Pop goes the easel and the armchair: the Barbican’s new show celebrates the playful influence of Pop Art on postwar design

Tom Wesselmann Smoker Banner, 1971. Copyright Estate of Tom Wesselmann/DACS, London/VAGA, NY, 2013

Tom Wesselmann Smoker Banner, 1971. Copyright Estate of Tom Wesselmann/DACS, London/VAGA, NY, 2013

With pop style being a personal obsession – and forming an entire chapter of our book 70s Style & Design – we were most interested to hear about the new show Pop Art Design at the Barbican Art Gallery, which celebrates the influence of Pop Art on everything from fashion to furniture, album sleeves to architecture. A collaboration with Vitra Design Museum, Denmark’s Louisiana Museum of Modern Art and Stockholm’s Moderna Museet, it brings together around 200 works by more than 70 artists and designers.

The show traces the relationship between Pop Art and pop design from the 1950s, but in our opinion it wasn’t until the 1970s that pop style truly hit the mainstream, thanks to the influence of shops such as Tommy Roberts’s Mr Freedom and Terence Conran’s Habitat, which inspired a million copycats.

The 70s was also the decade in which the 50s pop movement’s challenge to modernism and its strict rationalist rules began to take shape in the radical designs of the Italian new wave and the beginnings of postmodernism, a development which is covered in more detail in our chapter From Pop to Postmodernism. Check out the show at the Barbican Art Gallery, Barbican Centre from now until 9 February 2014. In the meantime, here are a few of our favourite things, pop 70s style…

The foodhall at Big Biba (designed by Steve Thomas of Whitmore Thomas) brought pop art back to its supermarket roots

The foodhall at Big Biba (designed by Steve Thomas of Whitmore Thomas) brought pop art back to its supermarket roots

Mr Freedom shop girls, circa early 70s. The shop's founder Tommy Roberts was a pop fashion pioneer. Photo courtesy of Jon Wealleans

Mr Freedom shop girls, circa early 70s. The shop’s founder Tommy Roberts was a pop fashion pioneer. Photo courtesy of Jon Wealleans

Mr Freedom's furniture designer Jon Wealleans at home in London circa 1970

Mr Freedom’s furniture designer Jon Wealleans at home in London circa 1970

Salvador Dali and designer Oscar Tusquets with the latter's Saliva sofa, designed for his company Bd Barcelona Design in 1972

Salvador Dali and designer Oscar Tusquets with the latter’s Saliva sofa, designed for his company Bd Barcelona Design in 1972

Michael English's iconic lithograph Coke, from the Rubbish Prints, 1970

Michael English’s iconic lithograph Coke, from the Rubbish Prints, 1970

Pop-inspired wares for sale in Habitat's winter supplement, 1972

Pop-inspired wares for sale in Habitat’s winter supplement, 1972

The Joe chair, designed by Jonathan De Pas, Donato D'Urbino and Paolo Lomazzi in 1970 as an homage to the legendary baseball champion Joe DiMaggio

The Joe chair, designed by Jonathan De Pas, Donato D’Urbino and Paolo Lomazzi in 1970 as an homage to the legendary baseball champion Joe DiMaggio

Gaetano Pesce's Sit Down chair for Cassina, 1975, plays with form and decoration in a pop assault on traditional good taste

Gaetano Pesce’s Sit Down chair for Cassina, 1975, plays with form and decoration in a pop assault on traditional good taste

San Francisco's influential street-style magazine Rags flags up the pop T-shirt trend in 1970, with an illustration by Albert Elia

San Francisco’s influential street-style magazine Rags flags up the pop T-shirt trend in 1970, with an illustration by Albert Elia

A 1970 textile design by Zandra Rhodes featuring a pop-deco design of lipsticks

A 1970 textile design by Zandra Rhodes featuring a pop-deco design of lipsticks

Molly White wears a design by herself and her partner John Dove at The Fabric of Pop exhibition at the V&A in 1974. John and Molly designed for hip King's Road boutiques Mr Freedom and Paradise Garage as well as their own label Wonder Workshop in the 1970s

Molly White wears a design by herself and her partner John Dove at The Fabric of Pop exhibition at the V&A in 1974. John and Molly designed for hip King’s Road boutiques Mr Freedom and Paradise Garage as well as their own label Wonder Workshop in the 1970s

A proto-punk pop T-shirt design by John Dove and Molly White, aka Wonder Workshop, from 1974

A proto-punk pop T-shirt design by John Dove and Molly White, aka Wonder Workshop, from 1974

An ice-cream sundae sandal by Thea Cadabra from the late 70s

An ice-cream sundae sandal by Thea Cadabra from the late 70s

Studio 65's Capitello chair, 1971, manufactured by Gufram. Collection Vitra Design Museum. Photo Andreas Sutterlin

Studio 65′s Capitello chair, 1971, manufactured by Gufram. Collection Vitra Design Museum. Photo Andreas Sutterlin

Guido Drocco and Franco Mello's Cactus coathanger for Gufram, 1972

Guido Drocco and Franco Mello’s Cactus coathanger for Gufram, 1972

The Hello There chair, designed by Jeremy Harvey in 1978 for Artifort

The Hello There chair, designed by Jeremy Harvey in 1978 for Artifort

Ettore Sottsass's painting, If I Were Very, Very Rich I Would Confront Myself With My Complexes, 1977

Ettore Sottsass’s painting, If I Were Very, Very Rich I Would Confront Myself With My Complexes, 1977

Michele de Lucchi's cartoon-like toaster design for Studio Alchimia, 1979

Michele de Lucchi’s cartoon-like toaster design for Studio Alchimia, 1979

April Greiman and Jayme Odgers's design for the cover of Wet magazine, Sept/Oct 1979, featuring a young Ricky Martin

April Greiman and Jayme Odgers’s design for the cover of Wet magazine, Sept/Oct 1979, featuring a young Ricky Martin

A late-70s Fiorucci poster runs the gamut of postwar pop imagery, new-wave Italian style

A late-70s Fiorucci poster runs the gamut of postwar pop imagery, new-wave Italian style

Barney Bubbles's design for the Damned's Music For Pleasure, 1979

Barney Bubbles’s design for the Damned’s Music For Pleasure, 1979

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Vladimir Tretchikoff: a 70s cult, the subject of a new book – and even clocked in David Bowie’s The Stars (Are Out Tonight)

Vladimir Tretchikoff, Chinese Girl, 1952

Vladimir Tretchikoff, Chinese Girl, 1952. Image courtesy of Bonhams Fine Art Auctioneers & Valuers, London. Copyright 2012 The Tretchikoff Foundation

Reproductions of paintings by Vladimir Tretchikoff might have hung high above the mantelpieces of countless 60s and 70s living rooms in the UK, but the art Establishment at the time rated them the lowest of the low: chocolate-box kitsch. One exception was art critic William Feaver who – mocking the art world’s predictable view of the Russian-born artist in a 1974 documentary – ironically described his most iconic, 1950 painting Chinese Girl, with its bluebottle-green face and glacé cherry-red lips, as ‘The most unpleasant work to be published in the 20th century. You’ve got flat form, hair that is not hair at all but is simply an opaque layer of dull and insipid paint. You have shoulders which have no substance, you have muzzy line work’. And, as we mentioned in the Avant-Garde chapter of our book 70s Style & Design, Tretchikoff was lionised by the decade’s avant-garde creatives, among them artist Duggie Fields and Brian Thomson, the Rocky Horror Show’s set designer.

