Paul Gorman is…

Unbelievable rarity: Undocumented Let It Rock clothing featured on 1972 budget LP + previously unpublished views of stock inside 430 King’s Road

Apr 12th, 2014
lir-rockarchive580

//Front cover, Rock Archive, Various Artists, Windmill Records, 1972//

It is relatively common knowledge among those interested in the careers of Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood and their series of extraordinary shops that they supplied clothes to the 1973 album Golden Hour Of Rock & Roll; Let It Rock at 430 King’s Road was clearly credited on the back of the record sleeve.

Let It Rock-Golden Hour Of Rock & Roll

//Front cover, The Golden Hour Of Rock N Roll, Various Artists, Pye/Golden Hour, 1973//

lir-rockarchiveflipped

//The photograph on the Rock Archive cover was flipped to better accommodate the text. Here it is as originally shot//

But I have fresh information which helps towards a greater understanding of McLaren’s project to investigate the detritus of popular culture’s recent past. During a bout of research recently I came across this earlier and hitherto undocumented use of Let It Rock clothing in a music context: the front cover of Rock Archive, a budget LP compilation released by the specialist British independent label Windmill in 1972.

And I am detailing the clothes on the cover with images taken inside Let It Rock which have never been previously published.

lir-redshirts

//Starke shirts with 50s sports jacket on Let It Rock wall, January 1972. Photograph: David Parkinson//

lir-starke

//Starke label detail//

Each garment worn by the model – whose attempts at rocking out resulted in his giving every appearance of suffering considerable pain – comes from the deadstock of British brands assiduously assembled by Malcolm McLaren and his art-school friend Patrick Casey for the opening of the world’s first avowedly post-modern retail outlet in November 1971.

From the ground up, the Rock Archive cover star wore black suede Denson’s Fine Poynts, ice-blue Lybro jeans with 12in cuffs, a Frederick Starke flyaway collar shirt and a studded and decorated Lewis Leathers early 60s Lightning jacket (which featured a highly collectable 6-5 Special patch).

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Only Anarchists Are Pretty: New Fragment x Peel + Lift Anarchy Shirt goes on sale as The Pool opens in Aoyoama

Apr 2nd, 2014

image-1

Among the lines launching Tokyo’s new fashion and music retail outlet The Pool is a collaboration between Japanese streetwear labels Fragment and Peel + Lift on a fresh version of the 1976 Anarchy Shirt design by Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood.

thepool

AnarchyShirt-HiroshiFujiwara2014ThePool

ec7fd5eab8f311e3a8701285f9dba909_8

The reissue, in four versions, is a stripped down reproduction of one of the original variants created by McLaren and Westwood to be worn by the Sex Pistols and for sale in their shop at 430 King’s Road in its incarnations as Sex and Seditionaries.

“I had been a student in the 60s, and the anarchic student movements in France really framed my critique,” McLaren told me in 2007.  “This particular shirt celebrated that.”

The original designs used as a base the deadstock Wemblex brand shirts stored in boxes at McLaren & Westwood’s flat in Clapham, south London in the mid-70s. “They were pin-striped and made in cheap cotton in the early 60s when the ‘pin-through’ collar style – an American look – was fashionable,” said McLaren.

“I wore and wore them and then, one day, Vivienne decided to paint stripes over one. She showed it to me and together we customised it, using my son’s stencil set, with slogans such as “Only Anarchists Are Pretty” and “Dangerously Close To Love”.

“As well as layering the stencils to increase the impact, I attached silk patches of Karl Marx I discovered in shops in Chinatown which sold Maoist literature.  I chose him because his book started the Socialist and workers’ movements in the 19th century. Also, Vivienne and I liked his beard.

“Marx was a writer/author, a creator of ideas, not a politician like Lenin. Marx represented a greater significance and was important to us because he lived in London at one point.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Teds are back: McLaren + Westwood’s Let It Rock in the NME and the Evening Standard August 1972

Mar 17th, 2014
LIR-NME+ESAug72

//TOP: From the NME’s coverage of the Wembley Rock N Roll Show – staff model Let It Rock clothing outside 430 King’s Road. Photo: Robert Ellis./ABOVE: From the Evening Standard special issue – Teds and (left) LIR assistant Addie Isman outside Let It Rock.//

As a follow-up to my recent post about the Rock N Roll revival show held at London’s Wembley Stadium in August 1972, here is another selection from the media surrounding the event.

