The wunderbar Peggy Noland first turned us on to Cody Critcheloe and Ssion in our interview a couple of years back.
Archive for the Fashion design category
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:
British Remains: “They couldn’t find anything decent anyone else was doing THEY DID IT THEMSELVES!”
//Teenagers from London’s Kentish Town and Tufnell Park: “We hate everything.”//
//Generation X front//
//Generation X back//
Tel 01 230 1212
Art forgers Grant Champkins-Howard, 44, and Lee Parker, 45, face jail sentences after confessing to selling fake prints by guerilla artist Banksy on eBay at Kingston Crown Court last Friday (June 4).
Charges in the separate case against the pair alleging the manufacture and distribution of fake 70s designs by the late Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood lie on file.
THE LOOK will not be publishing comments on this post.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
//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//
“I am also doing a basic range of 10 items costing from £25 for a short skirt to leggings at £60,” says West. “Bargain!”
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.
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.”
Cheap Chic is notable on many fronts, not least that it is the very first book to make mention of Sex, the shop opened by Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood at 430 King’s Road in the spring of 1974.
Exuding Them-ness from every pore, the enduring exquisite Duggie Fields pointed out that Sex was “not fashionable…bits of furs, porno embroidered T-shirts and humorous clothes. My idea of clothes is to make myself smile. I like that in others too. I don’t think clothes should be serious.”
This is an aspect of the boutique which is all-too forgotten; that, behind the commitment, subversive art and anarchic politics, lurked the wit and laughter which underpinned the late McLaren’s life and work. This attracted a clientele which was in no way “punk”, despite the revisionism of recent years.
//430 King’s Road, Sw3, 1975. Photo: Peter Schlesinger//
Read all about Cheap Chic here.
Long before SEX served up, er, sex from 430 King’s Road, Mr Freedom – which started out from the same premises – supplied clothes which fused a celebration of sexuality with a bedazzling take on pop art and trash culture iconography.
This was outlined in a May 1971 eight-page colour feature in short-lived men’s magazine Club delivered to us piping hot from the archive of our pal Steven Millington.
The report by the ever spot-on Michael Roberts with photographs by Mike Berkofsky pointed to the fashion-forward velvet hot-pants, bumster trousers, ice-cream brooches and Disney licensing by Freedom founder Tommy Roberts and partner Trevor Myles (who exited to establish Paradise Garage).
By the time the Club piece was published, Mr Freedom had been based at 20 Kensington Church Street for six months. It’s interesting to note the range included “Teddy Boy suits” (as well as boiler suits and “huge bovver boots”), presaging in part the stock at Let It Rock when the late Malcolm McLaren took over 430 King’s Road from Myles in November 1971.
As it happened, Mr Freedom did not last much more than a year in Kensington. Lack of financial controls and overheads including the cost of operating a warehouse spelled the end of the shop, which was superceded by City Lights Studio in Covent Garden.
Still, the Club article provides a superb showcase for Mr Freedom, highlighting such clothes as the skull-and-crossbones tee as worn by Marc Bolan and Freedom designers Jim O’Connor and Pamla Motown‘s wonderful and now highly collectible baseball suit.
Around the same time Michael Roberts took the opportunity to include Roberts and Myles in a separate Club piece on six of London’s leading auto-fiends, Tommy with his pillar-box red V8 Pilot and Trevor with the Paradise Garage Mustang tiger-striped and flocked by Electric Colour Co.
We’re really grateful to Steven M for thinking of THE LOOK as the place to showcase these fantastic editorial pages; check out his alter-ego Lord Dunsby’s sterling retrographic illustrative work here.
Our favourite is this clip filmed in and around the recently opened Mr Freedom at 430 King’s Road, Chelsea. Seeing the fabled jersey t-shirt dresses in all their glory is a special treat, as is this clear evidence of Tommy Roberts’ and Trevor Myles’ fashion-forward approach to licensing Disney images and incorporating them, Pop Art style, into design.
//430 King’s Road ,London SW3 1970. Pic: David Parkinson//
Read all about that in Chapter 16 of THE LOOK.
Also note the black with red piping bolero top worn in the latter half; this was one of the incredible creations of the sadly-departed Dinah Adams, who also worked for Granny Takes A Trip just down the road at 488 King’s Road.