Rocky Horror Show set designer Brian Thomson and his partner in their super-kitsch 70s flat, along with artist Annie Kelly and the Green Lady. Photograph by Tim Street-Porter, courtesy of Elizabeth Whiting Associates

Rocky Horror Show set designer Brian Thomson and his partner in their super-kitsch 70s flat, along with artist Annie Kelly and the Green Lady. Photograph by Tim Street-Porter, courtesy of Elizabeth Whiting Associates

As the book also says, cultural commentator Peter York analysed the taste of these edgier-than-thou aesthetes, collectively dubbed Thems, in his highly entertaining 1976 essay Them. York pinpointed the many recherché things they loved under headings such as ‘Objets de Them’, which listed ‘A Tretchikoff and/or Maxfield Parrish print, 3D postcards, poodle art, X-Ray spex and cuttings about themselves from Honey, L’Uomo Vogue, 19 and Ritz magazines’. Thems, he said, adored self-publicity. They also wanted to be considered original, and by feting Tretchikoff – that outcast of the serious art world also called ‘Tretchi’ or ‘The King of Kitsch’ – they were.

A shirt from London boutique I was Lord Kitchener's Valet from 1968, featuring a Tretchikoff print

A shirt from London boutique I was Lord Kitchener’s Valet from 1968, featuring a Tretchikoff print

Even the relatively more mainstream Big Biba shop had a ‘Kitch’ (sic) room, which touted plaster poodles and, as writer Bevis Hillier gleefully reported in the Sunday Times in 1973, ‘ashtrays like miniature loos, school of Tretchikoff paintings and urinating cupids’.

Big Biba's 'Kitch' department

Big Biba’s ‘Kitch’ department

Art schools back then played a major role in fostering this appreciation of kitsch and camp. They hugely increased their intake in the early 70s, and artists and designers were at the forefront of a new clique – ‘a mysterious aesthetic conspiracy’ to quote York – who espoused kitsch. York wrote that they were reacting against the ‘Bland Authenticity of James Taylor, Habitat and the Sunday supplements. The only jump ahead was Reaction and Extremism, the only defence the creation of a special language’. A key influence on Thems was Pop art – which deemed anything associated with ‘low culture’, such as mass-production and advertising, worthy subjects for art – which resulted in them liking ‘pastiche, cliché’ and reproductions of art, such as Tretchikoff’s ubiquitous prints. ‘Trash’ acquired cult status.

Portrait of Tretchikoff from Nova magazine, December 1972

A portrait of Tretchikoff that appeared in the super-hip Nova magazine in December 1972. Photograph by Christa Peters

70s Style & Design argues that, from a social perspective, these art school-educated sophisticates were re-evaluating their parents’ stuck-in-a-timewarp taste in a detached, ironic way; they could see the comic side of their parents’ Tretchikoff prints and flying ducks. Not surprisingly, Woolworths, which stocked Tretchi prints, was a favourite Them shop.

Vladimir Tretchikoff, Lost Orchid, 1948. Copyright 2013 The Tretchikoff Foundation

Vladimir Tretchikoff, Lost Orchid, 1948. Copyright 2013 The Tretchikoff Foundation

Today, Tretchi is very much in the news. Boris Gorelik has written a fascinating new book, Incredible Tretchikoff: Life of an Artist and Adventurer, whose publication coincides with the centenary of his birth. Boris, whom we interview below, believes that hip 70s fans of the artist got a kick out of entering forbidden territory by ‘buying prints they weren’t supposed to like’.

What’s more, the original Chinese Girl girl painting sold for almost £1m at London’s Bonhams auction house to jeweller Laurence Graff last March.

Vladimir Tretchikoff, Self Portrait, 1944-50

Vladimir Tretchikoff, Self Portrait, 1944-50. Copyright 2013 The Tretchikoff Foundation

Boris’s book reveals information about Tretchikoff that few will know about: his tough upbringing as an orphan in China where his well-to-do family fled to after the Russian Revolution, his career as a commercial artist in Singapore and his Second World War years as a prisoner of war. After the war, based in South Africa, he had fantastically successful exhibitions in the US, London and Canada. He sometimes painted celebrities, too, such as Françoise Hardy. Legend has it that Tretchikoff, who died in 2006, became the wealthiest artist in the world after Picasso, thanks to print sales of Chinese Girl (also called The Green Lady) and other paintings such as Balinese Girl, all of which were massively popular, too, in South Africa, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Vladimir Tretchikoff, Balinese Girl, 1959. Copyright 2013 The Tretchikoff Foundation

Vladimir Tretchikoff, Balinese Girl, 1959. Copyright 2013 The Tretchikoff Foundation

Arguably the prints had a populist appeal for being representational not abstract, yet they were also intriguingly exotic and enigmatic with their unfinished backgrounds, unconventional use of colour and Far Eastern or African subjects.

But Tretchikoff’s art has swum in and out of our collective consciousness since the 60s. A print of Chinese Girl appeared in the movies Alfie, Alfred Hitchock’s Frenzy and Performance, and in several episodes of Monty Python.

Michael Caine as Alfie (1966) in Ruby's apartment, complete with Tretchikoff painting.

Michael Caine as Alfie (1966) in Ruby’s apartment, complete with Tretchikoff painting. Incidentally, the lobby of Ruby’s apartment was shot at the Dorchester hotel, where Tretchikoff stayed during his record-breaking show at Harrods in 1962 (205,000 visitors within five weeks)

One of Tretchi’s most fervent champions is design guru Wayne Hemingway, who grew up in Morecambe, Lancashire with a grandmother who filled her home with mass-market art; he still treasures her print of Chinese Girl and has amassed a vast collection of kitschy, Bayswater Road-style paintings. He has also written a book on the subject, Just Above the Mantelpiece: Mass-Market Masterpieces.

The lounge of Wayne and Gerardine Hemingway's West Sussex home

The lounge of Wayne and Gerardine Hemingway’s West Sussex home. Image courtesy of Wayne Hemingway. The wall print is available from the Land of Lost Content collection at Surface View, surfaceview.co.uk

And a reproduction of Chinese Girl hung above the mantelpiece in the family home of David Bowie – also named a Them by York. The same print features in the video of his recent single, The Stars (Are Out Tonight) in which he co-stars with a Cindy Sherman-esque Tilda Swinton.

Tilda Swinton and the 'Green Lady' in David Bowie's video for The Stars (Are Out Tonight)

Tilda Swinton and the ‘Green Lady’ in David Bowie’s video for The Stars (Are Out Tonight). Photograph by Floria Sigismondi. Copyright 2013 Floria Sigismondi

Tretchi was hip in the 90s and Noughties, too: Peter Ward’s 1991 book Kitsch In Synch rhapsodised about him – though the artist declined to let his work appear in it. And London tiki bar Trailer Happiness, founded in the Noughties, boasts panoramic photo-murals of Chinese Girl and other Tretchikoff portraits.

