Wish You Were There, the new retrospective guide to the shops, clubs “and sundry diversions” on offer in central London between 1960 and 1966, may be pocket-sized but it’s packed with exhaustive info and fabulously-researched detail.
Produced by Herb Lester Associates (writer/DJ/60s expert Ben Olins and broadcast/publishing creative Jane Smillie), the simple, stylish map/listings format also makes for a delightful artefact.
This is the third map from HLA, whose aim is to create “attractive and interesting publications for companies and organisations”, extending to books, quarterly magazines, journals and one-offs.
“Some years ago I planned to write a book on London clubs of the pre-psychedelic rock & roll period, approximately 1958-66, and did quite a bit of research but couldn’t allocate the time and energy to do it right,” explains Olins. “When we started to produce the maps, I decided to merge the research and interviews into a more easily digestible and manageable package.”
We’re pleased to note that THE LOOK was among the sources of background info, though Olins stresses he focused where possible on first-hand testimony from the likes of Lloyd Johnson and Jeff Dexter.
“Jeff’s like Zelig meets the Memory Man,” says Olins. “He’s just incredible and also enormously generous. Jeff, Lloyd and I spent one long day this summer pounding West End pavements, with the two of them pointing out locations and describing what they were like.
“We ate lunch in the premises occupied by (John Michael’s groundbreaking Old Compton Street store) Sportique. ‘At last I can afford to buy something at Sportique!’ said Lloyd, who generously paid for us all. Then, in a moment of circle-closing, we bumped into John Pearse in Wardour Street.”
Wish You Were There is an absolute steal at £4 a copy, available here.
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.
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!
//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.
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.
Metal studs have a long history as one of the key decorative aspects of rock & roll fashion.
//Packaging by Daniel Mason//
From Britain’s 60s Ton-Up Boys and Trevor Myles’ early 70s Mr Stud’Em operation (which funded the opening of Paradise Garage), through punk in the 70s, heavy metal and Prince in the 80s to the recent revival by everybody from Burberry to Marks & Spencer, the metal stud retains a rebel resonance.
//Left: Johnny Rotten in two self-studded and adorned jackets, London 1976 and Sweden 1977. Photos: Ray Stevenson; Hans Hatwig//
When Malcolm McLaren set about recasting 430 King’s Road as Too Fast To Live Too Young To Die in 1972, he was very specific about the fetishistic role of studs in his and Vivienne Westwood‘s new line of rocker-inspired clothing.
//Foreground: Yvonne Gold in studded jacket, Let It Rock stall, London Rock ‘n’ Roll Show, Wembley Stadium, August 5, 1972//
“I discovered Lewis Leathers in Great Portland Street,” McLaren told THE LOOK recently. “They sold wonderful packets of biker studs, less ‘fashion’ looking than what had been on the Kings Road at the time in shops like Mr Freedom and Granny Takes A Trip. These were English, heavy, crude studs. I loved them.”
//Left: Sid Vicious, A&M press conference, Regent Palace Hotel, London, March 10, 1977. Photo: Richard Young. Right: Vicious’ jacket in Sotheby’s catalogue, 1988. Courtesy Derek Harris Collection//
Since last summer London’s Andrew Bunney has been quietly navigating a more elegant and restrained route with his range of silver pyramid stud pins sold in sets of three through Dover Street Market, Tokyo’s F.I.L.and Colette in Paris.
Andrew – formerly of Gimme 5 who, with his wife Tommy has also been steering the creative direction of Dr Marten’s – says the idea is “you wear them how you want, on a jacket or a shirt, together or separately”.
The pins are cast in 925 sterling silver by English craftsmen and marked at the Worshipful Company Of Goldsmiths’ Assay Office, which has been testing the quality of precious metals since 1300.
The archive box packaging is designed by Daniel Mason of Something Else. “Daniel’s approach is very particular and chimes with what I set out to achieve,” says Andrew of the writer and packaging specialist best known for the 2007 limited edition Joy Division Box Set.
“I’ve been making clothes for quite a while and always found myself attracted to jewellry, but found – particularly for men – it was too one-dimensional and rigid ,” Andrew adds. “I loved the idea of coming up with something everybody could wear, but each time it would be different because people will think about placing them in their own way.”
