Paul Gorman is…

430 Kings Road: In the back of Mr Freedom, Paradise Garage + Let It Rock 1969 – 1972

Feb 28th, 2015
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/Left: Andrew Greaves of Electric Colour Company in the back of Paradise Garage, May 1971. Right: Vivienne Westwood in the back of Let It Rock, January 1972. Photos: David Parkinson//

Preparation for my paper at Ben Kelly’s interior design symposium Dead Or Alive has coincided with the refurbishment of the Worlds End shop at 430 King’s Road in Chelsea.

The address is the subject of my talk; I’ll be detailing the history of 430 and how and why it was an important social and cultural locus over a number of decades.

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//Back wall of 430 King’s Road on the opening of Mr Freedom, September 1969. Interior: Electric Colour Company. Photo: David Parkinson//

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//Back wall of 430 Kings Road when Paradise Garage was opened there in May 1971. Interior: Electric Colour Company. Photo: David Parkinson//

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//Back wall of 430 King’s Road after refurbishment as Let It Rock, January 1972. Vivienne Westwood in foreground. Interior: Malcolm McLaren. Photo: David Parkinson//

There were eight manifestations of the retail fashion business at the address after Bill Fuller and Carol Derry opened The 430 Boutique there in the early 60s, and the photography of the late David Parkinson over a period of 30 months shows the mutability of this relatively small retail space (which has a floor area of 450sq ft).

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//Floor plan of the site when it went through nine interior changes between 1964 and 1981. The box marks the supporting pillar//

For example the floorage of the back part of the shop measures around 180 sq ft and the back wall, which included a rear access and vent, was just 13ft wide.

As these photographs demonstrate, it was repeatedly resolved with invention: for instance, design collective Electric Colour Company used the door for trompe de l’oeil for Mr Freedom in 1969 and Paradise Garage in 1971 – first an aerial view of the Chrysler Building and then the gate of a shack opening onto a rural backyard.

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//The rear entry door 1969 and 1971 shows Electric Colour Company’s shift from the primary Pop palette and hard-edged imagery of Mr Freedom into the bucolic shades and references of the American West for Paradise Garage//

When Malcolm McLaren took over in late 1971 he instituted a refurbishment drawing on the spatial awareness developed over years at various art schools, just as the members of Electric Colour Co had used their own fine art educations as the basis for design practice.

At the back of 430 McLaren realised his ambition to create a suburban 50s sitting room suitable for a lounging Teddy Boy; on a linoleum covered platform along the base of the back wall he placed a kitsch glass cabinet, teen and showbiz magazines, a Dansette, plastic flowers and pink nylon decorative ruffles accompanied on the wall by framed photographs of James Dean and other 50s icons.

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//Cabinet and decorative elements along back wall. Photo: David Parkinson//

The cabinet obscured the lower-half of the doorway; the top surround provided a frame for the pair of theatrical flute-top boots he bought for Westwood from West End shoe-makers Frederick Freed, a photo of Screaming Lord Sutch set against a decorated plate, green nylon curtain material and a British seaside view.

These and the other design solutions realised at 430 King’s Road will be investigated in my talk at Interior Design: Dead Or Alive, which is at the ICA on Saturday March 14. Read more about the event here and book tickets here.

My feature on Electric Colour Company is in the next issue of GQ Style, out on March 11.

Thanks to Andrew Greaves for the Paradise Garage and Mr Freedom photography.

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Potential Architecture at Ambika P3

Feb 27th, 2015
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//Poster 59 x 42cm. Garden Service, Apolonija Šušteršič with Meike Schalk, 2007//

This handsome fold-out poster is for the exhibition Potential Architecture, which opens at London’s Ambika P3 on March 11.

