Archive for the glam category

Fiorucci and Hysteric Glamour: Postcards from the cutting edge


Apologies for yesterday’s interregnum; normal service is resumed and, by way of making amends, here are a couple of incredible postcards from THE LOOK archive.

The Fiorucci postcard (credited to Eric Shemilt Design Ltd) was contributed by the world’s best gal Mrs G and looks as though it dates from the early to mid-80s, when the label was in its pomp.

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430: Mr Freedom serves up sex and sass in Club

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of financial controls and overheads including the cost of operating a warehouse spelled the end of the shop, which was superceded by City Lights Studio in Covent Garden.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.

“Fuck art – let’s do the t-shirt” – Wild Thing is back!

Much imitated, never bettered, one of the greatest icons of rock fashion – the Wild Thing t-shirt – is back in a new Special Edition from The Look Presents and Wonder Workshop.

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.

//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.     

The Politics Of Flash revisited

//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//  

As McLaren detailed in the article, he and Vivienne Westwood were already instituting the shift at 430 King’s Road from Too Fast To Live Too Young To Die to Sex.

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 FreedomCity 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,, for providing us with this vital item from their incredible archive. Visit it now.

Found: Freedom photos to celebrate 70s book launch

This evening’s launch of Kirsty Hislop and Dominic Lutyens’ estimable 70s Style & Design provides an opportunity to show off a couple of rare photos we’ve gathered from one of the places which receives extensive coverage in the book: the pioneering boutique Mr Freedom.


//Snapped at the Mr Freedom Kensington opening party, 1970. Top in hat: Pamla Motown//

The above shot of scenesters and fashion movers and shakers was taken at the opening party of the Mr Freedom branch at 20 Kensington Church Street in December 1970. From left they are: Micky Solomons, Mona (Solomons’ girlfriend at the time), and Ken and Pam Todd.

Top, in the hat, is designer Pamla Motown and we’re reliably informed that Ken Todd’s jacket was from Cockell & Johnson.

The shot has been supplied to us by Trevor Myles, who co-founded Mr Freedom with Tommy Roberts; not long after the Kensington store opened, they went their separate ways. Myles returned to the site of the original shop, 430 King’s Road, and relaunched that as Paradise Garage.

//Mr Freedom, 430 King’s Road, 1969: Trevor Myles, Tommy Roberts, John Paul and Gerald Tilling//

The first Mr Freedom was opened by Myles and Roberts in 1968, taking over the premises from Michael Rainey’s Hung On You.

Decorated by Electric Colour Company, one of its notable faces was flamboyant manager Gerald Tilling, while Roberts’ friend John Paul was brought in ahead of the move to the more ambitious store in Kensington.


//Pop art is covered from Allan Jones to Jon Wealleans’ design for the Mr Feed’Em restaurant//

Mr Freedom, Paradise Garage and Pamla Motown (in particular her association with fellow designer Jim O’Connor) all feature in the new book which is illustrated with 430 images, many rare.


//The vintage boom begins, featuring (centre) Anna Piaggi and Vern Lambert//

Hislop and Lutyens have covered the waterfront, checking for everyone from Swanky ModesFiorucci and Johnsons to Nova, the back to nature movement and radical architecture.


//Fold-out section including Nova, Wonder Workshop and Mr Freedom sportswear//

Order your copy here.

Tonight: The Original Mods

Ahead of‘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!

LOVE loves Poppy & The Jezebels

So great to see LOVE catching up on Poppy & The Jezebels

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THE LOOK adores P & The Js, and knows it’s only a matter a time before their small axe of obstreporous indie finery chops down the tiresome popstrel elite.  

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And the latest edition of the Jezebels’ fantastic photo-diary Popscene reaches a highpoint with an encounter this festival season with the great Jim Sclavunos:

Catch up with Poppy & The Jezebels this autumn. Among the venues they are playing are King’s College London (September 23) and the Beak & Wings, Leeds (November 6).

