Paul Gorman is…

Photography: David Parkinson shoots Acme Attractions

Jan 16th, 2014
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//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.

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

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

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

Jan 8th, 2014
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//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.

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//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//

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Ian Harris’s hamburger shirt and the story of Strictly For The Birds

Jan 2nd, 2014

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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:

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//Ian Harris with his then-wife Maggie, Brighton, UK, 1972. Ian Harris Collection//

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//Mr Freedom hamburger print shirt in the V&A’s collection. Note appliqué//

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:

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//Maggie outside 4 Holland Walk, Kensington, London, 1971. Ian Harris Collection//

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

Dec 20th, 2013

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“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.

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//Design: Diana Crawshaw, 1971//

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

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

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//Design: Pamla Motown, 1971//

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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.

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

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//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.

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Hawkwind + Barney Bubbles among influences in Le Gun’s new exhibition Space is Deep

Dec 11th, 2013
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//Le Gun’s Planet Frottage, one of the group works featured in Space Is Deep//

Tomorrow sees the opening of Space Is Deep, the latest exhibition from art collective Le Gun.

The show, at London’s Daniel Blau gallery and featuring contributions from fellow travellers such as Wildcat Will Blanchard, Andrzej Klimowski and Will Sweeney, marks a departure for the group; for the first time work in colour is included alongside Le Gun’s trademark monochrome representations.

“We felt the time was right to introduce some colour and started off by making two technicolour free-form ‘nightmare paintings’, says Robert Rubbish, who founded Le Gun in 2004 with fellow artist/illustrators Bill Bragg, Chris Bianchi, Neal Fox and Stephanie von Reiswitz and designers Alex Wright and Matt Appleton.

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“Then we reassessed our approach, fine-tuned our colour pallet and made three space-inspired paintings, taking references from the likes of (horror/scifi comic artist) LB Cole and  Tintin’s adventure Explorers On The Moon.”

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Johnny Moped at the ICA: A cure for cookie-cutter rock-doc fatigue

Dec 11th, 2013

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Here’s a cure for year-end cookie-cutter rock-doc fatigue.

Basically Johnny Moped, Fred Burns’ exemplary documentary about Paul Halford (aka punk rocker Johnny Moped), has been selected for a week of screenings at London’s ICA.

The mini-season kicks off next Tuesday night with a post-film chat and q&a with Moped conducted by Burns.

Tickets available here.

Find out more about the film here.

 

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

Dec 10th, 2013
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//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.

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

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

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//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.

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Susie Bubble on Shop, Posh, Shopgirl + The Look’s first edition

Dec 6th, 2013
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//Susie Bubble pays tribute to Shop, The World According To…, Shop At Maison Bertaux, Posh, Shopgirl//

Rifling through her memories of Pippa Brooks and Max Karie’s Soho boutique Shop (which later mutated into The World According To… and then shifted base to Shop At Maison Bertaux), fashion blogger Susie Bubble has nice things to say about me and my work and includes in her selection of images the cover of the first edition of The Look.

This featured Libby Peder’s photograph of Pippa and James Dearlove, her musical collaborator in Posh, All About Eve Babitz and Shopgirl.

It was as Shopgirl that Pippa and James played the launch party, which was held across the road from Shop  at the club Astral and featured DJ sets by others in the book, including Jeff Dexter, Count Indigo, Dan Donovan + Don Letts and Jay Strongman.

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//2001 invite to the party launching the first edition of The Look//

Read about that eventful night on THE LOOK blog.

Read Susie Bubble’s post Shopped-Out here.

I got to know Pippa through Shop and Posh, who I saw live a few times in the 90s. Sadly I missed this performance at Wembley Stadium on the same bill as Bon Jovi (is it me or is Pippa absolutely bricking it when she leans down to take a slug of water?):

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Jim French: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor exhibition + new Colt apparel collection

Nov 21st, 2013

//Jim French Polaroid studies//

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor is an exhibition of Polaroids taken by artist, illustrator and print-maker Jim French which opens tonight at New York’s ClampArt gallery.

These include studies for French’s 1969 Colt Studio print Longhorns Dance, incorporated by Malcolm McLaren in 1975 in his notorious Cowboys t-shirt design, as sold in Sex and Seditionaries at 430 King’s Road and worn by the Sex Pistols and others.

//Longhorns Dance by Colt (Jim French) from Manpower! issue 7, 1974//

//Wearing their Cowboys (clockwise from top left): McLaren 1975, Sid Vicious 1977, Siouxsie 1976, Steve Jones 1975. Photographs: Bob Gruen; Dennis Morris; Ray Stevenson; Mick Rock.//

//From queerclick.com//

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