Paul Gorman is…

AJ article on 430 caps a busy week packed with DIY Cultures, Nathalie Du Pasquier, Apartamento et al

May 15th, 2015

‘This country is run by a group of Fascists': When Malcolm McLaren met Sweet Gene Vincent backstage at The Marquee

Apr 27th, 2015

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//Clockwise from top left: Gene Vincent with one of The Houseshakers, Magnet Club, Chelmsford, UK, February 1971. Photo:¬†http://gene.vincent.fanclub.voila.net; Let It Rock assistant in Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps top, Wembley Stadium, August 5, 1972. Photo: Masayoshi Sukita; Vincent’s quote as featured on the Sex t-shirt You’re Gonna Wake Up, 1974//

‘Gene Vincent for me was the embodiment of rock’n’roll’

Malcolm McLaren 1997

On September 22 1971, Gene Vincent was a mid-week booking to play a “rock revival” night at central London club The Marquee.

Times were tough; at just 36, the soft-spoken American rocker was apparently way past his heyday and beset by severe health problems brought on by the combination of alcoholism and addiction to prescription drugs taken to dull the constant pain in his left leg. This was the result of a crippling motorbike accident in his youth and the lingering effects of having been in the 1960 car-crash which killed Eddie Cochran.

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‘Designers + Customisers in 3D': Electric Colour Company in new issue of GQ Style

Apr 9th, 2015

Granny Takes A Trip + Mr Freedom boots: Were they originally owned by Elton?

Mar 12th, 2015

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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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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Homage to Ben Kelly’s Seditionaries facade in Vuitton’s High Tech A/W 15 show

Jan 22nd, 2015
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//The simulation of the Seditionaries facade in industrial materials provided the entry and exit point for models on the runway today//

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//With rings representing the positions where designer Ben Kelly exposed air conditioning vents to view, Kim Jones replaced the diagonal bar which occupied the central square over the door with the trademark Vuitton ‘V’//

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//Ben Kelly’s portfolio shot of the facade he designed and installed at 430 King’s Road in December 1976//

Amid the references to the late Christopher Nemeth in today’s Paris show of the Louis Vuitton A/W 15 menswear collection (see my last post), artistic director Kim Jones used the staging to pay subtle homage to the two great maverick figures of London street culture – namely Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood and specifically their 70s punk store Seditionaries.

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George Cox: The origins of the Diano brothel creeper + samples ordered by Malcolm McLaren in 1973

Jan 20th, 2015
Malcolm McLaren 1972 (c) David Parkinson

//Malcolm McLaren in a previously unpublished shot wearing original 50s George Cox Bingley D-ring brothel creepers to match his detail-perfect Teddy Boy garb. Photo taken inside Let It Rock, 430 King’s Road, January 1972. (c) David Parkinson//

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//Left, Saint Laurent point-toed patent brothel creepers, A/W 2014. Right: George Cox Buckle Diano made to the 1950s last//

Last season’s foregrounding by Saint Laurent of the pointed brothel creeper is just one of a run of examples of fashion brands plugging into the purity of this quintessentially British rock & roll style minted in 1949 by the UK independent footwear company George Cox.

Among the first stylistic innovators to take the design out of Teddy Boy revivalism and apply it to contemporary fashion was Malcolm McLaren, who had been selling creepers for a couple of years at Let It Rock, the boutique he operated with Vivienne Westwood, by the time he visited the Cox factory in Northampton in November 1973. Here he ordered samples for six styles, some of which went into production for sale at 430 King’s Road.

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RIP Billy Murphy: ‘There were many kings of the King’s Road but only one Emperor’

Dec 20th, 2014
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//Billy Murphy by Sean Moorman//

“There were many kings of the King’s Road at different periods of time but there was only one Emperor”

Lloyd Johnson

Very sad to note the passing of Billy Murphy, a thoroughly lovely bloke whose contribution to street fashion – particularly in Britain and specifically in and around the King’s Road – is sorely underrated.

I knew all about Billy’s significance in his field decades before I met him; as I wrote here, his shop The Emperor Of Wyoming was “an extremely important staging post not just in the story of British rock and roll fashion but also the development of the vintage scene in this country”.

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//Stetson, embroidered shirt and hand-tooled leather belt from The Emperor Of Wyoming. Photo: David Parkinson for Club International, February 1974//

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