An interior shot of Notting HIll bar Trailer Happiness

An interior shot of Notting Hill bar Trailer Happiness, presided over by Chinese Girl, aka the Green Lady

Tretchi’s appeal sometimes lies dormant but it never disappears.

Incredible Tretchikoff: Life of an Artist and Adventurer by Boris Gorelik is published by Art / Books; £15.95 (paperback); e-book, £9.99. artbookspublishing.co.uk

The cover shows Vladimir Tretchikoff in front of Chinese Girl, 1952

The cover shows Vladimir Tretchikoff in front of Chinese Girl (1952). A composite image based on a photograph by Johan Wilke published in De Kat magazine, June 1997. Copyright 2013 The Tretchikoff foundation and Johan Wilke

Flashin’ on the 70s chats to Boris Gorelik

What inspired you to write the book? What fascinates you about Tretchikoff? The Chinese Girl mystery. I’m Russian, and in my country we never had Tretchikoff prints. They were simply not available. Even now, hardly anybody knows him there. I was doing a thesis on the history of Russian immigration to South Africa when I came across his name. I typed ‘Tretchikoff’ in the search engine and the first picture I saw was this bizarre ‘Green Lady’. Then I learnt, to my amazement, that it was one of the most reproduced images of the 20th century. ‘What makes it so special?,’ I thought. ‘Why did it appeal to hundreds of thousands of people across the world? Why do people still buy his prints and use his images in modern designs?’ Not being a Tretchikoff fan myself, I wanted to understand the Tretchikoff phenomenon. And I ended up writing this book.

Vladimir Tretchikoff, Rainy Day, 1968, a portrait of the singer Francoise Hardy. Copyright 2013 The Tretchikoff Foundation

Vladimir Tretchikoff, Rainy Day, 1968, a portrait of the singer Françoise Hardy. Copyright 2013 The Tretchikoff Foundation

What was the biggest challenge for you when writing the book?
Finding the right tone. The book was released in South Africa, Tretchikoff’s home country, a month ago, and some local reviewers found my style dispassionate. They thought that if one admires Tretchikoff, one should rave about him. But I believe that the middle-ground approach works better. I praise him when praise is due. I laugh when I think what he did was ridiculous. And I commiserate with him being scorned by the art Establishment for painting how he liked and promoting his art. And the feedback that I’ve received from the readers – those who love his pictures and those who don’t – shows that they enjoy this style.

Tretchikoff painting Christel Bernardo for Nude in a Mink

Tretchikoff painting Christel Bernardo for Nude in a Mink. Reproduced in Scope, 25 March 1977, photograph by John Rubython. Image courtesy of Helene Rubython and Marie-Helene Junker. Copyright 2013 John Rubython

Are there any interesting anecdotes that came out of you researching the book? Did you meet any of the models of his most iconic paintings?
The most interesting anecdotes are all in the book. I was lucky enough to track down Monika Sing-lee, the model for Chinese Girl. Then Annette Bezor, an Australian painter whose work is also reproduced in the book, introduced me to the son of Valerie Howe, who sat for Miss Wong and Lady from Orient. What was it like? I suppose it was like seeing the face of the woman who sat for Mona Lisa in a way. The Chinese Girl is a Mona Lisa of mass-market art. I think that Tretchikoff’s best pictures are more than paintings, they’re icons of popular culture. And I viewed them as such in my book. In Tretchikoff’s case, it’s irrelevant whether we think if it’s good art or bad. What matters is the effect it’s had on people.

Monica Sing-lee (the model for Chinese Girl) photographed in Cape Town, 1952

Monika Sing-lee (the model for Chinese Girl) photographed in Cape Town, 1952

Vladimir Tretchikoff, Miss Wong, 1952-3

Vladimir Tretchikoff, Miss Wong, 1952-3. Copyright 2013 The Tretchikoff Foundation

Tretchikoff travelled a huge amount and lived in many countries – from Russia to China to Singapore to South Africa, and so on. Do you think this affected his art and if so how?
Few people know that Tretchikoff actually grew up in China. He didn’t just travel to Asia to paint glamorous ladies like, say, Sir Gerald Kelly did. He actually lived there and absorbed its visual culture. Then he spent 11 years in Singapore and Indonesia. Of course, he viewed the East as an outsider, as a European, but that’s where his unique vision emerged. And you can see some early examples of it in my book – the graphic art he produced in Shanghai and Malaya. Then, in South Africa, he painted members of the local Cape Malay community, and an authority on their culture and traditions opened his first show in Cape Town. He did ‘exotic’ portraits of Africans, in traditional garb, but he also painted urban blacks – pennywhistle [tin whistle] players, newspaper boys, mothers and children. Curiously enough, this ‘commercial’ artist produced one of the first anti-apartheid paintings ever, Black and White (reproduced in my book). There’s definitely much more to Tretchikoff than mysterious Oriental ladies!

Vladimir Tretchikoff, Zulu Girl, 1951. Copyright 2013 The Tretchikoff Foundation

Vladimir Tretchikoff, Zulu Girl, 1951. Copyright 2013 The Tretchikoff Foundation

Did Tretchikoff take a deliberately populist approach to his work? Was it part of his philosophy to make art accessible and democratic by selling it as cheaper reproductions?
I think this was part of his marketing strategy. I don’t believe his goal was to bring art to the people. He just wanted to be a rich, famous artist, loved by the public across the world. I don’t think he had a mission to make art more accessible. He just realised that he could make more money by selling prints. He sold the Chinese Girl painting for $2,000 in 1953. But reproductions of this painting allowed him to buy a chalet in a posh neighbourhood of Cape Town within two years of them becoming available. So being populist was very profitable. But he sacrificed his reputation in the process. At that time, critics and other members of the Establishment despised him for ‘selling out’. These days, of course, selling out is just another form of art.

Vladimir Tretchikoff, Red Jacket, 1943. Image courtesy of Bonhams Fine Art Auctioneers & Valuers, London

Vladimir Tretchikoff, Red Jacket, 1943. The painting sold for thousands last year. Image courtesy of Bonhams Fine Art Auctioneers & Valuers, London. Copyright 2013 The Tretchikoff Foundation

Why do you think Tretchikoff became so popular with hipsters in the 70s – the likes of Duggie Fields and Brian Thomson, the set designer of the Rocky Horror Show, as we mention in our 70s book? What’s the appeal of Tretchikoff to younger people today?
The hipsters of the 70s and the 80s started buying Tretchikoff prints because it was something they were not supposed to like. Society – the Establishment – expected people who have taste to despise kitsch. So they embraced it. They started experimenting with his pictures – integrating them into all kinds of ‘retro’ interiors or even into their own works of art. You take something totally uncool, like a cheap Tretchikoff print from someone’s attic, place it in the right context and it becomes cool all of a sudden. It helps you to make a statement, to show you can be creative. His prints also went well with retro-chic interiors that became popular in the 1990s. Another reason why people like his work is nostalgia – like 50s pin-ups or Scandinavian furniture. That’s something you or your parents grew up with. And his paintings are bizarre, of course – ‘Why is she green?’ Lastly, it also seems like a good investment. Vintage Tretchikoff prints go for hundreds of pounds, while 20 years ago it was hard to sell them even for a pound. And the Chinese Girl painting changed hands for nearly £1m in March.