The New Musical Express dedicated a section to reviewing the show, decking staffers Danny Holloway, James Johnston and the late Tony Tyler in appropriate clothing from Let It Rock. The journalists were photographed outside Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s outlet at 430 King’s Road by Robert Ellis.

Wembley-EveningStandardSpecial72TakeshiHosoyacover copy

//Bo Diddley on the cover of the ES special//

Wembley-EveningSTandardSpecial72TakeshiHosoyaspread copy

//Angus McGill and Geoffrey Aqulina Ross were among the journalists who contributed to the ES special. I love the juxtaposition with the knife and fork/skull and crossbones logo promoting a Sunday Times feature by the architectural writer Ian Nairn, whose work has recently undergone critical appraisal//

The capital’s daily paper the Evening Standard’s special issue – billed as the official programme – also included images taken outside Let It Rock, including assistant Addie Isman in one of the store’s then-new studded t-shirts (this one emblazoned with the phrase Rock N Roll Ruby) and customer and prominent London Ted Bill Hegarty in full regalia.

The images of the Evening Standard special issue are from the copy owned by collector Takeshi Hosoya, whose Japanese clothing label Peel + Lift can be viewed here.

Many thanks to Robert Ellis for permission to use his shot in the scan from the NME. Visit Robert Ellis’s Repfoto site here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The London Rock n Roll Show at Wembley Stadium 1972: Memories of Oz, Frendz and the Let It Rock stall

Mar 8th, 2014
wembleyrnr-flyer

//Flyer for The Rock n Roll Show printed on the back of a subscription form for Oz magazine, July 1972. The Move were replaced by lead member Roy Wood’s new band Wizzard; this was their first gig. Original Brit-rocker Heinz was added to the bill; his backing band would soon become Dr Feelgood//

I acquired my first underground press publications in the summer of 1972, at about the point when the sector was taking the nosedive from which it never recovered.

Still, better late than Sharon Tate, as they say. Aged 12, my taste had been whetted by sneak peeks at an older brother’s collection of magazines when a guy called Kevin O’Keefe who lived down the road gave me a few copies of Oz, including number 43, the July issue.

A few weeks later, to my astonishment, the newsagents in Hendon’s Church Road started stocking Frendz. I folded issue 33 between a couple of music papers and pored over it in my bedroom.

P1150578

//Front cover of OZ 43, the issue which included the Wembley flyer//

P1150560

//Front cover, Frendz 33, September 1972//

LetItRock-standWembley72

//Crowds around the Let It Rock stand. From the 1973 film London Rock N Roll Show directed by Peter Clifton//

Neither of the magazines are shining examples of the genre, but they had something in common: the centre spread of OZ 43 contained a subscription form back-printed with a flyer for the London Rock N Roll Show, a one-day festival of original 50s acts and those who could claim kinship held at Wembley Stadium on August 5 that year.

And for me the most beguiling article in Frendz 33 was a two-page stream-of-consciousness report of the event filed by one Douglas Gordon and illustrated with photographs by Pennie Smith, soon to leave for the NME and carve out her reputation as one of rock photography’s all-time greats.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Malcolm McLaren: After Pharrell, Westwood and Dries is he the disappearing man of fashion?

Mar 6th, 2014
WorldsEnd-BuffaloHat2

//McLaren/Westwood Buffalo Hat 1982, V&A Collection.//

Long-standing revisionism is not unusual on the breakdown of a partnership, and there has been much rewriting – not least by the parties themselves – of the history of who did what, where and to whom in the three decades since the dissolution of one of the most potent creative collaborations in the history of popular culture: that between Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood.

WorldsEnd-Buffalohatbrim WorldsEnd-Buffalohatbrim2

buffalo-smash01

//In the arena: McLaren engages with pop, 1983//

It will be a while before we understand whether their achievements together will leap the boundaries of the still-bouyant decorative arts and the now-dessicated form of popular music into true and lasting cultural significance, but for the time being the couple’s combined impact on fashion design and the development of musical genres from punk to hip-hop and world music continues to draw in contemporary performers and designers.

QV the ballyhoo around Pharrell Williams’ recent sporting of a Westwood reissue of the so-called Buffalo Hat, a design produced by the pair for the Worlds End 1982 Buffalo collection. This coincided with the opening of their last retail environment Nostalgia Of Mud and also provided a major element in the visual identity of McLaren’s debut solo album, the towering pre-digital cross-genre pop masterpiece Duck Rock.