The tits tee: 40-year odyssey of a design classic

One of our most popular posts is also one of the earliest: The strange and intriguing story of the ‘tits tee’.

Who would have thought this single article of clothing would contain such a legacy?

Maybe it speaks of the universal breast fixation, but the fact is that this design – at once simple and complex – continues its journey from art project to novelty item to radical fashion apparel and eventually to 21st century art object.

Along the way this tale absorbs such disparate elements as Rhode Island School Of Design, Oz magazine, Bourbon Street, the King’s Road, Alice Cooper, the LA Free Press and Forum in the 70s, The Face in the mid-80s, the late lamented model, boutique owner and novelist Pat Booth, the implosion of the New York Dolls and the rise of the Sex Pistols, the Met’s Anglomania exhibition of 2006 and much, much more.

//Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones keeps ’em hid in Seditionaries version, Sweden, 1977. Photo: Dennis Morris//

Imponderables abound; the stock of the first edition produced for a college yearbook in 1969 was stolen by persons unknown, which maybe account for the variations down the years.

The final mystery is that nobody can remember the name of the original model.

A room-mate of the students who came up with the concept, like the Mona Lisa she has receded into history leaving not an enigmatic smile but a pair of perfectly formed breasts to entrance forever.

Look upon the following and learn:

Part 1: It came from Rhode Island

Part 2: Wonder Workshop’s wonderful breasts

Part 3: SEX & The Tits Tee

This is THE LOOK’s three part three-part special, based on testimony supplied exclusively by the key protagonists, presenting rarely seen images and previously unpublished and updated interviews and information for the first time anywhere, ever.


Part 2: Wonder Workshop’s wonderful breasts

“Ideas evolve and the artwork develops as you draw more from life,” says John Dove, who, with his wife and Wonder Workshop partner Molly White, was tuning into the zeitgeist at exactly the same time as the Gottwalds across the Atlantic.


//Photomontage of late Victorian pin-ups for shirt print, John Dove and Molly White, 1967// 

“In 1966 I’d made some drawings of Brigitte Bardot wearing a topless dress, and the following year we’d produced photomontage shirts of early 20th century pin-ups,” explains John. “And in 1968, prior to making the breasts screen-print, I’d drawn and montaged about 20 breasts images for a poster printed as part of OZ magazine no.12 with Barney Bubbles and a host of other artists.”


//Brigitte Bardot in topless dress 1966/Front cover Marshmallow Pie, Graham Lord, 1970. Both John Dove//

In 1969 John and Molly came up with the notion of Painless Tattoos; a series of prints on garments manufactured from sheer material.

“When I was delivering drawings to Nova I often talked to the fashion editor Caroline Baker about the tattoos, which she loved,” says John.


//Existence Is Unhappiness, OZ 12/Detail of breasts drawn by John Dove, May 1968//

“Honey magazine published a small piece of reportage in December 1969 and photographer James Wedge was in the Nova office with his portfolio one week around that time; he showed some interest in stocking the tattoo clothes for the shop he owned with his girlfriend Pat Booth, Countdown in the King’s Road.”


//Painless Tattoo photospread, Nova, April 1970// 

Booth was one of the key movers and shakers of the 60s and beyond, escaping a tough East End childhood to first become a successful model and then boutique owner before carving an international reputation as an author. Sadly she succumbed to cancer just a couple of months ago.

Nova showcased the Painless Tattoo collection in it’s April 1970 issue with photographs of Booth by Wedge. Around this time Wedge also photographed Booth’s torso for a new idea of John and Molly’s; the breasts shirt. 


//Pat Booth’s torso by James Wedge, 1970// 

“It was a natural progression on the trompe de l’oeil effect of the tattoos,” says John. “We printed it on an ecru jersey T-shirt, using the underwear manufacturer Morley, which made cotton and silk shirts made for the armed forces.”We also printed some sleeveless versions on vests by Invicta. The breasts were printed with a basic mono black and a fine blue tint and there were some sepia versions too. At the same time we did a short edition of prints on paper which Peter Bird purchased the prints for an Arts Council exhibition.”