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The Great Gatsby Charlestons back to cinema screens for the first time since Jack Clayton’s 1974 version

,gatsby graphicWith much fanfare, Baz Luhrmann’s long-awaited, lavish film adaptation of The Great Gatsby is set to open the Cannes Film Festival, and will be released in the UK on 16 May. But to those who’ve seen and love director Jack Clayton’s Academy Award-winning, 1974 adaptation of F Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel – an ambivalent portrait of a glittering but gaudy Jazz Age America – the new, 3D movie will have a lot to live up to. For many of us, those iconic images of Robert Redford as the heart-stoppingly handsome, pastel-suited parvenu Jay Gatsby and an ethereal, fragile Mia Farrow as his sweetheart Daisy Buchanan are indelible.

Carey Mulligan's bouffant bob is like a 60s take on the 20s, a la Julie Andrews in Thoroughly Modern Millie

Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan star as Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan in Baz Luhrmann’s ultra-flash take on F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

Mia Farrow and Robert Redford looking as glam as it gets in Jack Clayton's 1974 film

Gats-tastic: Mia Farrow and Robert Redford looking as glam as it gets in Jack Clayton’s 1974 film

In our book, 70s Style & Design, we devote a chapter called Belle Epoque to the 1970s obsession with Art Nouveau and, particularly, Art Deco – both of which pervaded fashion, interiors, graphics, films, TV and pop music. It was epitomised by Barbara Hulanicki’s Art Deco emporium Big Biba and embodied by singer Noosha Fox – she of the 1976 hit S-s-s-ingle Bed – who bobbed her hair and donned 20s attire after stumbling across a wardrobe filled with flapper frocks. Even Abba dipped their toes in it: remember Agnetha and Frida in slinky flapper dressers and sequined headbands singing Money, Money, Money, a song that nodded to Money Makes the World go Round from that 70s-meets-30s classic Cabaret?

Barbara Hulanicki's 1970s living room was an exotic Belle Epoque-meets-Deco den

Barbara Hulanicki’s 1970s living room was an exotic Belle Epoque-meets-Deco den. Photograph: Manfredo Bellati

Malcolm Bird created many an illustration for Big Biba, including this 1974 advertisement for the lifestyle emporium's home department

Malcolm Bird created many an illustration for Big Biba, including this 1974 advertisement for the lifestyle emporium’s home department

Biba founder Barbara Hulanicki in divinely decadent Deco style

Biba founder Barbara Hulanicki in divinely decadent Deco style. Copyright Evening Standard/Getty Images

Twiggy photographed in Big Biba's Rainbow Room by Justin de Villeneuve. The 60s icon was perfectly suited to the Jazz Age look, with her dainty features and pencil-thin eyebrows. Barbara Hulanicki described her as a 'mini Garbo'

Twiggy photographed in Big Biba’s Rainbow Room by Justin de Villeneuve in the early 70s. The 60s icon was perfectly suited to the Jazz Age look, with her dainty features and pencil-thin eyebrows. Barbara Hulanicki described her as a ‘mini Garbo’. Photograph: Getty

Noosha Fox appears in 70s Style & Design

The flapper fabulous Noosha Fox. Photograph: Redferns

An image from photographer John Bishop's Big Biba fashion shoot for 19 magazine in 1973. Model Mouche is wearing clothes by Barbara Hulanicki

An image from photographer John Bishop’s Big Biba fashion shoot for 19 magazine in 1973. Model Mouche is wearing clothes by Barbara Hulanicki

We mention in our book that The Great Gatsby, whose ragtime gladrags were designed by Ralph Lauren (Barbara Hulanicki was asked first but was too busy) and Theoni Aldredge, had a huge influence on early 70s fashion. Aldredge’s designs were adapted for a clothing line sold by Bloomingdales in Manhattan. And, as part of our research, we interviewed influential 70s designer and Kensington Market stallholder Lloyd Johnson, who told us, ‘We did four-piece suits and caps like the ones Robert Redford wore, which were teamed with two-tone platforms’. We also featured the Penguin paperback cover of F Scott Fitzgerald’s novel with its vanilla ice cream-coloured cover, iconic still of Farrow and Redford and a neo-Art Deco typeface. Delish!

The Penguin edition of The Great Gatsby released to tie in with the 1974 film, as owned by the young Dominic Lutyens

The Penguin edition of The Great Gatsby released to tie in with the 1974 film, as owned by the young Dominic Lutyens

Dunhill menswear does Gatsby in the 70s, complete with Redford-alike model

Dunhill menswear does Gatsby in the 70s, complete with Redford-alike model

Lloyd Johnson's 1971 Sea Cruise jacket, featuring a neo-Deco print by Sue Saunders

Lloyd Johnson’s 1971 Sea Cruise jacket, featuring a neo-Deco print by Sue Saunders

Now Gatsby-mania is truly upon us. Leaving aside Luhrmann’s movie, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby and Carey Mulligan as Daisy, there’s been the rip-roaringly successful New York production of Gatz – an eight-hour enactment of the book –which will be staged at London’s Noël Coward Theatre this summer. A dance adaptation by Northern Ballet will open soon at Sadler’s Wells. And writer Sarah Churchwell’s book, Careless People: Murder, Mayhem and the Invention of The Great Gatsby (Virago), about the novel’s genesis, is about to be published.

The famously Art Deco Claridge’s recently hosted ‘Charleston masterclasses’, while magazines and high street stores have been touting flapper chic since last year. Miuccia Prada designed 40 costumes for Luhrmann’s $100m-plus movie, which even saw vintage 20s cars imported from the US to Sydney, where the movie was shot. Luhrmann and his wife and collaborator Catherine Martin have also co-designed a collection of Jazz Age-inspired jewellery in diamonds and platinum for Tiffany. We don’t have pictures of these, but here’s a shot of their 70s equivalent…

Twinkling 20s-style diamond barrettes by Cartier, photographed by Joe Gaffney for French Vogue in 1978

Twinkling 20s-style diamond barrettes by Cartier, photographed by Joe Gaffney for French Vogue in 1978

Our book suggests some theories about why Jazz Age razzmatazz appealed so much in the 70s. A craze for Art Nouveau in the 60s had paved the way for this, with a renewed interest in the risqué work of Aubrey Beardsley in particular chiming with the increasingly permissive climate of the times. For many people, the ensuing Art Deco revival and the 20s represented a sybaritic spirit typified by The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald set his novel in 1922 – just after the ‘general decision to be amused that began with the cocktail parties of 1921,’ he wrote – in order to tell of a ‘whole race going hedonistic, deciding on pleasure’. Viewed in a broader historical context, after the trauma of the World War I, it’s not surprising that people partied as hard as they did in the 20s.

To an extent, the 70s obsession with the 20s was a revisionist revival that glossed over such realities as the General Strike of 1926 and the 1929 Wall Street Crash. Like Abba’s rendition of Money, Money, Money – and the focus in Gatsby on the super-rich – the 20s were mainly associated with affluence and opulence.

