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 Witness, Thea 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//
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.