Soon Countdown was stocking the breasts shirt and John and Molly also supplied a couple of stores in New York and continental Europe, though it likely that a maximum of 40 were ever made. 

“In 1971 we produced the T-shirt with a black back but we couldn’t persuade Trevor Myles to stock it at Paradise Garage,” says John. 

More interest was shown a couple of years later by Myles’ successors at 430 King’s Road, Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren, who visited John and Molly’s studio in Villiers Road, Willesden, north-west London in 1974 as they prepared the transition of the shop from Too Young To Live Too Fast To Die to SEX by researching the underground sex and fetish clothes market.  


//Trevor Myles receives a ticket outside Paradise Garage 1971. Pic: David Parkinson// 

“This was a little after Malcolm had returned from Paris, hanging out on the New York Dolls‘ European tour,” says John. “Malcolm looked a different kind of rocker from before: the Teddy Boy drape had given way to a blousey jacket and scarf, the Cockney accent had gone and he was wearing cuban high-heeled shoes. By then the Teddy Boy scene had backfired.

“We talked about sex clothing and the overlapping images of pornography and art. Vivienne said how they had found all these people making fabulous clothes for fetishists – an entire industry out there running under the surface which they wanted to bring into the open.

“Up until the late 60s, sex fetish clothing was still taboo but the ice was now wearing thin.”

John says that Westwood liked the Wonder Workshop Lips and Leopardskin Pin-up T-shirts.”But we couldn’t agree on a shape, a pattern or a label,” he adds. “We insisted that we could only supply T-shirts with our own labels. Then Malcolm noticed the breasts print on the wall and asked when we did it so we told him the Countdown story. Malcolm liked it and declared he was gonna do it.”

The quartet also discussed another T-shirt John had seen in Portobello Road earlier that year “like the one that Charlie Watts had worn on the cover of The Stones’ Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out!“.


//Molly in the Kitsch-22 breasts & tattoos tee 1977/From BOY Blackmail catalogue 1981//

In the event SEX did not carry the Wonder Workshop designs and John and Molly relaunched the breasts shirt with their shop Kitsch-22 in 1977, combining it with an overprint of their eagle & snake tattoo (which was reissued last year as part of their range for The Look Presents).

This was also included in BOY’s mail order range Blackmail in the early 80s.


//From BOY Blackmail catalogue 1981//

“When M&V visited us in the autumn of 1974, it wasn’t purely a social visit – it was business,” stresses John. “I’m certain they hadn’t seen a tits t-shirt before that and even if they had, they hadn’t considered producing one. 

“Whatever the historical facts, all the novelty genre tits t-shirts in the world may have gone completely unnoticed had Malcolm and Vivienne not made that souvenir t-shirt their own. Lets face it – its a work of art! End of story!”

But the story doesn’t end there – in the next and final chapter Malcolm McLaren explains for the first time the exact circumstances of his discovery of the print and we look at how it remains as a high-end fashion item/art statement to this day.

Balenciaga and Urban’s “dumb” East West knock-offs


//This East West parrot jacket fetched £2,750 at a Christie’s auction last year//

The recent uncredited recycling of a key East West Musical Instruments Co design by both Balenciaga and Urban Outfitters is but the latest example of mainstream designers’ increasingly desperate attempts to plunder the potency of rock and pop fashion (by fair means or foul).


//From Balenciaga Resort 2010//

And the rip occurs at a particularly sticky time for the US trade body the Council Of Fashion Designers, which has launched a campaign for copyright inclusion under the Design Piracy Prohibition Act.Leading the fight is CFDA president Diane von Furstenberg.

