Good Lookin Sexy Kool Kat’s Motor-Lucifer Rockabilly Rockers II Robot Johnson’s Mania.
As Groucho Marx would have pointed out, we said a hatful there but it’s well worth enunciating, for that is the title of the very first book dedicated to the rock fashion business created by Lloyd and Jill Johnson in London in the 80s and 90s.
Written and compiled by Daitsuke Tsuda (who was a Johnson’s customer going back to 1982), the heavily-illustrated book homes in on La Rocka!, the label launched in the early 80s at the Johnson’s outlets in Kensington Market and at 406 King’s Road to accompany the change of direction away from mod and 60s British styles towards western, rockabilly and harder-rockin’ gear.
With hundreds of pages lovingly setting out every La Rocka! design option, shoes by Dave Fortune’s neighbouring store Robot are also represented, as are sister Johnson’s labels such as Beat Beat and Mex-Tex.
There are also shots of contemporary youth of both sexes sporting original pieces. Lloyd and Jill (who contributed photos from their own archives, including one with their daughter Ruby as a baby and a more recent depiction of the family garbed in Beatnik glory) confess to being honoured and delighted by the tribute. ”Frankly we’re a bit taken aback,” says Lloyd. “They’ve got everything in there, including stuff I don’t even remember us selling!”
And I’m particularly flattered that they thought to include a pic of me and the dynamic duo from my wedding last year.
This volume represents just one of Lloyd’s creative endeavours; the success of his Kensington Market partnership Cockell & Johnson from 1968, the investigations into vintage-wear in the mid-70s and the Tiki outlet in Notting Hill in the mid-90s – these and many other adventures deserve to be compiled in a dedicated book which would underline this unassuming and charming man’s importance to British fashion over five decades.
For now you can read more about Lloyd, Jill, La Rocka! and Johnson’s exclusively in THE LOOK.
Copies of the new book are available here.