Paul Gorman is…

Don’t Knock The Rock: John E. Reed’s eternal image of exuberant Little Richard

Apr 20th, 2017

//London Records promotional image, 1958//

In 1956 the Hollywood photographer John E. Reed took a series of promotional shots of the stars of DJ Alan Freed’s rocksploitation flick Don’t Knock The Rock.

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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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‘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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On Malcolm McLaren’s reading list: Nik Cohn, Frederick’s Of Hollywood and Giorgio Morandi catalogues, Wilhelm Reich, Tom Wolfe and the folk art and magic studies which inspired fashion adventures with Vivienne Westwood

Jan 3rd, 2017

A few years back I came across Malcolm McLaren’s annotated copy of Indian Rawhide, the anthropologist Mable Morrow’s study of the folk art produced by Native American tribes which inspired the late cultural iconoclast in the conceptualising with his partner Vivienne Westwood of their Spring/Summer 1982 fashion collection Savage.

//Frontispiece to Morrow’s book, published by University of Oklahoma Press in the Civilization Of The American Indian Series, 1975//

//From Indian Rawhide: design produced by the Apache Mescaleros in Taos, New Mexico, matched by McLaren and Westwood with book-end marbling on this Savage slip dress. No reproduction without permission//

//The Apache design as it appeared printed on the end of the train on a Worlds End jersey toga dress. No reproduction without permission//

McLaren obtained a copy of Morrow’s book during travels recording his debut solo album Duck Rock. Since the Pirate collection of March 1981 had established a post-Punk direction for himself and Westwood and their Worlds End shop and label, McLaren set about investigating the powerful ideas residing in pre-Christian ethnic cultures, selecting Indian Rawhide as the text with which to frame the next group of designs.

My McLaren biography, to be published in spring 2018, will reveal that research – particularly literary – was one of the life-long consistencies in his approach to creative acts.

The musician Robin Scott told me that McLaren was an avid attendee of art history lessons during their spell as students at Croydon Art School in the 60s, and a couple of years before his death in 2010 McLaren confirmed that he was inspired in part to open Teddy Boy revival emporium Let It Rock at 430 King’s Road in 1971 after reading Nik Cohn’s peerless post-WW2 youth cult history Today There Are No Gentlemen.

//This edition Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1971//

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Eight Young Photographers: David Parkinson’s mould-breaking contribution to the 1971 exhibition

Nov 22nd, 2016
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//David Parkinson in the Eight Young Photographers catalogue, 1971. Image courtesy Mark Trompeteler//

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//Front, catalogue/fold-out poster, for the show which ran at the Photographers Gallery in Great Newport Street from April 6 to May 2, 1971. Courtesy Mark Trompeteler. No reproduction without permission//

Eight Young Photographers was the third exhibition to be held at the newly-opened Photographers Gallery at its original premises in Great Newport Street in London’s West End.

The gallery opened in January 1971 with a group show entitled The Concerned Photographer featuring, among others, Robert Capa, and followed that by simultaneously staging three exhibits, including a display of Polaroids taken by Andy Warhol.

Visitors to Eight Young Photographers, which ran during April and into early May that year, recall it as being an important staging post in the acceptance of photography as a subject worthy of artistic appreciation. Among the contributors was the late David Parkinson, about whom I have written often. He showed work alongside Mark Edwards, Meira Hand, Roger Birt, Sylvester Jacobs, Tim Stevens, Bob Mazzer and Mark Trompeteler (who has kindly retrieved the catalogue/poster for me from his archive).

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//From the Photographers Gallery listings. The show was preceded by an exhibition of Andy Warhol’s Polaroids//

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Reissued: The Look Of London – charting fashion x music in the greatest city in the world

Oct 21st, 2016

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I’m delighted to announce that my map The Look Of London – which teases out the intertwining of popular music and street style in our capital over five decades – has been reissued by groovy guide makers Herb Lester Associates.

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Sex signage: Was McLaren inspired by Lubalin’s cladding for the Georg Jensen flagship NY store?

Sep 30th, 2016
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//Detail, clad signage for Georg Jensen, 601 Madison Avenue, late 60s. From Herb Lubalin: Typographer, Unit Editions, 2016//

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//Detail, shop signage designed by Malcolm McLaren, made by Vick Mead, 430 King’s Road, London, 1975. From a photograph by Peter Schlesinger//

Was the late Malcolm McLaren inspired by one of the greats of 20th century graphics in his creation of the astonishing signage for Sex, the fetishistic fashion boutique and incubator of punk rock he operated with Vivienne Westwood at 430 King’s Road in west London between October 1974 and November 1976?

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Childhood, books, family, poets, music, influences + inspiration: Interview with Scarlett Sabet at Leighton House

Sep 28th, 2016

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One of the most pleasurable experiences of this summer was the August morning I spent amid the cool beauty of London’s “private palace of art” Leighton House Museum in the company of the extremely talented British poet Scarlett Sabet.

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Voodoo And Magic Practices: The book which inspired McLaren and Westwood’s Witches collection

Sep 23rd, 2016
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//Voodoo and Magic Practices, Jean Kerboull, Barrie and Jenkins, 1978. Translated from the French by John Shaw//

This is the book which inspired the late Malcolm McLaren to unite the design ideas he developed with Vivienne Westwood for their Autumn/Winter 1983 fashion collection Witches.

At the time McLaren was completing his album Duck Rock, which was conceived as an ethnological travelogue and modelled on the  LP series Dances Of the World’s Peoples released on the ethnographic Folkways label; in fact, Duck Rock was originally titled Folk Dances Of The World and the incorporation of an illustrated insert containing track-by-track explanations was taken from the one which appeared in the 1958 albums.

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The Filth & The Fury: Punk Fashion at the NFT tomorrow with Amber Butchart + SEX & Seditionaries superstar Jordan Mooney

Aug 5th, 2016

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Tomorrow I’m a guest of historian Amber Butchart at London’s National Film Theatre for a conversation and q&a about Punk fashion with her special invitee Jordan Mooney, SEX and Seditionaries superstar and inner member of the Sex Pistols circle.

I’ve put together a presentation from my archive to run during our chat, including images of Jordan’s striking series of visual personae and slides showing how the designs by Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood at 430 King’s Road were regularly featured in the fashion and national press from the early 70s to the time of Punk later in the decade.

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//Selection of Let It Rock designs showcased in a May 1972 issue of The Sunday Times Magazine. Photos: Hans Feurer. Paul Gorman Archive//

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