One teeny-weeny prob: just last month Diane herself settled out of court for an undisclosed sum with Toronto-based Mercy, which accused DVF of copying a jacket of their’s.

Meanwhile, Balenciaga’s garment in its 2010 Resort Collection and Urban’s (for the Pins & Needles label) have both clearly reproduced signature details from East West’s famous “parrot jacket” – so-called because the lapels resemble parrot’s heads. In this particular regard the two new versions were different; the size of the collar was scaled down or reshaped.


//Urban Outfitters Pins & Needles jacket, spring 2009. Now sold out//

The story itself represents another assertion of the dominance of the fashion blogosphere over traditional media, broken as it was by Addicted To YSL and swiftly followed up with informed commentary from the likes of Jezebel.


//Kaisik Wong designs, photography Thierry Mugler from California Fashion Designers. Courtesy Ben Cooney//

These, and many others, have pointed out that Balenciaga’s chief Nicolas Ghesquière has form; back in 2002 he coughed up to  plagiarising the intricate work of another San Franciscan favourite of THE LOOK’s, Kaisik Wong, after being exposed by The Daily Beast‘s Sameer Reddy (at the time a Hintmag intern who spotted the connection in the wonderful 1974 book Native Funk & Flash).


//Betty Wright in Kaisik Wong, back and front cover, They Say I’m Different, Just Sunshine Records, 1974//

In fact the rip-off revelations had a positive effect: the artistry of the much-neglected Wong (who died from AIDS a relative unknown in 1990) was immediately broadcast to the wider fashion industry.

This spin can hardly be applied to East West. Now among the most famous rock & roll labels of yore and the most collectible in the world, the design spirit has been championed over the last decade by a growing band of fans and collectors, including Romulus von Stezelberger whose South Paradiso Leather continues to produce designs to the original patterns with the blessing of East West founder Norman Stubbs.

//Four of South Paradiso’s East West parrot jackets//

“Once again a great design has been dumbed down,” sighs von Stezelberger, whose company has produced 70 different parrot jackets in denim, velvet, satin, suede and leather. “This is why I hate the fashion business; they destroy the best part of the design (in this case the parrot-head collar) to make it more palatable.”

Von Stezelberger leaves his customers in no doubt as to who created the design. “Let me tell you, anyone that wants that or any of our East West jackets must go through a long-winded bio on the originator and my affiliation with them,” he adds.


//Right: Original parrot jacket, National Boutique Show catalogue 1973. Courtesy Ben Cooney//

“Every parrot jacket we make is one-of-a-kind,” he stresses. “No two are in the same colourway, and some have up to 13 different colours. Ours is based on the original East West pre-production model, with a real parrot-shaped beak, more colour applique on the head and more piping to the leaves down the sleeves than on the copies, which always seem to go for the boring earth-tones.

“No-one did it worse than Henry Duarte, with his solid all-black or brown parrot jackets of a few years back. This jacket is supposed to be fantastic and groovy, not something for Sex In The City, trend-following business-women.”

Beyond Biba: Primark gaff underlines film’s flaws

The combination earlier this month of the premiere of new documentary Beyond Biba and a Q&A with founder Barbara Hulanicki at the V&A provided an intriguing – though ultimately unsatisfying – evening out.

Louis Price’s film covers all the bases in outlining Hulanicki’s extraordinary rise, succeeding where others have failed by encouraging this charming enigma to open up on film.

Illuminating about the challenging circumstances of Hulanicki’s upbringing in Palestine (her father was assassinated by the Stern Gang in 1948, prompting the family flight to austere Britain), Beyond Biba is underpinned by original footage demonstrating Hulanicki and her late husband Stephen “Fitz” Fitz-Simon’s radical approach to 60s retailing (as detailed in Chapter 14 of THE LOOK).


//Window at Big Biba. Design: Steve Thomas//

However, potentially uncomfortable areas are side-stepped, despite the input of such astute and entertaining commentators as Hulanicki’s friend Molly Parkin.

