A pictorial tracking the incarnations of 430 King’s Road since the early 60s has been posted on my new blog.
Archive for the 70s category
As a follow-up to the last post, here’s a 70s Fiorucci swing-tag for an item costing 25,000 lira. The bonus is that the Vargas-type girl on the front is a sticker (stacca attacca – “off attacks” – in Italian).
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.
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.
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, Chiltern Street, London W1, November 30, 2010.
INSIDE JOHN SIMONS’ NEW STORE: “A MODERNIST’S DREAM”
[This was originally posted on December 7,2010]
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.
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.
Original clothing from Mr Freedom – the boutique operated by Tommy Roberts and Trevor Myles from 430 King’s Road in 1969-70 and then by Roberts in Kensington Church Street in 1970-71 – is now much sought-after.
These four items – including a roll of screen-printed fabric – are from Roberts’ own archive and are for sale. All are in excellent condition. Please direct all inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Designed by Diana Crawshaw, the front-tied “baseball suit” was one of Mr Freedom’s most famous creations, worn by many a pop star and celebrity.
This jacket is a contemporary size 10; the 14 label reflects how sizing has changed in the last 40 years. Like the jacket, the matching trousers are also size 10 and are made from cotton velvet from Mr Freedom’s supplier in Lyons.
The trousers came in three-quarter and full-length. These are the flares with an inch-and-a-half turn up and two labels – an interior one in the style of a Tom Wesselman nude with a sun-ray version stitched into the waistband at the back.
The unisex Western-style shirt is a typically exuberant example of Mr Freedom’s playful approach to pop archetypes, in contrasting mauve/scarlet with snap fastener buttons. This fits a 38in chest and has a 15-and-a-half neck size.
The printed crepe was used for a handful of shirts and, Roberts recalls, one dress. It was designed by Jane Wealleans, a member of the store’s design team along with her then-husband Jon Wealleans, who was responsible for the interior of the second Mr Freedom outlet.
The American football player motif draws inspiration from the William Klein film which gave the store its name. There are five metres of this, the only roll in existence.
Interested parties should contact THE LOOK here.
THE LOOK has been granted first look at this rock fashion classic: a 50s black leather motorcycle jacket which is being put up for sale by the owner, who purchased it from a thrift store on The Bowery in 1975.
The jacket is in remarkable condition considering that it has been on the road and around the world in the last three-and-a-half decades.
It was also worn for its purpose; the owner ran a Harley for a number of years.
Adorned with Harley Davidson and American Motorcycle Association patches, this is a Sears Roebuck AllState, with black quilted lining and lined, zippered pockets complete with original black suede pulls. There is also a metal-poppered flap pocket.
The belt is retained with a screw in the back panel. Details include epaulettes with star-shaped studs, shoulder vents and zips on each sleeve cuff.
***NOTE: Following interest in this from our readers the vendor has opted for this to be listed for sale on eBaY. You can find the listing here. Best of luck.***
//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.
Participating in last weekend’s BBC Blast Fashion Festival at the V&A was… a blast. Along with workshops, makeovers and q&as and interviews with Lou Dalton, Hannah Marshall and Erin O’Connor, I gave a presentation based around The Look: Adventures In Rock & Pop Fashion.
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.
Last year’s Youtube posting of this excerpt from Greg Macainsh’s 1974 film about sharpies coincided with a revival of interest in the tough and stylish Australian music/fashion youth cult which sprang from Melbourne’s blue collar suburbs.
Tadhg Taylor’s definitive book Top Fellas tracks the “two-fisted, two-decade” history of sharp from its emergence (parallel to mod in the UK) through successive and distinctive Oz responses to skinhead, glam and punk.
The roots of sharp lie in the influx of European immigrants in Australia in the early 60s. “Randy” says: “I came to Adelaide from England in 1959. I became a mod when I was in high school. I’d say in a class of thirty about twenty five would’ve been British, working class from the North and the Midlands. Every three weeks a new boatload of immigrants would arrive and the kids would tell us about the latest fashions and bands. Consequently we were never that far behind what was happening in England.”
Taylor adds: “British mod kids that quit Adelaide for Melbourne were a key influence on the birth of sharp.”
With first-hand testimony from former sharps and brushes (girls) linked by his lively text, Taylor’s book emphasises the importance of clothes to these hard-nuts.
Rod of The Oakleigh Boys (and son), Melbourne, 1969.
“A lot of blokes dressed real fancy, suits with short European jackets and velvet collars, but they weren’t mods and they were rough as guts working class,” says “Martin” about the styles of the mid 60s.
According to Taylor, the “killer elite” were the Top Fellas: “To be a Top Fella you had to be handy in a blue (fight), hell on the dance floor, cocksure with a brush and dapper as all get-out.”
