Paul Gorman is…

Exhibition: The Story Of The Face x London at Sonos Seven Dials until April

Jan 27th, 2018

//The cover of the February 1982 issue of The Face featuring Sheila Rock’s striking image of Siouxsie Sioux at the Sonos store in Earlham Street. Photo: Lawrence Ajayi//

//Photo: Lawrence Ajayi//

//Photo: Lawrence Ajayi//

The Face magazine was firmly rooted in central London and like its host city it was inclusive, outward-looking, multi-cultural and diverse. While it expressed all the best aspects of creative London it was never parochial but simultaneously intent on making the connections to cities and sub cultures around the country and around the world.

Based throughout the 1980s and 90s in the enclaves around Carnaby Street, Mortimer Street, Marylebone and Clerkenwell, the magazine and its writers, designers, photographers and stylists became fundamental to the scenes they documented.

From Soho’s “The Cult With No Name” through rare groove, rave and British soul to Britpop, Brit Art and beyond, The Face was at the epicentre of the capital’s youth, music, fashion, art, design and club cultures.

At a time when the area’s venues and nightlife are being challenged by regulation, regeneration and urban development, this exhibition and companion events aim not only to shine a light on central London’s cultural significance but also highlight a time when a magazine could change the world.

Perhaps the greatest exemplars of The Face’s disruptive London attitude were cover stars such as John Lydon, Malcolm McLaren, George Michael and Suede as well as Kate from Croydon and Naomi from Streatham, who toppled the glamazons ruling fashion and endure as emblems of London street style and suss.

The Face: It was a London thing.

My exhibition about The Face magazine’s roots in, and relationship to, London is currently being staged at home leisure specialist Sonos’ newest store, in Earlham Street, Seven Dials.

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Maximum cool: Paul Yule’s photojournalism casts creative figures in a new light

Apr 27th, 2016
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//Fashion designer Vivienne Westwood at Paul Yule’s studio in Berwick Street, Soho, central London, 1980//

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//Filmmaker Alex Cox directing an Oxford University Dramatic Society production of Bertholt Brecht’s The Resistable Rise Of Arturo Ui, 1975//

Here are just a few examples of the riches presented by photojournalist/filmmaker Paul Yule’s highly recommended Instagram feed @paul_yule.

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//Bow Wow Wow singer Anabella L’win and manager Malcolm McLaren at L’Escargot restaurant in Greek Street, Soho, immediately prior to the group signing with RCA Records, 1981//

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Homage to Ben Kelly’s Seditionaries facade in Vuitton’s High Tech A/W 15 show

Jan 22nd, 2015
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//The simulation of the Seditionaries facade in industrial materials provided the entry and exit point for models on the runway today//

Seditionaries - Vuitton Kim Jones 2015

//With rings representing the positions where designer Ben Kelly exposed air conditioning vents to view, Kim Jones replaced the diagonal bar which occupied the central square over the door with the trademark Vuitton ‘V’//

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//Ben Kelly’s portfolio shot of the facade he designed and installed at 430 King’s Road in December 1976//

Amid the references to the late Christopher Nemeth in today’s Paris show of the Louis Vuitton A/W 15 menswear collection (see my last post), artistic director Kim Jones used the staging to pay subtle homage to the two great maverick figures of London street culture – namely Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood and specifically their 70s punk store Seditionaries.

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The Photo Kid: Ben Kelly at the Royal College Of Art, 1974

Jun 13th, 2013

This is designer Ben Kelly at his 1974 degree show at London’s Royal College Of Art.

Kelly adopted the alter-ego The Photo Kid, who is portrayed in the work by which he is standing. The Photo Kid wore clothes – in particular brothel creepers – from Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s shop Let It Rock, as did Kelly; the shoes, pink socks and belt in this photograph all came from there, while the Hopalong Cassiday & Topper top (see Ian Harris’s comment below) was picked up at a Paris flea market.

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Graphics: Simon Haynes’ designs for City Lights Studio 1972

Mar 11th, 2013

//Swingtag, printed card, 4" x 2", 1972//

Artist/designer Simon Haynes has allowed me access to some of the treasures in his archive. Over the next few weeks I’ll be dipping into it and presenting a selection of artworks, display items, stage sets and graphics he has created over the years.

//Design on silk swatch for fabric for shop interior fittings, 1972//

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The Face 1983: Geoff Deane applies the Practical Styling principle to pop

Sep 26th, 2012

Such was the shadow Tommy Roberts cast over popular music that even Practical Styling, the 80s central London furniture, office and homewares outlet he ran with partner Paul Jones, was cited as an influence by performer Geoff Deane.

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Bowie Boys by Tommy Roberts

Apr 4th, 2011

I am currently working with Tommy Roberts on a book about his life and career in fashion. Tommy has been assembling a selection of anecdotes and stories which will feature as occasional tasters here over the coming months.

This reminiscence stems from the period in the early 70s when Tommy operated City Lights Studio. Situated at 54 Shorts Gardens WC2 with a darkly glamorous interior design realised by Electric Colour Company’s Andrew Greaves + Jeffrey Pine, City Lights was the first fashion store in London’s Covent Garden, the neighbourhood then dominated by the capital’s fruit and veg market.

City Lights Studio, which came into being at the end of 1972, was a fashion emporium I created in tandem with Willy Daly, a colleague and friend since we had worked together at Mr Freedom.

City Lights was situated in an imposing high-ceilinged loft atop a building in Covent Garden. Our studio designed, wholesaled and retailed an extremely stylish and tasty array of men’s and women’s wear, shoes, hats, jewellery and other fashion accessories.

For this story I’m concentrating on the menswear.

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