The environmental legacy of Hulanicki’s lifelong championing of “disposable” clothing (manifested as recently as 1996 in the New York boutique Fitz-Fitz) is not addressed, while Biba’s collectability – where much affection for Hulanicki resides – is brushed aside in the briefest of contributions from a fan. Presumably the subject wasn’t too keen for the film to dwell overlong on the past.


//Twiggy at Big Biba, 1973//

In routine fashion the blame for the brand’s collapse in 1975 is laid entirely at the door of property partners British Land.

There is no doubt that these were unsympathetic, divisive and non-creative backers, but this argument does not allow for the fact that the extravagance of the final phase as “Big Biba” was fatally out of synch with the prevailing mood of the times, and, as such, represented a lack of engagement with the cultural impact of such seismic events as the oil crisis, the three-day week and rampant industrial and social strife.

As Peter York wrote in the aftermath: “The mass market came to Big Biba, but only to look.”


Hereafter, Beyond Biba’s narrative jumps more than a decade to 1987, when Hulanicki and her family started life anew in Miami; no mention is made of the shop in Sao Paolo, the launch of the cosmetics brand nor the several unsuccessful attempts to revive Biba without her involvement.

Despite it’s title, Beyond Biba provides an insight as sketchy as Hulanicki’s fashion drawings into what she has achieved since then, with cursory and confusing coverage of the high-end interior design work for such patrons as Island Records founder Chris Blackwell.

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//Hulanicki-designed hotels in The Birdcage credits//

Blackwell is mentioned, but not one of his dozen or so boutique hotel commissions, nor those for any other client beyond Ronnie Wood (who is grabbed for a 30-second chat on the street outside a London exhibition of Hulanicki drawings) is presented or dissected.

Meanwhile the disconnect between Hulanicki’s avowed interest in “democratic” fashion (IE: well-produced clothing invested with design value and available at low price points) and her work on these outrageously luxurious and exclusive commissions looms large.

The film passes in a succession of perfectly pleasant though hardly gripping interludes involving Hulanicki chatting in her office, walking the Miami streets snapping Polaroids of Deco architecture and preparing for the aforesaid exhibition. Much is made of the attendance at the private view by Wood and his wife Jo, Kate Moss and Twiggy (who declares Hulanicki our greatest living fashion designer).

During the Q&A (conducted by the ever-impressive Hilary Alexander; somebody give her a chat show now) Hulanicki appeared genuinely excited about her Topshop collaboration, yet – and this is possibly due to her shy and retiring nature – delivered a series of faux-pas which left sections of the largely female and middle-aged audience distinctly unimpressed.

Asked by a visibly nervous former customer whether she would consider making clothes for women in their 60s, Hulanicki misinterpreted this as call for designs for the fuller figure and abruptly told her “to stop putting things in your mouth; that’s my doctor’s advice”.

A male fan’s query about Biba’s little documented menswear range was swatted in similarly peremptory style.


//The Angry Brigade announce the Biba bombing, IT, 1971//

Another audience member wanted to know what Hulanicki considered her contribution to have been to women’s liberation in the 60s. She responded by pointing out that The Angry Brigade had bombed her Kensington store in 1971 in a statement against consumerism.

“So that’s where politics got me,” Hulanicki announced.

Finally Hulanicki sparked hostility by declaring that her favourite fashion force is Primark “because you can buy a whole bunch of their flip-flops for £2 each and then throw them away when you’re done”.

When she was dressed down for the irresponsibility of such remarks by one audience member, Alexander bravely intervened with some damage limitation about the cheap clothing chain now addressing sustainability and labour issues. The evening was then brought to a close.

There is a great deal of goodwill, particularly among women young and old,  towards this fashion figurehead, one who has not only survived but blossomed in several areas of design against many odds, not least the relatively early death of her husband and partner in 1997.