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//Clockwise from top right: Pavilion For Vodka Drinking Ceremonies, Alexander Brodsky, 2004; It Was All A Dream, Joar Nango, 2013; Garden Service, Apolonija Šušteršič (co-author Meike Schalk), 2007; Levitation, Sean Griffiths, 2015//

Ambika P3 is the University Of Westminster’s space dedicated to investigations into art and architecture. The practises are fused in Potential Architecture – which is curated by David Thorp – in commissions by four international figures: Alexander Brodsky, Sean Griffiths, Joar Nango and Apolonija Šušteršič

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Potential Architecture runs until April 19. More details here.

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I Can’t Breathe: Pussy Riot with Richard Hell, Shahzad Ismaily (The Ceramic Dog), Scofferlane, Jack Wood, Andrew Wyatt + Nick Zinner

Feb 25th, 2015
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//Pussy Riot on the set of the promo video for I Can’t Breathe. Photo: Denis Sinyakov//

I received a message from Richard Hell: “Check out this wildness.”

So I did.

It’s I Can’t Breathe, Pussy Riot’s first English-language release, about the furore surrounding the death last year of Eric Garner.  Hell recites Garner’s final words on the track.

“It felt weird to speak the words of a black man killed by the police, when I’m this privileged white guy,” Hell told Pitchfork. “At the same time, I believe in Pussy Riot. I have faith in them. I think they’re for real.”

Read all about the recording of I Can’t Breathe here.

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Pastiche, parody + plain forgery: How original McLaren/Westwood punk graphics have spawned a weird, twilit sub-strata of bad outsider design

Feb 24th, 2015
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//A US vintage company is unwittingly featuring this forgery as an original t-shirt from Seditionaries on its Instagram feed. The unpleasant item is an example of the accelerating trade in McLaren/Westwood fakes, where previously non-existent designs – often with repellent overtones – are touted as ultra-rare one-offs//

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//Banal content: More examples of previously non-existent designs marketed as McLaren/Westwood originals – complete with Seditionaries-style labels – from a Chinese retailer’s site last year. Note the design at bottom left has a fake label whereas the one at the top of this post does not//

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//Above: A selection of more of the crude new designs touted as original garments on Japanese auction site Seditionaries Shop, which claimed more than 300 sales at prices averaging £150//

Since Malcolm McLaren’s death nearly five years ago there has been a palpable rise in the plundering of the designs – in particular the graphics produced for t-shirts – he created with Vivienne Westwood in the 1970s.

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Funky but chic: Roxy in Kensington Church Street + the Ken Todd connection

Feb 19th, 2015
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//Roxy, 25 Kensington Church Street, 1972. Photo: Masayoshi Sukita//

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//Inside Roxy, 1972: Shelley Martin in a flamenco dress designed by Dinah Adams. Photo: Masayoshi Sukita//

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//Some of the Roxy crowd photographed around the corner from the shop (from left): The late Granny’s co-owner Marty Breslau, whose ensemble includes a Wonder Workshop top; unknown; Shelley Martin; John Knight. Photo: Masayoshi Sukita//

I’ve been aware of the existence of the Kensington boutique Roxy for some time, particularly since the store name was used as the title of the feature on London street fashion in a 1972 edition of Japanese magazine An An.

But my curiosity was pricked recently while browsing that same issue of An An which appears in Freddie Hornik’s scrapbook (see last post).

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A pop culture treasure trove: Freddie Hornik’s Granny Takes A Trip scrapbook

Feb 17th, 2015
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//Hornik featured in the Telegraph magazine in 1969 and GTAT paperwork dating from 1972. The livery was taken from a design by Granny’s founder Nigel Waymouth//

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//Hornik maintained his scrapbook from the 60s to his death in 2009//

I have just filed a piece for GQ about Granny Takes A Trip and the branches of the King’s Road boutique which opened in the 70s in Manhattan and Hollywood under the stewardship of the late Freddie Hornik.

The feature also scrutinises the scrapbook Hornik maintained from the mid-60s, when he worked at the rival Dandie Fashions at 161 King’s Road, through his acquisition of Granny’s at 488 King’s Road in 1969 from founders Sheila Cohen, John Pearse and Nigel Waymouth.