Angry Anderson, later of Rose Tattoo, recalls “twin-sets were huge, the matching Crest knit (jersey knit) and cardigan – maroon, silver-grey, royal blue or chocolate brown. I remember guys who’d only wear one colour or had complete outfits in one colour. In recent years I’ve tried to re-adopt the look but it’s very hard to find a twin-set for a guy! I went into storage and the only items of clothing I had left was my Bokka coat, three-quarter length, flap pockets, hound’s-tooth black, white and grey. I can barely get it on.”
Oak Park Boot Boys, Middle Brighton Station, 1973.
Sharp boy and girl, central Melbourne, 1967.
By the early 70s tattoos and earrings (left ear only) were de rigeur, as were Staggers jeans (flared but snug on the hip), singlets, fluffy moccasins, treads (sandals with bright-coloured suede uppers with soles cut from car tyres) and the short-on-top, rat’s-tails-at-the-back haircut.
The most significant garment was the Conny – a tight-fit cardigan designed by Mr Conti, a Greek clothier in Thornbury (just across the street from the site of Taylor and his wife’s second-hand bookshop Fully Booked).
“Connys came in a variety of styles, some had thin pocket flaps on each side of the chest, most had five buttons and stripes,” writes Taylor. “They always had a small belt buttoned at the base of the back, same size as the pocket flaps, about three inches long and one inch wide. Pretty soon kids started bringing in their own designs, sparing no expense to wow their mates with new patterns and colour combinations.”
“Chris”, one of The Camberwell Junction Boys in 1970 , says: “We got Cuban-heeled shoes made at Venus, Kosmanos and Acropolis. The cardigan thing carried on…we mostly wore jeans, with a Crest knit or a Penguin. The girls wore pastel coloured ‘Elta’ cardigans made by an old lady with buttons shaped like bunnies. They also wore strap-on school shoes and later clogs.”
While Slade and Bowie were accepted by the early 70s sharps, they revered the homegrown hard-rock played by Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs, Skyhooks (formed by Macainsh), Rose Tattoo, and in particular, The Coloured Balls.
That band’s charismatic leader was the late lamented Lobby Loyd. His 60s band The Purple Hearts had attracted the first wave of sharpies: “I started noticing all these strange people. I’d never seen anything like them, a distinct style. They had short hair and wore baggy trousers and cardigans. The girls wore knee-length pleated skirts, twin-sets and pearls. They were incredible to play to and had their own way of dancing.”
The MC5-inspired The Coloured Balls played long work-outs such as God (the soundtrack in the clip from Macainsh’s film). “The sharps would do dance routines and to watch it you’d think you were at the New York Metropolitan watching some bizarre modern ballet,” said Loyd.
Chris O’Hooligan and The Camberwell Junction Boys, 1970.
West Side and Melbourne sharps, St Kilda football match, 1978.
Sharp fizzled out in the early 80s due to a variety of factors, not least the increasing usage of guns to settle scores. The last big shout is adjudged to have been AC/DC’s homecoming concert at Melbourne’s Myer Music Bowl on the Back In Black 1981 tour.
By all accounts it was mayhem. “Every sharp in Melbourne would’ve been there, they went berserk, smashed all the trains and trams, pulled the cops off their horses, a riot,” says “Chris”. “I got smacked in the mouth and ran for my life. By this stage I was into punk, the ballroom, speed, to me these kids with their moccasins and Bon Scott RIP t-shirts, they weren’t sharpies, they were just headbangers.”
Now sharp is back.
This summer an exhibition dedicated to the cult was held at Melbourne’s Kustom Lane Gallery, while Chane Chane – a contributor to Taylor’s book whose glam-punk band La Femme is seen as the great lost sharpie act – leads the City Sharps.
Copies of Top Fellas: The Story Of Melbourne’s Sharpie Cult are available here – the Custom Book Centre says that they’ll do a deal for international cost postage to be equal to Australia-only mail (so approximately half the usual freight charges).
And that’s how it was.
11.30am July 1977: Strolling back from a parcel delivery in the shadow of the Post Office Tower, past The Tower Tavern.
Three Teddy Boys already in there, sitting by the ceiling to floor window. There had been several Teds picking off stragglers the previous night after the screening of Sex Pistols Number 1 at The Other Cinema in Tottenham Street.
These three were evidently having a livener after being up all night in Soho and surrounds. My brothel creepers probably did for it, with Hoofer army greens and a 60s shirt from Acme Attractions. I had black spiked hair (the vegetable dye ran blue down my neck in the rain) and afterwards one of the cops said: “Well, what do you expect walking around like that?”
Clocking me, the Teds tore out of the pub. I made a run for it but they soon caught up. I probably weighed 8.5 stone and, as they closed in, thought: “Gawd they look big…and old.” Probably 25/30, with kids.
It didn’t even hurt (much) when they kicked me along the pavement. I was young and limber.
When one of them pulled something metal – Razor? Knuckle duster? Six-inch nail (a popular weapon of choice)? – I bounced up and sprinted the 100 yards to the photo library, locked the doors behind me, ran downstairs and shut myself in the darkroom.
