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!

Legs and Co

Anita Mahadervan, Eighties Fashion, flick colby, Gill Clarke, haute naffness, legs and co, lps, Lulu Cartwright, Patti Hammond, Rosie Hetherington, roxy music, Sue Menhenick

This is actually one of my most favourite things in the whole world right now. When I found it the other day, I texted Mr Brownwindsor to gloat that I had found the best LP ever. I still stand by that statement, although with adjustment to the best LP cover ever. Because the songs contained swing from sublime to ridiculous; from Roxy Music to Phil Collins, from The Teardrop Explodes to Bucks Fizz.

I love the haute Eightiesness; the hair, the bacofoil clothes, the clumsy crotch shots, the make-up, the headbands! Absolutely the best £1 I’ve ever spent.

(for the uninitiated, Legs and Co were Flick Colby‘s follow up to Pan’s People and Ruby Flipper…)

Mensday: Prince Charming

Eighties Fashion, Mensday, menswear, new romantic, prince

Someone never forgot the Importance of Being Dandy. That person was Prince. I used to crush on him quite badly in my early teens and I’m certain it’s all tied up with my love of flamboyant male dressers and New Romantics. Prince didn’t just do stripes, he did spots as well. He didn’t just do a bit of colour, he was all-over purple. The man is a sartorial genius as well as a musical one. Prince, how I do adore thee…

Lazy August Days….

british boutique movement, chelsea girl, Eighties Fashion, goth, hotpants, jeff banks, louis caring, paraphernalia, sarah whitworth, seventies fashion, sixties, website listings

But I can’t stop working. Apologies for the mixed bag of listings, we’re still straddling two seasons at the moment (fashion-wise) so I’m trying to keep it light but trans-seasonal. This is harder than you might think. I’m also working on Autumn-orientated listings which will be coming towards the end of the month in preparation for a luscious September (fingers crossed). I might sneak the odd incredible designer piece on the block before then though, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

But what am I talking about? I’ve got a few amazing pieces just listed now, including Jeff Banks, Louis Caring, Paraphernalia and Sarah Whitworth.

Happy Birthday Queen Kate

Eighties Fashion, kate bush, picture spam, seventies fashion, Style Icons
Bush, that is. I need little or no excuse for un petit spam d’image of the lovely lady…

Style Icons: The Bangles

bassists, Eighties Fashion, John Taylor, picture spam, Style Icons, the bangles

I had already started musing independently about The Bangles as forgotten style icons, only for them to pop up in conversation the other day. That settled it for me. And so I started hunting for my picture spam….

There can’t be many girls around my age who didn’t want to be a Bangle. The obvious choice was, of course, the almost unnaturally beautiful Susanna Hoffs. But, in retrospect, they were all pretty worthy of a bit of worship; particularly bassist Michael Steele, former member of The Runaways and all-round excellent bassist and singer. I feel like I spent a good chunk of a few years singing their songs into my hairbrush, imagining that I would one day have clothes and hair (and, of course, a voice) exactly like theirs. I avidly listened to, and studied the pictures on, A Different Light and Everything. If I’m totally honest, Madonna didn’t do it for me so much. Not in comparison to that.

I love the early shots of them in their pseudo-Sixties girl group get-ups, through their skintight lycra, puffball skirts and lace tights of the mid-Eighties, through to the more psychedelic, hippy look towards the end of the decade. And let’s not forget the perpetually enormous hair and Sixties-influenced make-up. I’m sure they must be due a lot more respect than they are afforded these days, particularly compared to most of the dreary girl-with-a-guitar whining that goes on in the charts right now. The Go-Gos and The Runaways are always being cited, but don’t let’s forget The Bangles.

And if Susanna Hoffs wasn’t already annoyingly beautiful enough….


Eighties Fashion, forties fashion, jean varon, john bates, miss mouse, novelty prints, ossie clark, quorum, radley, sarah whitworth, seventies fashion, sixties, website listings

I know it’s been a little quiet on the website front in recent weeks, and my apologies for that. I am working super hard behind the scenes, but sometimes it takes a little longer than planned to bring things front and centre. Anyway, in case you’re not checking the website very often or aren’t a ‘fan’ on facebook (highly recommended, I must say) then here are some new picks of the pops…

Reasons to own a time machine: The Rum Runner

Duran Duran, Eighties Fashion, jane kahn, new romantic, reasons to own a time machine, the rum runner

Yes, yes, of course I’d like to go back to the Blitz Club. But, me being me, I would make sure my first stop was The Rum Runner in Birmingham. The mirrorplex walls, neon lights, zebra print upholstery….and those five gorgeous boys who became the house band. Amongst other things: Nick Rhodes was a DJ, John Taylor was on the door, Andy Taylor flipped burgers and Roger Taylor collected glasses. Do we detect a somewhat cushier job for Mr Rhodes there?

The Berrow brothers (later managers of Duran Duran) relaunched the club in the late Seventies, inspired by Studio 54 in New York, and it became the New Romantic heart of Birmingham (via the Roxy and Bowie nights, mirroring the genesis of Steve Strange’s Blitz club). Martin Degville, the Durans, John Mulligan, iconic designers Jane Kahn and Patti Bell….hell, even Pete Townshend and Boy George paid them a visit.

