Archive for the Boutiques category

Polaroids from THE LOOK’s launch party 2001

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The first edition of THE LOOK was launched with a party at Astral, Soho, in March 2001.

It was packed to the gills with media, well-wishers and many of the contributors.

Cover stars Pippa + James performed as Shopgirl and the DJs represented different eras covered by the book: Jeff Dexter played his mid-60s Tiles set; Don Letts + Dan Donovan shook the walls with the sounds Don played at The Roxy in 77; Jay Strongman span the early 80s music from The Dirtbox; and Count Indigo the 90s loungecore scene centred on his Madame Jo-Jo’s club Indigo.

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Yamamoto’s first UK show + the launch of Paradise Garage

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//From Daily Express, May 14, 1971.//

This photograph of designer Diana Crawshaw from the Daily Express Wiliam Hickey column was taken the day after a momentous event in post-war style; on Wednesday May 12 1971, Kansai Yamamoto showed his new collection at Tom Salter‘s Great Gear Trading Company at 85 King’s Road, inaugurating appreciation of Japanese fashion design in the West.

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An out-and-out rarity: Ossie Clark’s python coat

Ossie Clark python coat

Two years after we found a good home for Ossie Clark’s own snakeskin jacket, THE LOOK is pleased to feature another rare garment  made from the snakeskin rolls the designer famously uncovered in a warehouse in 1966.

According to the owner – who is now prepared to part company with it – this is one of only three python coats produced by Clark; one of the others was apparently retained by his business partner Alice Pollock.

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Memories of SEX in Forum magazine

Steve Jones, Unknown, Alan Jones, Chrissie Hynde, Jordan, Vivienne Westwood. Photo: David Dagley/Rex Features.

On the new blog I’ve posted a piece based on exclusive interviews with writer Len Richmond and photographer David Dagley about the article on SEX in Forum magazine in the mid-70s.

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Miu Miu taps the East West aesthetic

Mainstream fashion’s mining of the East West 60s/70s aesthetic continues apace with Miu Miu’s S/S11 collection.

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Westwood: NYT Style screen test

430 King’s Road pictorial on new blog

A pictorial tracking the incarnations of 430 King’s Road since the early 60s has been posted on my new blog.

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Baracuta’s “Melrose” chinos

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A Christmas gift I really appreciated from Mrs G was a pair of Baracuta’s “Melrose” chinos. Purchased from John Simons’ new shop, mine are in black, with the tartan lining and all.

A natty touch is the company’s mock-heraldic swing tag in gold, black and red on tan, matched by the spare button envelope.

You can also buy Melrose trousers here.

Fiorucci’s 70s Vargas sticker swing-tag

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As a follow-up to the last post, here’s a 70s Fiorucci swing-tag for an item costing 25,000 lira. The bonus is that the Vargas-type girl on the front is a sticker (stacca attacca – “off attacks” – in Italian).

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Fiorucci and Hysteric Glamour: Postcards from the cutting edge

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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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John Simons’ new shop

John Simons new shop, Chiltern Street, London W1.

Final preparations are being made to John Simons’ new shop at 46 Chiltern Street, in the simpa area of London’s West End wedged between Baker Street and Marylebone High Street.

The sign has yet to be erected and there are many finishing touches to be made but already the space is shaping up to present a unique offer. “I’m juxtaposing the clothes with my abiding interests in art and design over many years,” says Simons.

As explored in THE LOOK, Simons is the nonpareil purveyor of the finest US menswear brands, in particular those associated with Ivy League and the 50s/60s modernist movement in clothes.

Simons has long been at the forefront of the field, with such rich associations as Cecil Gee in the 50s, The Ivy Shop in the 60s and 70s and J.Simons in Covent Garden for more than two decades up until February this year.

John Simons at his new shop in Chiltern Street, London W1.

John Simons, Chiltern Street, London W1, November 30, 2010.

INSIDE JOHN SIMONS’ NEW STORE: “A MODERNIST’S DREAM”

[This was originally posted on December 7,2010]

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John Simons new store, Chiltern Street London W1.

Tomorrow see the opening of John Simons’ smart new retail outlet at 46 Chiltern Street, London W1.

These photographs were taken last week; much progress has been made since, but they should provide a flavour of the environment Simons and his team – including son Paul – are creating.

Formerly the site of a print shop, the premises have been transformed into a modernist’s dream, decorated with art, insignia, branding, furniture and design classics, some of which serve as fittings, such as the Penguin Donkey which will be used to display socks.

