Archive for the Punk category

For sale: Sid Vicious’ SEX tee and New Boots & Panties!!

THE LOOK can exclusively reveal that the vendor of the swastika t-shirt worn by Sid Vicious in The Great Rock & Roll Swindle is also selling two more of the Sex Pistols bass-player’s possessions: another t-shirt designed by the late Malcolm McLaren as well as Vicious’ own copy of Ian Dury’s album New Boots & Panties!!.

 

//Image courtesy of helen-hall.com//

The swastika tee is priced at £10,000 in the sale, which is being conducted privately by independent rock and film memorabilia specialist Helen Hall.

//Image courtesy of helen-hall.com//

The other top – which has one of the variations of the design Smoking Boys, produced by McLaren in autumn 1975 – is £2,000, while the Ian Dury record, which has Sid Vicious’ signature taped to it, is £2,500.

//Image courtesy of helen-hall.com//

Both were housed as part of the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame exhibition in Cleveland. The swastika tee was offered, but not accepted because of its inflammatory nature.

Hall says the items were given to the vendor by Vicious’ mother Anne Beverley, after his death on February 2 1979.

The Dury album (the sleeve of which was designed by the great Barney Bubbles) was a gift to Vicious from a fan named Patsy during his spell in New York’s Bellevue Hospital in October 1978.

//Pages 8-9, Anarchy In The UK No 1, 1976//

The Smoking Boys is of particular interest since there are no photographs nor documentary evidence of Vicious wearing it; in 1978/9 during his time in London and New York he favoured more recent designs from 430 King’s Road in it’s Seditionaries incarnation, including Expose and Fuck Yr Mother & Run Away Punk!,  McLaren’s provocative and overtly sexual adaptations of novelty shirts bought at LA sex shop The Pleasure Chest and on New York’s gay strip Christopher Street.

Vicious did wear a version of SEX‘s Smoking Boys in 1976, as shown in the Ray Stevenson photographs in the first and only issue of the band’s fanzine Anarchy In The UK (a copy of which I bought on my 17th birthday in December 1976 in a news agent’s in Goodge Street, central London).

//Detail, page 9, Anarchy In The UK No 1, 1976. Photo: Ray Stevenson//

The image, which was replicated in a number of different ways, came from an English underground magazine McLaren bought in south London.

“This was my first attempt at making a Sex Pistols T-shirt; I was acting on behalf of the group and wanted to create something of a stir,” McLaren told me last year.

“In the back streets of Brixton, I found photos of nude young boys, smoking. I chose one and he became my sexy young assassin: a ‘sex pistol’.  All I needed was to draw a guitar.”

McLaren attempted to persuade associate Bernie Rhodes to print the t-shirts. “This was too much for him,” he said. “Bernie used to perspire at the kitchen table, as if somebody was about to break down the door, arrest him and charge him with being a paedophile, and so he would go to prison. That would all be my fault. I ended up simply making a single nude boy on pink jersey shirts for myself.”

For the versions with multiple images, McLaren coerced the Sex Pistols founding member, bass-player Glen Matlock to utilise the screen-printer at his college, Saint Martin’s School Of Art.

How Vicious had one two years later on the other side of the Atlantic is not explained.

“It was with Sid’s belongings when he died so we have to assume he likely wore it at some point,” says Hall, who was a specialist in rock and film memorabilia with Christie’s London and New York from 1998-2008.

Interested parties should direct their inquiries to Hall at helen@helen-hall.com

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”.

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=4HKuO8qFUTE">http://youtube.com/watch?v=4HKuO8qFUTE</a>

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.

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=bESGLojNYSo">http://youtube.com/watch?v=bESGLojNYSo</a>

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.

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=s-3ln5ubMdk">http://youtube.com/watch?v=s-3ln5ubMdk</a>

//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.”

World exclusive: Vintage provocation from Malcolm McLaren

Today we wash away the aftertaste of Mark Gatiss‘ woeful Malcolm McLaren impersonation (in the other night’s equally dire BBC Boy George docudrama Worried About The Boy) with some vintage provocation from the master.

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=3ayGvUKQjT0">http://youtube.com/watch?v=3ayGvUKQjT0</a>

//8min 04secs: “We’ve got to make fucking sure we create enough hatred before the record comes out…”

The anti-Pistols letters McLaren engineered to the music press in 1976 are the subject of  a very funny scene with secretary Sophie Richmond in The Great Rock & Roll Swindle.

Yet none has been published before. Until now.

