, books, records and ephemera, while monitors screened videos and movies and the sound system blasted a typically Jones mix of rock&roll, country, dub and his own music.

 

We were there to have a gander at the threads, of which there are many spotted around, including several shirts designed and made for The Clash by Alex Michon and Krystyna Kolowska (as outlined in Chapter 22 of THE LOOK) and Mick’s incredibly distressed and bleached Levi’s jacket, which brought back memories of 84/5, the cover of the first B.A.D. album, and The Bottom Line clip first spied flickering in the corner of BOY.

 

 

As you’d expect from the titfer-fancying Jones, there’s a fair selection of hats, including those worn on the cover of BAD singles V Thirteen and Just Play Music and the Dread At The Controls helmet in the clip for The Clash’s The Call-Up.

 

 

 

 

 

There are naturally quite a few contributions from James, Jones’ former partner in London SS, including a Sigue Sigue Sputnik toy, which provides an excuse to show SSS in this purely nuts performance of the great (Stock Aitken Waterman-produced) Success and Rio Rocks from Brazilian TV show Fastao in 1988. Flaunt it!

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=ipqw9J_-rpw">http://youtube.com/watch?v=ipqw9J_-rpw</a> 

 

Chelsea Space director Donald Smith has put on a series of singular shows over recent years, including Riot Of Our Own, about the hey-day of Rock Against Racism, a five-week occupation by the team from architects Will Alsop, the work of Steve Thomas (co-designer Big Biba) and I Feel Alright,  a retrospective on the great London store Burro.

 

It was great to see The Globe sign looking so well preserved; this brought back an entirely different set of memories from the 90s of that groovy space in Talbot Road. Didn’t even know it was still open

 

The studio environment is evident in this clip of The News by Carbon/Silicon:

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=CUwVT_zX3hM&amp;NR">http://youtube.com/watch?v=CUwVT_zX3hM&amp;NR</a> 

Some – among them, we understand, the estimable Jah Wobble – believe the collection betrays the self-conscious approach of punk’s original west London contingent, and the show certainly contains elements of The Clash’s “Last Gang In Town” bloke-ish mythologising.

 

But Jones and James’ hearts are definitely in the right place; far better those that are interested – and Smith tells us they’re receiving around 150 visitors a day – have a chance to touch, feel and enjoy this vast and at times peculiar collection than it moulder in a lock-up somewhere off the M40.

On the evidence of yesterday’s attendance, there is as much interest from women as men, which is encouraging; too often this area is the domain of anally-retentive middle-aged geezers.

 

What THE LOOK wants to know is: what happened to Mick and Tony’s matching You’re Gonna Wake Up tees, as sported the fateful night they met Bernie Rhodes in 1975?

 

 

Mick Jones’ Rock & Roll Public Library runs until April 18 at Chelsea Space, 26 John Islip Street, London SW1p 4JU. Tel: +44 (0)7841 8783129.