Archive for the 80s category

BOY fashion shows at Limelight and Mud Club in the 80s

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These clips capture London boutique BOY on the cusp of its mid-80s reinvention with a clubwear collection of padded patched tops, overprinted jersey tees, leggings, stockings, etc.

Rare groove was tailing off though elements of that genre’s silhouette were taking over the clubs: cycle shorts, leggings, MA1-style jackets, chunky shoes and baseball caps.

The two videos above were taken from a show at Phillip Salon’s Mud Club in 1987, and must have been in late summer since Michael Jackson’s Bad opens the show. The media hysteria over the Beastie Boys-inspired thefts of VW signs was at its height, hence the presence of the massive insignia hanging over the audience.

The short film below, which features more of BOY’s overprinted range, was shot during another show held around the same time at The Limelight, hosted by Steve Strange.

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Janette Beckman: Archive of Attitude


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:


//Boy, 153 King's Road, London, 1980.//

Christos & Chris

//Chris Sullivan + Christos Tolera, Blue Rondo a la Turk, London, 1982.//

SKA GIRLS Coventry 1980

//Ska girls, Coventry, 1980.//

johnson's 1

//Inside: Phil, stockroom, Robot, King's Road, London, 1980.//

johnson's 5

//Outside: Johnsons, 406 King's Road, London, 1981.//

“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.


//Chad (actor) NYC 2010.//


//Ralphy (BMX) NYC 2010.//

band us royalty

//US Royalty (band) NYC 2010.//

Dister dancer

//Dister (dancer) NYC 2010.//


//Brian (artist) NYC 2010.//

Go see:
Archive of Attitude
Project Space
603 North La Brea Avenue
Los Angeles CA 90036
Telephone +1 323 938 8818


Exclusive: Amazing BOY pieces in 80s vintage sale

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Inquiries to the vendor may be made via THE LOOK.

In praise of the most XLNT Demob

For our money, Demob doesn’t receive enough acknowledgment for its considerable and enduring contribution to British style.

//Exterior, 47 Beak Street, Soho, London, 1983. Photo: Rex Features//

We’re proud there is a shout to this combination boutique, fashion label and design/music collective in Chapter 26 of THE LOOK.

//Full-page ad, The Face 24, April 1982//

Following the discovery in an old trunk of some fab pieces bought there – blimey! – at least a quarter of a century ago, it seems apposite to celebrate the creative hub founded by Chris Brick in 1981.

Collecting a group of like-minded fashion players (including fellow son of Merthyr Chris Sullivan), Brick assumed occupancy of the former fishmonger’s at 46 Beak Street in London’s Soho, retaining the wonderful tiled interior and many of the fixtures.

In May 1981 Demob had been part of the British “Blitz invasion” of New York along with Sullivan, Jon Baker of Axiom, journalist Robert Elms, photographer Graham Smith, the members of Spandau Ballet and others, including then-Demob designers Sade Adu and Sarah Lubell. Read about that at David Johnson’s Shapers Of the 80s.

//Debut 5: Pages 46-47. Thanks to Dalston Oxfam Shop//

//Debut 5: Pages 48-49. Thanks to Dalston Oxfam Shop//

Back in the UK Demob clothes were regularly featured in fashion and style mags, with the spreads above modelled by Susie Bick in the short-lived 12sq in Debut, which included a free vinyl compilation.

//”Prison shirt”, 1984//

Also selling through such venues as Chelsea’s Great Gear Market, and later “Disco Dave”‘s  King’s Road shop Review, Demob pulled off the feat of transforming the 40s aesthetic suggested by the name into a glamorous offer, with fabulously-tailored garments in drilled cotton, denim, tweeds and other utilitarian and sometimes unusual fabrics.

From the get-go music played a powerful part of the Demob mix; their legendary warehouse parties gave breaks to such club pioneers as Noel Watson.

Arguably the most prominent designer associated with Demob was Willie Brown, who had made his name at the fashion-forward Modern Classics in Shoreditch’s Rivington Street.

//71 Rivington Street, London EC2, 1980. Photo: Derek Ridgers//

Within a few years Brown had established his own Old Town imprint with a satellite store also in Beak Street. This introduced the XLNT quadrant logo and the excellence of the designs lead to  widespread rag trade plagiarism, particularly the heavily stitched “Soul Bay” anoraks with black and white checkered detailing.

