Diana Crawshaw – who designed for such boutiques as Mr Freedom and Paradise Garage – has contacted me about an appearance she made in an early pop promo clip: Piers Bedford’s short for the 1968 single Long Haired Boy by American singer-songwriter Tim Rose.
Malcolm McLaren exhibition: The roots of Savages + his copy of Mable Morrow’s folk art book Indian Rawhide
Among the most revealing exhibits at the Malcolm McLaren show Let It Rock is the cultural iconoclast’s copy of a folk art book which proved a rich source of reference when he came to design the Savages collection with Vivienne Westwood in 1982.
McLaren’s consistent approach to creative activity always began with deep research (from the first publicly recognised manifestation, the Teddy Boy outlet Let It Rock, to his final film artworks Shallow 1-21 and Paris: City Of The XXIst Century).
And in the early 80s, McLaren’s copy of Mable Morrow’s Indian Rawhide, published by Oklahoma University Press in 1975, proved inspirational for this lifelong fan of Native American Indian culture.
McLaren’s recasting of this folk art in the sphere of fashion aligns his work in the 70s and 80s with the post-modern practice of appropriation which infused all spheres of artistic endeavour at the time, from literature to film and fine art. It is arguable that he and Westwood were the first and the greatest to incorporate the approach in clothing design.
When Savages debuted in October 1982 at Olympia’s Pillar Hall in west London, the repurposing of Native American tribal prints across a range of fabrics and garments – some overprinted with block capital slogans such as “Breaker” and “Girly” – and meshing with contemporary urban black culture and streetwear proved groundbreaking in fashion terms, as can be seen in this film commissioned for the event by McLaren:
Indian Rawhide and the clothing featured in this post are among the many rare and unique exhibits in Let It Rock: The Look Of Music The Sound Of Fashion, which is at the Crystal Hall in Copenhagen’s Bella Center from August 3-6.
Read more here.
Malcolm McLaren exhibition: Bob Carlos Clarke + David Parkinson images of the ciré Sex mackintosh dress
//Photography: Bob Carlos Clarke 1976 (left) and David Parkinson 1975//
Malcolm designed a very nice women’s mac. A real 50s style, it was made of very thin ciré and looked almost like a dress, with its circular skirt and stand-up collar. It was like something that the B52s might have worn – half a dozen years later.
Glen Matlock on his time as a shop assistant at Sex in his memoir I Was A Teenage Sex Pistol (first published 1990, Omnibus Press)
As well as unique examples of Malcolm McLaren’s fashion designs with Vivienne Westwood, along with exclusive photographic prints of work by such luminaries as Robyn Beeche, Bob Gruen, Sheila Rock and Joe Stevens, the exhibition Let It Rock: The Look Of Music The Sound Of Fashion will present a panoply of ephemera, including many never previously catalogued publications which featured some of the extraordinary clothing emanating from 430 King’s Road in the 70s and 80s.
Among them is the ultra rare 1976 issue of photographer Bob Carlo Clarke’s magazine Vamp, loaned by collector/expert Paul Burgess. Among the garments from Sex in the Flash ‘Em Fashion spread is the delightful rainwear dress designed by McLaren, which was also photographed by David Parkinson for Club International.
In his memoir I Was A Teenage Sex Pistol, Glen Matlcok recounted how this particular design was plundered by the mainstream fashion business: “This woman’s firm totally ripped it off for one of the mid-market youth fashion houses. And made a mint out of it. Without paying a penny to Malcolm and Vivienne – whose idea it was. Well, sort of. They probably ripped it off themselves from a Hollywood still. But that’s not the point really. Their’s was a fully-developed idea and garment.”
Let It Rock: The Look Of Music The Sound Of Fashion runs from August 3-6 at the Crystal Hall in Copenhagen’s Bella Center as part of Coepnhagen Fashion Week.
Read more here.
“There’s so much pollution in the world you should use the gear you already have, not buy something because it’s fashionable” – Trevor Myles + Paradise Garage in Jackie magazine December 1971
Well done to vintage collector/dealer Sharon of Sweet Jane’s Pop Boutique blog for spotting this wowser on a Facebook group: a 1971 article in teen fashion and music magazine Jackie about the game-changing fashion outlet Paradise Garage run by Trevor Myles at 430 King’s Road.
Paradise Garage is important because it was the first shop in Britain to import and sell used denim in a meaningful way. Using the astounding environment created by Electric Colour Company, faded and worn denim, sometimes appliqued or patched, was stocked alongside an acutely compiled selection of soon-to-be-familiar dead-stock: Hawaiian shirts, baseball and souvenir jackets, Osh Kosh B’Gosh dungarees, bumper boots, cheongsams and so on.
