Paul Gorman is…

Of ties and men: The neckwear connection between Bryan Ferry, Malcolm McLaren and David Parkinson

Jan 17th, 2015

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//Malcolm McLaren, 1973. Photo: David Parkinson. Bryan Ferry, 1976. Photo Richard Wallis//

A couple of years back I showed examples of photography by the late David Parkinson to car-nut graphic design maestro Jules Balme; I knew he would be interested in the incorporation of a 1959 Cadillac Eldorado in a 1973 Let It Rock fashion shoot.

What drew Balmes’ eagle eye was not the car fin detail, but the fact that Malcolm McLaren in the shot below sported a tie of the same distinctive Atomic-style 50s pattern as worn by Bryan Ferry in the video clip for his 1976 solo hit Let’s Stick Together (and subsequently on the sleeve of the compilation of the same name rushed out to capitalise on the single’s success that year).

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//McLaren and models in Let It Rock attire – right are examples of the so-called “Alan Ladd” and “Jazz” suits – photographed in Acre Lane, Brixton for Club International by David Parkinson, summer 1973//

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RIP Billy Murphy: ‘There were many kings of the King’s Road but only one Emperor’

Dec 20th, 2014
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//Billy Murphy by Sean Moorman//

“There were many kings of the King’s Road at different periods of time but there was only one Emperor”

Lloyd Johnson

Very sad to note the passing of Billy Murphy, a thoroughly lovely bloke whose contribution to street fashion – particularly in Britain and specifically in and around the King’s Road – is sorely underrated.

I knew all about Billy’s significance in his field decades before I met him; as I wrote here, his shop The Emperor Of Wyoming was “an extremely important staging post not just in the story of British rock and roll fashion but also the development of the vintage scene in this country”.

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//Stetson, embroidered shirt and hand-tooled leather belt from The Emperor Of Wyoming. Photo: David Parkinson for Club International, February 1974//

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David Parkinson: Fashion photography’s forgotten figure to be a GQ Icon

Apr 4th, 2014
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//Front cover, Club International, 1974. Paul Raymond Publications. Photo: David Parkinson//

Ahead of the publication of my piece about the late photographer David Parkinson in GQ UK in a few weeks, here are a couple of masterful images which demonstrate his stylised,  simultaneously gritty and glamorous approach.

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//Front cover, Man Only, 1974//

Both stem from issues of men’s magazine Club International; the 1974 cover shot model is wearing Parkinson’s decorated Lewis Leathers jacket which he used to dress other fashion photo-sessions. The image was also used on the cover of Italian soft-porn title Man Only.

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//Acme Attractions photoshoot for Club International 1975 including (left) Martin Brading and Don Letts and far right Steph Raynor. Photo: David Parkinson//

The spread above focused on the suits and menswear available at Acme Attractions, the Kings Road vintage/retro outlet co-owned by Parkinson’s Lesicester friend Steph Raynor, who appears in the photograph with Acme’s manager, filmmaker/DJ/BAD member Don Letts, and Parkinson’s assistant, photographer Martin Brading.

Raynor is among those who contributed to my feature on Parkinson, who is granted the accolade of ‘GQ Icon’ in the June issue (available at the beginning of May).

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Photography: David Parkinson shoots Acme Attractions

Jan 16th, 2014
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//Original print of photo for Club International, 1975. Models include, from far right, Stephan Raynor, Don Letts and Martin Brading. Photo: David Parkinson//

I’ve been enjoying researching materials relating to the late photographer David Parkinson for a feature for GQ magazine, so thought I’d share some of the images I dug out of the Parkinson archive concerning the 70s King’s Road retro clothing store Acme Attractions.

Parkinson’s position as fashion editor of Paul Raymond’s sophisticated soft-porn magazine Club International enabled him to style and present Acme clothing for a wide readership, on occasion using the shop team as models.

Acme was opened by Parkinson’s friend Stephan Raynor (they’d known each other since they were part of a gang of style-obsessed teenagers in Leicester in the early 60s) with John Krivine, previously a Brixton-based jukebox dealer, in 1974.

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//As the Parkinson photograph appeared in the magazine, flipped and tinted. Note ref to “Acme Tailors”//

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//Parkinson used ties from his collection – including some sourced from Acme – for this March 1975 Club International feature//

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Glam! The Performance Of Style at Lentos Kunstmuseum, Linz

Oct 4th, 2013

//Front cover of booklet for the Linz show features this 1973 Karl Stoecker portrait of Brian Eno in Roxy Music stage costume designed by Carol McNicholl//

Glam! The Performance Of Style – the exhibition which locates early 70s glam rock in the context of fine art and the interplay between “high” and mass culture – is opening at the Lentos Kunstmuseum in Linz, Austria later this month.

I was a consultant to Glam!’s curator Darren Pih of Tate Liverpool, where the show opened at the beginning of this year before moving on to Frankfurt’s Schirn Kunsthalle for the summer.

//The Let It Rock guitar mirror as exhibited at Glam! in Frankfurt. Photo: Andrei Luca//

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Memories of Mick Farren: An entertaining afternoon in West Hollywood and a champagne-drenched night in Islington

Jul 31st, 2013

//'Mick Passes Shirley, 1955' Illustration for a feature about growing up in the 50s by Mick Farren, Club International 1975 by Hollyhead/NTA from an idea of George Hardie's//

Growing up in London in the 60s and 70s with an interest in the counterculture, music and street politics meant that the shaggy-headed figure of Mick Farren loomed large on the landscape.
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Hipgnosis in fashion with Daisy Roots

Apr 21st, 2013

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.

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Glam comes into focus: Karl Stoecker’s fashion shoot for Club International October 1972

Jul 25th, 2012


Tucked away at the back of an issue of British soft-porn magazine Club International was a fashion shoot featuring clothing elements which denoted the crystallisation of the new art-directed glam aesthetic inaugurated by the release of Roxy Music’s first album a couple of months previously.

The photographer was Karl Stoecker, the New Yorker who had been resident in the UK since the mid-60s and was coming into his own with important contributions to Roxy’s visual identity across that LP and its successors For Your Pleasure and Stranded.

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The Emperor Of Wyoming, 404 King’s Road

Apr 20th, 2012

//Stetson, embroidered shirt and hand-tooled leather belt from The Emperor Of Wyoming. Photo: David Parkinson for Club International, February 1974.//

Billy Murphy’s boutique The Emperor Of Wyoming was an extremely important staging post not just in the story of British rock and roll fashion but also the development of the vintage scene in this country.

Opened by Murphy at 404 King’s Road in 1972, TEOW specialised in selected items of Westernwear and American clothing at a time when the pickings were slim for such garments in London.

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