Yet there were dark mutterings as we filed out; the impression lingers that the film and it’s subject have failed to cater to the intellectual curiosity and increasingly responsible requirements of contemporary fashion consumers of all ages.

Rebel Rebel launch party at Urban Outfitters


Last week Urban Outfitters Oxford Street hosted the UK launch party for Keanan Duffty’s new book Rebel Rebel Anti Style.



The 200-plus crowd made for a suitably eclectic and interesting bunch, including, of course, Keanan and his designer wife Nancy Garcia, the Rococo boys, Soo CatwomanMark Eley & Waks KishimotoGlen MatlockPaul StokesFaris RotterJen RossBP Fallon (who wrote the foreword), Natalie Gibson and Jon Wealleans



Rebel Rebel is available now in the UK from Urban Outfitters and other great booksellers and is published in the US in September by Universe.



Priceless going great guns


Nice to report that Priceless S/S 09 – the latest collaboration between The Look Presents and rock couturier Antony Price – has been going great guns online and in-store in London and New York this week.


With it’s own dedicated sections and front-of-house displays – all rock star pointy boots and desert video-shoot landscapes – Priceless has been attracting the full range of customers, including those seeking to escape the done-done-done skinny silhouette into the fuller shapes of Antony’s sunwashed double-breasted suits with pleated trousers.


Meanwhile the artful tees (with signature cap sleeves) have been pounced upon, as have the stylish flowery ties.


Online sales are really kicking through – visit here to check out the range or if you’re in the environs, pop into Topman Oxford Circus and the new store on Broadway at Broome.

Ossie Clark’s own snakeskin jacket found?

Here’s yet another exciting exclusive from THE LOOK: images of what is claimed to be not only a snakeskin jacket designed by Ossie Clark – the world’s most collectible post-war fashion designer – but worn by him in a famous photograph taken in July 1970.

//Front view (c) THE LOOK 2009//

Interest in original designs by Clark – who died in near-penury at the hands of his psychotic lover in 1996 – has boomed over the last decade, stoked by exhibitions including a V&A retrospective and referencing by Kate Moss in her collections for Topshop (for whom his former partner Celia Birtwell also designs).

Last year witnessed Marc Worth’s relaunch of the Ossie Clark label, with which Birtwell is not associated. Although this has been greeted with a decidedly mixed reception, the appetite for original clothing remains unabated.

And now THE LOOK has been contacted by the owner of a zippered python skin “rocker” jacket who presents a convincing case that it is the very same garment as in the photograph below. This is Birtwell’s favourite photograph of her late partner.

//Ossie Clark 1970. Pic: Hulton Getty//

“I was living in London in the early to mid-70s and given the jacket by a friend who told me it once belonged to Mick Jagger,” says  the owner. “Knowing my friend that was feasible. When I looked at the photograph I saw that it is the EXACT same jacket that Ossie is wearing.”

//Label (c) THE LOOK 2009//

The owner – who is contemplating selling it – says the jacket is in excellent condition: “The leather is soft and not cracked, and all the zips work. Only the lining is slightly worn.” It measures 28in from shoulder to hem at the front and 27.5in at the back. The length from shoulder to cuff is 22.5in.

//Back view; front detail (c) THE LOOK 2009//

Artist Peter Schlesinger wears a python jacket made by Clark to the same design on the cover of his photographic memoir of the late 60s and early 70s Checkered Past.


//Schlesinger on the Checkered Past cover in his Ossie python  jacket, Los Angeles 1969//

The owner of the jacket in the photographs we are publishing today is adamant: “The one on Peter is the same design, but I’m convinced mine is the one worn by Ossie. I’ve studied it carefully.”

As recounted in Chapter 15 of THE LOOK, Clark introduced his fitted leather rocker jackets in 1966 in stark contrast to the effortlessly feminine attire for which he became best known. That year, Clark recalled in his diaries, he chanced upon rolls of python and watersnake in a “Dickensian”warehouse; the skins had lain untouched for 20 years.