70s scenesters living it up 20s style at the Deco-fabulous Derry & Toms Rainbow Room in 1972, before the building became Big Biba. Photograph: Joe Gaffney

70s scenesters living it up 20s style at the Deco-fabulous Derry & Toms Rainbow Room in 1972, before the building became Big Biba. Photograph: Joe Gaffney

That said, perhaps some people in the 70s related to the 20s because of its more progressive aspects. In the UK, in 1928 women, who’d become increasingly emancipated since the start of the 20th century, won the right to vote like men. In fact, arguably rebellious, independent-minded women in the 20s prefigured the women’s liberationists of the 60s in their determination to reinvent the way they lived. It’s a subject explored in a new book, Flappers: Women of a Dangerous Generation by dance critic Judith Mackrell, published this month, which focuses on six pioneering women: Zelda Fitzgerald (who was married to F Scott Fitzgerald), Diana Cooper, Nancy Cunard, Tallulah Bankhead, Josephine Baker and Tamara de Lempicka.

Manolo Blahnik as Nancy Cunard for a drag ball at London's Porchester Hall in 1972. By Peter Schlesinger, from his book Checkered Past

Manolo Blahnik as Nancy Cunard for a drag ball at London’s Porchester Hall in 1972. By Peter Schlesinger, from his book Checkered Past

The 1920s silent movie star Theda Bara was used for the logo of subversive 1960s/70s underground newspaper the International Times.

The 1920s silent movie star Theda Bara was used for the logo of subversive 1960s/70s underground newspaper the International Times. Apparently the original intention was to use a picture of Clara Bow, the original ‘it’ girl, who personified the Roaring Twenties

Vampish Theda Bara-esque make-up created by Serge Lutens in 1973 for Christian Dior

Vampish Theda Bara-esque make-up created by Serge Lutens in 1973 for Christian Dior

And, according to Churchwell, the 20s saw greater social mobility: ‘Speakeasies were breaking down social barriers by creating spaces where the upper crust rubbed shoulders with the lower orders’. And, of course, Gatsby was nouveau riche with aristocratic pretensions. For our book, we interviewed East End-born photographer Justin de Villeneuve who told us that, in the 70s, affecting an aristocratic-sounding pseudonym and wearing suits by Savile Row tailor Tommy Nutter allowed him to hobnob seamlessly with the upper-middle classes.

For an older generation, all this divinely decadent Deco-mania offered escapism from the privations of rationing in the early 50s. Recalling his 50s childhood, Bevis Hillier, author of several books on Art Deco which did much to fuel the revival, told us, ‘The chocolate-vending machines in the Underground stations didn’t have chocolate bars. For me, the Deco revival represented bubbles, fizz and frivolity.’

Sanderson's bubblicious Deco-inspired 70s wallpaper evokes the effervescence of the Jazz Age

Sanderson’s bubblicious Deco-inspired 70s wallpaper evokes the effervescence of the Jazz Age

And for a younger generation, the 20s offered pure escapism from the recession-hit 70s. Others, like French illustrator Philippe Morillon, feel that the Deco revival was spurred on by apolitical escapism: ‘In France, many of us were tired of the political activism of the 60s and of May 1968.’ He and his friends found parallels between the decadent vibe of the 20s and a growing gay liberation movement and an increasingly relaxed attitude to drugs: ‘We were smoking joints and some of us were openly gay’.

Peter Hujar portrait of Cockette John Rothermel, 1973

Peter Hujar’s portrait of Cockette John Rothermel, 1973. © The Peter Hujar Archive, LLC; courtesy of Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York

In the early 70s, the same went for the mainly gay, LSD-taking, San Francisco-based hippie drag troupe the Cockettes. They interpreted the 20s in terms of an old Hollywood, Busby Berkeley-esque full-blown glamour and fuelled the new, early 70s craze for vintage clothing, swishing about in drop-waisted dresses and 20s showgirl-style, ostrich-feather headdresses. Incidentally, Ken Russell in the UK paid homage to Berkeley in his 1971 campfest of a movie, The Boy Friend. This starred Twiggy who, in real life, adored Greta Garbo and sported Biba and vintage 20s togs.

Twiggy's flapper-friendly looks were put to good use in Ken Russell's 1971 homage to the 1930s musicals of Busby Berkeley, The Boy Friend

Twiggy’s flapper-friendly looks were put to good use in Ken Russell’s 1971 homage to the 1930s musicals of Busby Berkeley, The Boy Friend. Photograph: BFI

Today, the reasons for Gatsby-mania are different, more positive if journalist Heather Long, writing recently in the Guardian, is to be believed: ‘After a horrendous few years for people’s wallets, luxury is unabashedly back, and this latest film adaptation is like an invitation to celebrate it.’ The feature’s intro even reads: ‘Luhrmann’s over-the-top take on Gatsby suggests we’ve recovered from the recession and are ready to worship wealth again’. The wealth-worshipping idea is surely an exaggeration but it does seem the worst of the recession is over, and, if so, perhaps the extravagant aesthetic of Luhrmann’s film reflects a desire to speed along the economic recovery.

We know we’re biased, but we can’t help but wonder which will be the greater Gatsby – Luhrmann’s or Clayton’s? In terms of style, it’s interesting that Mulligan’s look – she sports a very stiff, apparently lacquered geometric bob, sometimes with a headscarf forming a thick band – is really a 60s take on the 20s, as were Julie Andrews’s get-ups in the 60s movie Thoroughly Modern Millie. Farrow’s gently curling shingle hairdo and plucked, pencilled eyebrows looked more authentically 20s. But perhaps this was easier to achieve since 20s-inspired hair and make-up were in fashion then anyway.

careyIf promotional stills are anything to go by, Mulligan also looks very baby-faced, a vacant-looking ingénue. And the caption that accompanies the poster of her uses a quote from the book (from Daisy about her young daughter): ‘That’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool’. Fitzgerald’s Daisy was being sarcastic, but how Mulligan plays her remains to be seen. Whatever, Mulligan as Daisy lacks the fascinatingly sophisticated air that Farrow exuded.

There again, Luhrmann’s aim, it seems, is to put his own stamp on Fitzgerald’s fated fable. It’s clear he wants to reach out to a younger generation with a soundtrack featuring Jay-Z, Beyoncé and Will.i.am, and perhaps he reasons they will immediately associate 20s high life with blingy R&B.

We can only hope he hasn’t airbrushed out the all-important sound of the Charleston!