Next from Andrew are beautifully simple round solid silver badges (buttons for our North American readers). Again these tap into rock & roll associations but emerge as fashion items in their own right. We can’t wait.
//Jah Wobble aka John Wardle: “I look a complete and utter ****!”//
Wobble looked especially scary, with a bouffant blond wig, perma-tan make-up and on-camera behaviour updating and bringing new extremes to the arrogant and manipulative character originally played by Hemmings.
Given that Wobble’s new song is a hard-edged 3/4 time three-minute instrumental bordering on drum ‘n’bass, the brief was that the atmosphere should be rooted in 1966 London, yet with a contemporary air so that it didn’t slip into either Benny Hill territory or pure pastiche.
Hence Wobble’s decision against skinny white jeans a la Hemmings (“too Nathan Barley”) and also the involvement of Missoni; he wore a jacket from their latest men’s wear range and model Laura works for the company, so the label’s retail manager Giesela Tschirpig was on hand supplying beautiful dresses from A/W09/10 and S/S10.
Jenny based her outfit around a red and black op-art mini while Emma (real name Liz) plucked a vintage cream and black striped mini shift from her extensive collection.
With an original chess-set designed by Hermann Ohme to underline the main character’s game-playing instincts, we took our cue from the cool jazz soundtrack to the original film and littered the record collection with the likes of Errol Garner and Chet Baker, as well as edgy mid 60s British r&b exemplified by Georgie Fame and The Spencer Davis Group.
Amid the contact sheets we placed Alan Fletcher plastic ashtrays, contemporary copies of Life, Esquire and Time, an original Anello & Davide “Stallion range” catalogue and well-thumbed Penguins around the centrepiece: John D. Greene’s stunning Birds Of Britain.
//Lloyd and Liz take a break//
With other scenes including Wobble haring around town in an Aston Martin and luxuriating in a Canary Wharf penthouse, the promo – from the sure hand of Procam‘s John Brennan – is shaping up to become an online favourite on release this spring.
John Brennan tells us that there are plans to build a microsite around the clip, tour it around film festivals and include it as a video installation at art galleries.
Jah Wobble’s single Blow Up is out soon on his label 30Hertz.
Check out my contributions to Paul Gambaccini’s BBC Radio 2 documentary Elvis The Brand; the first part was broadcast last night (and is available for the next six days here). The second part goes out tonight at 23.30 GMT.
//Elvis and Bernard Lansky, 126 Beale Street, Memphis, 1956. Photo (c) lanskybros.com//
The programme is part of the BBC’s week-long celebration of what would have been Elvis’ 75th birthday on Thursday (January 8).
In the documentary I cover The King’s style from 1952, when he first pressed his nose up against the Lanskys‘ shop window at 126 Beale Street in Memphis, through Nudie Cohn‘s gold lame suit to the flamboyance of the Bill Belew outfit for the 68 Comeback special and Bob Mackie‘s crazed costumery of the final Vegas years.
This is detailed in Chapter 1 of THE LOOK, which features an exclusive interview with clothier to The King Bernard Lansky.
A surprise Christmas “care package” of nine vintage ties from San Francisco rock&roll fashion collector and dealer Ben Cooney has reinvigorated THE LOOK’s interest in these flamboyant articles of clothing.
Having collected vintage ties for three-and-a-half decades, Ben’s selection has rammed home the joy derived from such simple accessories.
Unlike today’s models – and in particular the ultra-passé skinny noo-wave types still being pedalled by High Street chains – these ties are forever, for grown-ups of both sexes.
The bunch sent by Ben are not the highly-collectible painted variety, but printed in silk and rayon and available in Main Street outfitters and from department stores all over the US from the 30s to the 70s.
Invested with design detail, wit and invention, these come in a variety of styles, featuring everything from atomic art, kinetic decoration and tragi-comic fizzogs with saws such as “Don’t cry over spilt milk” to French beatnik illustrations, canine and equestrian imagery and geometric abstractions.
Would that modern articles of clothing were created with such care and attention.
They also provide glimpses into a nearly forgotten past; who knew, for example, that Hemphill-Wells was “a Camelot of men’s style” in Lubbock TX from the 20s to the 50s? It make you wonder whether Buddy Holly ever visited and considered Countess Mara’s cream-on-green dog-leash adorned necktie.
