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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The vicuna overcoat – menefreghismo to the max

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Nick Tosches’ Dean Martin biography Dino: Living High In The Dirty Business Of Dreams memorably defines its subject as a menefreghista – “one who simply does not give a fuck”.

And if ever there was a garment which oozes menefreghismo, it is the vicuna overcoat.

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Anna Sui in World’s End Pirate outfit

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In our recent Anna Sui interview, the designer mentioned the acquisition of an entire outfit from Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s Worlds End Pirate collection.

This was officially unveiled at McLaren & Westwood’s first catwalk show, at Olympia on March 31 1981, though many elements had been on sale since Worlds End opened at 430 Kings Road the previous autumn, which is when Sui acquired her garments.

And just for THE LOOK, she has dug out a scrapbook with a photo resplendent in the ensemble – including  silk jacket, “squiggle” top and scarf – at a Hallowe’en party held by actor Nicolas Cage.

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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.

Anna Sui exclusive: Interview, book preview + archive gems

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To coincide with the publication of the Anna Sui book, today THE LOOK publishes an exclusive interview with the New York designer.

Sui has also granted us access to these gems from deep in her archive: sketches which resulted in early 80s stagewear for Siouxsie Sioux.

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Sui developed her fascination for the dynamics of music and style early.

“I grew up in the suburbs of Detroit dreaming about the British invasion, The Beatles and The Stones,” she says.

“My first concert was MC5 and The Stooges in a park, then along came Glam Rock and I was smitten. It wasn’t just the band that dressed up, but the audience too!  Alice Cooper was my favourite.  Todd Haynes captured that excitement at the beginning of Velvet Goldmine.”

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=V87hoJvdT9A">http://youtube.com/watch?v=V87hoJvdT9A</a>

//Todd Haynes captures the excitement at 4.20.//

Sui’s family visited New York every summer. One year they took in  the Biba boutique in Bergdorf Goodman.  “I was astounded by the colour selection of cosmetics, boots, t-shirts and beautiful clothes; I’d never seen colours like that:  Dusty teal, plum, prune, rose…

“I bought a teal t-shirt with billowy sleeves – like the blouse I had seen on Jean Shrimpton when she came to Detroit for a Yardley cosmetics appearance – and teal eye shadow.”

Sui graduated via the NYC punk scene to create a small collection “for rock stars as well people that went to rock concerts”, selling through department stores and Patricia Field‘s boutique on 8th Street.

In the early 80s Sui brought her “Rock and Roll Cowboy” range to London, when Siouxsie acquired the fringe jacket and skirt with faux-cowhide yoke.

While in London Sui caught Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood‘s Pirates collection. “I went to the launch party and the next day bought an entire outfit from Worlds End,” she recalls. “At this time Gene Krell had a clothing boutique in the back of a record store, also on 8th, at MacDougal.  Gene bought my collection, as did Trash & Vaudeville.”

Sui’s customers have run the rock & roll gamut, and she retains a fan’s enthusiasm for the artefacts of rock fashion, as regular readers will know from her recent contribution to this site.

As an addendum to that, here is a charming card for Betsy Bunky  & Nini from Sui’s personal collection:

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Among Sui’s most prized possessions is a complete run of the Hearst Corporation’s short-lived late 60s pop culture magazine Eye. “It covered fashion, music and film with a poster most issues,” she says.

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//Eye magazine, clockwise from top left: Aug 68; Sept 68; Oct 68; March 69.//

“This was a very different time when information traveled in a much slower way.  Any glimpse of what was going on in London or a story about a rock star was precious and went a long way in your imagination.”

Sui also collects vintage Ossie Clark and Zandra Rhodes.  “I missed it the first time around so I’m making up for it now. I like their earlier pieces and wear them a lot. I’ve also collected the subsequent collections for various retailers recently and Zandra has made me a dress in my favorite feather print.”

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It is this enthusiam for the keynotes of fashion history which propels Sui into making the smart choices, especially when it comes to fabric selection, palette control and photographic collaboration, from her good friend Steven Meisel to the fantastic(al) Sarah Moon.

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Sui’s post-modern appeal is outlined by Jack White (whose wife Karen Elson is a favourite model of the designer’s) in his foreword to Sui’s fully illustrated 288-page tome (which is launched in the UK next week).