John Simons new store, Chiltern Street London W1.

John Simons new store, Chiltern Street London W1.

John Simons new store, Chiltern Street London W1.

John Simons new store, Chiltern Street London W1.

John Simons new store, Chiltern Street London W1.

As noted, the locale is perfect for Simons, whose outlet is in the company of such stores as Grey Flannel, Archer Adams and Mario’s barbershop.

John Simons new store, Chiltern Street London W1.

We wish Simons and his crew all the best in this new venture which returns this key figure to London’s style scene; next stop, apparently, is the online shop which follows soon.

John Simons' new store, 46 Chiltern Street, London W1.

Mr Freedom originals from Tommy Roberts’ archive

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Original clothing from Mr Freedom – the boutique operated by Tommy Roberts and Trevor Myles from 430 King’s Road in 1969-70 and then by Roberts in Kensington Church Street in 1970-71 – is now much sought-after.

These four items – including a roll of screen-printed fabric – are from Roberts’ own archive and are for sale. All are in excellent condition. Please direct all inquiries to thelook@rockpopfashion.com.

Designed by Diana Crawshaw, the front-tied “baseball suit” was one of Mr Freedom’s most famous creations, worn by many a pop star and celebrity.

Mr Freedom baseball jacket

Mr Freedom baseball jacket

Mr Freedom baseball jacket

Mr Freedom baseball jacket

Mr Freedom baseball jacket

This jacket is a contemporary size 10; the 14 label reflects how sizing has changed in the last 40 years.  Like the jacket, the matching trousers are also size 10 and are made from cotton velvet from Mr Freedom’s supplier in Lyons.

The trousers came in three-quarter and full-length. These are the flares with an inch-and-a-half turn up and two labels – an interior one in the style of a Tom Wesselman nude with a sun-ray version stitched into the waistband at the back.

Mr Freedom trousers

Mr Freedom trousers label

Mr Freedom trousers + details

The unisex Western-style shirt is a typically exuberant example of Mr Freedom’s playful approach to pop archetypes, in contrasting mauve/scarlet with snap fastener buttons. This fits a 38in chest and has a 15-and-a-half neck size.

Mr Freedom shirt

Mr Freedom shirt

Mr Freedom shirt

Mr Freedom shirt

The printed crepe was used for a handful of shirts and, Roberts recalls, one dress. It was designed by Jane Wealleans, a member of the store’s design team along with her then-husband Jon Wealleans, who was responsible for the interior of the second Mr Freedom outlet.

The American football player motif draws inspiration from the William Klein film which gave the store its name. There are five metres of this, the only roll in existence.

Mr Freedom fabric

Mr Freedom fabric

Mr Freedom fabric

Mr Freedom fabric

Interested parties should contact THE LOOK here.

Wish You Were There: Nifty guide to London 1960-66

WISH YOU WERE THERE London 1960-66

Wish You Were There, the new retrospective guide to the shops, clubs “and sundry diversions” on offer in central London between 1960 and 1966, may be pocket-sized but it’s packed with exhaustive info and fabulously-researched detail.

Produced by Herb Lester Associates (writer/DJ/60s expert Ben Olins and broadcast/publishing creative Jane Smillie), the simple, stylish map/listings format also makes for a delightful artefact.

This is the third map from HLA, whose aim is to create “attractive and interesting publications for companies and organisations”, extending to books, quarterly magazines, journals and one-offs.

“Some years ago I planned to write a book on London clubs of the pre-psychedelic rock & roll period, approximately 1958-66, and did quite a bit of research but couldn’t allocate the time and energy to do it right,” explains Olins. “When we started to produce the maps, I decided to merge the research and interviews into a more easily digestible and manageable package.”

WISH YOU WERE THERE London 1960-66

WISH YOU WERE THERE London 1960-66

We’re pleased to note that THE LOOK was among the sources of background info, though Olins stresses he focused where possible on first-hand testimony from the likes of Lloyd Johnson and Jeff Dexter.

“Jeff’s like Zelig meets the Memory Man,” says Olins. “He’s just incredible and also enormously generous. Jeff, Lloyd and I spent one long day this summer pounding West End pavements, with the two of them pointing out locations and describing what they were like.

