Paul Gorman is…

The story of the Sex shop leather hood: From harmless fetish attire (as sported by David Bowie?) to theatre of cruelty design totem

Jul 14th, 2015

Gorman_03.tifDavid Bowie in Sex Gimp Mask 1974 copy
//Left: Detail of photo of model posing in leather Sex hood, autumn 1974. Photo: © David Parkinson. Right: David Bowie in leather hood, summer 1974, Sherry Netherland Hotel, New York. Photo: Dana Gillespie//

My recent post about David Bowie’s visits in 1974 to 430 King’s Road when it was in its Too Fast To Live Too Young To Die incarnation prompted Facebook friend and DJ Graham “Sugarlump” Evans to alert me to Polaroid photographs of David Bowie trying out make-up, hair and styling options in preparation for his Diamond Dogs tour of the US that year.

David Bowie in Sex Gimp Mask 1974

// Polaroid taken by Dana Gillespie in New York in 1974//

In one, as Evans points out, Bowie posed in a leather hood of similar style to the model sold at 430 as it was transformed over a period of six months from TFTL to fetish emporium Sex.

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David Bowie’s unwitting role in the transformation of 430 King’s Road from Too Fast To Live Too Young To Die to SEX

Jul 10th, 2015
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//David Bowie recording the Diamond Dogs LP at Olympic Studios, Barnes, south-west London, January 1974 during his residency in Chelsea’s Oakley Street. Photo © Kate Simon//

1. BLOW UP TFTLTYTD front

//Malcolm McLaren and Gerry Goldstein in front of the Too Fast To Live Too Young To Die facade, 430 King’s Road, London, summer 1973. © Malcolm McLaren Estate//

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//Malcolm McLaren in Too Fast To Live Too Young To Die designs, Chelsea, London, from New Musical Express, April 6, 1974 . Photo: © Pennie Smith//

It is a little known fact that David Bowie was an occasional visitor to 430 King’s Road when it was operating as Too Fast To Live Too Young To Die.

This manifestation of Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s revolutionary boutique  – which paid design tribute to the fetishistic studded leather attire of Britain’s early 60s Ton Up Boys and rockers and sold the cult clothing associated with 40s mobsters and Latino zoot suit rioters – succeeded the 50s outlet Let It Rock in the early spring of 1973, as noted at the time by the fashion writer Catherine Tennant in British Vogue.

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//From British Vogue, April 1, 1973//

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Barney Bubbles designs go regional at the National Museum Cardiff + Ludlow Fringe Art Trail

Jun 16th, 2015
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//A doozy: This point-of-sale design by Barney Bubbles for Elvis Costello & The Attractions’ 1980 LP Get Happy!! is among rare rock posters on show at Mod Lang in Ludlow. Photo: Paul Bradshaw//

The regions are where it’s at these days, so we are told, and naturally Barney Bubbles designs can be found in the thick of it.

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Malcolm McLaren in Witches trenchcoat on the steps of the British Museum 1983

Jun 9th, 2015

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This portrait of Malcolm McLaren was captured among the columns outside the entrance to London’s august British Museum by Andy Rosen in 1983.

In the photograph taken during promotion of the Duck Rock album, which was released at the start of 1983, McLaren sported a rare trenchcoat design from the Witches collection he and Vivienne Westwood debuted on the catwalk that spring.

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Richard Hambleton + Malcolm McLaren = Witches x The Shadow Man

May 27th, 2015
Malcolm McLaren posing on the streets of NYC. April 1983. © Bob Gruen / www.bobgruen.com Please contact Bob Gruen's studio to purchase a print or license this photo. email: websitemail01@aol.com phone: 212-691-0391

//Malcolm McLaren and Andrea Linz with a Hambleton Shadow Man in the West Village, NYC, April 1983. © Bob Gruen/www.bobgruen.com. Please contact Bob Gruen’s studio to purchase a print or license this photo. Email: websitemail01@aol.com Phone: + 212-691-0391//

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//Witches Shadow Man skirt, 1983. Malcolm McLaren, Vivienne Westwood and Richard Hambleton. This image (c) www.paulgormanis.com//

An under-acknowledged art world connection forged by Malcolm McLaren during his fashion design partnership with Vivienne Westwood was to the godfather of street art, conceptual artist Richard Hambleton.

During his forays in New York in the early 80s, McLaren was struck by Hambleton’s eerie representations of The Shadow Man figure; there was one on a wall in Bethune Street in the West Village, near the studio of McLaren’s photographer friend and ally Bob Gruen.

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C’est C Bon: Nick Knight’s fond memories of Barney Bubbles

May 7th, 2015
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//The wacky picture is a photo-booth shot of Bubbles on the Stiff Records’ summer day-out in 1977. Courtesy Caramel Crunch//

Photographer Nick Knight has posted a fond tribute to Barney Bubbles.

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//Back and front cover, C’Est C Bon, Carlene Carter, F-Beat/Epic, 1983//

Among the contributions Knight made to designs by the late graphics maestro was one of Bubbles’ last, for Carlene Carter’s 1983 LP C’est C Bon.

 

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I’m featured in the Almost Famous slot on Rock’s Back Pages

May 1st, 2015

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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Jaunty: Barry Plummer’s striking photos of Malcolm McLaren + Vivienne Westwood in the Wild West End spring 1979

Feb 3rd, 2015
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//McLaren specifically requested Plummer photograph him outside 7 Denmark Street, London WC1; Tin Pan Alley Club was one of the centres of Britain’s music business dating back to the 30s: “Some lads came along and Malcolm was pulling up his kilt in good-natured fun.” Photo: © Barry Plummer//

These jaunty photographs were taken by Barry Plummer in the spring of 1979 for a Melody Maker interview with Malcolm McLaren about the just-released soundtrack for the Sex Pistols’ biopic The Great Rock N Roll Swindle (beset by financial and creative difficulties, the film wasn’t released for another year).

McLaren was accompanied by Vivienne Westwood; they made a striking pair in mixed and matched one-off and traditional pieces with a selection of clothing from their King’s Road shop Seditionaries. By now the transition away from punk – left behind when the Sex Pistols split a year earlier – was becoming evident.

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//Westwood and McLaren looking the bomb at the entrance to 98 Shaftesbury Avenue, W1, home to McLaren’s management company Glitterbest. Photo © Barry Plummer//


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