Archive for the Events category

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.”

“El Look”! We’re in with Itfashion

We’re very flattered that this blog – “El Look” – is being featured today by leading Spanish online magazine Itfashion.

“The Look presents large amounts of new information, often first-hand from Paul Gorman’s personal archive, packed with fresh insights into a vast range of subjects,” writes Estel Vilaseca, who has run Itfashion since 1999.

Estel is a freelance fashion editor, consultant (having worked with the likes of Dresslab), and the author of a number of books; her latest is out next month: Runway Uncovered: The Making Of A Fashion Show.

Gracias Estel! Follow her and Itfashion on twitter here.

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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Tonight: The Original Mods

Ahead of djhistory.com’s Original Mods event at the Horse & Groom, London EC2, we thought we’d hip you to some rare images of a couple of tonight’s participants to show how the 59-62 Modernists developed as the years progressed.

 

//Lloyd Johnson, Maria Nilsson, Patrick Cockell, 1966. Photo: Sebastian Keep//

Above left is Lloyd Johnson in 1966 with Maria Nilsson and Patrick Cockell, with whom he opened the Kensington Market shop Cockell & Johnson in 1968.

“I’m wearing my first Granny Takes A Trip shirt, which cost £4-14/6d (or as they preferred it, 4 1/2 gns),” says Lloyd.

Pat Cockell’s shirt is also Granny’s – the pair were supplying ties to the King’s Road store, and received them in part payment.

“I was encouraging Patrick to grow his hair and side-boards, so gave him a high parting and back-combed the back,” adds Lloyd, whose own hair has just grown out after being cropped to an all-over one-inch length the year before.

 

//The Who with Jeff Dexter watching from the side, The Oval cricket ground, south London, 1971//

And here’s a couple of Jeff Dexter with superstars of the 70s who sprang from the mod milieu. Above there’s JD watching The Who headline a bill at The Oval in south London in 1971; he was the main DJ that day and donned his cricket whites (complete with pads) to mark the occasion.

Below that’s Jeff on the left enjoying a jolly-up with pals including his close personal friend Marc Bolan in 1970.

 

//JD (left) with Marc Bolan and pals, 1970. Pic: Keith Morris/Redferns//

I’ll be moderating this evening’s event which also features contributions from Mickey Modern and Jeff’s dancing partner from back in the day, Dena “Dynamite” Sprigens.

We’re hoping they’ll show us how it’s done after the chat, which starts at 8.30. JD is also DJing along with Hugh from Shindig, Benoit & Namedrop and Jonny 5.

Entry is free so come on down – it’s gonna be a good night!

Iggy Pop’s jacket: The Turin Shroud of punk rock fashion

Here are a selection of shots relating to the garment designers John and Moly Dove describe as “the Turin Shroud of punk rock fashion”.

//Back, Iggy Pop’s Wild Thing jacket,Wonder Workshop, 1972. Photo 2009: Long Gone John//

And here’s their story.

//Back cover, Raw Power, Iggy & The Stooges, CBS Records, 1973. Photography: Mick Rock//

We’ve featured elements here before about  the design; John and Molly say they only five of these jackets.

//Front, Iggy Pop’s Wild Thing jacket, Wonder Workshop, 1973. Photo 2009: Long Gone John.

We hooked them up with Long Gone John, the current owner of the jacket worn by Iggy on the back cover of the magnificent Raw Power, and received chapter-and-verse on how he added it to his stunning collection of esoterica, strangeness & charm.

//Long Gone John. Photo: Orange County Weekly//

All that and running the greatest record label in the world – not bad, eh?

//Iggy Pop, 1972. Photo: Mick Rock//

Of course we are proud to have played our part. The short sleeved Wild Things produced by our label The Look Presents Wonder Workshop sold out via Topman in double quick time last year.

Steve Jones, London 2008. Photo: Paul Burgess. Glen Matlock, LA, 2008. Photo: FilmMagic//

And we’re continuing to supply orders of the limited edition long-sleeved versions tailored to the original design with full and signed provenance, packaged in a hand-stamped and numbered box and the all-important “Fuck art let’s do the t-shirt” wrapping paper.

//Junior in Wild Thing Special Edition 2009//

We also helped them get tees to Steve Jones and Glen Matlock, who wore their’s on live dates last year.

These are priced £99 and available to order from: thelook@rockpopfashion.com

Meantime, get the lowdown on Iggy Pop’s jacket here.

Mark Powell + Berluti Bespoke = sartorial splendour

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

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

 

//Mark Powell menswear// 

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

 

//Mark Powell womenswear from his last show// 

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

 

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

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

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