The hat, like the rest of the Buffalo collection, was undeniably a product of their collective resources. It may have been his concept – taken from images of traditional Peruvian dress discovered during research for Duck Rock – but it was their combined realisation.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Photography: David Parkinson shoots Acme Attractions

Jan 16th, 2014
Gorman_01.tif

//Original print of photo for Club International, 1975. Models include, from far right, Stephan Raynor, Don Letts and Martin Brading. Photo: David Parkinson//

I’ve been enjoying researching materials relating to the late photographer David Parkinson for a feature for GQ magazine, so thought I’d share some of the images I dug out of the Parkinson archive concerning the 70s King’s Road retro clothing store Acme Attractions.

Parkinson’s position as fashion editor of Paul Raymond’s sophisticated soft-porn magazine Club International enabled him to style and present Acme clothing for a wide readership, on occasion using the shop team as models.

Acme was opened by Parkinson’s friend Stephan Raynor (they’d known each other since they were part of a gang of style-obsessed teenagers in Leicester in the early 60s) with John Krivine, previously a Brixton-based jukebox dealer, in 1974.

DP-AcmeBarnersShopQuintetPGscan

//As the Parkinson photograph appeared in the magazine, flipped and tinted. Note ref to “Acme Tailors”//

DP-YourTieSirPGscan

//Parkinson used ties from his collection – including some sourced from Acme – for this March 1975 Club International feature//

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

SEX Cowboys return to Situationist roots in new T-shirt inspired by one of my posts

Jan 8th, 2014
SONY DSC

//Drift: New t-shirt from Japanese streetwear company Peel + Lift//

My 2011 post unraveling the threads running through the notorious Naked Cowboys punk t-shirt has itself inspired a new shirt.

The Cowboys t-shirt was designed by Malcolm McLaren in 1975 for sale in SEX, the shop he ran with Vivienne Westwood at 430 King’s Road in London’s World’s End.

Popular with punks and worn by members of the Sex Pistols and their coterie, it was initially known as the Saturday Night Dance shirt because of the presence of the dancehall sign in the appropriated homoerotic cowboy illustration by Jim French.

cowboys-auction

//Cowboys t-shirt sold at auction in London last year//

The new t-shirt has been produced by Japanese streetwear company Peel + Lift, which reproduces many McLaren and Westwood designs. It is entitled Drift, making overt the presence of 60s radical thinking in McLaren’s artwork: the drift, or the dérive, was a major theme of the Situationist International, which believed individuals should allow themselves to wander urban landscapes and become either repelled or enchanted by what they found (in the manner of the archetypal French urban explorer the flâneur).

Le Retour de la Colonne Durutti

//Panel, p3, Le Retour de la Colonne Durutti, 1966//

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mr Freedom designs at the V&A: ‘When what has been considered bad taste is suddenly found to be invigorating’

Dec 20th, 2013

V+AArchive-MrFreedomWingedBoots2

“There is a moment when ‘good taste’ becomes dead; what has been considered ‘bad’ is suddenly found to be invigorating. Fashion today has little to do with la mode and the tacky is often accepted as an essential part of the necessary ‘total’ look. It can be fun.”

Cecil Beaton, introduction to the catalogue for the 1971 V&A exhibition Fashion: An Anthology

Recent visits to the V&A’s Archive of Art & Design have proved fruitful, particularly a viewing earlier this week of the collection of  Pop Art clothing sold through London boutique Mr Freedom in the late 60s and early 70s.

V+AArchive-MrFreedomGodBlessWoolworthstop

//Design: Diana Crawshaw, 1971//

V+AArchive-MrFreedomPKOfftop

//Kiss Off t-shirt, Jim O’Connor, 1971//

V+AArchive-MrFreedomRamalamadingdongtshirt

//Design Christopher Snow/Trevor Myles, body design: Diana Crawshaw, 1971//

V+AArchive-MrFreedomUniversityofWishfulThinkingtshirt

//Design: Pamla Motown, 1971//

V+AArchive-MrFreedomSpottedJockeyJacket

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Photography: Inside Seditionaries and down the King’s Road 1977 with Homer Sykes

Dec 17th, 2013
VIVIENNE WESTWOOD 1970S KINGS ROAD CHELSEA

//Vivienne Westwood in felt Inside Out Jacket with assistants Debbie Wilson and Michael Collins in Seditionaries, 1977//

While updating his rich and varied archive, photographer Homer Sykes came across these superb photographs taken inside Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s boutique Seditionaries at 430 King’s Road in the spring of 1977.