//Dinah Adams, 1970: “A brilliant innovator.”//
As former Granny’s owner and King’s Road scenester Gene Krell has said here before, Adams was “a gifted personality…a brilliant innovator who never got her due”. There are other London Aktuel segments – with more space-age bachelor pad music – featuring Biba, Laura Of London and Mary Quant.
With demand for the original design building over the last year or so, the new Special Edition is available in four sizes for men and women exclusively from THE LOOK PRESENTS.
//Wild Things, Brixton Market, mid-70s. Photo: Armet Francis//
Hand-crafted by John and Molly Dove on 100% cotton jersey, the long-sleeved shirt is decorated with glittering Swarovski rhinestones and a blazing red satin inset tongue.
For delivery The Wild Thing Special Edition is wrapped in “Fuck art – let’s do the t-shirt” black-on-black tissue paper and packaged in an embossed box.
//The Wild Thing Special Edition is hand-crafted//
Order yours by clicking here, or on the ad in the right hand-column.
Read the complete history of Wild Thing here.
//Malcolm McLaren: “I hate anything chic – that’s terrible!” Photography Pennie Smith//
The publication of veteran music critic Nick Kent’s new memoir Apathy For The Devil brings to mind the first serious attempt by the UK music press to acknowledge the vital relationship between fashion and popular music.
//Page 20, NME, April 6, 1974//
Headed “The Politics Of Flash”, Kent’s article in the New Musical Express in the spring of 1974 is a crucial snapshot of a scene at an important transitionary stage: the theatrical costumery of such fol-de-rols as Gary Glitter, Elton John and Queen is about to give way to the shock of the new being rolled out by the likes of Malcolm McLaren and Antony Price.
Just six days prior to publication date Television played their first CBGBs gig, setting up a scene which would lure McLaren to New York and on return help focus his working relationship with young customers Steve Jones and his mates in The Strand.
//Page 21, NME, April 6, 1974//
The fetish gear was already in stock, though the pink rubber Sex sign was yet to be erected and the store awaited installation of the”gymnasium” interior by carpenter Vick Mead.
In fact McLaren told Kent he has just decided against an extremely long new name. This was to have been a quote from a pornographic magazine which turned up on a number of garment labels: “The dirty stripper who left her UNDIES on the railings to go hitchhiking said you don’t THINK I have stripped all these years just for MONEY do you?””
//Page 46, NME, April 6, 1974//
As Kent’s former girlfriend Chrissie Hynde said on Jonesy’s Jukebox a couple of years back, when she worked there around this time, the shop didn’t have a name, just 17th century clergyman Thomas Fuller‘s maxim “Craft must have clothes but Truth loves to go naked” sprayed across the lintel on the facade.
//Antony Price: “My ideal rock band would be four Amanda Lears.”//
Kent simultaneously ended the relationship and Hynde’s employment at the shop by attacking her on the premises over a perceived infidelity.
//Chrissie Hynde & Nick Kent in Sex threads, 1974. Photo: Joe Stevens//
He then wove the incident into a forlorn NME review of a solo album by Van der Graaf Generator’s frontman Peter Hammill.
//The Rock Taylor team: “The Sweet spend £1,000 a month on clothes.”//
The Politics Of Flash is thoroughgoing, taking in Freddie Burretti’s design relationship with David Bowie (though Burretti declined to be interviewed), Ossie Clark‘s with Mick Jagger and Annie Reavey‘s creation of flamboyant stagewear for Elton John.
//Annie Reavey: “Elton approaches garments as artworks.”//
Mr Freedom, City Lights Studio and Alkasura are all name-checked and the Rock Taylor quartet – Geoff Clark, ex-Alkasura Jean Seel (later Boy George’s landlady), Graham Springett and Keith Hartley – discuss their customers The Sweet. Meanwhile former Ruskin’s designer Julian Kraker says that he believes his clients Slade are “to the 70s what the Stones were to the 60s”.
