Tag Archives: Iain R Webb

➤ After Anna’s drenching, Gaultier leads the world’s fashionistas for more ice-bucket madness

ALS charity,ANNA WINTOUR, VIDEO,Ice Bucket Challenge,Dominic West,  Roger Federer,Vogue,

There goes her bob: editor Anna Wintour gets dowsed. Click pic to view video at Vogue

◼ WHO WOULD HAVE PREDICTED the stern-faced Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour would have played ball with the #icebucketchallenge sweeping America to raise funds for the ALS charity? Well, having been dared to get freezing-wet by her daughter Bee Shaffer, here’s the proof that Anna and her immaculately coiffed bob are good sports. The big question: Will the wet look make it to the September issue?

➢ Click to see Anna Wintour accept the
ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Following the rules of the challenge, La Wintour obligingly nominated Roger Federer, tennis champion, and Dominic West, star of the TV drama series The Wire, to get themselves dowsed within 24 hours.

However, before either of them could muster enough supermarket ice-cubes, zat crazee Froggy, Jean Paul Gaultier, led the charge for the international brigade of couturiers. (So far fashion had been represented only by models such as Cara Delevingne and Suki Waterhouse.) Here is JP being given the big freeze by some handpicked hunk in speedos…

MEANWHILE BACK ON THE FASHION RUNWAY

❏ Fabulous fashion footnote: You have until Monday 25 August to catch the extraordinary and witty retrospective of JPG’s madcap couture creations in The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier at London’s Barbican Art Gallery: 165 cutting-edge garments that boggle the imagination, up close and theatrically displayed in a touring exhibition from the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

➢ Previously at Shapers of the 80s: Gaultier celebration trumps all else in London this summer

Fashion , Jean Paul Gaultier, Sidewalk to the Catwalk London, Barbican Art Gallery, exhibition, Eurotrash, reviews,

No, not JPG himself sporting a mink Marinière, and greeting us in English and French. This is one of many custom-made mannequins at London’s Barbican exhibition, brought flirtatiously to audio-visual life by the UBU/Compagnie de création of Montreal and Jolicoeur International of Quebec. Photographed by Shapersofthe80s

➢ Jean Paul Gaultier’s take on Sade’s style

Iain R Webb,fanzine,Jean Paul Gaultier, fashion,

Fan and hero: Iain R Webb and JP Gaultier

➢ British fashion guru Iain R Webb recently gave a guided tour of the Gaultier show in London – To prepare for the talk, he constructed a scrapbook of his friendship with JP Gaultier preferring to call it a fanzine. You can view it at his blog Hopeandglitter.

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1980 ➤ Club to Catwalk: when fashion became an arena for all the arts

V&A ,fashion,Club to Catwalk , Bodymap, Scarlett Cannon, Monica Curtin,

Monica Curtin’s 1985 pic of Scarlett Cannon as “key identity” for the V&A Club to Catwalk show… Outfit by Bodymap’s AW 1984 collection, Cat in the hat takes a rumble with a techno fish. Stylist John Derry-Bunce. Background painting Simon Josebury. Hair and makeup Jalle Bakke

❚ “FASHION???” SCOFFED THE FASHION EDITOR of a leading women’s magazine who shared my flat in 1980, after meeting one of the more ornamental Blitz Kids over our breakfast table. “Those aren’t even clothes!” Yet within five years she was as keen as every other editor to be featuring Bodymap, Galliano, Jones, Auburn, Hogg, Hamnett, Bernstock Speirs et al. Scroll forward 30 years and London’s world-beating decorative arts museum, the V&A, weighs in with a necessary exhibition reappraising the UK’s style revolution of the 80s. What’s coming under scrutiny in its dedicated fashion galleries are the unique silhouettes of that extravagant shape-shifting decade and the clubland forces that moulded them. Only two weeks to go before Club to Catwalk, London Fashion in the 1980s, and there’s one crucial tipping point at its heart: the moment fashion became style.

Let’s hand over to fashion guru Iain R Webb, one of the central figures who defined his generation and whose impressive book As Seen in Blitz was published last month. Here’s a taste of the mighty personal essay he has written for the summer issue of the V&A Magazine…

V&A Magazine summer issue: the 80s deconstructed by Iain R Webb

V&A Magazine summer issue: the 80s deconstructed by Iain R Webb

Webb writes: “ The 1980s were all about being photographed. We dressed as if every day were a photo shoot and every night a party (it usually was). But there was another revolution happening.

