Tommy Roberts a.k.a. Mr. Freedom

“Tommy Roberts is a towering figure of British fashion and design – a truly original retailer and entrepreneur. In the 60s, he pioneered the vintage clothing trade, selling antique threads to the likes of Jimi Hendrix and the Who at his Carnaby Street shop Kleptomania. But it was with London fashion label Mr Freedom’s fun, rainbow-hued, pop art-inspired clothes – all cartoon and fruit-machine motifs, all satin and flash – that he made the biggest splash. Also referencing Art Deco and 50s kitsch, Mr Freedom ushered in a new playful eclecticism in fashion which infected design, too, throughout the 70s – especially as, in the wake of the 60s pop movement, creatives of all colours rebelled against modernism throughout the decade.”

Flashin’ on the 70s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have any interest in learning more, get this AMAZING book by the AMAZING Paul Gorman.  So worth it.

 

Guy Peellaert

“Guy Peellaert was to Europe what Andy Warhol was to America – except that Guy had more talent!” – Jim Steranko (American comic book artist, art historian, publisher and film production illustrator).

Guy Peellaert was a Brussels-born artist.  He worked as a painter, illustrator, graphic artist and photographer, with shows around the world. Peellaert’s creations are a beautifully unique blend of comic-style illustration, American Pop Art and psychedelia.  He was a bit of a pop culture junkie; the artist survived on a steady diet of music, magazines, books, rock memorabilia, and pulp literature.  Peellaert’s first major success was with a comic strip published in 1966, “Les Aventures de Jodelle,” followed by “Pravda, La Survireuse” in 1968.  His comics were pop art masterpieces filled with sexy heroines kicking all sorts of ass!

Then, In the late Sixties, the artist moved from Brussels to Paris, where he stayed busy doing a bit of this and a bit of that – advertising, set design for casinos and the Crazy Horse nightclub, film and television.  But in his free time Peellaert continued to create art, and he quickly became a popular chronicler of rock and roll gods, painting his idols into fantasy situations come to life.

Peellaert gained such notoriety and success with his pop fantasy creations that he collaborated with British rock writer Nik Cohn to create “Rock Dreams” in 1974.  In a series of 125 paintings, Peellaert painted his heroes in situations echoing their mythical status or playing on their most famous lyrics.  The book was a huge success, and Peellaert became somewhat of a household name.

From there, the sky was pretty much the limit.  Peelaert went on to create some pretty iconic album covers, and movie posters …

Peellaert passed away November 17th, 2008 in Paris aged 74.  In 2003, Peellaert told Beaux Arts Magazine: “I’m not bothered about death. Not having any passion while you’re alive, that’s the terrible thing. That’s why “Rock Dreams” still works today. Emotions keep you alive. Rock will always represent the extravagant, the flashy, the fantasy. These pictures are a memento to that dream.”  Pretty perfect.

Mayor of the Sunset Strip, Mr. Rodney Bingenheimer

 

You’ve probably never heard of Rodney Bingenheimer, which isn’t surprising really.  He’s always been more of a “behind the scenes” kind of guy, but he has been behind just about every kind of scene.  He is a dedicated rock and roll fan, one of the biggest groupies to ever crash the scene, and while many have moved on from the heyday of the sunset strip, Binghenheimer remains committed … whether anyone cares or not.

Bingenheimer arrived on the streets of Hollywood at 16, and in his own words, he immediately “became the talk of the town because I had the perfect Brian Jones ‘do.”  (And that ‘do remains unchanged to this day!)   He had a seminal presence on the rock scene going back to the mid-’60s, introducing the early ’70s Bowie/Sweet/T Rex glam scene to America via his KROQ radio show and legendarily debauched Rodney’s English Disco club, and later championing punk rock when no one would go near it . Over the course of his career as a professional Hollywood scenester, Bingenheimer has always been at the forefront of musical taste, disovering countless acts from Bowie to Blondie to Coldplay.

Though the Hollywood of Binghenheimer days is long-gone, the radio DJ continues on.  His show has been pushed to the graveyard shift, his celebrity friends have retired, and the music scene has been taken over by manufactured pop icons, but Rodney is still on the strip quietly living his dream as a Hollywood icon …

I think his story is beyond compelling, and there is no better way to see it than on the big screen … or the little one via Netflex on demand.  Check out Mayor of the Sunset Strip, I promise you won’t be disappointed!

 

Granny Takes a Trip

 

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