Paul Gorman is…

Rarely spotted Mr Freedom designs emerge from Audrey’s wardrobe after 45 years

May 31st, 2016
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//Audrey Watson’s great grand-neice Carlie models the spot-print two-piece bought in 1971 from Mr Freedom’s branch at 20 Kensington Church Street in west London. All photos: Helen Smith//

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//Sooty & Sweep print Mr Freedom shirt also acquired by Watson on one of her shopping trips to London in the early 70s//

The emergence of good condition Mr Freedom designs with strong provenance is rare these days, so I’m delighted to showcase these unusual and original garments from the seminal early 70s London boutique operated by Trevor Myles, John Paul and Tommy Roberts.

They were acquired in the early 70s from the second Mr Freedom outlet in Kensington by the ultra-stylish British collector Audrey Watson, now 87 and a lifelong devotee of quirky and interesting clothing who has reluctantly begun the process of divesting herself of her fashion archive.

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

Mar 19th, 2016

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“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 Third Earl Of Harrow: Screaming Lord Sutch at Let It Rock

Dec 10th, 2015

Promo curio: Diana Crawshaw and the Granny Takes A Trip Dodge in Tim Rose clip

Aug 19th, 2014
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//Still from Long Haired Boy: Diana Crawshaw outside 488 King’s Road, 1969//

Diana Crawshaw – who designed for such boutiques as Mr Freedom and Paradise Garage – has contacted me about an appearance she made in an early pop promo clip: Piers Bedford’s short for the 1968 single Long Haired Boy by American singer-songwriter Tim Rose.

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Mr Freedom designs at the V&A: ‘When what has been considered bad taste is suddenly found to be invigorating’

Dec 20th, 2013

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“There is a moment when ‘good taste’ becomes dead; what has been considered ‘bad’ is suddenly found to be invigorating. Fashion today has little to do with la mode and the tacky is often accepted as an essential part of the necessary ‘total’ look. It can be fun.”

Cecil Beaton, introduction to the catalogue for the 1971 V&A exhibition Fashion: An Anthology

Recent visits to the V&A’s Archive of Art & Design have proved fruitful, particularly a viewing earlier this week of the collection of  Pop Art clothing sold through London boutique Mr Freedom in the late 60s and early 70s.

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//Design: Diana Crawshaw, 1971//

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//Kiss Off t-shirt, Jim O’Connor, 1971//

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//Design Christopher Snow/Trevor Myles, body design: Diana Crawshaw, 1971//

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//Design: Pamla Motown, 1971//

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“I’m very earthy”: Trevor Myles and his Paradise Garage in Harpers & Queen 1971

Oct 28th, 2012

//Outside 430 King's Road (from left) summer 1971: Unknown, assistant Lisa Petersen, manager Roly Poltock, designer Diana Crawshaw and founder Trevor Myles. Photograph: Julian Allason.//

Harpers & Queen ran this photograph of the short-lived but significant World’s End boutique Paradise Garage in the Shopping Bazaar section of the September 1971 issue.

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Mr Freedom + Kleptomania in Vogue and on the BBC as Tommy Roberts takes to the airwaves

Jun 19th, 2012
Mr Freedom loveheart knickerbocker pinafore in sporting archive shots, Vogue June 2012

//Mr Freedom 1971 design in archive selection, Vogue UK, June 2012.//

Ahead of Tommy Roberts’ appearance on BBC Radio 4’s Midweek and London Live 94.9’s Robert Elms Show tomorrow, there has been a flurry of media mentions of the mould-breaking boutiques with which he was involved.

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Memories of Dandie Fashions + Paradise Garage + a return to Granny’s

May 18th, 2012
Frederique Cifuentes takes photographs of Diana Crawshaw outside 430 King's Road. Diana Crawshaw was one of the team behind the shop's incarnation as Paradise Garage in 1971.

//Frederiques Cifuentes photographs Diana Crawshaw outside 430 King's Road.//

Filming continued yesterday for this summer’s King’s Road Fashion & Music Trail, which is is being launched to visitors to west London’s historic thoroughfare as part of Kensington & Chelsea’s InTransit festival in July.

We will be covering all the boutique manifestations at 430 King’s Road; for a start I plumped for its incarnation as Paradise Garage in 1971, operated by Trevor Myles with Chris Snow and Diana Crawshaw.

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Dennis Hopper: A memory from the Royal College Of Art summer ball 1965

Apr 12th, 2011

//Dennis Hopper in front of a Dr Pepper sign, 1965. Robert Walker Jr.//

A recent post triggered this memory from designer Diana Crawshaw of an encounter with Dennis Hopper. It occured at the Royal College Of Art summer ball in 1965, “when he was very young and so was I”:

At the ball everyone was wearing white or silver (it was that summer when The Knack came out).

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