Demob also spawned Demop, the hairdressers which occupied a space on the other side of Beak street at the top of St James’ Street. Among the employees here was another person who would go on to make his name in global street fashion (and also featured in THE LOOK), Fraser Cooke.

//Left: ABC’s Mark White in “Soul Bay” anorak//

The yoked prison shirt you see here is made from exactly the same fabric as that provided to guests of Her Majesty at that time.

Once, driving away from my flat in Brixton Hill in the mid-80s a couple of likely geezers in the next car spotted me wearing it and, assuming I had just left the gates behind me, asked what I’d been inside for.

Demob had more than enough brushes with the law itself and was eventually closed after the hell-raising and parties became too much for the neighbouring businesses and local Old Bill.

Brick and his wife Judy went on to found NY stores Smylon Nylon and The Centre For The Dull, where he circulated his much-sought after Smylonnylon mixtapes. Check out where he’s at these days with his online music video presence Brickchannel.

The spirit of Demob’s uniquely crafted take on British clothing design has resided for some years at Will (as he has has been known for a while) Brown and Marie Willey’s great Old Town Clothing.

From their Norfolk base they produce  50 individually-made garments each week in such natural fabrics as cotton twill, tweed, drill, serge and denim. For superb clothing that will last 25 years and beyond – like those pieces which re-entered my life recently – THE LOOK can’t recommend Old Town Clothing highly enough.

XLNT! The spirit of Demob lives on.

Go Kim West: Fashion’s first lady of latex

Like leather, latex is the fabric option which brings fashion’s sexual resonances to the fore.

//Kim West Cowgirl jacket//

These days, however, there is little less shock value but we’re still a long way off attaining the SEX shop’s mid-70s agenda of “rubberwear for the office”.

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Just last week Kylie was snapped in latex boots on the set of the shoot for the video for forthcoming single All The Lovers and Topshop recently stocked a glued latex range, piggybacking on renewed interest sparked by the likes of Christina Aguilera and, of course,  Lady GaGa.

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In fact GaGa’s clip for Poker Face inspired Kim West to re-enter the scene last year with a new collection which riffs on her triumphs of the 80s and 90s and updates her designs for the 21st Century.

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//West interviewed by Jonathan Ross, early 90s//

“Watching the video made me realise that my designs still had relevance because I was always about fashion as much as fetish,” says West, who put her label on ice in 1994 after moving into documentary-making and also to Los Angeles with her husband and family.

//Tony James, Sigue Sigue Sputnik; Adam Ant//

//Kylie Minogue; Isabella Rosselini//

As you can read in this bio, during her first decade in fashion, West broke into the mainstream via performers such as Madonna, Adam Ant and Sigue Sigue Sputnik, top-flight fash-mag photoshoots and, not least, supplying the white stockings worn by Naomi Campbell when she took that tumble in 1993.

//Naomi Campbell, Westwood catwalk, 1993. Photo: Niall McInerney//

Now West is capitalising on demand for latex with a complete collection, from boudoir accoutrements to bridalwear and everything in between.

“I am also doing a basic range of 10 items costing from £25 for a short skirt to leggings at £60,” says West. “Bargain!”

//Ribbon bag; Classic bra, G-string and suspender belt//

Though West mourns the passing of such creative hives as Kensington Market and the Great Gear Market, as well as Johnson’s and Western Styling (which stocked her signature fringed cowboy jacket originally), she is bouyant about the opportunities of the digital age and maintains a firing-on-all-cylinders website which includes a blog (where she recently pointed to the anomaly of Youtube age-encrypting her clips but not those of, say, GaGa).

Maintenance and care (usually with application of talcum powder) has always been an issue with latex, but one West believes she has overcome, first by teaming with the makers of conditioner/lubricant Pjur.

//Boudoir stool; Classic mac//

And soon she will be announcing the launch of a totally new fabric, called Glyde On.

“It’s latex that doesn’t need talc, Pjur or polishing – just slip it on!” West explains. “Glyde On puts latex on a level pegging with every other fabric, though there is so much more you can do with it. This is fashion not fetish.”

