Paul Gorman is…

Eddie, Elvis + Gene: Let It Rock’s glitter-printed tailored and customised t-shirts based on James Dean’s in Rebel Without A Cause

Sep 18th, 2015

//Model wears studded and accessorised Let It Rock ‘Gene’ glitter print shirt, Musik Express, November 1972. Photo: Unknown//

Thanks to Mr Mondo for turning me onto Glam Idols, a goldmine of early 70s music and fashion images.

Lovingly presented and well credited, many of the photographs on the feed derive from continental European publications, like the 1972 shot above of a German model in a glitter t-shirt from Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s 50s outlet Let It Rock at 430 King’s Road.

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Funky but chic: Roxy in Kensington Church Street + the Ken Todd connection

Feb 19th, 2015
Roxy - exterior

//Roxy, 25 Kensington Church Street, 1972. Photo: Masayoshi Sukita//

Roxy - Shelley Martin

//Inside Roxy, 1972: Shelley Martin in a flamenco dress designed by Dinah Adams. Photo: Masayoshi Sukita//


//Some of the Roxy crowd photographed around the corner from the shop (from left): The late Granny’s co-owner Marty Breslau, whose ensemble includes a Wonder Workshop top; unknown; Shelley Martin; John Knight. Photo: Masayoshi Sukita//

I’ve been aware of the existence of the Kensington boutique Roxy for some time, particularly since the store name was used as the title of the feature on London street fashion in a 1972 edition of Japanese magazine An An.

But my curiosity was pricked recently while browsing that same issue of An An which appears in Freddie Hornik’s scrapbook (see last post).

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RIP Billy Murphy: ‘There were many kings of the King’s Road but only one Emperor’

Dec 20th, 2014

//Billy Murphy by Sean Moorman//

“There were many kings of the King’s Road at different periods of time but there was only one Emperor”

Lloyd Johnson

Very sad to note the passing of Billy Murphy, a thoroughly lovely bloke whose contribution to street fashion – particularly in Britain and specifically in and around the King’s Road – is sorely underrated.

I knew all about Billy’s significance in his field decades before I met him; as I wrote here, his shop The Emperor Of Wyoming was “an extremely important staging post not just in the story of British rock and roll fashion but also the development of the vintage scene in this country”.


//Stetson, embroidered shirt and hand-tooled leather belt from The Emperor Of Wyoming. Photo: David Parkinson for Club International, February 1974//

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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

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


//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.



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


//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.


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


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


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


“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.


//Design: Diana Crawshaw, 1971//


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


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


//Design: Pamla Motown, 1971//


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Glam! The Performance Of Style at Lentos Kunstmuseum, Linz

Oct 4th, 2013

//Front cover of booklet for the Linz show features this 1973 Karl Stoecker portrait of Brian Eno in Roxy Music stage costume designed by Carol McNicholl//

Glam! The Performance Of Style – the exhibition which locates early 70s glam rock in the context of fine art and the interplay between “high” and mass culture – is opening at the Lentos Kunstmuseum in Linz, Austria later this month.

I was a consultant to Glam!’s curator Darren Pih of Tate Liverpool, where the show opened at the beginning of this year before moving on to Frankfurt’s Schirn Kunsthalle for the summer.

//The Let It Rock guitar mirror as exhibited at Glam! in Frankfurt. Photo: Andrei Luca//

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Flocked + tiger-striped: The Paradise Garage Ford Mustang

Jul 6th, 2013

//Trevor Myles, Mustang and 430 King's Road, late summer 1971. Photo: Michael Roberts//

//From Michael Roberts' article Men & Their Machines, Club, October 1971//

Trevor Myles’ decision to incorporate a flocked and tiger-striped 1966 Ford Mustang as part of his retail space Paradise Garage naturally attracted a lot of attention during the brief existence of this unusual fashion outlet at 430 King’s Road in Chelsea’s World’s End in 1971.

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Ten Sitting Rooms at the ICA, November 1-8 1970: Vaughan Grylls, Elizabeth Harrison, Simon Haynes, Patrick Hughes, Carol Joseph, Bruce Lacey, Diane Livey, Andrew Logan, Marlene Raybould + Gerard Wilson

Apr 21st, 2013

“It isn’t so much what’s on the table that matters, as what’s on the chairs”

Jonathan Swift from letter to Stella 1711

//Simon Haynes in his ICA sitting room, 1970. Source publication: Unknown//

Ten Sitting Rooms was the title of a group exhibition curated by Jasia Reichardt at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts in 1970. She organised a budget of £100 for each artist and gave them the brief of making a sitting room in spaces of either 15 x 18 feet or 12 x 24 feet.

I was alerted to the show’s existence by participant Simon Haynes, whose work I have been featuring here. Haynes’ Pop environment, which was produced in collaboration with his wife Sue, developed the themes and materials they used in the boardroom interior and furniture created earlier that year for Trevor Myles’ and Tommy Roberts’ boutique Mr Freedom at 430 King’s Road.

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Pictures from an exhibition: Glam! The Performance Of Style

Feb 19th, 2013

//Kenny putting on make up, Nan Goldin, Boston, 1973 //

Perhaps it is a matter of displacement – that slippery moment when art becomes commerce, shifting back again into the cultural arena as another kind of commodity. The fact is, even today, few among us are willing to acknowledge that certain mass culture forms and practices may comprise the most significant ‘culture’ of our time, precisely because of their ‘popular’ characteristics.

Marcia Tucker and William Olander, New Museum Of Contemporary Art, 1988.

In the 25 years since Tucker and Olander made this statement, the displacement they sought to define has become, if anything, more slippery.

For this reason alone, Liverpool Tate curator Darren Pih must be applauded for negotiating such tricky waters with Glam! The Performance Of Style, the exhibition he has curated in an attempt to locate the early 70s glam-rock phenomenon in the context not just of a certain area of artistic practice of the period but also more broadly the interplay between “high” and mass culture.

//Fashion spread featuring Mr Freedom and Ossie Clark designs, Nova, May 1970 //

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The legendary Harold The Ted + one of Mr Freedom’s ‘monstrous oddities’

Jan 30th, 2013

//Harold Harris with 10ft tall display item designed by Rod Stokes, Mr Freedom, 1971. Photo courtesy Andrew Greaves.//

Something of a legend in 70s British boutique circles, here is Harold The Ted in all his glory accompanying one of the extravagant display items at Mr Freedom in Kensington Church Street: a 10 foot tall cut-out representation of a glowering boy scout made by Electric Colour Company’s Rod Stokes.

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