//Gene Krell: “The kids have always started the rock fashion ball rolling.”//
At Granny Takes A Trip (where Kent has since acknowledged he regularly scored heroin), co-owner Gene Krell was forthright about the shop’s role for such regular clients as Keith Richards and Ron Wood. “We’re not dealing in fashion…that’s a bunch of crap!” he told Kent. “We have our own style which is nothing to do with good taste. Our clothes are very proletarian, very, very reactionary against English provincialism.”
Our partner in Priceless, Antony Price, sums up the inertia which gripped mid-70s London. The man who, within four years, would be operating amazing King’s Road outlet Plaza, told Kent: “We’re all so shrouded by this spectre of the swinging 60s. There’s no such thing as futuristic fashion in England. It’s all dead and there aren’t even any decent clubs for them to show off the extent of their decay.”
THANKS are due to the world’s greatest music journalism resource, rocksbackpages.com, for providing us with this vital item from their incredible archive. Visit it now.
THE LOOK has been having a whole bunch of fun contributing to the promo shoot for Jah Wobble’s forthcoming single Blow Up.
Asked to help out with styling, extras and props, we gathered up friends Lloyd Johnson, Emma Peelpants and Jenny Drag for a sequence recalling the notorious fashion-shoot-as-metaphor-for-sex scene featuring star David Hemmings and model Verushka in Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1966 movie.
//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.
We’re celebrating the New Year with an exclusive competition to win a copy of the spiffing new book 70s Style & Design.
The competition is in conjunction with the Barney Bubbles Blog; the fine folk at Thames & Hudson have supplied us with the prized copy which will go to the person who answers correctly the question at the bottom of this post.
We’ve already detailed the excellence of Kirsty Hislop and Dominic Lutyens’ book here; suffice to say that it is packed with such nuggets as the “Mondo Trasho” spread above, which treats us to views of Duggie Fields in his Earls Court apartment (which he once shared with Syd Barrett) in the mid-70s – that’s Duggie top left in a red cerise SEX t-shirt.
For a chance to win a copy of this visual feast, send us your answer to the following question:
Which album by Ian Dury & The Blockheads featured 28 front cover variations of 1970s Crown wallpaper patterns?
MAIL YOUR ANSWER TO: thelook@rockpopfashion.
THE WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED ON JANUARY 14.
Be lucky and Happy New Year!
//110cm x 110 cm “Love Cats” silk scarf.//
Using the theme “Love Cats”, CoS – Australian Alex Murray-Leslie and American Melissa Logan – decorated their LRRH scarf with graphics and appliques. CoS have previously worked with such designers as Jean Charles de Castelbajac, Karl Lagerfeld, Jeremy Scott and Lisa Walker as well as artists Deborah Schamoni (who directed their clips for We Don’t Play Guitars and Glamour Girl) and Douglas Gordon.
Recently Murray-Leslie took part in a performance during Paris Fashion Week:
“It’s really exciting when you can no longer distinguish between art and fashion, when the design itself is a piece of art,” says LRRH founder Daniela Goergens. “As Jean-Paul Satre said so eloquently: ‘I am the scarf, I am that outer layer’.”
“At the moment we are doing a lot of works for our art shows,” says Alex Murray-Leslie. “These are only available for a few people to see, due to museum shows being less accessible than making music, so sometimes we like to take things off the museum walls and make them more accessible.”
Currently Alex and Melissa are working with Daniela on the first Chicks On Speed collection for winter 2010. “We´d like it to be super accessible, fun and very LOUD,” says Alex. “There´ll be 10 pieces, a lot of accessories and items with our prints.”
For the CoS performance art piece/solo exhibition at Dundee Contemporary Arts Centre next May, Alex and Melissa also plan to launch “the first wearable E-SHOE high heeled shoe guitar” with Max Kibardin.
They will also be debuting new stage costumes created with Kathi Glas, Ari Fish and Peggy Noland.
With the Chicks On Speed & Friends pop up shop at Changing Room in Barcelona (which travels to Aoyama, Tokyo in 2010), the scarves (priced 90€ / 120€ with appliqués from LRRH) arrive at a hectic time for CoS; their Theremin Tapestry show is currently at Kunstverein Wolfsburg.
Meanwhile here’s a trip back to 2003 and one of THE LOOK’s faves from CoS (with Peaches) in the days of Nag Nag Nag: