Photo-memories of a 60s dandy

Alan Holston outside Dandie Fashions, 161 Kings Road, 1967.

//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.

At the beginning of 1967 – by which time Browne had been killed in the infamous car accident – Dandie moved to 161 King’s Road with a magnificent psychedelic decor courtesy of Binder Edwards & Vaughn.

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The Baba boot: 60s pop footwear of choice

//Wondrous World Of Sonny & Cher, Atco, 1966. The duo plump for contrasting black + white Baba boots.//

Following the Chelsea boot post, here are a few images from THE LOOK archives which underline the pre-eminence of Anello & Davide’s variant the Baba boot in 60s pop.

Vintage fashion expert Lloyd Johnson explains the distinguishing features of the Baba: “They had wooden heels, Neolite (rubber resin) soles and very grainy soft leather uppers without a toe puff.”

//Front cover, Five By Five EP, Rolling Stones, Decca, 1964. Brian Jones wears Baba boots.//

//Pretty Things, 1964. Guitarist Brian Pendleton (far left) in Baba boots.//

According to Lloyd the Baba was priced £3 15/- (£3.75) in 1963. The Embassy, as worn by Pretty Things frontman Phil May (second left in the photograph above) were more expensive at £6.10/- (£6.50), due to the stacked leather heel and sole.

Tales of Tommy Roberts

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

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//Anello & Davide Baba Boot, mid-60s.//

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.

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//Baba boots, Anello & Davide catalogue, 1966. (C) Lloyd Johnson.//

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Sex, Drugstores and Rock & Roll

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//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).

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Lennon + Paradise Garage’s 70s workwear revolution

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//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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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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Tenth anniversary of THE LOOK

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The first edition of THE LOOK was published 10 years ago this month.

This is a corrected colour proof of the publisher’s “blad” – marketing/sales printed material for circulation in the book trade.

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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.