Interest in these discreetly extravagant creations is regularly revived; the late Johnny Moke recalled in THE LOOK how the Bonnie & Clyde look of 1967 coincided with hipsters such as himself scoring kipper ties to go with their demob suits, while Let It Rock and Acme Attractions retailed them in the early to mid 70s.
As the story in the Evening Standard clipping above attests, Johnson’s in Kensington Market and the King’s Road was doing a roaring trade in vintage ties in 1980, by which time forward-thinking clubbers such as Chris Sullivan and performers led by August Darnell were making sure they became an essential part of that decade’s wardrobe.
//Chris Sullivan, 1980. Photo: Graham Smith//
The 90s Swing revival and the 00s rockabilly/burlesque scene witnessed re-entries of the colourful and often wide vintage tie. Wherever we’re headed in the ’10s, the hundred or so in THE LOOK’s possession will remain an essential part of the wardrobe (though not worn all at once, obviously).
Congrats To Lynn and commiserations to the rest of you, but don’t be down – in the next few days we’re posting yet another competition giveaway: a signed copy of Kirsty Hislop and Dominic Lutyens’ excellent 70s Style & Design could be yours in the New Year!
//Outside the Foale & Tuffin boutique in Marlborough Court, Soho, London c. 1965//
Together with the current Fashion & Textiles Museum exhibition, Webb’s book places the too-often overlooked pair dead-centre of that hectic decade, selling through Woolands 21 Shop, pioneering with their own off-Carnaby Street boutique, leading the Youthquake promotion in the US and supplying the general public and the beautiful people (including Pattie and Jenny Boyd, Twiggy, Susannah York and Francoise Hardy) with collection after collection of demure yet sexy fashions.
In today’s Christmas special we not only publish these images and an exclusive interview with Webb but have up for grabs a FREE copy of the book to one lucky person who answers the question at the end of this post correctly. Be quick – the competition closes at midnight on Christmas Day – we’ll be announcing the winner on Boxing Day!
//James Wedge, 1964. Photo: James Wedge//
Brimful with original sketches, press cuttings, personal photographs, labels and ephemera, the narrative of this hugely attractive tome is created from the anecdotal and often insightful testimony of Foale & Tuffin’s milieu, among them Derek Boshier, Mary Quant, Manolo Blahnik, Terence Conran, James Wedge (with whom they worked closely), Peter Blake and Betsey Johnson.
//Sally Tuffin and Marion Foale in”Y-front” dresses, 1964//
Webb, whose CV includes stints as fashion editor of Blitz, the Evening Standard, Harpers & Queen, Elle and The Times, was approached a couple of years back by Matthew Freedman of specialist imprint Antique Collectors Club Editions.
//PVC bags by Sally Jess for Foale & Tuffin, 1965. Photo: Magnus Dennis//
“The timing was perfect; this book ends in the early 60s/early 70s, which is when my previous book – about Bill Gibb – started,” says Webb, who also saw Foale & Tuffin take part in the January 2007 60s study day at the V&A (to which THE LOOK also contributed by interviewing another sorely overlooked figure of the period, Paul Reeves).
//Left,right: Prints by Zandra Rhodes for Foale & Tuffin, 1964, 1965. Photos: Rick Best, Helmut Newton/Vogue//
“The most important aspect of Marion and Sally’s work is that they were always on the money,” says Webb, who is fashion consultant at Bath’s Museum Of Costume (which has it’s own F&T exhibition) and a visiting lecturer at Central Saint Martins and the Royal College Of Art.
“From the beginning of the 60s when they were designing the sweet, girly little dresses through to the shop’s closure in the early 70s, when they’d ventured into fantasy, a bit historical, a bit ethnic, Marion and Sally reflected the times,” says Webb. “A lot of designers create a look and stick with it; Foale & Tuffin kept on the pulse of fashion.”<
The lovely folk at ACC have provided THE LOOK with a copy of the new book for the lucky reader whose name is pulled out of the hat with the correct answer to the following question:
Q: Which year did the YOUTHQUAKE promotion of young British fashion in the US take place?
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.
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