The advent of the stylist who approached fashion as an artistic construct was something new. Alongside the contributors to BLITZ, The Face and i-D (Ray Petri, Judy Blame, Caroline Baker, Helen Roberts, Beth Summers, Simon Foxton, Mitzi Lorenz, Maxine Siwan and Caryn Franklin among them) were two thought-provoking arbiters whose importance is often overlooked. Michael Roberts at Tatler and Amanda Grieve at Harper’s and Queen added a subversive edge to their respective glossy titles. Roberts poking fun at old-school mores while Grieve (later Harlech) befriended St Martin’s graduate John Galliano and helped create the romantic whirlwind that shaped fashion for decades to follow.

Club to Catwalk, exhibition, London, Fashion,1980s, V&AThe images produced by all these stylists merged fashion and art, questioned the accepted ideals of beauty and social status and enjoyed a sense of experimentation. Their vanguard imagery often highlighted specific issues such as the superficiality of fashion and consumerism with humour.

“At that time there was a group of stylists who were as creative as the designers, if not more so,” remembers PR Lynne Franks, who represented Bodymap, Katharine Hamnett and Wendy Dagworthy. “It prompted the question: What came first, the styling or the clothes? It was very spontaneous, like playing dress-up.”

Stefano Tonchi, editor of W magazine, then editor of Westuff, an alternative style periodical published in Florence, says: “Fashion was no longer fashionable. Style was used to describe many areas of the creative arts that came together. It made for a new category. Music dictated a lot of the emerging trends and there was experimentation in both photography and graphic design, but fashion was where these exciting changes were most evident. Think of the Bodymap fashion shows, they weren’t just about the clothes but involved music, graphic design and theatre… ”


➢ Revolt into Style Revisited: continued at Webb’s blog

V&A ,fashion,Club to Catwalk , Bodymap, Scarlett Cannon, Monica Curtin,

Showing in Club to Catwalk: Cotton dress by Willy Brown, 1980… Fallen Angel suit
 by John Galliano,
1985. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

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➤ Webb’s flipside of the 80s fashion revolution as seen last night at the ICA

Cover girl: Scarlett Cannon at last night’s book launch . . . and covered in 1985 by photographer David Hiscock, scarfed by Hermès

CLICK ANY PIC TO LAUNCH CAROUSEL:


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❚ LAST NIGHT DIEHARD 80s FASHIONISTAS celebrated the launch of an elegant hardback with far greater ambitions than most coffee-table photobooks. It’s a glorious personal CV posing as one man’s record of five energetic years. It doesn’t quite knock the sensationalist Casanova off his perch as the master memoirist, but Iain R Webb’s chutzpah certainly takes your breath away.

As Seen in BLITZ, Fashioning ’80s Style is among the most unabashed, single-minded, focused works of diarism you are likely to have read. In capturing his output as a fashion journalist, this book aspires to present social history expressed through fashion. He brings a new twist to the well-tried technique of oral history, because the 100+ collaborators who contribute to this book are constantly telling the author how marvellous he is, but in the second-person singular. They are talking to “you”, meaning “me”, the author whose name appears on the cover, Iain R Webb.

Its 272 pages record a series of testimonials: “You pulled so many creative people round you” … “We did it because you asked us to” … “You jump-started my career as a photographer” … “You were one of our earliest supporters” … “You had different ways of shooting things” … “You were doing the opposite of high fashion and glamour” … “You showed me a life that was different” … “You were so beautiful and excitingly aloof” … “I would have done anything you asked” … “You were the person who ––”.

There is no place in Webb’s memoir for Eng Lit’s Unreliable Narrator, or for self-doubt or inner struggle. His worldview is confirmed at every turn. Assertion is all: The 80s – we did it my way. We, the readers, are soon rocking on our heels at the sheer brass-necked cheek of it all!

Having said which, consider the credentials of everyone involved. They amount to a Who’s Who of the fashion shapers of the 80s: Jasper Conran, John Galliano, Jean Paul Gaultier, Katharine Hamnett, Marc Jacobs, Stephen Jones, Calvin Klein, Barry Kamen, Baillie Walsh, Martine Sitbon, Princess Julia, Nick Knight, David LaChapelle and many more.

Iain R Webb, fashion,photography, books

The author last night: Iain R Webb signing his book with lavish tributes to his former colleagues

We’ve heard enough about George O’Dowd’s tawdry version of events. Finally we have a much-needed corrective view of the youth cultural revolution that fired up the Swinging 80s. As Seen in BLITZ celebrates Webb’s own unique take on the decade of egotism through the pages he produced. We hear the voices of his co-stars – the photographers, designers, models and stylists who supported him as a lynchpin fashion editor – all dissecting the nuances of their subversive visions.

The whole momentum of post-punk street style during the decade’s dawn, 1980-83, is what drew the eyes of the world’s fashion industries back to Britain and put London Fashion Week on the agenda of every serious commentator twice a year.