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Whaam!! bam, it’s Lichtenstein: A Retrospective at the Tate – and a 70s influence on Tom Ford and Topshop

Roy Lichtenstein 1923-1997 Whaam! 1963 Tate © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein/DACS 2012

Roy Lichtenstein 1923-1997; Whaam! 1963; Tate
© Estate of Roy Lichtenstein/DACS 2012

The prolific American Pop artist will be showcased at Tate Modern until 27 May, which is a particular treat for Flashin’ on the 70s, as our book, 70s Style & Design, celebrated the huge influence that artists such as Lichtenstein had on the Pop movement of the 1970s. Here are a few of our favourite Pop-art-inspired 70s things, some of which appear in 70s Style & Design…

Nova magazine showcases the Mr Freedom look in 1970

Nova magazine showcases the Mr Freedom look in 1970

Jean Shrimpton models Mr Freedom's Minnie Mouse T-shirt in Nova magazine in 1970. Photograph: Hans Feurer

Jean Shrimpton models Mr Freedom’s Minnie Mouse T-shirt in Nova magazine in 1970. Photograph: Hans Feurer

As early as 1970, Mr Freedom was influencing the US fashion scene, as reported by San Francisco's street style magazine Rags. The illustration is by Albert Elia

As early as 1970, Mr Freedom was influencing the US fashion scene, as reported by San Francisco’s street style magazine Rags. The illustration is by Albert Elia

Designers Jim O'Connor and Pamla Motown in 1972

After leaving Mr Freedom in 1972, designers Jim O’Connor and Pamla Motown set up on their own, working for more mainstream labels such as Scott Lester, for whom they designed these ultra-pop jumpers. Photograph: Steve Hiett

Former Mr Freedom designers Pam and Jim's friend Stan in one of the couple's designs in the early 70s

Pam and Jim’s friend Stan reads Shazam! while sporting one of the couple’s early 70s designs. Photograph courtesy of Pamla Motown

A waitress at Mr Freedom's Mr Feed'em restaurant. Photograph: Elizabeth Whiting Associates

A waitress at Mr Freedom’s Mr Feed’em restaurant. This was the vision of the shop’s interior designer Jon Wealleans, who was fascinated by Pop Americana, Disneyland and Ettore Sottsass. Photograph: Elizabeth Whiting Associates

George Hardie's comic-book-inspired poster design for Mr Freedom's Mr Feed'em restaurant

George Hardie’s comic-book-inspired poster design for Mr Freedom’s Mr Feed’em restaurant

Steven Thomas’s design for Biba’s food halk. Photograph courtesy of Steven Thomas

Steven Thomas’s design for Biba’s food hall brings Pop art to the supermarket, the original inspiration for artists such as Andy Warhol, who is namechecked in this fun reference to his Campbell’s Soup series. Photograph courtesy of Steven Thomas

Archizoom Associati's Rosa d'Arabia dream bed, 1967

Archizoom Associati’s Rosa d’Arabia dream bed, 1967

1970s interior with Roy Lichtenstein painting, by David Hicks

Pop colours and patterns inform this bold and brilliant interior by David Hicks, a standout designer of the 70s, whose clients could afford real Lichtensteins. Photograph: the estate of David Hicks

A selection of Thea Cadabra's pop-inspired fantasy footwear from the late 70s.

A selection of Thea Cadabra’s pop-inspired fantasy footwear from the late 70s. Photograph courtesy of Thea Cadabra

Some of Fiorucci's Lichtenstein-inspired stickers, issued with Panini bubblegum in 1984

Some of ultra-pop 70s label Fiorucci’s Lichtenstein-inspired stickers, issued with Panini bubblegum in 1984

And fast-forwarding back to 2013, the Lichtenstein show couldn’t be more timely, as Pop art is proving a major inspiration in fashion land. It started with Phillip Lim and Markus Lupfer’s cartoon capers in their pre-fall 2013 shows; next, Tom Ford was in on the act with his a/w 2013 collection, featuring Lichtenstein-like explosions on luxe gowns, and Topshop‘s current Comic Girl collection is the ultimate in superheroine chic.

Roy Lichtenstein 1923-1997 Wall Explosion II 1965 Tate © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein/DACS 2012

Roy Lichtenstein 1923-1997; Wall Explosion II 1965; Tate
© Estate of Roy Lichtenstein/DACS 2012

Tom Ford a/w 2013 at style.com

Tom Ford’s ‘hip explosion’, autumn/winter 2013, as seen at style.com

Tom Ford a/w 2013 at style.com

Tom Ford’s a/w frocks are a flash of pop genius. As seen at style.com

Pop art-inspired sweaters from Phillip Lim and Markus Lupfer's Pre-fall 2013 collections

Pop art-inspired sweaters from Phillip Lim and Markus Lupfer’s pre-fall 2013 collections

Topshop's Kaboom tube skirt

Topshop’s Kaboom tube skirt

Topshop's whaam, blam, whoosh! jumper

Topshop’s whaam, blam, whoosh! jumper

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70s New Romantics make an exhibition of themselves at Sadie Coles HQ exhibition in London

Joan, Peter Robinson (Marilyn) and Kate,1978. Photograph Nicola Tyson, copyright the artist. Courtesy of Sadie Coles HQ, London

Joan, Peter Robinson (Marilyn) and Kate,1978. Photograph Nicola Tyson, copyright the artist. Courtesy of Sadie Coles HQ, London

Punk might continue to fascinate people today, but its immediate successor – the New Romantic movement, which sprang up in 1978 and flourished until the early 80s – is equally intriguing it seems. Fittingly, given this year’s return of Bowiemania, London gallery Sadie Coles HQ is currently showing artist Nicola Tyson’s photographs of New Romantics at the ‘Bowie nights’ held at gay club Billy’s in Soho in 1978. In our book, 70s Style & Design, we mention how the super-stylised Bowie, along with Roxy Music’s Bryan Ferry, were key influences on the sartorially flamboyant New Romantics – hence the name of this ultra-trendy, seminal Tuesday-nighter, co-hosted by DJ Rusty Egan and Steve Strange.

Unknown and Steve Strange, 1978. Photograph Nicola Tyson, copyright the artist. Courtesy of Sadie Coles HQ, London

Unknown and Steve Strange, 1978. Photograph Nicola Tyson, copyright the artist. Courtesy of Sadie Coles HQ, London

Then came other nocturnal hotspots Club for Heroes (a nod to Bowie’s 1977 album) and Blitz – which still has a following today (check out the fabulous website The Blitz Kids).

Spot the Bowie clone at the Blitz club. Photograph Sheila Rock

Spot the Bowie clone at the Blitz club. Photograph Sheila Rock

New Romantics at Billy's. Photograph Sheila Rock

New Romantics at Billy’s. Photograph Sheila Rock

Yet more evidence of the New Romos’ enduring appeal comes with new book Punk+, which showcases the work of photographer Sheila Rock, who documented many avant-garde subcultures, shops and clubs in the late 70s/early 80s – including the aforementioned Billy’s and Blitz, and influential King’s Road boutique Acme Attractions. As fans ourselves of her work, we included several images of hers in 70s Style & Design. Punk+, published by First Third Books, will launch at London boutique Browns on 25 April, as well as at Rough Trade East on 29 May. For a preview, visit First Third Books.