This missive from a late 1976 issue of music paper Sounds appeared amid the media frenzy over the Grundy fiasco and the chaotic Anarchy tour.

Capturing the fatuous tone of his hero Joe Orton‘s troublemaking correspondent Edna Welthorpe, “Roxy Music follower” says the group are “a bunch of bloody loonies whose manager is just as bad, running a sex shop…” and even mentions the line Richmond uses in The Swindle: “I doubt if they’ve got one O-Level between them.”

We especially like the description of punk attire: “Tatty clothes pinned together with last week’s porridge.”

The music press  letters were but one facet of McLaren’s arsenal of incitement, yet they helped achieve the same result as Orton’s Welthorpe character (who regularly lambasted the controversial playwright in print).

The fires of moral outrage were stoked and, more satisfyingly, the attention of polite society (in this case the moribund music business) was wholly engaged. An audacious manouevre by anybody, let alone a rock & roll manager, and totally in keeping with the invention, wit, style and chutzpah which McLaren embodied and Worried About The Boy miserably failed to evoke.

Cheap Chic: The first mention of Sex

Over at mrsgorman.com, Mrs G is celebrating Cheap Chic, one of the greatest fashion books of all time.

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.

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.

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.

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=sVWWs-kWbMU">http://youtube.com/watch?v=sVWWs-kWbMU</a> 

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:

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=wfpvvnnC5ek">http://youtube.com/watch?v=wfpvvnnC5ek</a> 

 

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

Andrew Bunney’s studs-we-like

 

//Bunney solid silver pyramid stud pins//

Metal studs have a long history as one of the key decorative aspects of rock & roll fashion.

 

//Packaging by Daniel Mason// 

From Britain’s 60s Ton-Up Boys and Trevor Myles’ early 70s Mr Stud’Em operation (which funded the opening of Paradise Garage), through punk in the 70s, heavy metal and Prince in the 80s to the recent revival by everybody from Burberry to Marks & Spencer, the metal stud retains a rebel resonance.

 

//Left: Johnny Rotten in two self-studded and adorned jackets, London 1976 and Sweden 1977. Photos: Ray StevensonHans Hatwig//

When Malcolm McLaren set about recasting 430 King’s Road as Too Fast To Live Too Young To Die in 1972, he was very specific about the fetishistic role of studs in his and Vivienne Westwood‘s new line of rocker-inspired clothing.

 

//Foreground: Yvonne Gold in studded jacket, Let It Rock stall, London Rock ‘n’ Roll Show, Wembley Stadium, August 5, 1972//

“I discovered Lewis Leathers in Great Portland Street,” McLaren told THE LOOK recently. “They sold wonderful packets of biker studs, less ‘fashion’ looking than what had been on the Kings Road at the time in shops like Mr Freedom and Granny Takes A Trip.  These were English, heavy, crude studs.  I loved them.”  

 

//Left: Sid Vicious, A&M press conference, Regent Palace Hotel, London, March 10, 1977. Photo: Richard Young. Right: Vicious’ jacket in Sotheby’s catalogue, 1988. Courtesy Derek Harris Collection//

Since last summer London’s Andrew Bunney has been quietly navigating a more elegant and restrained route with his range of silver pyramid stud pins sold in sets of three through Dover Street Market, Tokyo’s F.I.L.and Colette in Paris.

 

Andrew – formerly of Gimme 5 who, with his wife Tommy has also been steering the creative direction of  Dr Marten’s –  says the idea is “you wear them how you want, on a jacket or a shirt, together or separately”.

The pins are cast in 925 sterling silver by English craftsmen and marked at the Worshipful Company Of Goldsmiths’ Assay Office, which has been testing the quality of precious metals since 1300. 

The archive box packaging is designed by Daniel Mason of Something Else. “Daniel’s approach is very particular and chimes with what I set out to achieve,” says Andrew of the writer and packaging specialist best known for the 2007 limited edition Joy Division Box Set.  

  

“I’ve been making clothes for quite a while and always found myself attracted to jewellry, but found – particularly for men – it was too one-dimensional and rigid ,” Andrew adds. “I loved the idea of coming up with something everybody could wear, but each time it would be different because people will think about placing them in their own way.”

Next from Andrew are beautifully simple round solid silver badges (buttons for our North American readers). Again these tap into rock & roll associations but emerge as fashion items in their own right. We can’t wait. 

Check out Andrew’s excellent Honeyee blog here.

Banksy/Seditionaries case

Charges against Vesna Grandes Howard, one of the individuals in the Banksy/Seditionaries case, have been dropped.

