Paul Gorman is…

Fabulousness: Rarely-seen footage of Kansai Yamamoto’s game-changing 1971 King’s Road catwalk show

Mar 19th, 2016


“It was a spectacular coup de théâtre – Kansai’s models came on moving. They leapt, ran, whirled like dervishes, danced, flung out their arms so that the brilliant colours meshed and merged into a kaleidoscopic cartoon of colour. Kansai himself, black-clothed and masked, moved across the stage like a Samurai warrior, tearing off layers and layers of clothes, stripping down the beautiful, pyramidal outer garments, right down to the vests and body paint. Kansai’s clothes épatent les couturiers.”

Harpers & Queen, July 1971

As fuzzy as they are, the two precious video clips at the end of this post convey the game-changing nature of  Kansai Yamamoto’s theatrical introduction of avant-garde Japanese fashion design to these shores at the dawn of the 70s.

They also reveal the extent to which the late David Bowie subsequently drew on Yamamoto’s flamboyance and daring when presenting Ziggy Stardust on stage.

Several of the designs were worn by Bowie in performance during live promotion, in particular of the Aladdin Sane album, and he also adopted the sleight-of-hand layered costume reveals, the emphatic postures of the models and even the flame-red hair colouring as seen on the huge wig worn in the first excerpt below.

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The mystery of Pierre Laroche’s Breakfast, The Who at Charlton + the tragic demise of Alkasura’s John Lloyd

Mar 22nd, 2012

Pierre's Breakfast, 1974, by Willie Christie.

I am beguiled by this photograph, which is entitled Pierre’s Breakfast and was taken by Willie Christie at David Hockney’s house in Notting Hill on May 18, 1974.

The identities of the two individuals on the left are a mystery*; with Clark (in the white jumpsuit) are make-up artist Pierre Laroche, Marianne Faithfull and Michael Roberts (then writer/photographer at The Sunday Times, now Vanity Fair’s fashion/style director). Behind the group are a selection of artist Mo McDermott’s signature painted wooden tree sculptures.

Laroche, who had worked at Elizabeth Arden for five years before taking up with rock & roll when he was recruited by Brian Duffy for the cover of David Bowie’s 1973 album Aladdin Sane, engaged Willie Christie for the May 74 session for a potential magazine feature.

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