Granny Takes a Trip was a boutique that opened in February 1966 at 488 Kings Road in Chelsea, London by Nigel Waymouth, Sheila Cohen, and John Pearse. It is arguably the first psychedelic boutique of ‘Swinging London,’ and it is certainly one of the coolest shops of all time!
It started out as an outlet for Cohen’s collection of antique clothing, but it quickly evolved into a hangout for the rich and famous, and a place to buy totally unique, and utterly excellent clothes. Taking the gaudy upholstery, lace and brightly patterned wall coverings that typified geriatric chic, the designers at Granny’s twisted them into modern takes on the saville row tailoring tradition. And everyone that was anyone got on the Granny’s trip.
At first, the ambiance was a mixture of New Orleans bordello and futuristic fantasy. Marbled patterns papered the walls, with rails carrying an assortment of brightly-colored clothes. Lace curtains draped the doorway of its single change room, and a beaded glass curtain hung over the entrance at the top of steps, which led on into the shop. In the back room, an Art Deco Wurlitzer blasted out a selection of music.
By 1969 though, Nigel Waymouth was more interested in art and music, and John Pearse went into theatre. Freddie Hornik, a fashion entrepreneur, bought the business. He, Gene Krell, and Marty Breslau “dandified” the shop, attracting customers like Rod Stewart, Ronnie Wood, and Keith Richards. Branches were opened in New York and Los Angeles and sold to Elton John, Keith Moon, the New York Dolls, Todd Rundgren, and Mick Jagger.
These were closed in 1973 when it was acquired yet again by Glen Palmer who moved the location to the Sunset Strip. That closed in the early ’80s, and so did Granny Takes a Trip.
For Gene Krel! xo