Jordan inside SEX, 1976. Photograph Sheila Rock

Jordan inside SEX, 1976. Photograph Sheila Rock

Jeanette Lee in Acme Attractions ,1976

Jeanette Lee in Acme Attractions, 1976

The Photons (wearing Seditionaries bondage trousers and parachute tops), 1977. Photograph Sheila Rock

The Photons (wearing Seditionaries bondage trousers and parachute tops), 1977. Photograph Sheila Rock

But back to the Tyson show, which gives a unique insight into the early New Romo subculture, thronged by relatively unknown, aspiring singers, fashion designers and DJs. In our book, we described these hipsters as po-faced poseurs. Of course, there’s plenty of truth in that, particularly as the scene became more established. Blitz regulars cultivated an impressively impassive froideur, already in evidence in Tyson’s pic of Steve Strange, pouting in his shades, diamanté jewellery and studiedly stylish forage cap (the latter channelling Kenzo’s Nehru-inspired 1978 collection). Yet this exhibition suggests we might have to eat our (Stephen Jones) hats: the Bowie nights boys and gals – including George O’Dowd (soon better known as Boy George), Peter Robinson (aka singer Marilyn) and Julia Fodor (DJ Princess Julia) – were an effervescent bunch who didn’t take themselves too seriously. After all, there’s something very playful, even (to quote Peter York in his book Modern Times) ‘babytimer’ about those paintbox-bright dungarees, all that Crazy-Coloured hair. This polychrome style also mirrored that of Acme Attractions (see below), which in the mid-70s touted primary-coloured peg-leg trousers, mohair sweaters and jelly sandals. And Sheila Rock’s picture of the Photons above (whose line-up included Steve Strange before he went on to form Visage), wearing bondage attire from Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s shop Seditionaries, shows that even punk clothing could be exuberantly coloured.

Bowie and proto-punk influences at play at Acme Attractions, circa 1976

Bowie and proto-punk influences at play at Acme Attractions, circa 1976

George O'Dowd (Boy George), Joan, Paul, Andy, and Jane (in yellow), 1978. Photograph Nicola Tyson, copyright the artist. Courtesy of Sadie Coles HQ, London

George O’Dowd (Boy George), Joan, Paul, Andy, and Jane (in yellow), 1978. Photograph Nicola Tyson, copyright the artist. Courtesy of Sadie Coles HQ, London

Julia Fodor (DJ Princess Julia) and George O'Dowd (Boy George),1978. Photograph Nicola Tyson, copyright the artist. Courtesy of Sadie Coles HQ, London

Julia Fodor (DJ Princess Julia) and George O’Dowd (Boy George),1978. Photograph Nicola Tyson, copyright the artist. Courtesy of Sadie Coles HQ, London

Martin Degville (Sigue Sigue Sputnik), 1978. Photograph NIcola Tyson, copyright the artist. Courtesy of Sadie Coles HQ, London

Martin Degville (Sigue Sigue Sputnik), 1978. Photograph NIcola Tyson, copyright the artist. Courtesy of Sadie Coles HQ, London

Tyson was 18 and a student at Chelsea College of Art when she snapped these New Romo antics. And her vibrant pictures tingle with authenticity. As she recalls, ‘By 1978, a new scene was needed to fill the vacuum left after punk went mainstream – and Bowie Night was a start. Roxy and Bowie had influenced the darkly flamboyant aspects of the London punk scene, and so, in opposition to the dumb monochrome cynicism of mainstream punk, each Tuesday anything went at Billy’s, the more theatrical the better.’

Nicola Tyson – Bowie Nights at Billy’s Club, London, 1978, is at Sadie Coles HQ, 9 Balfour Mews, London W1, www.sadiecoles.com.

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It’s Glam! up North – 1970s Glam art, fashion and design celebrated at Tate Liverpool

Sublimely Glam: Candy Darling on her Deathbed, 1974, by Peter Hujar

Sublimely Glam: Candy Darling on her Deathbed, 1974, by Peter Hujar. © The Peter Hujar Archive, LLC; courtesy of Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York

The early 1970s Glam era is the subject of Glam! The Performance of Style, a far-reaching exhibition at Tate Liverpool (from February 8 to May 12), encompassing art, design and fashion. Mention the word Glam and images of meathead lads stomping about on Top of the Pops in incongruously ill-fitting Bacofoil jumpsuits usually flash into our minds. Yet, as Glam! reveals, the looks of Slade, Sweet et al were the commercial fallout of highly sophisticated ideas cultivated by a minority of avant-garde creatives in the US, UK and Europe. And, as the chapter Avant Garde in 70s Style & Design highlights, too, the Glam sensibility was multilayered and deeply rooted in radical social changes shaking up ideas about taste and lifestyles.

Dave Hill of Slade: 1920s posing meets glam rock laddishness, showing the commercial fallout of an avant-garde sensibility

Dave Hill of Slade: 1920s posing meets glam-rock laddishness, showing the commercial fallout of an avant-garde sensibility. Photograph: Jane England

Glam! explores both the roots and multifarious manifestations of the Glam sensibility, from 1971 to 1975. This drew no puritanical distinctions in the arts between fine art and fashion and style. It also celebrated androgyny, a certain camp irony, artifice and – encouraged by the fun-loving, 60s pop movement – flouted conventional, dull ideas about ‘good’ taste, expanding people’s aesthetic horizons by suggesting that kitsch, too, could be stylish.

Typifying this sophisticated sensibility in the mid-70s were the Moodies, a predominantly female group of Reading University art students, whose style is showcased in Glam!, and whose performances blended cabaret, pantomime, Dada and performance art. They also revelled in pastiche and parody, singing cover versions of such pop classics as the Shangri-Las’s Remember (Walking in the Sand).

Performance artists the Moodies ooze art-school, trash-glam sophistication, 1974

Performance artists the Moodies ooze art-school, trash-glam sophistication, 1974. Times Newspapers
Ltd, courtesy Chris Bishop

A major inspiration behind the Glam sensibility were the gay rights and feminist movements of the early 70s, which challenged sexual stereotypes and gave greater visibility to the taste and styles of previously marginalized subcultures.

Art schools also played a huge part: between the early 60s and early 70s, the number of students attending them shot up by 70 per cent, and the worlds of fashion and fine art frequently collided. Artist David Hockney and fashion designer Ossie Clark, who both studied at the Royal College of Art, were friends, and Ossie was the subject of Hockney’s iconic double portrait of 1971-72, Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy (featured in Glam!).

Fashion and art in cahoots: Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy, 1970-1, by David Hockney

Fashion and art in cahoots: Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy, 1970-1, by David Hockney. © David Hockney

Other influences included Susan Sontag’s 60s essay Notes on Camp, which defined camp as ‘a love of artifice’ and as the ultimate ‘metaphor of life as theatre’. Indeed, the Glam spirit rebelled against the 70s’ hippie counterculture, its accompanying back-to-nature movement and earnest quest for authenticity. To the (mainly urban) avant-garde, such authenticity was deluded: what about all those weekend hippies? And where was their sense of humour? Many hippies were also patriarchal in their attitudes – so much for revolutionising society!

One of glam’s chief muses was the deliciously deadpan Andy Warhol, whose entourage included his posse of ‘superstars’, such as transsexual Candy Darling and sassy models Donna Jordan and Pat Cleveland. David Bowie was wowed by Warhol’s early 70s play Pork and its kooky cast of freaks. Another fan was John Waters, whose own actors in his company, Dreamland Films – including drag queen Divine – were oft-compared to Warhol’s coterie.

