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Refna revival: Elizabeth Hamey’s adventures in art, design + fashion

Aug 9th, 2017

//Jean Shrimpton in Mr Freedom Minnie Mouse top, Hans Feurer, Fancy Dressing, Nova, December 1970, with the original design on tracing paper by Refna. No reproduction without permission//

Exciting news: Elizabeth Hamey, who signs her work ‘Refna’, has granted me access to her amazing archive of work at the cross-hatches of art, design and fashion in the 1960s and 70s.

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Inside the mind of a fashion pioneer: Freddie Hornik and his pop culture treasure trove scrapbook in new issue of GQ Style

Mar 24th, 2016
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//”Old clothes are a short cut to style”, Freddie Hornik quoted by Drusila Beyfus and photographed by John Patrick for Finding Your Style: Male, published in The Daily Telegraph Magazine, June 13, 1969//

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The new issue of British GQ Style features an essay by me about the late Freddie Hornik, the man responsible for exporting Britain’s dandy peacock look around the world in the 70s.

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Revised and updated with fresh links: My marathon trawl through the references in You’re Gonna Wake Up One Morning And Know What Side Of The Bed You’ve Been Lying On!

Dec 2nd, 2015

“It didn’t matter what side of the bed you were lying on, as long as you were lying on it. Everybody from (author/actress) Anne Lambton to (Sex Pistols guitarist) Kutie Jones to (socialite and writer) Anthony Haden-Guest – they were all flattered. Just goes to show how everyone loves to have their moment – good, bad or indifferent.”

Malcolm McLaren, The Look, 2006

It’s coming up to five years since I posted my marathon dissection – including extensively researched links to sources and references – of the divisive 1970s punk manifesto t-shirt design You’re Gonna Wake Up One Morning And Know What Side Of The Bed You’ve Been Lying On!

Here is a new version of that post, revised and updated with fresh links.

Enjoy!

Sixty years after Blast, the You’re Gonna Wake Up list t-shirt adopted a similarly truculent tone in an attempt to ring the alarms amid a culture rendered flaccid by the failure of the 60s dream.

You’re Gonna Wake Up – which went on sale in Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s boutique Sex at 430 King’s Road in the autumn of 1974 – was conceived by fellow traveller and soon-to-be manager of The Clash Bernie Rhodes and realised with contributions from McLaren and their friend Gerry Goldstein.

Of course, it is best known for carrying the band name McLaren had recently granted to a bunch of teenagers hanging around the shop: “Kutie Jones and his SEX PISTOLS”.

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Granny Takes A Trip + Mr Freedom boots: Were they originally owned by Elton?

Mar 12th, 2015

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//The four pairs of boots are classic examples of early 70s rock n roll style//

These rare and unusual boots are thought to have once belonged to Elton John; the current owner was told this when he acquired them.

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A pop culture treasure trove: Freddie Hornik’s Granny Takes A Trip scrapbook

Feb 17th, 2015
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//Hornik featured in the Telegraph magazine in 1969 and GTAT paperwork dating from 1972. The livery was taken from a design by Granny’s founder Nigel Waymouth//

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//Hornik maintained his scrapbook from the 60s to his death in 2009//

I have just filed a piece for GQ about Granny Takes A Trip and the branches of the King’s Road boutique which opened in the 70s in Manhattan and Hollywood under the stewardship of the late Freddie Hornik.

The feature also scrutinises the scrapbook Hornik maintained from the mid-60s, when he worked at the rival Dandie Fashions at 161 King’s Road, through his acquisition of Granny’s at 488 King’s Road in 1969 from founders Sheila Cohen, John Pearse and Nigel Waymouth.

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It charts in snapshots, magazine clippings, company paperwork and notes Hornik’s ambitious expansion plan which resulted in partners being brought on board at the Chelsea shop – in the form of co-owners Marty Breslau and Gene Krell – and for the launch of the New York outlet at 304 E.62nd Street, which was owned by John LiDonni and Richie Onigbene.

This strategy proved successful, and was capped by Hornik’s launch with Jenny Dugan-Chapman of an LA branch, first on Doheny in Beverly Hills and then on Sunset Strip.

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By this time the Granny’s international operation had hit the moment when rock turned to glam. Existing customers such as Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were joined by the new raft of dandy peacock performers making the moves in the early-to-mid 70s, including Marc Bolan, Alice Cooper, Bryan Ferry, Elton John, Lou Reed, Todd Rundgren, Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood.

Hornik’s scrapbook – which was updated for him for a time by LA store manager Roger Klein – makes for a pop culture treasure trove, one which offers rare insights into this exciting era of rock and roll fashion.

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Having returned to the UK to live a quiet life in the late 70s, it is poignant to note that Hornik, who died in 2009, kept an eagle eye out for any mention of his outlets and his associates, adding to the scrapbook as the revival of interest in the clothes and characters of the period really started to roll.

I’ll keep you informed as to when the piece is due to appear. Access to the scrapbook courtesy Alex Jarrett.