“It’s not retro or emulation or re-creation or even false modernity,” White writes of Sui’s aesthetic. “It is a beauty that can exist in any era – past, present or future – a beauty that does not fall prey to the wrath of novelty.”

Buy your copy of Anna Sui’s new book here.

Up for grabs: original 50s black leather motorcycle jacket

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THE LOOK has been granted first look at this rock fashion classic: a 50s black leather motorcycle jacket which is being put up for sale by the owner, who purchased it from a thrift store on The Bowery in 1975.

The jacket is in remarkable condition considering that it has been on the road and around the world in the last three-and-a-half decades.

It was also worn for its purpose; the owner ran a Harley for a number of years.

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Adorned with Harley Davidson and American Motorcycle Association patches, this is a Sears Roebuck AllState, with black quilted lining and lined, zippered pockets complete with original black suede pulls. There is also a metal-poppered flap pocket.

The belt is retained with a screw in the back panel. Details include epaulettes with star-shaped studs, shoulder vents and zips on each sleeve cuff.

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jacket7

For further details and inquiries, contact THE LOOK at thelook@rockpopfashion.com.

***NOTE: Following interest in this from our readers the vendor has opted for this to be listed for sale on eBaY. You can find the listing here. Best of luck.***

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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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Paris: Capital Of The XXIst Century

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It’s a year since we were at the premiere screening of Paris: Capital Of The XXIst Century at The Baltic in Gateshead.

The sequenced film is an unforgettable piece of art, and that was an unforgettable night. Afterwards Malcolm talked about his home in Paris, art and a whole lot more with Michael Bracewell.

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.

Curious-mag

//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.

LaRocka!’s pink leather Wild Child jacket

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Memories of Emma Ridley come flooding back with the current listing of a LaRocka! pink leather”Wild Child” biker jacket on eBay.

LaRocka Wild Child

Demonised as the embodiment of indulged and out-of-control 80s youth, Ridley’s turn in the media spotlight was brief.

These days, it seems she runs a pole dancing school in LA.

LaRocka Wild Child

LaRocka Wild Child - back

View the “Wild Child” jacket on eBay here.

Spirit of Hapshash invoked for Lucy In Disguise

Lucy In Disguise poster by Nigel Waymouth and Tim Watkins

Within hours of mentioning Granny Takes A Trip and Lucy in Disguise (the new label from Lily Allen and her half-sister Sarah Owen) in the BBC Blast presentation, this beauty arrived in my in-tray – a poster for LID by Granny’s founder Nigel Waymouth with Tim Watkins.

As detailed in Chapter 10 of THE LOOK,  while he operated Granny’s in the 60s, Nigel joined forces with the late Michael English as Britain’s foremost psychedelic art/design team Hapshash And The Coloured Coat.

These days a prominent portraitist, Nigel collaborated with us on a fabulous line of t-shirts for THE LOOK PRESENTS a couple of years back. Congrats to him on invoking the spirit of Hapshash for the 21st century.

BBC Blast Fashion Festival

BBC Blast Fashion Festival

Participating in last weekend’s BBC  Blast Fashion Festival at the V&A was… a blast.  Along with workshops, makeovers and q&as and interviews with Lou Dalton, Hannah Marshall and Erin O’Connor, I gave a presentation based around The Look: Adventures In Rock & Pop Fashion.

BBC Blast Fashion Festival

BBC Blast Fashion Festival

In this I aimed to join the dots between Elvis in the early 50s, The Beatles, Biba and Granny Takes A Trip in the 60s, through Bowie and McLaren & Westwood in the 70s and 80s and the rise of MTV to the music/fashion link-ups of today, including Liam Gallagher’s Pretty Green, Pixie Lott‘s ranges for Lipsy, and Lily Allen’s new venture Lucy In Disguise.

BBC Blast Fashion Festival

BBC Blast Fashion Festival

It seemed to go down well; I was really impressed with the number of teenagers who knew and owned copies of The Look.

The event also gave me an opportunity to plug faves such as Peggy Noland + Ssion and heartsrevolution. Who’s’s to know whether the audience members will take to heart the “Choose your own revolution” message but those I spoke to afterwards were certainly sussed to the fact that the high street is a dead-end.

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=WFPnl8aEPgo">http://youtube.com/watch?v=WFPnl8aEPgo</a>