Myles opened Paradise Garage in May 1971 as a reaction to the Pop Art flash he had engineered at Mr Freedom with his ex-partner Tommy Roberts. In the Jackie article he makes a point about fashion and environmental sustainability of pertinence today:
“There’s so much pollution in the world that we thought you should use the gear you already have – not buy something just because it’s fashionable. By throwing the old lot away you only add to the pollution problem. So that’s why we’re using it all up.”
Also interviewed and photographed is shop manager Bradley Mendelson, the New Yorker whose November 1971 encounter with Malcolm McLaren while Myles was absent overseas resulted in the establishment of Let It Rock at the same address.
The publication date of the issue of Jackie – December 4, 1971 – is poignant; by the time the feature appeared Paradise Garage was gone and McLaren and others, including his art-school student friend Patrick Casey and Vivienne Westwood, had taken over the outlet and were refurbishing it to match Mclaren’s radical British take on 50s retromania.
Read the Sweet Jane’s Pop Boutique blog here.
Christie’s homes in on collectible Granny Takes A Trip suits first featured on The Look blog in 2008
Six years ago on The Look blog I posted images and memories supplied by Terry Slobodzian, who ran boutiques Explosion and Lacy Lady in the upstate New York town of North Tonawanda in the late 60s and early 70s.
Such shops as Slobodzian’s and The People’s Space (run by Tommy Hilfiger in the neighbouring Emira) were part of a regional US trend for wild and usually wildly-named clothing stores sparked by eccentric retail ventures such as Granny Takes A Trip in England.
As I discovered through contact with vintage dealer/expert Ben Cooney, these are the places who showed at the National Boutique Show in NYC and broadcast their wares from the back pages of Baron Wolman’s fashion/music mag Rags: A Long Time Comin’ in San Anselmo, The Bead Experience in Baltimore, The Great Linoleum Clothing Experiment in LA, Bouncing Bertha’s Banana Blanket and Jenny Waterbags in New York, Mom’s Apple Grave in San Francisco…you get the picture.
Granny’s occupied a totemic status for the people who operated these outlets; Slobodzian visited London on a buying spree in 1970 and naturally dropped in at 488 King’s Road. “What a trip it was,” he told me in 2008.“Every piece fit like a glove right off the rack. The craftmanship and choice of fabric was amazing.”
Now Slobodzian’s Granny’s suits as featured on The Look blog are in this Friday’s Pop Culture sale at Christie’s along with two shirts from Bouncing Bertha’s Banana Blanket.
Here’s Rod Stewart in the same paneled velvet suit design as Lot 55 in the sale:
Read The Look post here.
Find out more about the Pop Culture sale here.
Cassandra Tondro has uploaded pages from Rags Magazine here.
//Left: Love, 1962, Marisol. Plaster and glass (Coca-Cola bottle), 6 1/4 x 4 1/8 x 8 1/8″, MoMA. Right: From I Get A Kick Out Of You, David Parkinson, Club International, 1975//
A disturbing David Parkinson image from a mid-70s fashion shoot for British porn magazine Club International puts me in mind of the early 60s sculpture Love by the artist Marisol.
Ahead of the publication of my piece about the late photographer David Parkinson in GQ UK in a few weeks, here are a couple of masterful images which demonstrate his stylised, simultaneously gritty and glamorous approach.
Both stem from issues of men’s magazine Club International; the 1974 cover shot model is wearing Parkinson’s decorated Lewis Leathers jacket which he used to dress other fashion photo-sessions. The image was also used on the cover of Italian soft-porn title Man Only.
The spread above focused on the suits and menswear available at Acme Attractions, the Kings Road vintage/retro outlet co-owned by Parkinson’s Lesicester friend Steph Raynor, who appears in the photograph with Acme’s manager, filmmaker/DJ/BAD member Don Letts, and Parkinson’s assistant, photographer Martin Brading.
Raynor is among those who contributed to my feature on Parkinson, who is granted the accolade of ‘GQ Icon’ in the June issue (available at the beginning of May).
Only Anarchists Are Pretty: New Fragment x Peel + Lift Anarchy Shirt goes on sale as The Pool opens in Aoyoama
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.
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.”
My recent post about the Mr Freedom designs in the V&A collection sparked some memories from graphic artist Ian Harris, who sends this 1972 photograph of himself in a Mr Freedom hamburger print shirt:
In the 1972 photo, the shirt’s hamburger appliqué is obscured; Harris had worked for Mr Freedom partner Tommy Roberts at his 60s boutique Kleptomania, and gave the late Roberts a number of items relating to his career a few years back. Included was the appliqué which Harris had kept for many years.
As Harris points out, his wife Maggie, a model, is sporting an Angie Bowie-influenced look in the photo above. Here she is in another early 70s shot, taken outside John and Lyris Mann’s Kensington boutique Strictly For The Birds:
Mr Freedom designs at the V&A: ‘When what has been considered bad taste is suddenly found to be invigorating’
“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.