//Tommy Roberts, 1987. Photo: Christopher Clunn//
Sad to note the anniversary today of the death of Tommy Roberts, flamboyant design entrepreneur and subject of my book Mr Freedom.
//Dedication (right) with (left on cover-flap) list of abiding interests (courtesy Eve Ferret + Mark Summerfield) and Brian Aris portrait//
//Roberts opened Kleptomania with Charlie Simpson in Kingly Street, central London, in 1966//
//Neon arch sales counter display designed by Jeffrey Pine for Mr Freedom, opened with partner Trevor Myles at 430 King’s Road in September 1969//
Here – with a selection of images from Mr Freedom – is an extract from an essay I have written about Roberts’ role in the development of design in Britain for Chris Breward and Ghislaine Wood’s book British Design: Tradition & Modernity, which will be published by Bloomsbury next year.
It is arguable that wider recognition for Tommy Roberts’ audacious innovations in the promotion of street style, furniture, gastronomy, home-wares, interiors and collectables was undercut by his refusal to observe the sensitivities of England’s post-war design world.
Roberts adopted an ebullient public persona to match his stout physique and broad Cockney accent. “I’m the most vulgar man in fashion, darlin’!” Roberts proclaimed to the no-less outrageous Sunday Times fashion editor Molly Parkin in the heyday of his Pop Art fashion and objects emporium Mr Freedom.
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