Paul Gorman is…

Fred Astaire in his Johnson & Johnson Fred Astaire jacket

Nov 29th, 2011

Curatorial work today on the Lloyd Johnson exhibition (coming to London gallery Chelsea Space in the New Year) was a joy.

By honing the exhibits and focusing on a narrative, Jill and Lloyd Johnson and I introduced an exciting new element: a wall selection of dazzling print artwork for garments from the 70s to the 00s.

Maneouevres such as this should make the whole show pop.

Just a few items are still to arrive (fingers crossed for the gold leather suit from Stephen Linard in Australia).

The collected clothes, print material, artwork, personal items and ephemera are taking shape and conveying Lloyd’s journey in design and music from the 60s to the present day.

From time to time I’ll be reporting on progress and dipping into the exhibits.

Today, my favourite is one of the smallest: a snapshot sent to Lloyd in 1973 by Fred Astaire, wearing one of Lloyd’s designs: a Johnson & Johnson jacket with a Top Hat repeat print.

Lloyd Johnson: The Modern Outfitter opens late January 2012. Keep checking the Chelsea Space blog for details.

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Magazines: West One’s London Belles 1973 – Diane Logan, Vivienne Westwood et al

Nov 23rd, 2011

A viewing of Jes Benstock’s fab doc A British Guide To Showing Off occasions this opportunity to dig out the London Belles feature from a 1973 issue of shortlived free magazine West One.

Above is milliner Diane Logan in one of her outfits as contestant Rita Ritz in the 1973 Alternative Miss World.

Logan – wife of sculptor Peter, mother of fashion illustrator Blue and sister-in-law of AMW host & hostess Andrew – is wearing a satin bathing suit with one of her own hats (from Logan’s Chiltern Street shop) and sandals from Tommy Roberts’ Covent Garden boutique City Lights Studio.

Another London Belle was Vivienne Westwood in an early media appearance wearing a Let It Rock striped suit, ankle boots, patterned stockings and an adapted Chuck Berry t-shirt from 430 King’s Road’s incarnation as Too Fast To Live Too Young To Die.

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Photoshoot for the Tommy Roberts book: Mr Freedom winged boots, City Lights Studio suit, Practical Styling carrier bag, Jane Wealleans’ fabric print and much much more

Nov 19th, 2011
Tommy Roberts book photoshoot: Jane Wealleans print fabric

//Swathe with repeat print of American footballers, Jane Wealleans for Mr Freedom, 1970.//

Tommy Roberts book photoshoot: Jane Wealleans American footballer print on swathe of brown crepe.

//Jane Wealleans print on brown crepe.//

Here’s a sneak iPhone peak from yesterday’s photoshoot for my forthcoming book about Tommy Roberts.

Tommy’s son and accomplished photographer/cameraman Keith set up a studio in a room at his furniture emporium Two Columbia Road and shot around 50-plus garments and artefacts to go with the 300-odd images already planned for the book.

I snapped these on my phone in downtime; forgive the quality – hopefully they convey the flavour of the exercise.

Keith photographed a cornucopia of goodies, including two pairs of Mr Freedom’s famous winged boots, a carrier bag for Tommy’s 80s shop Practical Styling, a suit from his 70s boutique City Lights Studio (lent to us by another design hero Lloyd Johnson) and much more besides.

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Blokes Of Britain: Kevin Rowland

Nov 7th, 2011

//12"x10"s from Don't Stand Me Down shoot, 1985.//

NAME: Kevin Rowland



Kevin Rowland is a very dapper gent. This is a truth acknowledged by all right-thinking people.

And Kevin is his own man. How many of us can say that?

He is also something of an artist, one whose connection to his muse is unadulterated by commercial concern or critical pressure. I can’t wait for the new Dexys record, which will be out in 2012.

I covered the stylistic changes Kevin rang through earlier Dexys incarnations – from stevedore to Ivy League – in THE LOOK.

Today Kevin answers the Blokes Of Britain questionnaire, providing an opportunity to present some of his looks – including rare and previously unpublished images – past and present:

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Is That All There Is? Lindsay Anderson’s envoi to Jill Bennett + Rachel Roberts

Nov 5th, 2011

//”I know that up there they’ll be having a good laugh.” Lindsay Anderson//


//Rachel Roberts + Jill Bennett//

This is from Lindsay Anderson’s final film Is That All There Is?,  the 1995 autobiographical documentary which included a celebration of the lives of his friends, the formidable actresses Jill Bennett and Rachel Roberts.

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Roger Burton on the Michael Hochong collection

Nov 4th, 2011

//Back of turquoise space suit.//

Following yesterday’s post about the exhibition of Michael Hochong’s incredible clothes, the Horse Hospital’s Roger Burton has given an account of how he came by the collection and his personal connection to this “very beautiful man”.

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Michael Hochong’s life of flamboyant excess

Nov 3rd, 2011
Michael Ho-chong (right) with friends at a party in London in the late 60s

//Hochong (right) with friends at a party in London, late 60s.//

Title, exhibition of Michael Ho-chong's clothing, Horse Hospital, London.

Every Beautiful Thing… is the title of the forthcoming exhibition of extraordinary garments from the wardrobe of the late Michael Hochong, the French/Hawaiian/Chinese exquisite who, in the 70s, ran the Knightsbridge restaurant Michael’s (opposite the more famous establishment run by another Michael, Mr Chow).

Hochong also lived in some style in Tangier with John Koon (said to have been the instigator of the Chinese takeaway in the west).  It seems the house they shared was an exact replica of Tara, Scarlet O’ Hara’s spiritual home in Gone With The Wind.

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Penguins: James Tormey’s Raymond Chandler covers

Nov 1st, 2011

The exclusion of designer James Tormey  – and in particular his early 70s covers for a series of Raymond Chandler books – from Phil Baines’ history Penguin By Design: A Cover Story 1935-2005 has long rankled with me.

I was expecting to find out more about the man whose remixes of Hollywood classic stills led me to Chandler in my early teens. But there is no mention of Tormey or these covers, which hummed at the time with the revival of interest in 40s cinema, and film noir in particular.

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