Paul Gorman is…

I’ve picked Shop for i-D’s list of legendary London stores

Nov 9th, 2015


Asked by i-D’s Stuart Brumfitt to chose a favourite London fashion outlet I plumped for Shop, which was run  by Pippa Brooks and Max Karie for a decade from the mid-90s in Soho’s Brewer Street (I mistakenly referred to it being at number 5 – as you can see in the photo below it was at number 4).


//Shop in the early 00s. Photo: Pippa Brooks//

Read my reasons and the rest of London’s Legendary Stores – which includes contributions from Nicola Formichetti, Stephen Jones and Mandi Lennard – here.

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Another exclusive! Sneak peek inside Malcolm McLaren’s 1975/6 notebook at Be Reasonable Demand The Impossible

Nov 5th, 2015

//Front cover of Malcolm McLaren’s 1975/6 notebook. © Paul Burgess. No reproduction without permission//

Among the exciting exclusives at tomorrow’s event Be Reasonable Demand The Impossible will be a presentation providing a fascinating look inside Malcolm McLaren’s 1975/6 notebook, kept at the time when the Sex Pistols were starting out and he was running the boutique Sex at 430 King’s Road with partner Vivienne Westwood.

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‘A lifetime in design taught Tommy Roberts to avoid fashionability’: My chapter on the importance of the late design entrepreneur in new book

Oct 21st, 2015


“Anyone who has wondered how the Britain of utility furniture and wartime rationing managed to evolve into Cool Britannia will find this a remarkable book.”

Elizabeth Guffey, State University of New York at Purchase

My case study Tommy Roberts: From Kleptomania To Two Columbia Road forms a chapter in new book British Design: Tradition And Modernity After 1948, which is published by Bloomsbury Academic tomorrow (October 22).

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‘Absolutely London’: Marx, Kenny MacDonald + PiL style

Oct 18th, 2015

//Marx, the Great Gear Market, 85, King’s Road, Chelsea, 1979. Photo: Salvador Macasil//

In the histories of London street style, Kenny MacDonald’s King’s Road outlet Marx receives rare mention, yet from the mid-70s this unusual and tucked-away boutique was important in the development of the type of English tailoring-with-a-twist which has subsequently dominated a strand of menswear around the world.

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Eddie, Elvis + Gene: Let It Rock’s glitter-printed tailored and customised t-shirts based on James Dean’s in Rebel Without A Cause

Sep 18th, 2015

//Model wears studded and accessorised Let It Rock ‘Gene’ glitter print shirt, Musik Express, November 1972. Photo: Unknown//

Thanks to Mr Mondo for turning me onto Glam Idols, a goldmine of early 70s music and fashion images.

Lovingly presented and well credited, many of the photographs on the feed derive from continental European publications, like the 1972 shot above of a German model in a glitter t-shirt from Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s 50s outlet Let It Rock at 430 King’s Road.

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From Vive la Commune! in 1881 to Vive le Rock! in 1972: How a Chinese Communist Party pamphlet inspired one of the great Malcolm McLaren designs

Aug 20th, 2015


//From top left: Chinese Communist Party pamphlet, 1971; McLaren in Let It Rock 1972; Proclamation by Engels and Marx, 1881; Title lettering, Belgian film poster, 1958; Little Richard compilation, 1972; Repro of McLaren’s 1972 t-shirt collage//

A year or so ago I established the source material for one of the first designs generated by Malcolm McLaren in the fashion partnership he conducted with Vivienne Westwood in the 70s and early 80s.

Now I can reveal the inspiration: text contained in an unprepossessing Communist booklet celebrating the short-lived “Paris Commune” government of 19th Century revolutionary France.

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Subjective Reality: Steven Meisel’s film for Miu Miu A/W 15 tips a wink to Seditionaries

Jul 26th, 2015


Steven Meisel’s campaign clip for Miu Miu’s autumn/winter 2015 collection tips a knowing wink to Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s 70s label Seditionaries, and in particular the design collage Vive Le Rock/Punk Rock Disco.

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I Groaned With Pain: Malcolm McLaren’s own t-shirts to feature in exhibition of status quo-disrupters

Jul 17th, 2015

//The t-shirts show the deliberate production of variants within the limited edition designed and written by McLaren and printed on the simple square pattern produced by Vivienne Westwood in 1974. © Malcolm McLaren Estate//

Two of Malcolm McLaren’s t-shirts from the very first production run of I Groaned With Pain – the notorious text design produced with Vivienne Westwood in 1974 – will be featured in Eyes For Blowing Up Bridges, the exhibition I am co-curating with David Thorp at Southampton’s John Hansard Gallery this autumn.


//T-shirt with central tear on light blue jersey with exterior seaming, labelled, Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood, 1974. 360mm x 375mm. © Malcolm McLaren Estate//

I Groaned With Pain is named after the first four words of the paragraph of text McLaren lifted from beat writer Alexander Trocchi’s erotic novel Helen And Desire (published in 1954 by Olympia Press under the pseudonym Francis Lengel).

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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

//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//


//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//


//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.

tftl vogue

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

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