Mick Jones on books, boutiques and the magic of Malcolm

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


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

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


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


//With Tate curator Cecilia Wee// 

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


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


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


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

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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:

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A Tale Of Nine Vintage Ties

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.


The designer labels and retailer tags engage and intrigue: Countess Mara and Yapre’ are still going as is, of course, Neiman Marcus, and Houston’s Norton Ditto.


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).



Reasons To Be Cheerful: MOJO’s Book Of The Year!

We’re proud to announce that MOJO magazine has declared sister title Reasons To Be Cheerful BOOK OF THE YEAR!

//Page 50, Mojo, January 2010// 

 Read all about it here.

Stunning t-shirt designs on the BB blog

Head on over to the Barney Bubbles Blog for a butcher’s at some of the great designer‘s t-shirts, including this previously unpublished sketch for a tee to go with the Hawklords multimedia project.


//Barney Bubbles t-shirt sketch, 1978. (C) Reasons 2009. Strictly no reproduction without permission// 

We’ve lined up his tees for The MuleskinnersElvis Costello, Ian DuryHank Wangford and a very glam pink and black number punctuated by an embedded diamante for long-forgotten 70s band Alfalpha.


//Alfalpha t-shirt detail. (C) Jeff Dexter. No reproduction without permission// 


Read all about them here

Jah Wobble exclusive: Sartorial memoirs of a geezer

The publication of this year’s best autobiography – Jah Wobble’s intriguing and inspirational Memoirs Of A Geezer – has coincided with John Lydon‘s decision to take  Public Image Ltd on the road for the first time in 17 years (bassman Wobble and fellow founder members guitarist Keith Levene and drummer Jim Walker are not taking part).


What with Undercover’s recent PiL-inspired clothing range, it seems timely to celebrate the fantastic visuals delivered by Wobble  to match the towering music he has created over the last three decades.


In this exclusive interview with Wobble, we also explore the importance of PiL photographer/design director Dennis Morris and a figure who has remained in the sartorial shadows for far too long: Kenny MacDonald.


//Jah Wobble, east London, 1981//

We also have a copy of Wobble’s book to give away; details below.

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It’s well documented that Wobble – real name John Wardle – knew Lydon long before he joined the Sex Pistols when they were part of the teenage gang the Four Johns (including John Beverley aka Sid Vicious and John Gray) knocking around east and north London, following football and voraciously consuming music from Can to Hawkwind to Big Youth and beyond.


//Public Image Limited, summer 1978. Photos: Dennis Morris//

In 1974, the Johns paid a visit to hairdresser to the rock elite Keith Wainwright at his Chelsea salon Smile and had matching haircuts. “Round about that period me and my mate Ronny were wearing pleated Army trousers from Laurence Corner, the ones American GIs would wear,” says Wobble.

“It was a soul boy look, very smart with cap sleeve t-shirts and those half sandals/half shoes, not the plastic beach sandals which some people wore. They were horrible.”

With The Great Gatsby influence merging with the Glenn Miller revival, the teenage Wobble scoured the second hand clothes shops of Brick Lane on Sunday, picking up drape jacketed 30s and 40s suits.


//Jah Wobble, 80s//

Although he was at the epicentre of the punk storm, Wobble avoided adopting the fashions of the era. “It just wasn’t my cup of tea,” he says. “I’m from the East End. It’s in our DNA to sport the Terry Venables look: smart grey jackets with black polos, loafers and well-pressed trousers.”

When he was recruited into PiL, the original line-up jibbed at the punk uniform with an absurdist appearance. Lydon, for example, wore hand-painted shirts supplied by Mark Gray.


//Front and back cover, both sides of inner, First Issue, Public Image, Virgin Records, 1978. Photography and design concept: Dennis Morris//

For the sleeve of debut album First Issue, photographer Dennis Morris – who also created the band’s enduring logo and was responsible for the packaging for second album Metal Box – conceived a plan to present the four members as cover stars of various magazines.

Wobble is depicted as a Ronald Coleman-moustached matinee idol in a Vogue pastiche, wearing a blue pinstripe suit he’d had made for himself the previous year.  “You didn’t get many 18-year-olds doing that,” he says. “It was perfect for that shoot. Dennis was very important to PiL. He understood the humour and chemistry of the band and bought in Terry Jones from Vogue to help style it, which made it proper.”