“We ate lunch in the premises occupied by (John Michael’s groundbreaking Old Compton Street store) Sportique. ‘At last I can afford to buy something at Sportique!’ said Lloyd, who generously paid for us all. Then, in a moment of circle-closing, we bumped into John Pearse in Wardour Street.”

WISH YOU WERE THERE London 1960-66

WISH YOU WERE THERE London 1960-66

Wish You Were There is an absolute steal at £4 a copy, available here.

Inside Betsy Bunky Nini

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Ahead of our exclusive on the fab Anna Sui book – written with Andrew Bolton of the NY Met’s Costume Institute featuring forewords by Jack White and Steven Meisel – here’s a tasty slice of rock design history Anna turned us on to a couple of months back.

This ad was shot in the legendary NYC boutique Betsy Bunky Nini, founded by Betsey Johnson, Anita Latour and Linda Mitchell in 1969 on 53rd Street, between Second and Third.

“Notice that they have Ossie Clark on the racks,” says Anna, who later lived on the same block (which, of course, was made notorious by The Ramones’ 53rd & 3rd).

“The other fashion stores on this block included Norma Kamali, whose shop at the time was all patchwork velvet and snake skin, and Sweet Shop with clothing from London. For a while Johnny Thunders and Sylvain Sylvain (of the New York Dolls) sub-let Norma’s apartment on 53rd Street.”

As well as designing, BN&N imported European lines and also styled shoots: they “stage managed” the front cover of Dolls’ debut album.

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When Johnson moved on to Alley Cat and then international success with her own label, Mitchell took over B&NN and shifted premises to 980 Lexington Avenue.

Read more about the original BN&N in Chapter 13 of THE LOOK – and look out for our exclusive on Anna’s new book: coming to this blog soon!

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Fabulous new David Bowie book is crammed with delights

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//David Bowie wears John Stephen on a modeling assignment with Jan De Souza in Kingly Street W1 for Fabulous 208, 1965. Photo: Fiona Adams//

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//Up on the roof, central London 1967. Photo: Kenneth Pitt. //

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//Ziggy Stardust’s first photo call, 1972. Photo: Brian Ward/David Bowie Archive.//

Any Day Now, the new book about David Bowie’s London life between 1947 and 1974, is hands-down the music book publishing sensation of the year.

Any Day Now Cover_smaller

And THE LOOK has been granted exclusive access to the new book, which has been written and compiled by Bowie expert Kevin Cann and is out next month.

Any Day Now’s 320-plus pages are crammed with delights both factual and visual, charting Bowie from his birth, background and childhood interests in music, design and art through to his beginnings in local beat groups and eventual world-beating success.

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//In Paddington Street Gardens, central London, 1969. The bag was designed by Alan Mair of The Beatstalkers (and later The Only Ones). Photo: Kenneth Pitt.//

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//Rocking the Keith Relf look with The Manish Boys, 1965. Photo: Bob Solly//

22. Wedding1 copy

//With Angie (Angela Barnett) outside Bromley register office on their wedding day, March 20, 1970. The couple wore clothes bought the previous day at Kensington Market. Bowie’s Courrèges belt was a gift from friend Calvin Mark Lee. Photo: Kentish Times.//

As a document of the most important image-maker of our times, it is unparalleled, reflecting Cann’s decades-long absorption in his subject and access to original sources and important material.

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//In Mr Fish mandress on the cover of Curious magazine with Freddie Buretti, May 1971.//

Any Day Now is a must for fans of music and fashion, detailing Bowie’s stylistic development as he moved through r&b and mod via folkie and hippie to glam androgyny, drawing on such touchstones of THE LOOK as John Stephen, Dandie Fashions, Kensington Market, Mr Fish, Freddie Buretti, City Lights Studio and Kansai Yamamoto.

David Bowie. 1968

//At producer Tony Visconti’s apartment in Lexham Gardens, west London, 1968. Photo: Ray Stevenson.//

There is a fascinating foreword written by Kenneth Pitt, who managed Bowie between 1967 and 1970, and contributions from a cast of hundreds, including close friends and fellow musicians.

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//Any Day Now Limited Edition.//

A special limited edition of 475 copies is also being published in hardback, numbered and signed in black cloth-bound clam-shell cases with reproductions of tickets, posters and memorabilia. Each also contains a print of a rare colour photo taken of Bowie in 1967 by Gerald Fearnley (who has signed them).

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//Any Day Now Limited Edition with signed Gerard Fearnley photograph.//

To find out more and order copies of the limited edition, click here.