Paul Gorman is…

That’ll Be The Day: How Ringo ended up in a Teddy Girl’s drape jacket from Let It Rock

Mar 18th, 2015
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//Starr on location in Let It Rock drape. Note bust darts.  From the front page of Disc & Music Echo, December 16, 1972. Photo: Uncredited//

In the autumn of 1972 the small King’s Road boutique Let It Rock, which had been open for less than a year, received a fillip when the owners Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood were asked to contribute costumes to the production of 50s Britrock movie That’ll Be The Day.

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Ben Kelly aka The Photo Kid outside Sex, 430 King’s Road, World’s End, 1975

Mar 14th, 2015
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//Ben Kelly underneath the Sex sign, 1975. Photo courtesy Ben Kelly//

I’m featuring this image of designer Ben Kelly in his persona of The Photo Kid in my presentation about the design history of 430 at the symposium Dead Or Alive: Popular Culture & The Interior, which takes place today at London’s ICA.

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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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Started in 1986, recently completed portrait of Thea Porter celebrates show at London’s Fashion & Textile Museum

Feb 6th, 2015
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//Thea Porter by Penny Slinger//

There’s a nice story behind this portrait of the late fashion designer Thea Porter, whose talents are celebrated at the just-opened exhibition at London’s Fashion & Textiles Museum.

During preparations for the exhibition and the accompanying book, the curator and fashion historian Laura McLaws Helms visited British artist Penny Slinger, who had made feathered masks and modeled in a catwalk show for Porter in the early 70s.
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Talking Interiors with The Photo Kid tonight: International Orange – When Attitudes Become Form

Feb 4th, 2015

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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Astounding Barney Bubbles rarity: An amazing Hawkwind drumhead

Jan 8th, 2015
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//Drumhead painted by Barney Bubbles in 1972. Photo: (c)//

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//From left: Nik Turner, Stacia Blake, Simon King and Lemmy during Hawkwind’s set at the Windsor Free Festival on August 25, 1973. Note the drumhead on the left. Photographer: Unknown//

A rare design by the late graphics master Barney Bubbles has come to light after four decades; the psychedelic sci-fi drumhead was painted for Hawkwind when the space rocking Sonic Assassins undertook tours around the world following their success with the Silver Machine single in 1972.

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Desirable ties + lots more from East London’s exuberant EsDes

Dec 19th, 2014

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I’m really proud of my niece Esme Bradbury, whose exuberant handmade designs via her label EsDes have received a boost with inclusion at the Craft Council’s Established East London pop up shop at Westfield Stratford.

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‘The most radical designer of objects and furniture in the latter 20th century and early 21st century”: Jim Walrod on Gaetano Pesce in Bad Day #18

Oct 13th, 2014

pesce1The current issue of arts and culture magazine Bad Day is enlivened by an engaging interview with the eminent designer and architect Gaetano Pesce by one of his most vocal champions, design authority Jim Walrod.

Augmented by Jeremy Liebman’s photographs, the feature makes a strong case for Pesce’s significance. “He’s the most punk rock person I’ve ever met,” writes Walrod of the 74-year-old.

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Issue 18 of Bad Day has sold out but visit the magazine’s excellent website for further elucidation.

Liebman’s website is here; Pesce’s is here.

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Malcolm McLaren exhibition: Nostalgia Of Mud + Witches + Folkways ethnological recordings from the 1950s

Jul 28th, 2014
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//Front cover, Dances Of The World’s Peoples, Vol 3, Folkways Records, 1958. Design: W. Johnson, printed on paper glued to cardboard sleeve.//

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//Front of four-page song and information sheet utilising W.Johnson’s design, paper, 1958//

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//Invitation card to Paris show of McLaren and Westwood’s Nostalgia Of Mud collection, March 1982. Design: Nick Egan. Courtesy Malcolm McLaren Estate//

The idea is to show in clothes and music that, in the post-industrial age, the roots of our culture lie in primitive societies.
Malcolm McLaren on Nostalgia Of Mud and Duck Rock, 1983

Thanks to Hiroshi Fujiwara for tipping the wink over one of the sources of visual inspiration fed by Malcolm McLaren into the concepts unified by his solo album Duck Rock, the central London clothing store Nostalgia Of Mud and the fashion collections he designed with Vivienne Westwood in 1982-3.

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//Witchdoctor figure from W. Johnson’s design//

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//Figure recast by McLaren and Westwood with Keith Haring adornments on cotton top from Witches collection, 1983. From private collection//

One of the cues for Duck Rock’s investigations into music from all over the world was the series of recordings by enthnological music archivists Ronnie and Stu Lipner released on Folkways Records in the late 50s under the banner Dances Of The World’s Peoples. And McLaren’s appropriation of the naive cover art by W. Johnson – in particular the striking witchdoctor figure – found new form in design collaborations with Westwood, graphics supremo Nick Egan and artist Keith Haring.

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//Nostalgia Of Mud pattern show card, 1982. Courtesy Malcolm McLaren Estate//

McLaren’s brilliance at fusing disparate elements into culture-defining and dazzling artworks is being celebrated next week with the exhibition Let It Rock: The Look Of Music The Sound Of Fashion at the Crystal Hall in Copenhagen’s Bella Center.

The show – which runs from August 3-6 during Copenhagen Fashion Week – will incorporate hundreds of exhibits, many rare and never previously shown to the public, including clothing and objects featured here such as the Witches top, the show cards and original copies of the Dances Of The World’s Peoples LP and catalogue.

Read more here.

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