//12″ Metal container sleeve, Metal Box, PiL, Virgin Records, 1979//

Kenny MacDonald was another integral figure, producing tailored traditional style menswear with a twist long before it became the High Street norm. He was introduced into the circle by sometime PiL member Jeanette Lee, who had managed King’s Road store Acme Attractions with her then-boyfriend Don Letts.


//Letts and Lee, Acme Attractions, Kings Road, London, 1976. Photo: Sheila Rock//

“Kenny was very quietly spoken and thoughtful, a real London bloke,” says Wobble. “You would not get someone like him anywhere else in the world at that time. He was absolutely London.”

MacDonald was such a fan of classic movies that he put on screenings himself at the Kings Cross cinema The Scala.

“It was interesting because he was a black bloke into the public school look, making fake Jockey Club ties and talking in a upper-class accent,” says Wobble.


//Jah Wobble, 90s and 80s.//

“That was strange and somehow great. And he’d always do the unexpected. When everyone else was producing pegged trousers, he did a straight-legged, conservative cut. When everyone was wearing low, long thin lapels down to one button, quite 50s, he made a higher cut jacket, slightly uptight, very English.”

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MacDonald’s flamboyant masterstroke may well have been the giant and brightly coloured Teddy Bear fur coats he made for the band; John Lydon sported the red version for a performance on The Old Grey Whistle Test.

Wobble’s was in green and yellow “like something worn by Flanagan & Allen. Oh man. I wore it with a Homburg from a local Jewish outfitter, a Daniel Hechter suit and walked into The Globe public house; they all  started singing Underneath The Arches!”

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Through the 80s Wobble checked for Daniel Hechter, buying suits two at a time from his Bond street shop, and into the 90s had a wide variety of suits made in the Far East, one in Versace logo material.

“It had this Roman element with the beautiful dark blues and gold,” he says. “And it was mixed with the East, which is very sensual; I love silk.


//Jah Wobble 2001//

These days he still has bespoke suits made in the Far East and persists in hunting down quality second hand clothes.”I’m like those older guys who chase young women: I play the percentage game. They’ll keep knocking on the door until they get one, though of course the law of diminishing returns kicks in.

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“I keep going into second-hand shops and about one in every hundred visits pays off: you come across a fantastic, hardly-worn Armani suit or something.”

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He is also a great fan of Missoni. “I have quite a few jackets; there’s something wonderful about their interwoven material, it’s kind of like the stuff Kenny was doing. Not predictable grey and black.”


//Chinese Dub tour, 2008.//

For last year’s acclaimed Chinese Dub live extravaganza, Wobble and his wife, the ghuzeng player Zi Lan Liao,blended authentic eastern styles and artistry into a visual tour-de-force to match the spectacular nature of the music.

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And what about the stubble? Some might argue that Wobble’s refusal to shave was his most radical visual contribution of the post-punk era, given the silent new wave “no facial hair” diktat of the times. By doing so he predicted the 80s “designer stubble” fad by a good few years.

“Initially it came about through laziness, but then I started to use a trimmer,” he says. “In those days it was akin to luxuriant prairie grass. Now it’s like bramble. If you try and carry it off you look like old man Steptoe!”

To win a copy of Wobble’s most excellent book, mail your answer to the question below to : the

We’ll pick the lucky winner from a Homburg on November 24. Best of luck!

Q: Which item of clothing is also the title of a track on PiL’s album Metal Box?

Hiroshi Fujiwara’s Personal Effects: A design odyssey

For the last week THE LOOK’s head has been buried in Personal Effects, the new book from Hiroshi Fujiwara which collects together 100 of his favourite personal possessions. 

The deceptively simple format – a photograph of the item faced by a brief description by Fujiwara – delivers a substantial amount of information about this retiring major domo of international street fashion and style; his likes and dislikes, his abiding fascination for, and deep knowledge of, design and product innovation, his interests in both tradition and adaptation. 