Rhodes and Taylor created an amazing compilation album, Only After Dark, from their favourite tracks of the time. I’m horrified to see it’s now selling, second hand, for £90-odd on Amazon. Keep an eye out on eBay, or just download what you don’t already have from this amazing playlist they created as well. That is the kind of music which makes me want to cry with its fabulousness. Both Ends Burning? Adolescent Sex? Just mop me up…

“The Rum Runner menagerie was typically English, small, innovative and eccentric, filled with drama and humour. It was warm and friendly with a big personality.” Nick Rhodes

Sounds like my kind of place. Sadly, it was torn down in 1987. Now where IS that time machine?

Duran Duran – Planet Earth – shots from their days at the club.

The Beat – Mirror in the Bathroom – filmed at the Rum Runner.

Pussycat, pussycat, where have you been?

adam ant, Eighties Fashion, nick rhodes, ossie clark

I’ve been to London, and Adam Ant I have seen. I knew I would probably live to regret it, but I couldn’t help wearing a big swishy top (kimono sleeved wraparound Ossie in black moss crepe with satin trim) and some very glossy patent shoes. I love the gothic, fetish imagery of his early badge and t-shirt designs.

Friday night was Adam’s big comeback gig at La Scala, so Charley and I got our hands on two very precious tickets and somehow managed to brave the nasty torrential rain. Me with curls in my hair and an Ossie Clark top upon my person. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Why does it always rain on me when I’m heading to gigs? To paraphrase someone.

As we were walking around, trying to find a bar in which to meet the fabulous Jenny Drag from The Priscillas, we actually bumped into the man himself just arriving. I say bumped into; I did my usual polite ‘getting out of the way’ thing, while he was not looking where he was going and veering into me. Seconds later, I realised I should have been veering into him… Dang. A fair amount of brandy was going to be required to calm us down…

Anyway, once he took to the stage the night really came to life. After a slightly shaky start where he announced that ‘Adam and the Ants are no more’ and that all that stuff was behind him and the usual kind of stuff they say, and then a rather fabulous rendition of Get it On (accompanied by a very cute story I now can’t bloody remember about how he once met Marc Bolan), he finally launched into Ant Music. Ahhhhhh.

I felt a bit guilty, feeling so happy that he was playing part of his back catalogue. I’m not sure why. I guess I have a healthy respect for an artist’s right to play whatever the hell they want to play, unless something else has been advertised. But it was a guilty pleasure, for it continued into Kings of the Wild Frontier, Goody Two Shoes, Prince Charming (a drink prevented me from full arm thrusting but I was doing it in spirit) and, bizarrely, Apollo 9. Amongst others, of course. Including a very sexy rendition of Shakin’ all Over.

After an encore and lots of aggressive bopping by lots of aggressive middle aged jerks in centre front (flashbacks of Lovebox terror and Charley kept looking at me with great concern on her face) he came back out and announced he was going to read some poetry. A sad spectacle ensued where he was trying to read to those who wished to listen, whilst aforementioned sad middle aged jerks were yelling obscenities and demanding more songs. I’m sorry, but the tickets were pretty damn cheap for a gig by an actual icon and you’d already got your gig. Plus encore. If he wants to sit and read to us, then that’s his right. You can either sit and listen or bugger off.

He managed to get to the end, however, and good on him for doing so.

You may or may not remember, back in July, I lost an amazing vintage enamel Adam Ant badge at the Lovebox festival. I’m still grouchy at Nick Rhodes for that.

Darling Charley decided, once people had cleared off, to go hunting for badges and other memorabilia which he had thrown into the audience. Amazingly, she found a badge. Who the hell throws an Adam Ant badge on the floor, which he’s just thrown to them himself? People are weird. But the Gods of Rock and Roll obviously decided that I was owed a semi-replacement badge and sent Charley to deliver it. BryanGod bless her!

It was like all the stars had aligned themselves that night, aside from the one which guards against blisters on your tootsies, and it really was an incredible experience. It was lovely to see Jenny again and her gorgeous friend Ali, and pretty surreal to be standing there watching someone I’ve adored for so long. It took a while to relax and enjoy it, if I’m honest, because of his past problems. But I stopped feeling like I was watching Bambi after a few songs, and have now utterly lost my voice from singing along.

The only, only thing that could have made it better (The less said about my grabbing his hand, at Charley’s insistence, the better. Blame it on the brandy…) would have been if he’d played Puss in Boots. Cheesy, yes, but it’s one of my guilty pleasures. I aspire to be the woman in that video.

I must learn to pout in photos.

Jenny Drag and Ali-cat. Fab-u-lous!

and, I knew WendyB would scold me if I didn’t show what I was wearing. But I forgot to do it before I left, and realised things were about to get messy so I couldn’t leave it any longer. Hence, super-glamorous (and ever-so-flatteringly-lit) photoshoot in the ladies loos. I’m just so ‘urban’ and ‘grime’….or whatever. Anyway….

Is Miss Peelpants Electric?

Eighties Fashion, gary numan, synth

I was so sure I was born under a naffer star than this. Surely it had to be The Village People, Art Garfunkel, Gloria Gaynor or Dr Hook? But lo and behold, I find that the UK No.1 the day I was born was, in fact, Tubeway Army – Are Friends Electric.

That explains the deeply embedded synth-love then….

Find your own here