Elsewhere, the Cockettes, those legendary LSD-taking, cross-dressing, San Francisco-based (and not so po-faced) hippies, also epitomised the Glam sensibility, while in London, the Glam spirit blazed bright at the Alternative Miss World contests organized by artist Andrew Logan. At these camp cavalcades, the eccentric contestants – including film-maker Derek Jarman and fashion designer Rae Spencer Cullen (whose label was called Miss Mouse) – made their surreo-kitsch, often drag-based outfits themselves. In fact, performance and theatre were a key influence on the Glam movement. David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust alter ego was hugely inspired by his teacher, the flamboyant mime guru Lindsay Kemp, after all.

Glamfest: Andrew Logan, founder of the Alternative Miss World Contest (far right), with artists Luciana Martinez and Duggie Fields and fashion designer Zandra Rhodes

Glamfest: Andrew Logan, founder of the Alternative Miss World Contest (far right), with artists Luciana Martinez and Duggie Fields and fashion designer Zandra Rhodes

Derek Jarman as Miss Crêpe Suzette, winner of the Alternative Miss World Contest, 1975

Derek Jarman as Miss Crêpe Suzette, winner of the Alternative Miss World Contest, 1975

Peter Hujar portrait of Cockette John Rothermel, 1973

Peter Hujar portrait of Cockette John Rothermel, 1973. © The Peter Hujar Archive, LLC; courtesy of Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York

Peter Hujar portrait of Cockette Fayette, 1973

Peter Hujar portrait of Cockette Fayette, 1973. © The Peter Hujar Archive, LLC; courtesy of Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York

Peter Hujar portrait of Cockette Sweet Pam, 1973

Peter Hujar portrait of Cockette Sweet Pam, 1973. © The Peter Hujar Archive, LLC; courtesy of Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York

A relatively more mainstream example of Glam was Biba, which, heavily influenced by Art Deco, dripped with old Hollywood glamour. The ultra-camp, über-tailored, 40s and 50s-inspired clothing of avant-garde fashion designer Antony Price – Roxy Music’s costumier – further fuelled the trend.

Glam gloss: fashion designer Antony Price's sophisticated 50s look for Roxy Music's 1973 album, For Your Pleasure

Glam gloss: fashion designer Antony Price’s sophisticated 50s look for Roxy Music’s 1973 album, For Your Pleasure

The exhibition Glam! features work by many of the aforementioned, including Hockney, Jarman and Richard Hamilton. But it also showcases pieces by other artists, such as Duggie Fields, Margaret Harrison, Marc Camille Chaimowicz, Patrick Procktor, Cindy Sherman, as well as lesser-known names: ASCO, Ulay and photographer Peter Hujar.

Take it from Glam! Style can have substance!

 

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David Bowie, where is he now? Everywhere!

Album cover shoot for Aladdin Sane, 1973 Photograph by Brian Duffy © Duffy Archive

We thought there was something in the air when we blogged back in July about Chloë Sevigny channelling a cocktail of vintage, 1970s David Bowie in Miu Miu’s autumn/winter 2012/13 campaign. Well how prescient of Miuccia Prada, because 2013 is turning out to be the year that Mr Bowie fell back to Earth. First there was the release of his first single in ten years, Where Are We Now?, on his birthday this month, with an album, The Next Day, to follow in March. Then there’s the much-awaited David Bowie Is retrospective at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London (from 23 March). He’ll also be getting a look-in at Tate Liverpool’s forthcoming Glam! The Performance of Style exhibition (from 8 February), which celebrates the style and sensibility of the early-70s movement and its influence on fine art and pop culture.

Bowie in a Kansai Yamamoto confection in 1973

Bowie in a Kansai Yamamoto confection in 1973

Bowie was, of course, Glam’s poster boy, zeroing in on the alternative tastes of what was originally an avant-garde subculture – androgyny, artifice, kitsch (for more, see the Avant Garde chapter of 70s Style & Design) – and delivering them to a mainstream audience in the shape of Ziggy Stardust in 1972. Crucial to the Ziggy persona were the stage costumes created by Japanese designer Kansai Yamamoto, who started working with Bowie in 1973, some of which will be appearing in the V&A show.

Bowie in Kansai Yamamoto's Rites of Spring jumpsuit, 1973

Bowie in Kansai Yamamoto’s Rites of Spring jumpsuit, 1973

Yamamoto, Kenzo, Sayoko and co 

Yamamoto was one of a new wave of Japanese designers, including Issey Miyake and Kenzo Takada, taking the fashion scene by storm in the 70s, all of whom feature in 70s Style & Design. Yamamoto opened his own house in 1971 and was renowned for fusing traditional Japanese clothing styles with ultra-pop, Western motifs, while, at his dynamic catwalk shows, his dancing models swirled and hurtled down the runway. One year earlier, Kenzo Takada, founded his label, simply known as Kenzo, and soon after opened his cult Paris boutique Jungle Jap, which boasted murals in the style of painter Henri Rousseau. Miyake trained as a graphic designer in Tokyo, subsequently moving to Paris in the early 70s. All these designers shook up the stuffy world of Parisian fashion with their funky, vibrant fashions.

Grace Jones in Issey Miyake, circa late 70s.

Grace Jones in Issey Miyake, circa late 70s. Photograph: Robyn Beeche

Jerry Hall in Issey Miyake, 1979, as featured in 70s Style & Design

Jerry Hall in Issey Miyake, 1979, as featured in 70s Style & Design. Photograph: Robyn Beeche

Kenzo's folkloric/ Peruvian look, mid-70s

Kenzo’s folkloric/ Peruvian look, mid-70s

Kenzo typically cribbed from a variety of cultures, early 70s

Kenzo typically cribbed from a variety of cultures, early 70s

Kenzo's layered look, 1975

Kenzo’s layered look, 1975

Sayoko in Kansai Yamamoto, circa 1979

Sayoko in Kansai Yamamoto, circa 1979. Photograph: Robyn Beeche

A favourite model of all three designers was the late Sayoko Yamaguchi, who was named by Newsweek as one of the world’s top models in 1977. She was also a catwalk star for many other high-profile designers, including Yves Saint Laurent. Her razor-sharp, jet-black bob, with its low fringe covering her eyebrows, her graphic carmine lips and angular cheekbones were her trademarks. Designers in the 70s increasingly used black and Asian models and Japanese-born Sayoko was at the forefront of this trend.

Artist Duggie Fields, one of the major movers and shakers featured in 70s Style & Design, remembers, ‘I met Sayoko in Paris in the early 70s, and I did her portrait after seeing her again in Tokyo in the 80s. She was Japan’s first international supermodel. I’ve never forgotten the show where she came out alone, followed by ten models wearing variations of her outfit. It was impossible to take one’s eyes off her, such was her presence.’

Duggie Fields's portrait of Sayoko, early 80s

Duggie Fields’s portrait of Sayoko, early 80s

Sayoko immortalised by Antonio Lopez

Sayoko immortalised by Antonio Lopez

Sayoko snapped by Guy Bourdin, wearing what looks like Kansai

Sayoko snapped by Guy Bourdin, wearing what looks like Kansai

Sayoko was the face of Shiseido cosmetics in the 70s

Sayoko was the face of Shiseido cosmetics in the 70s

Sayoko models Miyake in 1979. Photograph: Robyn Beeche

Sayoko models Miyake in 1979. Photograph: Robyn Beeche

After modelling, Sayoko became an actress in Japanese films

After modelling, Sayoko became an actress in Japanese films

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