Wrapped in a charming tracing paper slip cover, the book delivers a personal design odyssey, taking in such apparently disparate objects as Dayna Decker candles, Louis Vuitton teddy bears, Highwayman leather jackets as worn by Sid Vicious, the Kangol caps with which Fujiwara is strongly associated, a 100-year-old Hermes haute a croire bag, 80s Adidas Campus sneakers (as worn by the Beastie Boys) and Apple‘s AirMac Express base station.

“They’re selected because I’m using or wearing them currently,” says Fujiwara.


Some of the objects are those that he has been involved in producing via his design interests in such labels as AFFA (run with compadre Jun Takahashi), fragment design, Uniform Experiment and Nike.


Many are customised not only with Fujiwara’s trademark double-lightning flash but also accoutrements: his Goyard Saint Louis tote bag is strung with a couple of pendants and the heels of the Visvim FBT moccasins are decorated with appropriate Native American-inspired badges created by jeweller and silversmith Goro Takahashi.


Such was my absorption that within minutes of being given the book I was snapped by Facehunter Yvan Rodic poring over it…


Personal Effects is available here.

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!

La Rocka! We love Johnson’s!

Good Lookin Sexy Kool Kat’s Motor-Lucifer Rockabilly Rockers II Robot Johnson’s Mania.

As Groucho Marx would have pointed out, we said a hatful there but it’s well worth enunciating, for that is the title of the very first book dedicated to the rock fashion business created by Lloyd and Jill Johnson in London in the 80s and 90s.

Written and compiled by Daitsuke Tsuda (who was a Johnson’s customer going back to 1982), the heavily-illustrated book homes in on La Rocka!, the label launched in the early 80s at the Johnson’s outlets in Kensington Market and at 406 King’s Road to accompany the change of direction away from mod and 60s British styles towards western, rockabilly and harder-rockin’ gear.


With hundreds of pages lovingly setting out every La Rocka! design option, shoes by Dave Fortune’s neighbouring store Robot are also represented, as are sister Johnson’s labels such as Beat Beat and Mex-Tex.

There are also shots of contemporary youth of both sexes sporting original pieces. Lloyd and Jill (who contributed photos from their own archives, including one with their daughter Ruby as a baby and a more recent depiction of the family garbed in Beatnik glory) confess to being honoured and delighted by the tribute. “Frankly we’re a bit taken aback,” says Lloyd. “They’ve got everything in there, including stuff I don’t even remember us selling!” 


And I’m particularly flattered that they thought to include a pic of me and the dynamic duo from my wedding last year.

This volume represents just one of Lloyd’s creative endeavours; the success of his Kensington Market partnership Cockell & Johnson from 1968, the investigations into vintage-wear in the mid-70s and the Tiki outlet in Notting Hill in the mid-90s – these and many other adventures deserve to be compiled in a dedicated book which would underline this unassuming and charming man’s importance to British fashion over five decades.

For now you can read more about Lloyd, Jill, La Rocka! and Johnson’s exclusively in THE LOOK.

Copies of the new book are available here.

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.

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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.”

Punk authenticity row hits eBay

The row over authenticity and the pioneering punk fashions of Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood just took a turn for the weird.

THE LOOK can exclusively reveal a series of designs bearing striking similarities to key McLaren and Westwood creations which have been trademarked without their knowledge by a company unconnected with either of them.

//Left: Westwood orb 1987. Right: Red Planet orb 2008//

And, in a bizarre move, the same company recently attempted to copyright a design entitled “Destroy Jesus”; this consists of key elements of the notorious “Destroy” shirt as worn by the Sex Pistols and sold through McLaren and Westwood’s shop at 430 King’s Road in it’s 1976-79 incarnation as Seditionaries.

//Left: variations on Seditionaries design 1977. Right: “Destroy Jesus” application 2009//

The business behind this activity is Red Planet, most recently trading on eBay as Saint Art Junkie but previously known by a variety of names, including Too Fast To Live To (sic) Fast To Die Clothing Company.

Last week THE LOOK bought from Red Planet a t-shirt for £12 bearing a skull & crossbones logo and the phrase Too Fast To Live Too Young To Die. It came complete with a “free gift” tag carrying the same ident.