The images capture the air of raw uncertainty surrounding the shop and the McLaren/Westwood coterie in this period. McLaren’s charges the Sex Pistols had recently been signed to their third record company in six months – Virgin Records – after being publicly excoriated for their behaviour and bounced out of EMI and A&M. The national media had seized upon punk as a source of sensationalism and the release of the Pistols’ explosive God Save The Queen was a matter of weeks away.

1970s FASHION KINGS ROAD LONDON UK

//Debbie Wilson (aka Debbie Juvenile) sports Hangman Jumper, Seditionaries, 1977. Note the studded Venus Top and leather jacket on the wall behind the counter//

VIVIENNE WESTWOOD 1970S KINGS ROAD CHELSEA

//Westwood expounding against the photographic mural of Dresden after WW2 air-raids, Seditionaries, 1977. Note Collins’ Cambridge Rapist design produced by Westwood’s partner Malcolm McLaren a couple of years earlier//

1970S INTERIOR OF VIVIENNE WESTWOOD BOUTIQUE

//Behind the customer in black bondage jacket is the wall-size inverted photographic mural of Piccadilly Circus, Seditionaries, 1977//

On Saturday August 20 1977 Sykes again took to the King’s Road to document the atmosphere of unrest embodied by the outbreaks of violence caused by marauding Teddy Boys targeting punks and such boutiques as Seditionaries and Boy.

TEENAGERS 1970S KINGS ROAD TEDDY BOY FASHION

//Young Ted bops while another’s jacket mourns Elvis Presley’s recent death, King’s Road, 1977//

TRACY BOYLE  GARY HOLTON KINGS ROAD CHELSEA LONDON 1970S

//Musician/actor Gary Holton and girlfriend Tracy Boyle lead a demonstration against violence between Teds and Punks along the King’s Road. Far left is punk Mick Bladder//

Some of his photographs feature the punk Mick Bladder, whose arrest on that day in August 1977 was featured in Wolfgang Büld’s Punk In London. This documentary  shows how the movement’s initial creative burst swiftly dissipated, while Sykes’ images capture the ways in which a cult movement had entered the mainstream, infiltrating the media, music, fashion and the wider culture.

Sykes’ archive covers the waterfront, from social unrest including the Notting Hill Carnival riot of 1976 and the riots in Toxteth and Brixton in the early 80s, to the on-the-road antics of Paul McCartney & Wings and Sigue Sigue Sputnik, the New Romantic haven the Blitz club, Andrew Logan’s Alternative Miss World and Quentin Crisp . Visit www.homersykes.com.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Bravura + brilliance: Tommy Roberts, February 6 1941 – December 10 2012

Dec 10th, 2013
P1150407

//Tommy Roberts, 1987. Photo: Christopher Clunn//

Sad to note the anniversary today of the death of Tommy Roberts, flamboyant design entrepreneur and subject of my book Mr Freedom.

P1150406

//Dedication (right) with (left on cover-flap) list of abiding interests (courtesy Eve Ferret + Mark Summerfield) and Brian Aris portrait//

P1150408

//Roberts opened Kleptomania with Charlie Simpson in Kingly Street, central London, in 1966//

P1150409

//Neon arch sales counter display designed by Jeffrey Pine for Mr Freedom, opened with partner Trevor Myles at 430 King’s Road in September 1969//

Here – with a selection of images from Mr Freedom – is an extract from an essay I have written about Roberts’ role in the development of design in Britain for Chris Breward and Ghislaine Wood’s book British Design: Tradition & Modernity, which will be published by Bloomsbury next year.

It is arguable that wider recognition for Tommy Roberts’ audacious innovations in the promotion of street style, furniture, gastronomy, home-wares, interiors and collectables was undercut by his refusal to observe the sensitivities of England’s post-war design world.

Roberts adopted an ebullient public persona to match his stout physique and broad Cockney accent. “I’m the most vulgar man in fashion, darlin’!” Roberts proclaimed to the no-less outrageous Sunday Times fashion editor Molly Parkin in the heyday of his Pop Art fashion and objects emporium Mr Freedom.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,