Paul Gorman is…

Apollonia Van Ravenstein + Ara Gallant in originals of Seditionaries Mickey & Minnie and Exposé t-shirts

Feb 21st, 2017

//Van Ravenstein with Gallant (wearing his trademark Japanese schoolboy’s cap adorned with gold charms). From photo by Francis Ing//

Images of the novelty t-shirt designs détourned by the late Malcolm McLaren for sale in Seditionaries in 1978 are rare, which is why this shot of Apollonia Van Ravenstein and Ara Gallant from a spread in a late 70s issue of L’Uomo Vogue is extra special.

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Curious, humorous and anonymous: Ian Harris’s Argos art postcard interventions

Feb 18th, 2017

/A selection of the 60 appended cards Harris placed in London art gallery and museum shops. No reproduction without permission//

//The Death Of Marat, Jacques-Louis David, 1793. No reproduction without permission//

//Charles I, Daniel Mytens, 1631. Card from National Portrait Gallery. No reproduction without permission//

Ian Harris is a man of many parts, having been at various stages in his life a successful graphic artist, fashion designer, homewares retailer and musician/performer, notably with late 60s blues-rock group The Earth and as his mod revival alter ego Terry Tonik.

Just this week Harris let me in on a curious, humorous and anonymous public intervention series he staged in London galleries and museums a few years back.

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Bend Sinister: Trump The Toad

Feb 16th, 2017

//1960 Weidenfeld & Nicolson edition. Jacket design: Eric Ayers//

“This choice of a title was an attempt to suggest an outline broken by refraction, a distortion in the mirror of being, a wrong turn taken by life.”
Vladimir Nabokov, from the introduction to the 1963 edition of Bend Sinister

Donald Trump’s nightmarish occupancy of the US presidency has occasioned quite a few literary comparisons, causing sales spikes for such dystopian works as George Orwell’s 1984 and prompting arguments about whether other books more accurately envisioned what passes for our current version of reality: see Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.

An admittedly cursory check around hasn’t turned up anyone else who, like me, makes the connection to Vladimir Nabokov’s 1947 novel Bend Sinister, about a bereaved world-renowned philosopher living in a totalitarian state run by the repulsive schoolmate he had once bullied and nicknamed “The Toad”. This tyrant, Paduk, rules via his Party Of The Average Man.

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Lives less ordinary: Jane England’s Turn And Face The Strange documents 70s cultural and social churn

Feb 14th, 2017

//British street style legend Paul Beecham in Battersea, south London, 1974//

//Jasper Havoc (Peter McMahon, 1953-1979), a member of the Sydney performance troupe Sylvia and the Synthetics, in Ladbroke Grove, west London, in 1977 and on the front of England’s book//

Jane England’s Turn And Face The Strange is a valuable addition to the documentation of the social and cultural churn occurring at the edges of society in the 1970s.

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The Paradise Garage Mustang pops up in mid-70s early learning book

Feb 13th, 2017

//Outside Paradise Garage, 430 King’s Road, GW Hales, 1971//

As punk expert/collector and design academic Paul Burgess notes, references to 430 King’s Road turn up in the most surprising places.

So thanks to him for notifying me about this photograph of the coolest address in pop culture – and in particular the tiger stripe-flocked Ford Mustang which adorned the street outside during the Paradise Garage phase – in a 1976 light educational book for young children.

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The Stiff Records clock: When You Kill Time You Murder Success

Feb 13th, 2017

//The Stiff Records clock. Concept: Jake Riviera, design: Barney Bubbles, lettering: Caramel Crunch, 1977. No reproduction without permission//

Stiff Records was on fire in 1977.

The British independent record label, with owners Jake Riviera and Dave Robinson snapping up acts and art director Barney Bubbles applying his unsurpassable skills to the visualising of their music, came straight out of the traps 40 years ago this month with the release of the first ‘punk’ LP Damned Damned Damned by – who else? – The Damned.

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‘Extraordinary… transgressive’: Malcolm McLaren’s great lost fashion collection

Feb 12th, 2017

//Detail: Etching in steel toe-cap for the 80s collection. This image © Paul Gorman Archive. No reproduction without permission//

On the collapse of their design partnership in October 1983 after showcasing of the collection Worlds End 1984 in Paris and London, Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood went their separate ways.

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My first concert: Count Basie and Frank Sinatra at the Royal Festival Hall, May 1970

Feb 2nd, 2017

I am fortunate enough to be able to state that the first live music concert I attended was the midnight double bill of Frank Sinatra and The Count Basie Orchestra at London’s Royal Festival Hall in May 1970.

//The headliners at the RFH, May 1970. Photo: Getty//

//At The RFH, May 1970. Photo: Getty//

I was 10 years old. My resourceful mother wangled tickets for the entire family, with one of my sisters selling programmes. That gained her access to the artists’ area; she gave me the backstage pass which I duly placed in the school project autobiography I wrote the following year.

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Sweet relief in design + anti-design: Josef Frank at FTM + Make It Real at DKUK

Jan 27th, 2017

Sweet relief from travails personal and political was provided last night by visits to openings of two contrasting yet similarly satisfying creative endeavours in our great capital.

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Identity, Photography, Fashion: Images from new exhibition North

Jan 6th, 2017

//From the series Skelmersdale, 1984. Photograph by Stephen McCoy//

//Derrin Crawford & Demi-Leigh Cruickshank, The Liver Birds, LOVE, 2012. Photograph by Alice Hawkins//

//Raf Simons menswear Autumn Winter 2003, Paris Menswear Fashion Week. Copyright Catwalking.com//

Here is a selection of amazing images featured in new exhibition North: Identity, Photography, Fashion, which is open to the public from today at Liverpool’s Open Eye Gallery.

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