//Left: Vivienne Westwood t-shirt 2003. Right: Red Planet t-shirt purchased last week//

Operated by Tony Knight from an address in Droylsden, Manchester, the company has posted an announcement on eBay confirming that this trademark – number 1449591517 – along with others is registered with the Intellectual Property Office, the government body which controls intellectual copyrights. The cost of registering an apparel trademark with the IPO is less than £500.

The design is near-identical to the logo and name used by McLaren and Westwood for 430 King’s Road between 1972 and 1974. This has subsequently been revived and referenced by Westwood many times on t-shirts, knits and badges; THE LOOK has a Westwood tee bearing the phrase and logo bought as recently as 2003.

//Westwood MAN label 2000. Right: Red Planet Jeans trademark 2008//

The other trademarks registered with the IPO by Red Planet include two encircled orb and cross logos as well as the name “Worlds End apparel clothing”. Of course, World’s End is the name given to 430 King’s Road in 1980 (under which it continues to trade to this day). It is from here that Westwood carved out her reputation as an internationally recognized designer; the Gothic serif font used by Red Planet is close to the lettering she continues to use for her own-label designs.

//Too Fast To Live 1972. Pic: David Parkinson. Right: Red Planet tag, 2009//

An image indelibly associated with Westwood’s business is the encircled orb and cross, of which there have been a number of permutations since she introduced it with her “Harris Tweed” show of March 1987. It should be noted that the Harris Tweed Authority had the royal orb as it’s own trademark since 1911; it overlooked Westwood’s adoption since this was seen as introducing the mark to fresh generations of consumers.

Red Planet clearly states it is not associated with the Westwood business.  The designer’s name on it’s eBay listing is Vivienne or Vivian Peters. Together with the company title and other references, this creates the keywords: “Vivienne”, “Westwood” and “red”.

//Red Planet Worlds End logo 2008. Right: Vivienne Westwood red label 2001//

THE LOOK was alerted to Red Planet’s trademark registrations by disgruntled individuals claiming they have been barred by eBay from marketing repro McLaren and Westwood clothing at Red Planet’s insistence.

“I had a Destroy shirt for sale and it was withdrawn,” says an individual who requested anonymity. “eBay said it breached Red Planet’s trademark ownership. I thought that Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood designed these punk symbols of art?”

//eBay announcement posted recently//

In line with their non-conformist approach to the fashion business, neither McLaren nor Westwood has ever asserted their ownership of intellectual copyrights on the sale of reproductions of their 70s output of at least 30 t-shirt designs, bondage trousers, so-called Anarchy, Parachute, Peter Pan and muslin shirts and rafts of jackets and shoes.

The international trade in reproduction Sex and Seditionaries clothes is now a multi-million dollar business supplied by such specialists as Dangerously Close in the UK, Posers Of Hollywood in the US, 666 in Japan and King Mob, which closed operations earlier this year though was understood to have a manufacturing base in Thailand and traded on eBay.

Last year McLaren launched a campaign against reproduction clothes being marketed as originals, targeting in particular dealer/collector Simon Easton, who had sold a large number of disputed items to artist Damien Hirst for £70,000. Easton protested his innocence and outlined his case to THE LOOK here.

A spokesperson for Vivienne Westwood confirmed to THE LOOK that the company is looking into Red Planet’s IPO registrations, while McLaren admitted that he is flabbergasted by Red Planet’s actions. “This is extraordinary,” he adds. “The plot thickens.”

Our inquiries have revealed that Red Planet’s attempt to register “Destroy Jesus” with the IPO has failed, not because it infringes McLaren and Westwood’s copyright, but due to a moral objection being raised by an unnamed individual.

The IPO has confirmed to THE LOOK that “further proceedings” may be initiated into two more Red Planet trademarks

.When contacted by THE LOOK, Red Planet declined to respond to our inquiries.

***Three months after this story was posted Red Planet has contacted THE LOOK by submitting a number of comments disputing this story (though confirming they have registered these trademarks). The company has not made any direct contact via phone, post or email. We have written to Red Planet directing them to our legal representatives. The IPO has been unable to confirm whether it is carrying out the further proceedings indicated in the story. Until this matter is resolved we will not be publishing comments and have withdrawn any already made.***

FURTHER NOTE: Westwood successfully sued Knight for ownership of her marks in March 2011. See here for update.