The trial – set for a five week duration – is due to start at Southwark Crown Court on May 25. 

*THE LOOK will not be accepting comments on this case until it is concluded*

Win a copy of 70s Style & Design!

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.

On the right is the 1977 interior of The Rocky Horror Show designer Brian Thomson‘s abode, where flying ducks are matched with a lampshade made from a Seditionaries‘ Anarchy In The UK tee.

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!

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.

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=ylOCIP54PIQ">http://youtube.com/watch?v=ylOCIP54PIQ</a>

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.”

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=jWDKnmVnXr0">http://youtube.com/watch?v=jWDKnmVnXr0</a>

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!”

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=UdYngwGUWzo">http://youtube.com/watch?v=UdYngwGUWzo</a>

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.

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=rSWJpZXeGvs">http://youtube.com/watch?v=rSWJpZXeGvs</a>

“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.”

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=UAzvry448Lk">http://youtube.com/watch?v=UAzvry448Lk</a>

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.

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=VcXIzA-KD3w">http://youtube.com/watch?v=VcXIzA-KD3w</a>

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 look@rockpopfashion.com.

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?

Web exclusive: Amazing images from 70s Style & Design

THE LOOK has been granted a web exclusive we can’t wait to share with you – a couple of the amazing images from this year’s must-have fashion book, 70s Style & Design by Kirsty Hislop and Dominic Lutyens.

  

//Jim O’Connor and Pamla Motown, 1972. Photo: Steve Hiett//

Dominic and Kirsty have served up a feast in terms of the visuals and verbals, exploring the art, architecture, fashion and design of the decade that really delivered.

THE LOOK is proud to have made a contribution to this cool tome which covers the boutiques, designs and leading figures such as Lloyd JohnsonPamla Motown and Jim O’ConnorAntony PricePaul ReevesMr FreedomSEXBiba, Fiorucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Thierry Mugler and many another.

 

//Edwige, Maripol and Bianca Jagger. Photo: Edo Bertoglio// 

With (appropriately enough) 430 eye-popping images, 70s Style & Design succeeds by steering clear of the cliches (platforms, polyester flares) and crisply presents the reality of the era: creative, iconoclastic and, in contrast to the elitist 60s, healthily democratic. 

Saluting but avoiding entrapment in the better known aspects (Bibapunk), the book charts areas and movements not commonly identified as having an impact on visual culture at the time, such as eco and high-tech architecture, minimalism, the cult of androgyny, the proto-punk craze of kitsch and the impact on style of the black civil rights and women’s and gay liberation movements.

 

// 70s Style & Design cover. “All Weather” shoes by Thea Cadabra. Photo: Ian Murphy//

Above all, this book is enormous fun: simultaneously an education, entertainment and celebration.

THE LOOK will return to 70s Design & Style (with a chance to WIN a copy!) soon; in the meantime we urge you to seek it out.

70s Style & Design is published on November 2 by Thames & Hudson.

Another Pistols exclusive: More rare photos

Following yesterday’s publication of reader Mark Ogilvie’s ultra-rare Sex Pistols poster, here are a series of images which have never previously been presented individually.

 

The shots were positioned in a line along the bottom of the poster. Grainy and suitably ripped and torn in the 32 years since the poster was printed, the isolated images provide an intriguing insight into a band on the cusp of international infamy.

 

As we reported here, in early September 1976 German photographer Wolfgang “Bubi” Heilemann took shots of the band in the streets of Soho as well as in a mocked-up performance at the Notre Dame Hall, just off Leicester Square.

 

The photo-session provided the basis for a feature later that month in the German teen magazine Bravo, and others were used in an issue dedicated to punk the following year.

These are different again, and appeared in the Swedish magazine Poster, also published in 1977.

 

There are some illuminating images: a clear shot of drummer Paul Cook in Johnny Rotten’s I HATE Pink Floyd tee, a close up of the ring-pulls with which Rotten decorated his pink school blazer, a band line-up in which they exude confidence and cool and a number of exciting “live” shots .

 

Later that month the Pistols played the 100 Club’s Punk Festival, the event which broadcast the movement to the mainstream media, and returned to Notre Dame Hall on November 15 for two shows, one of which was filmed by London Weekend Television.

 <a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=DVr0ibEGqgE">http://youtube.com/watch?v=DVr0ibEGqgE</a>

Mark tells us that, many years ago, he clipped one of the shots from the poster and made a badge out of it. He’s long since lost that and also forgotten what was in the photograph; anybody out there who can help us track it down?