These photographs from the archive of artist/set designer Simon Haynes convey the scope and ambition of the great 80s British independent retail outlet Practical Styling, operated by Paul Jones and Tommy Roberts on the ground floor and basement of London’s brutalist CentrePoint building.
I’m making a presentation on Bowie’s visual style and in particular his relationship with clothing designers as part of the V&A’s Sound & Vision event today.
Among those I’m referencing will be the theatrical costume designer Peter J. Hall, who was commissioned to create the stagewear for the 1983 Serious Moonlight tour. I wrote about their fruitful working relationship here.
Incredible to contemplate that today would have been my Dad’s 110th birthday.
As an addendum to my recent post about the staging of the very special late night London concert given by Ian Dury’s art-rock ensemble Kilburn & The High Roads in 1974, here’s the badge commissioned by manager the late Tommy Roberts to flag up the concurrent release of the group’s single Rough Kids.
Then a neglected pop promotional medium – badges were considered kids’ stuff; the sole prominent champion was Barney Bubbles, who produced a range to go with his branding of space rockers Hawkwind and pub-rock outfit Chilli Willi And The Red Hot Peppers – the pre-punk barbed wire logo button was conceived and executed by Simon Haynes, designer of the ambitious stage set for the Kilburns’ gig at the King’s Road Theatre.
Ten Sitting Rooms at the ICA, November 1-8 1970: Vaughan Grylls, Elizabeth Harrison, Simon Haynes, Patrick Hughes, Carol Joseph, Bruce Lacey, Diane Livey, Andrew Logan, Marlene Raybould + Gerard Wilson
“It isn’t so much what’s on the table that matters, as what’s on the chairs”
Jonathan Swift from letter to Stella 1711
Ten Sitting Rooms was the title of a group exhibition curated by Jasia Reichardt at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts in 1970. She organised a budget of £100 for each artist and gave them the brief of making a sitting room in spaces of either 15 x 18 feet or 12 x 24 feet.
I was alerted to the show’s existence by participant Simon Haynes, whose work I have been featuring here. Haynes’ Pop environment, which was produced in collaboration with his wife Sue, developed the themes and materials they used in the boardroom interior and furniture created earlier that year for Trevor Myles’ and Tommy Roberts’ boutique Mr Freedom at 430 King’s Road.
Fashion shoots were little known aspect of the practice of design studio Hipgnosis, whose co-founder Storm Thorgerson died on Thursday.
In line with the approach Thorgerson and his partner Aubrey Powell took with their raft of album sleeve commissions, the series of fashion spreads Hipgnosis produced for Club International in the early 70s were visually arresting and often high concept.
Read the story behind this obscure record sleeve design – for a single which failed to dent the Top 75 on release 30 years ago – over on the Barney Bubbles Blog.
When Kilburn + The High Roads played the King’s Road Theatre 1974: Ian Dury in Let It Rock ‘Alan Ladd’ suit + feather tie and Sue and Simon Haynes’ extraordinary Tower Bridge stage set
As these rarely seen photographs show, when the subject of my last book the late Tommy Roberts took over management of Kilburn & The High Roads he sought to elevate them from the pub-rock scene by upping the visual ante on every front.
Tonight I am hosting an event at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum: an ‘in conversation’ with Boy George about the importance and influence of popular culture’s greatest manipulator of visual identity, David Bowie.