Paul Gorman is…

Bernard Lansky: Clothier to The King (1927-2012)

Nov 17th, 2012

//Bernard Lansky with Elvis Presley in Lansky Bros, 126 Beale Street, Memphis, 1956.//

I interviewed Bernard Lansky, who has died aged 85, for my first book The Look: Adventures In Rock & Pop Fashion early one morning in March 2000 at his menswear store which was by then located in Memphis tourist attraction, the Peabody Hotel.

His son Hal had forewarned me: “You’d better get there early; once the customers start arriving at 8.00am he won’t have time for you.”

Just as their most celebrated client set fire to popular music as a means of cultural expression, so Lansky and his brother Guy (who was bought out in 1980) formed the template for street fashion by servicing a hitherto ignored subculture  – namely the black stylers, hipsters, roustabouts and juke-jointers crowding the city’s segregated area around Beale Street in the post-War period.

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The shop is open

Nov 15th, 2012

Signed copies from a selection of my work are now available from this site – click on the button in the right-hand column or select SHOP from the menu at the top of the page.

At the moment you can buy:

• Mr Freedom – Tommy Roberts: British Design Hero

• Reasons To Be Cheerful: The Life & Work Of Barney Bubbles

• In Their Own Write: Adventures In The Music Press (now out of print)

• The Look Of London (the new map collaboration with Herb Lester Associates)

From time to time I’ll also be making available signed copies of other out of print work, including my book with Goldie, Nine Lives (£9 inc P+P), and the increasingly rare second edition of The Look Adventures In Rock & Pop Fashion (£45 inc P+P).

Inquire here about these titles and for purchases outside the UK.

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In search of Laurie Cunningham, flamboyant footballer + north London soul boy

Nov 13th, 2012

//Laurie Cunningham aged 17, at Brisbane Road, home to Leyton Orient FC, 1973.//

In 1989, footballer Laurie Cunningham’s life was cut short by a car crash on the outskirts of Madrid. He was 33 years old.

By that time Cunningham had notched up a series of sporting firsts which resonated through the wider culture: a teenage signing to east London team Leyton Orient, Cunningham was the first black player to represent England (in 1977 as an under-21, scoring a winning goal against Scotland) and the first Englishman to play for Spanish giants Real Madrid (in 1979).

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Remembering Charles and Desmond Gorman

Nov 11th, 2012

//William Cowlishaw's memorial in Pozieres cemetry, final resting place of my uncle Desmond. From Silent Cities, RIBA, 1977.//

I have many times asked myself whether there can be more potent advocates of peace upon earth through the years to come than this multitude of silent witnesses to the desolation of war.

George V, 1922.

The result of being the youngest offspring of parents of more advanced years than the norm, I am an anomaly of my generation (as is Mrs G of her’s) in that I have close relations who died in the First World War.

My father’s brothers Charles and Desmond Gorman both perished on the Western Front in 1918, the former aged 17 a bit more than a week before the cessation of hostilities. Desmond was 19 when he was killed outside Jussey in March that year.

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Herb Schmitz’s lost London demi-monde: City Lights Studio, Yvonne Gold, Katharine Hamnett, Ika Hindley, David “Piggy” Worth, Jed Johnson, Barbara Trentham, Marrion Womble et al

Nov 2nd, 2012

//Marrion Womble + Barbara Trentham in City Lights Studio clothes, London, 1973.//

Herb Schmitz proudly describes himself as a photojournalist.

From the start of his career in London in the late 60s, the Dusseldorf-born Schmitz has turned an unerring eye to all manner of subject matter: seascapes,Turkish gangsters, the WW2 head of the Polish government in exile, the social scene in latterday Shoreditch (where he has operated a studio for more than 25 years)…

//Ika Hindley models Hamnett bangles, 1973.//

In the wake of a recent exhibition at Amsterdam’s Unseen Photo Fair, Schmitz has opened his archive of early 70s fashion photography for me, revealing images of a lost London demi-monde clad by such hallowed enterprises as City Lights Studio (the Covent Garden boutique operated by the subject of my latest book, Tommy Roberts) and Katherine Hamnett’s label Tuttabankem.

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