//Elisabeth Photo Library, Cleveland Street, London W1. Summer 1977//
It took 10 minutes to coerce me out. I could hear them jeering as they wandered away from the front door.
My boss called the cops, who bullied me into getting into their car to seek out the Teds. Dazed, I went along with it, determined not to identify them as we toured the pubs in the area.
On the floor in the back of the car was a Tesco carrier bag bulging with baseball bats. Catching me eyeing the bag, one of the coppers grinned and said: “That’s what we’re going to use on these bastards when we find them.”
I still don’t know whether he was joking.
That’s how it was.
On May 1 1971 Barbara Hulanicki’s third Biba incarnation was subjected to a serious attack, as confirmed by this, Communique 8 of 12 sent by urban guerillas The Angry Brigade and published in underground magazine IT.
The stock room was damaged and 500 people were evacuated though no-one was seriously hurt.
According to Jonathon Green’s mandatory All Dressed Up, The Angry Brigade were responsible for 25 “infernal devices” exploded in this country from 1968 to 1971. This period witnessed 100 more bombings of political targets on the British mainland, the majority of which are still unattributed.
Lewis Leathers rocks.
After less than a year, the LL shop in Whitfield Street – a thoroughfare with fine pedigree after all, where Iggy & The Stooges recorded Raw Power in 1972 and The Clash their debut album five years later – has become a must visit, as you can see from these photos from mainman LL cool D(erek Harris).
Kamei’s hyperreal depictions of objects (including the distressed Anarchy shirt acquired by Fujiwara for his collection from Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook 20 years ago; see below) was the focus for the artist’s only exhibition so far, held at the end of last year.
Thanks to Hiroshi for supplying these photographs of Kamei’s arresting work.
The early 70s in England weren’t as culturally bereft as pundits would have it, particularly if you were lucky enough to live in London.
The evening news magazine TV show Nationwide (BBC1) and Thames TV’s local programme Today could always be relied upon to report from the far side (usually accidentally in their search for quirky stories).
Historically overshadowed as the siting of “the Bill Grundy incident“, Today featured many such off-beat items, usually sourced by hip researchers/occasional presenters Janet Street-Porter and Lyndall Hobbs.
With Grundy and Eammon Andrews rotating nightly as studio anchormen, Today’s regular roving reporter was Monty Modlyn, a self-styled schlemeil prone to shouting Tubby Isaac‘s cry from his popular jellied eel stall in Islington: “All the jell’!”
Guess you had to be there.
And so to this clip dug from the British Pathe archive.
The 25-second reel is likely to stem from 1972, when Malcolm McLaren created the new incarnation for 430 King’s Road in reaction to the sartorial and social conservatism of Let It Rock‘s neo-Edwardian customers.
Along with the new Ton Up lines of leather jeans and rocker tees, TFTL continued to stock creepers and take orders for drapes, hence the two Ernies lurking outside. Behind them, the shop’s previous name is visible studded into the back of a motorcycle jacket (and the new gear continued to be stitched with Let It Rock labels, like this shirt bought in 1973).
Right at the end of the clip, Monty Modlyn enters the scene to interview the Teds. Pathe says this footage was not broadcast. I don’t recall it. By the look of the end-frames there was hair in the gate or somesuch so it was likely to have been deemed unusable.
In the context of 430 King’s Road Modlyn’s name cropped up a couple of years later – on the “wrong” side of the You’re Gonna Wake Up And Know What Side Of The Bed You’ve Been Lying On! tee, between right-wing journalist Peregrine Worsthorne (the second person to say “fuck” on British TV before the Pistols Steve Jones became the third in 1976) and Angry Young Man John Braine.
You can see the Pathe clip here
On Youtube it has been stuck non-chronogically at the end of film of DAs being sculpted at British barbers in the 50s:
Archive of Attitude is the current exhibition from photographer Janette Beckman at LA gallery Project Space.
On until September 5, the show spans Beckman’s work from the late 70s to the current day and incorporates personal artefacts relating to the areas she has worked in, such as hip-hop and punk.
“The Hip Hop exhibit has my Def Jam jacket (with my name embroidered on the front, circa 1987), The Face 1984 with my Run DMC & Posse photo, a Salt ‘n’ Pepa CD cover I shot around ’87, a Run DMC single with my photo, Adidas sneakers and sweats and my Kangol hat.”
Here are a few of THE LOOK’s favourites from Beckman’s archive:
“The bands and the fans, I loved the music and the styles,” says Beckman, who recently completed a shoot for Schott in Japan in the style of her punk portraits.
These feature a variety of NYC characters shot on location around the city: DJs, dancers, actors, skateboarders, BMX riders, artists and musicians.
Archive of Attitude
603 North La Brea Avenue
Los Angeles CA 90036
Telephone +1 323 938 8818