Lloyd Johnson – The Modern Outfitter

1970s, Eighties Fashion, johnson and johnson, kensington market, lloyd johnson, menswear, novelty prints

Many thanks to Paul Gorman for the invite to the opening of the superb Lloyd Johnson exhibition at Chelsea Space on Tuesday night. True to my usual form, I found it mighty hard to take any half-decent photos amongst the crowds so I must apologise for the poor quality which lies herein. I’m also definitely planning to return on a quiet weekday, so I can absorb it all properly.

I must confess that menswear is not one of my great areas of expertise, but I do know what I like. And those early Johnson and Johnson printed shirts and jackets are incredibly covetable – I actually cannot resist a novelty print. I know Mr Brownwindsor fancied a few of them, and it is yet another reminder of the tragedy of how dull most modern menswear is. (Snuggling up in a sloppy ‘La Rocka’ jumper, seen below, would also be very desirable!)

The highlight of the exhibition is probably the original ‘Johnsons’ shop frontage from within Kensington Market. Such a hallowed place, formerly full of many of my favourite designers of the Seventies and Eighties, it’s remarkable to see something like that having survived!

For me, La Rocka was just one of those names (like Red or Dead and Joe Bloggs) which stuck in my head during my childhood but which had little contextual information. This exhibition is a terrific insight into one man’s journey through several different eras of street style in London, always managing to stay idiosyncratic but never stalling at the one style. And as someone the other night said to me, you can’t really be different if you look the same as everyone else.

The exhibition runs until the 3rd March, so make sure you make a trip!

One thought on “Lloyd Johnson – The Modern Outfitter

  1. This is on my 'must see' list! The OH remembers Cockell and Johnson, and my memories date from occasional visits in the early 80s to Ken Market on my annual birthday-treat coach trips to London as a teenager. What an incredible career! Johnson always anticipated what was 'right' just before everyone else.

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