 

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“There’s so much pollution in the world you should use the gear you already have, not buy something because it’s fashionable” – Trevor Myles + Paradise Garage in Jackie magazine December 1971

Jul 3rd, 2014
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//Trevor Myles in front of his store at 430 King’s Road, autumn 1971. Photographer: Not credited//

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//pp6-7, Jackie, December 4, 1971//

Well done to vintage collector/dealer Sharon of Sweet Jane’s Pop Boutique blog for spotting this wowser on a Facebook group: a 1971 article in teen fashion and music magazine Jackie about the game-changing fashion outlet Paradise Garage run by Trevor Myles at 430 King’s Road.

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//Myles with Bradley Mendelson (in ‘Bradley’ studded top) outside Paradise Garage. Photographer uncredited//

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//Myles on his tiger-strip flocked 1966 Ford Mustang Pony car. Photographer uncredited/

Paradise Garage is important because it was the first shop in Britain to import and sell used denim in a meaningful way. Using the astounding environment created by Electric Colour Company, faded and worn denim, sometimes appliqued or patched, was stocked alongside an acutely compiled selection of soon-to-be-familiar dead-stock: Hawaiian shirts, baseball and souvenir jackets, Osh Kosh B’Gosh dungarees, bumper boots, cheongsams and so on.

Myles opened Paradise Garage in May 1971 as a reaction to the Pop Art flash he had engineered at Mr Freedom with his ex-partner Tommy Roberts. In the Jackie article he makes a point about fashion and environmental sustainability of pertinence today:

“There’s so much pollution in the world that we thought you should use the gear you already have – not buy something just because it’s fashionable. By throwing the old lot away you only add to the pollution problem. So that’s why we’re using it all up.”

Also interviewed and photographed is shop manager Bradley Mendelson, the New Yorker whose November 1971 encounter with Malcolm McLaren while Myles was absent overseas resulted in the establishment of Let It Rock at the same address.

The publication date of the issue of Jackie – December 4, 1971 – is poignant; by the time the feature appeared Paradise Garage was gone and McLaren and others, including his art-school student friend Patrick Casey and Vivienne Westwood, had taken over the outlet and were refurbishing it to match Mclaren’s radical British take on 50s retromania.

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//Mr Freedom designs produced under Myles’ former partner Tommy Roberts appeared elsewhere in the same issue. Here customer Elton John sports an appliqued top//

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//The female cover model wore a pair of green and white winged boots from Mr Freedom (detail cropped out)//

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Read the Sweet Jane’s Pop Boutique blog here.

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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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Photography: Kate Simon

Feb 18th, 2011

This portrait of David Bowie was taken by Kate Simon at Olympic recording studios in Barnes, west London, on January 14, 1974.

Simon’s photograph captures a man on the cusp; furiously occupied in the studio, Bowie was tying up loose ends ahead of his departure for America 10 weeks later. He hasn’t lived in Britain since.

Three days before this was taken, Bowie’s production job on Lulu’s version of The Man Who Sold The World was released as a single. Applying himself to finishing Diamond Dogs, Bowie also recorded such eventually unreleased tracks as Take It Right (to become Right, a “plastic soul”  anthem on Young Americans) and a try-out of Bruce Springsteen’s Growin’ Up.

Sessions with vocal trio The Astronettes – including paramour Ava Cherry – had proved inconclusive, though an olive branch recently extended to erstwhile producer Tony Visconti soon bore fruit in the form of renewed collaboration.

A month after the shot was taken, Rebel Rebel was released ahead of the marathon US touring schedule over 1974/5 which marked the severing of business relations with Tony Defries and the faltering of his marriage to Angie.

I wanted to talk to Simon about the stories behind this image and others which deliver an emotional charge yet retain the reportage stance of the cool documentarist.

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Blessed & Blasted: You’re Gonna Wake Up One Morning And Know What Side Of The Bed You’ve Been Lying On! 10.1974

Feb 3rd, 2011

Sixty years after Blast, the You’re Gonna Wake Up t-shirt adopted the same truculent tone and diffuse dialectic to ring the alarms amid a culture rendered flaccid by the failure of the 60s dream.

You’re Gonna Wake Up – which went on sale in SEX in the late autumn of 1974 – was conceived by Bernie Rhodes and realised with contributions from friends Malcolm McLaren (who wrote the slogan) and Gerry Goldstein.

Of course, it is best known for carrying the following band name: “Kutie Jones and his SEX PISTOLS”.

I investigated its history in THE LOOK and also here. By publishing the list with links today I aim to dive deeper to demonstrate the tract’s range beyond popular culture.

Hence the references to artists David Holmes, Mel Ramos and Patrick Heron (and his campaign against The Tate), the literature of Alfred Bester, David Cooper, George Dangerfield, Konstantin Paustovsky and Bernard Wolfe, the work of  radical journalists Alexander Cockburn and Mervin Jones and the campaigning of political activists Pat Arrowsmith and Marian and Doloures Price.

Such content dates the compilation to October 1974: The Guardian published Heron’s 14,000-word Tate critique over consecutive days between the 12th and 14th of that month; the shirt itself mentions a piece by Jones in the New Statesman on October 4 and also an Elton John interview in the NME on September 25 (in fact the issue was dated September 28).

Alongside the call-girl phone number taken from local newsagents there are such quizzical references as that for former Playboy Club UK head Victor Lownes: “To be avoided first thing in the morning”.

Is this because one of the contributors had encountered him leaving his club Stocks, just a few hundred yards from SEX along the King’s Road?

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