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It charts in snapshots, magazine clippings, company paperwork and notes Hornik’s ambitious expansion plan which resulted in partners being brought on board at the Chelsea shop – in the form of co-owners Marty Breslau and Gene Krell – and for the launch of the New York outlet at 304 E.62nd Street, which was owned by John LiDonni and Richie Onigbene.

This strategy proved successful, and was capped by Hornik’s launch with Jenny Dugan-Chapman of an LA branch, first on Doheny in Beverly Hills and then on Sunset Strip.

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By this time the Granny’s international operation had hit the moment when rock turned to glam. Existing customers such as Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were joined by the new raft of dandy peacock performers making the moves in the early-to-mid 70s, including Marc Bolan, Alice Cooper, Bryan Ferry, Elton John, Lou Reed, Todd Rundgren, Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood.

Hornik’s scrapbook – which was updated for him for a time by LA store manager Roger Klein – makes for a pop culture treasure trove, one which offers rare insights into this exciting era of rock and roll fashion.

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Having returned to the UK to live a quiet life in the late 70s, it is poignant to note that Hornik, who died in 2009, kept an eagle eye out for any mention of his outlets and his associates, adding to the scrapbook as the revival of interest in the clothes and characters of the period really started to roll.

I’ll keep you informed as to when the piece is due to appear. Access to the scrapbook courtesy Alex Jarrett.

 

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A Strong Sweet Smell Of Incense: Derek Boshier at the Robert Fraser show

Feb 16th, 2015
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//Sam Spade, Derek Boshier, 1966, on the back wall of this recreation of the office at Robert Fraser Gallery, Duke Street, London W1//

Derek Boshier’s 1966 work Sam Spade is given prominence in A Strong Sweet Smell Of Incense, the exhibition dedicated to the connoisseurship of the late art dealer Robert Fraser.

Boshier was a client until he foreswore painting for a decade or more in 1968. This was a particularly difficult period for Fraser, who was jailed over the infamous Redlands drug bust at Rolling Stone Keith Richards’ house the previous year.

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//From Pace’s exhibition guide. The work in the background looks to be another of Boshier’s from the Sam Spade period//

Boshier has recounted how he became so frustrated over Fraser’s unwillingness to pass on payments in the 60s that he and his friend, the poet Christopher Logue, once broke into the Duke Street gallery and retrieved works Fraser had refused to release in lieu.

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Tender + tough: Jean-Francois Carly’s Surrender After portraits

Feb 12th, 2015
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//Rebecca. Photo: Jean-Francois Carly//

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//Ale. Photo: Jean-Francois Carly//

Surrender After is the title of photographer/director Jean-Francois Carly’s show of nudes opening at Forge & Co in east London next week.

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Roberta Bayley x Richard Hell x Jake Riviera + 1 Cadillac Eldorado = Road Trip USA in the new GQ

Feb 9th, 2015
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//Polaroids taken on the journey by Bayley courtesy of the NYU Richard Hell Archive//

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//Opening spread of my feature in GQ UK March 2015//

“I’m forever grateful for Jake for giving us the opportunity. It was magical that he wanted to encourage Roberta and me to use our abilities in a new way. Just another example of his beautiful style.”
Richard Hell

The new issue of GQ UK contains my piece about the quixotic 1980 US road trip undertaken by Roberta Bayley and Richard Hell in a Cadillac Eldorado belonging to Jake Riviera (who conceived and sponsored the journey).

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Started in 1986, recently completed portrait of Thea Porter celebrates show at London’s Fashion & Textile Museum

Feb 6th, 2015
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//Thea Porter by Penny Slinger//

There’s a nice story behind this portrait of the late fashion designer Thea Porter, whose talents are celebrated at the just-opened exhibition at London’s Fashion & Textiles Museum.

During preparations for the exhibition and the accompanying book, the curator and fashion historian Laura McLaws Helms visited British artist Penny Slinger, who had made feathered masks and modeled in a catwalk show for Porter in the early 70s.
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