Thanks are due to Derek Harris of Lewis Leathers for scans from 80s Japanese magazine London Ni Ikitai (I Want To Go To London) featuring the Johnson’s stores in Kensington Market and at 406 King’s Road, World’s End.
Among the artefacts featured in forthcoming exhibition Lloyd Johnson: The Modern Outfitter will be an original copy of Rod Stewart’s second solo album, the magnificent Gasoline Alley.
Released in 1970 on the Vertigo “swirl” label and now highly collectable, the album’s inner gatefold features this image of Stewart wearing an extraordinary trimmed jacket designed by Johnson and produced by his fellow Kensington Market occupant at that time Colin Bennett, who specialised in leather work.
//From "Londonrond", Hennes, August 5, 1968. Photo: Lennart Osbeck.//
Not published for more than 40 years, this photograph captures Granny Takes A Trip founder Nigel Waymouth in the act of transforming the facade of the legendary boutique at 488 King’s Road in the summer of 1968.
Denim maybe the most rock & roll of fabrics, but it’s rare these days to encounter an inventive and effective approach to cut and style, which is why Seven Foot Cowboy – the ambitious new jeans label from London boutique Pokit – is to be applauded.
The range of six styles ( four for men including a regular jean shape and wider 40s cut and two for women) convey the quality, attention to detail, individuality and flair we have come to expect from Pokit’s Bayode Odowulu and Claire Pringle.
//Leather/wool felt donkey jacket, unlabelled, early 80s.//
Following their contribution of images of treasured clothes acquired from 80s London boutiques Demob and Modern Classics, Salv and Sue Macasil have dug out three more extraordinary garments by the key designer at both shops, Willie (these days Will) Brown.
//Tweed dress, Colonial Life, early 80s.//
//Cotton dress, Colonial Life, early 80s.//
Among them is a green and yellow donkey jacket bought at Jon Baker’s store Axiom. “It’s not labelled but is clearly a Willie Brown design; in fact I once saw the man himself wearing one,” says Salv.
Prompted by the appearance of Anello & Davide’s Winged Western boots in a recent post, Marco Pirroni has sent these photos of three pairs he acquired in the late 70s and early 80s.
“These are the boots as worn by Johnny Kidd, Charles Hawtrey in Carry On Cowboy and me,” says Pirroni. “I had my first pair – the pink and black ones – made for me by Anello’s in 1978 and the others in 1980/81.”
//Vivienne Westwood (third right) with LIR assistant Addy Isman + Teddy Boys outside 430 King's Road, Chelsea, 1972. Photo: David Parkinson.//
Vivienne Westwood has asserted her rights to the marks Let It Rock, Too Fast To Live Too Young To Die and Worlds End (the names of the shop at 430 King’s Road operated by Westwood and Malcolm McLaren in 1971-72, 1973-74 and 1980 to date respectively).
This is significant. While Worlds End has clearly been Westwood’s since she split with the late McLaren in 1984, they adopted a laissez-faire attitude to enforcing their intellectual property rights to the shop names and dozens of designs created during the 13-year partnership which also included the incarnations of 430 as SEX (1974-76) and Seditionaries (1976-80).
//Alan Holston outside Dandie Fashions, 161 King's Road, SW3. From a European pop magazine, 1967.//
Alan Holston has provided these photos from his time as of one the team at key 60s boutique Dandie Fashions.
Holston joined Dandie in 1966 when it was opened by Tara Browne and Neil Winterbottom with John Crittle and Freddie Hornik in premises in South Kensington. Tailoring was supplied by Foster & Tara, the business Browne set up with father and son team Pops and Cliff Foster.
Among my current book projects is the life and career of Tommy Roberts, the British design figure whose track record includes operation of an amazing run of retail outlets – Kleptomania, Mr Freedom Kings Road, Mr Freedom Kensington, City Lights Studio, Practical Styling + Tom-Tom – and associations with the who’s who of music, fashion, art + design over the last five decades.
Tommy has sent me a number of reminiscences which I’m posting occasionally on my own blog as tasters for the book, which will be out next year.
The first of Tommy’s tales, about City Lights Studio, is here.
The story of the Chelsea Boot goes back to the 1830s, when they were known as paddock boots, their elasticated sides, snug fit, sturdy design and relative lightness a boon to the equestrian community.
According to traditional footwear suppliers Samuel Windsor, the shoe was originated by J. Sparkes-Hall, bootmaker to Queen Victoria (who wore them regularly).
In the mid-1950s they were sported as leisure-wear by the monied, young Chelsea Set which gathered in the King’s Road and frequented The Markham Arms, Mary Quant’s Bazaar and her partners Archie McNair and Alexander Plunket Green’s jazz club/restaurant Alexander’s.
Slimmed, with a centre seam and a heightened Cuban heel for Flamenco dancers, London’s theatrical shoemakers Anello & Davide introduced their version, the Baba boot (“a new Italian-inspired version of that long, lean look”) in the early 60s.
Soon the shoe design entered the visual language of rock & roll via fashion-mad teenage beatniks, art students and modernists.
//John Lennon, Amanda Lear + George Harrison (in a Granny Takes A Trip jacket) at the launch of Apple Tailoring at 161 Kings Road, May 22, 1968. (c) Bill Zygmant//
Sex, Drugstores and Rock & Roll, which opens at Proud Chelsea next week, is a photographic exhibition chronicling the music + fashion scenes in the Kings Road from the 1960s to the 80s.
The show was sparked by the realisation among Proud staff that their premises at 161 Kings Road were occupied in the 60s by Dandie Fashions (which, as explained in this post, became The Beatles’ bespoke business Apple Tailoring under the stewardship of John Crittle in 1968).
//Second right: Lennon; far right: T.Rex manager/stylist Chelita Secunda.//
Over the last couple of years, the recession has inspired the return to popularity of utility clothing. As this cutting shows, the first British workwear wave occurred in the early 70s when a former Beatle’s penchant for denim coincided with the opening of Paradise Garage at 430 Kings Road.
In London local newspaper the Evening Standard, Janet Street-Porter described how fashionistas and music fans took their cue from John Lennon’s US-flag emblazoned bib & braces and flocked to Trevor Myles’ shop in World’s End for hickory stripe dungarees, Women’s Land Army overalls and second-hand Levi’s.
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