Here are just a few examples of the riches presented by photojournalist/filmmaker Paul Yule’s highly recommended Instagram feed @paul_yule.
// 5 x Barney Bubbles designs, 1981/2. Photo above: Nina Sologubenko//
Last week I had an exciting encounter with the rare and adventurous furniture designs produced by the late graphics master Barney Bubbles in the early 80s.
When I first saw it I was questioning a lot of things, not least my adequacy. Things like inspiration, influences, references . . . where do things come from? Copying things—not as “homage'”or “pastiche”, but dying to get inside a thing. Inhabit it. Nostalgia too. Using machines. Colour. Systems. Perpetual motion. Automatism. Copying things. Graham Wood on Existence Is Unhappiness.
This week sees the London opening of Magick Is Freedom! (After Barney Bubbles), an exhibition of the series of prints made by designer Graham Wood in response to Existence Is Unhappiness, the fold-out poster for the 12th issue of underground magazine Oz published in May 1968 and designed by Barney Bubbles with Sid Squeak and others.
From time to time I’m going to be turning over information and images here as I go through the process of writing my book Legacy: The story of The Face.
Today I spent an enjoyable and enlightening few hours interviewing former editor Richard Benson; during our conversation it became clear that one of the turning points in the history of this significant magazine occurred with the spring 1992 publication of the issue headed Love Sees No Colour.
This coincided with the High Court judgment against the magazine in the unfortunate libel case brought by actor/singer Jason Donovan on the grounds that he had been branded a liar and a hypocrite as a result of the inference that he was gay.
The theme of tolerance had been hatched by Benson’s predecessor Sheryl Garratt long before the dispute reached, in publisher Nick Logan’s words, “its unhappy conclusion”.
In terms of the magazine’s narrative, the issue affirmed The Face’s position as the lightning rod of the progress of popular culture in the inclusive 90s.
Designed by Boris Bencic and Lee Swillingham, the issue tipped the hat to those figures who had played a part in the 80s story – Boy George, Paul Smith, Leigh Bowery – and also hit the mark with the generation setting the pace for the new decade, whether it be Joe Bloggs, Kate Moss or Martin Margiela.
Produced in an all-hands-to-the-pump atmosphere, with Logan and Garratt in daily court attendance and the all-too-real prospect of forced closure as a result of the huge legal bills resulting from the Donovan case, The Face May 1992 is a cracking issue, one which stands up as a consummate example of journalistic excellence achieved under duress.
Legacy: The story of The Face is published by Thames & Hudson in autumn 2017.
Tomorrow (October 11) is the publication date of The Look Of London, my map collaboration with the pre-eminent modern guide-makers Herb Lester Associates.
“This map is a reminder that London, with all its individuality and character, is still very exciting,” writes Paul Smith in the foreword; he opened at 44 Floral Street WC2 in 1979.
Time to put away the books, mags, newspapers, pamphlets, catalogues and other materials used as reference for the map The Look Of London, which is published later this week by Herb Lester Associates.
My new book MR FREEDOM – Tommy Roberts: British Design Genius is featured in the new editions of US fashion monthly W magazine and European quarterly Husk.
With a foreword by Paul Smith and contributions from the designers who created the work sold in Roberts’ shops as well as friends, family and design authorities, MR FREEDOM is published in June by Adelita and distributed in the US by DAP.
Monster V&A design book: Bubbles, Hirst, The Queen + Bowie get special treatment…but where’s Malcolm?
British Design From 1948: Innovation In The Modern Age – the new book accompanying the forthcoming show at the V+A – is a bumper edition: 400 pages weighing in at 5lbs.
It’s cheering to see Barney Bubbles’ design Ian Dury With Love granted upfront prominence; the poster is in select company given special treatment by the book’s designer, Barnbrook’s Daniel Streat. The others are: Cecil Beaton’s 1953 coronation portrait of The Queen, a shot of Damien Hirst’s Notting Hill restaurant Pharmacy and Brian Duffy’s Aladdin Sane portrait of David Bowie.
Thanks to Julian Morey for alerting me to these splendid photographs of Paul Smith designer Derek Morton in clothes from the company’s autumn/winter 2011 collection.
Morton has worked with Smith since the mid-70s and is currently head of the label’s menswear division for Japan.
A thoroughly nice chap, Morton is also self-deprecating and reserved, as I discovered when I interviewed him recently for the Tommy Roberts book (he designed menswear for Roberts’ extraordinary Covent Garden outlet City Lights Studio).