Among the first articles he made from the material was a suit for Linda Keith , who modeled it for Clark in London on April 14, 1967 as part of his presentation of his A/W 67 collection alongside Chrissie Shrimpton, Suki Poitier, (whose ensemble included a snakeskin bodice) and Annie Abroux (wearing a black leather biker jacket with matching cap).


//Linda Keith, Chrissie Shrimpton, Suki Poitier and Annie Abroux, 1967. Pic: Hulton Getty//

Clark created his snakeskin clothes from diagonal strips, and the watersnake was dyed while those made out of python appeared in natural hues of grey/blue and brown. “The biker jackets were in a lot of different colours and materials,” says Celia Birtwell in THE LOOK . “They were absolutely beautiful.”

//Keith Richards in Ossie Clark snakeskin jacket with Charlie Watts, Sticky Fingers, 1971//

Clark’s music connections went every which way, particularly with the Rolling Stones and their circle including Anita Pallenberg and Marianne Faithfull.

Brian Jones intermittently lived above Quorum – the Chelsea boutique which launched Clark’s career – and introduced bandmate Keith Richards to the designer’s printed satins and skin-tight jewel-coloured trousers. Richards wears a Clark-designed black snakeskin rocker jacket in the photographic insert with the original vinyl release of Sticky Fingers.

Clark was such a firm friend of the ousted Stone that they spoke on the day that Jones drowned in his swimming pool, July 3, 1969.

Clark was also backstage at the free concert the Stones gave in Hyde Park a few days later, and he collaborated with Mick Jagger on performance clothes, including the diabolic black cape worn by the Stones’ frontman at Altamont in 1969 and the skin-tight studded jumpsuits for the notoriously drug-addled 1972 tour of the US.

Inquiries about the Ossie Clark python jacket featured here should be made in the first instance to THE LOOK.


Pam Hogg riding high

Pam Hogg‘s re-entry into retail with a pop-up shop in Soho’s Newburgh Street – just a few doors away from the premises she inhabited in the thoroughfare in the late 80s and early 90s –  looks like a more enduring prospect than the four weeks it will remain open. 

//Outside 9 Newburgh Street on Tuesday night. Pic: Susie Bubble//

There is no doubt that the pop-up shop represents consolidation of the hard work Pam has put in over recent years re-establishing her name as a formidable fashion force (as covered in Chapter 30 of THE LOOK).

//Pippa Brooks with Pam Hogg and Mark Powell. Pic: Caz Facey//

With the crowd including friends wearing catsuits and other glamour-puss Hogg Couture designs, Pam’s ability to draw the widest variety of bods never ceases to amaze.

//Michael Kostiff and Pam inside the store. Pics: Pippa Brooks//

From celebrity offspring Peaches Geldof and Jaime Winstone through Nick Cave and Susie Bick to Pippa BrooksPrincess JuliaMark PowellPhil DirtboxSusie Bubble, Jefferson Hack and Anouk Lepere, Roisin Murphy,  Henry HollandDougie FieldsTerry de HavillandMichael KostiffJohnny Blue Eyes and THE LOOK, we were all there to pay homage to the wonder that is Pam.

//Screens with footage of Pam’s original Newburgh Street store// 

Her first show in over a decade at the recent London Fashion Week wowed journalists and the industry alike, and with Roisin, Siouxsie Sue and Kylie Minogue sporting her clothes on-stage and in videos, the sky seems to be the limit, even with the attention given to such fans as Thierry Henry’s ex-wife Claire Merry at the Star Trek premiere.

//Trademark rock & roll glamour-puss style. Pic: Susie Bubble// 

As well as the catsuits, dresses and tops, the pop up shop is stocking t-shirts, posters badges and signed CDs.


//Hogg homeware includes plates and mugs// 

Pam’s pop up shop is open for another three weeks. We urge you to get yourselves along.