Once Upon A Time…with Marc, Miss Pamela & Alkasura

Great to see yet another fantastic collection from groovy women’s-wear label Once Upon A Time arriving in-store at Topshop.


Once Upon A Time has consistently delivered charmingly ultra-feminine and wearable garments which evoke the spirit of 60s/70s London, and Chelsea and Kensington in particular.

//Once Upon A Time evokes late 60s/early 70s King’s Road// 

The creative explosion of that period – manifested by such boutiques as Che Guevara,  The Universal WitnessThea Porter and Biba – is one of the richest strands in THE LOOK, while Once Upon A Time partners and vintage clothes-hounds Donna Kernan and Dominique Miller also describe their collection of fairytale frocks, tunics and skirts as the “I’m With The Band” look.

//Ellen von Unwerth in Once Upon A Time//  

This, of course, references the memoirs of Miss Pamela des Barres, a friend of THE LOOK who came to our infamous LA party in 2001 hosted by Rodney Bingenheimer (the event where Britney Spears wandered in from shooting a scene in the studio next door for her disastrous movie Crossroads, but that’s a whole other story). 

//Miss Pamela surrounded by the GTOs// 

Pamela – a member, lest we forget, of Girls Together Outrageously – was very much a part of that scene, having lived in London at the beginning of the 70s with her boyfriend Marty Breslau, partner in King’s Road shop Granny Takes A Trip.  

Donna and Dominique also cite Marianne Faithfull, the work of designer Janice Wainwright (some of whose vintage pieces appear in new movie Flashbacks Of A Fool), Marc Bolan and his favourite store, Alkasura.

//Marc wearing Alkasura//

This season’s prints from Once Upon A Time certainly embody the Alkasura ethic, and Dominique is the proud possessor of three very rare dresses from that shop, which was run by the benighted John Lloyd at 304 King’s Road from 1969 to 1973/4. 


Lloyd was by all accounts a strange individual who became obsessed with religious cults and iconography; towards the end of his life – still in his 20s, he committed suicide by self-immolation in the mid-70s – Lloyd stalked the King’s Road in full monk’s habit.

//Rock & Roll Workshop tee//

Recently Rock & Roll Workshop’s Ben Cooney produced a glam jacket based on an Alkasura design as well as tees featuring a graphic of the shop’s label.

//Rock & Roll Workshop Alkasura-style jacket//

Read Chapter 17 of THE LOOK for more about Lloyd, with contributions from acquaintances such as Paul ReevesTrevor Myles and Malcolm McLaren.

Before they formed Once Upon A Time, Donna made a name for herself with the cult label Donna De Francq and has designed for Laura Lees while Dominique is also a jewellery designer.

//Once Upon A Time Foxy Top//

What is it about that particular scene and period which is so inspiring? “I guess the freedom of the time is appealing,” says Dominique. “There were better bands and clubs then. Probably most things were better, weren’t they?” 

Once Upon A Time are currently hosting previews of their A/W 08 boutique collection with prices at wholesale for delivery in August. Contact them via their myspace page.

WendyB said,

April 3, 2008 @ 6:17 pm

Great post!


February 24, 2012 @ 6:24 pm

Hello there,
I was a designer at Alkasura and later at Grannys.I used to design a lot of styles for Marc Bolan and his then wife June.
I have recently seen 2 of my jackets worn by Marc sold at auction.

Kind regards Jeanie Bramble

rockpopfashion said,

March 3, 2012 @ 7:31 am

Hi Jeanie

How interesting. Would you be up for featuring some reminiscences/photos here?



Simone said,

March 21, 2012 @ 4:01 am

Is that the same Dominique Millar who used to run a vinatage clothing stall in Camden Market in the late 90’s? If so glad to see she is doing so well!


April 1, 2012 @ 7:16 pm

Hi PG,
yes I would be up for featuring any info you may find interesting about my days in the Kings Road.
Kind regards

Danielz said,

August 5, 2012 @ 4:41 pm

Hi there,
Lovely site to a fantastic era of design.
I actually own the Alkasura blue lame dungarees that Marc Bolan wore on a number of occasions, including his appearance on Top of the Pops in 1972 when he performed the song ‘Metal Guru’
I also have a very famous ‘tapestry lapelled’ Alkasura jacket that Marc wore many times, of which photos have been reproduced of him wearing it in various magazines and books.
All the best,

Diana Demon | Diana Demon said,

May 18, 2013 @ 9:16 am

[…] Jean Bramble of Alkasura in the King’s Road made a costume for Diana Demon. I met Angie Bowie at a Biba’s night (I think it was when we […]

R. Powell said,

June 13, 2013 @ 6:37 pm

HEY ! JEAN …..- JEANIE BRAMBLE ! I am chuffed I read this notice board when I did…very interesting to discover you and the fact that you also designed..
– please contact me via this site

I hope to hear from you soon, please get in contact – thank you !
Kind Regards,


Nick said,

May 13, 2015 @ 2:56 pm

mum used to work here in the day, claims to have designed for marc b and david b…… anyone old enough to remember those days ?

Roberta E Browne said,

May 17, 2016 @ 9:11 pm

I worked as a designer at Alkasura 1972. Went to Top of the Pops every week with fashions for performers. Was seen dancing in the crowd on many occasion. John was into Sri Chinmoy guru at the time.

Ben Cowell said,

May 21, 2016 @ 1:15 am

Nick there’s a lot of us out here who ‘are still alive and kicking’! -:)

rockpopfashion said,

May 23, 2016 @ 8:11 am

Hi Roberta

I recently published this piece about Alkasura including rare interior shots taken in 1972:


Do you recognise anyone there? If so please contact me via paulgormanis.com



Garry thomas said,

July 20, 2016 @ 5:45 pm

I’ve got an original design by Jean Bramble from 1972 don’t mean jacket but a drawing on paper

jane bell said,

January 18, 2017 @ 2:44 am

I followed Marc all over London Obsessed, so naturally ended up over Kings Road at Alkasura. John was so lovely to us. I’ll never forget the smell of his shop it was like heaven. I had a pair of satin trousers which Marc had they were patches of satin all sewn together,there are pictures of him in those pants. I remember they were about £5.00 so cheap. My friend had a midi green velvet elephant skirt which was beautiful, another friend had a satin green pair of trousers with silver buttons down from the ankle. We went over one saturday and John showed us a pair of lurex turquoise dungerees he had for Marc,John came up with this great idea that we should all write love messages in them for Marc, as he was wearing them for TOTP’S, we did and wrote all lovely words to him in black marker. Marc appeared on TOTP’S in them singing Metal Guru. When we went over after his fantastic appearance, John said how Marc had tried them on and in the light you could see all these black marker messages coming through the material, Marc was not pleased. Poor John had to make him another pair in time for his TOTP’S appearance which he did on time so all was o.k. We were really sorry, John was so laid back he just got on and had another pair made, and told us it was’nt your faults. Such a lovely memory. I was so sad to hear of his tragic death, I could’nt believe it, he was just so nice. I loved going to Alkasura. I wish I still had my trousers. None of us have our purchases from there. Is there anywhere I can buy anything, the t.shirt is great, where can I get one. Thank you.

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