To celebrate the opening next week of a new exhibition of work by photographer Sheila Rock, here is a selection of her early fashion styling.
Unbelievable rarity: Undocumented Let It Rock clothing featured on 1972 budget LP + previously unpublished views of stock inside 430 King’s Road
It is relatively common knowledge among those interested in the careers of Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood and their series of extraordinary shops that they supplied clothes to the 1973 album Golden Hour Of Rock & Roll; Let It Rock at 430 King’s Road was clearly credited on the back of the record sleeve.
But I have fresh information which helps towards a greater understanding of McLaren’s project to investigate the detritus of popular culture’s recent past. During a bout of research recently I came across this earlier and hitherto undocumented use of Let It Rock clothing in a music context: the front cover of Rock Archive, a budget LP compilation released by the specialist British independent label Windmill in 1972.
And I am detailing the clothes on the cover with images taken inside Let It Rock which have never been previously published.
Each garment worn by the model – whose attempts at rocking out resulted in his giving every appearance of suffering considerable pain – comes from the deadstock of British brands assiduously assembled by Malcolm McLaren and his art-school friend Patrick Casey for the opening of the world’s first avowedly post-modern retail outlet in November 1971.
From the ground up, the Rock Archive cover star wore black suede Denson’s Fine Poynts, ice-blue Lybro jeans with 5in cuffs, a Frederick Starke flyaway collar shirt and a studded and decorated Lewis Leathers early 60s Lightning jacket (which featured a highly collectable 6-5 Special patch).
//Hipgnosis fashion shoot for Club International, 1972//
An antiques restorer friend has pointed out that the early 70s fashion shoot by design studio Hipgnosis I recently featured here calls to mind the preoccupations with the female form of the late German artist Paul Wunderlich.
My friend – who wishes to remain anonymous – has offered as evidence a print of Wunderlich’s work Vor dem Vorhang (“Before the curtain”). The story of how he came by the artwork one squally day in central London seven years ago is remarkable:
Following his appearance on BBC Radio 4’s Midweek this morning, I will be in conversation with Derek Boshier tomorrow evening at Pallant House Gallery, home to the excellent exhibition of examples of the artist’s engagement with music (and in particular his collaborations with David Bowie and The Clash).
If you’re in Austin TX – and there’s a chance you might be since hundreds of thousands of people have descended on the city for the annual SXSW film/music/interactive conflab taking place there this week – try and nip along to the Ray Ban Legendary Visions house at 78 Rainey Street on the eastside for a gander at the room collages/installations I have engineered to reflect my take on the look of music.