While studying fashion design at St Martin’s, Webb was at the centre of London’s nightlife crowd at the now-legendary club called the Blitz – very much one of the 20 key Blitz Kids, as the media tagged them. He rightly claims: “At the dawn of a hedonistic club scene that saw the birth of the New Romantics … on the pages of Blitz, The Face and i-D, a new breed of young iconoclasts hoped to inspire revolution.” These were three new magazines, soon dubbed “style bibles”, which gave journalistic expression to the fertile innovations in UK pop culture and defined the era.

Blitz was a desultory magazine, almost entirely devoid of character in its early years. It was launched in 1980 with a title that its owner says seemed “catchy”, utterly oblivious to the pivotal club-night of the same name and the precocious youth-quake putting London back at the centre of the pop universe. It took until about 1983 for Webb to recognise the gap in the market for radical and purposeful fashion journalism and to infiltrate Blitz, the magazine.

Iain R Webb, As Seen in BLITZ, fashion, books, photography

Webb’s ICA launch: the author sets the style for the evening. After Godot, out of skip? I stand corrected: After Wild Boys, out of Burroughs

Webb beavered his way up to becoming its fashion editor from Feb 1985 to August 1987 and was often given 20 pages a month to be filled with his “singular vision if they were to be taken seriously”. Webb’s USP was an “ongoing love/hate relationship with the fashion industry. It was not about selling a look, it was about saying something”. He expressed his ethos on a T-shirt in a 1986 photo shoot: “We’re Not Here to Sell Clothes”. When he was headhunted to join the London Evening Standard in 1987, his shoes at Blitz were filled by Kim Bowen, Queen Bee of the Blitz Kids, herself the wildest child in the club.

Webb’s purpose, he writes, “has always been to inspire or provoke, engage or enrage” and his images “manipulated fashion to explore ideas of transformation, beauty, glamour and sex”. His book brims with attitude and evidence that the fashion world did indeed tilt slightly on its axis during the 80s – as eye-witness accounts confirm in entertaining archive interviews.

How does an author cap all this? At his launch party last night at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, the savviest fashion editor of his day sported an awkward grey suit, and a battered pair of lucky suede shoes, every inch Beckett’s absurd tramps waiting for Godot, looking to all the world as if he’d spent the night in a skip. Anti-fashion to a T. Who’d have thought Webb had once held plumb posts at Harpers & Queen, The Times and Elle? And won the Fashion Journalist of The Year Award in both 1995 and 1996. And remains Professor of Fashion at the RCA and Central Saint Martins!

Iain R Webb, As Seen in BLITZ, fashion, books, photography

As Seen in BLITZ, 1986: classic Hermès scarves redeployed as boxer shorts and tailored jacket. Model Barry Kamen says says the female model’s attitude is so Webb, so BLITZ

❚ THIS BEAUTIFUL PHOTOBOOK, As Seen in BLITZ, precipitates a weekend of events at London’s ICA. Today there is a pop-up show in the ICA Theatre curated by the author Iain R Webb to display his own highly confessional memorabilia, plus a series of talks with special guests, film screenings.

In the darkened theatre only the 80s ephemera are visible as you enter: an array of toplit boxes on tables, containing notebooks, diary pages, sketches and name-droppy correspondence. These relics of a career lie in plain wooden showcases – “vitrines” would be an overstatement – more like pauper’s coffins. They amount to a novel kind of runway show of “my creations”. On one sheet of paper, Webb outlines his vision as fashion editor of Blitz, explaining London’s appeal: “The young English inherit a fight-back spirit, whilst the old fall sleepily into a heritage of traditional and quality goods … Of late the two have begun to merge, and the results have ensured the envy of the rest of the world.” Another note identifies the icing on a girl’s wardrobe as “an abundance of dishevelled accessorising – 1985 is a time to be ALIVE”.

➢ Webb’s As Seen in BLITZ discounted from £35 to £21

➢ The Victoria & Albert Museum exhibition Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s runs from July 10, 2013 to Feb 16, 2014

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➤ Bowie at V&A: more than a rock star, Bowie reveals the process of art and design

David Bowie ,V&A exhibition, Davie Jones, Manish Boys, 1960s,Denmark Street, Tin Pan Alley,joesalama,YouTube

The first room at the V&A exhibition gives this glimpse of a pre-Bowie Davie Jones, aged 18, possibly filmed in Tin Pan Alley, London, in 1965… Click on pic to read the full story by Shapersofthe80s and view the home movie discovered in 2011

➢ 1965, Teenage Bowie flashes priceless smile to an amateur cine camera – read how the clip was found

V&A, review,exhibition, Geoffrey Marsh, David Bowie Is,

The V&A’s new exhibition David Bowie Is: “a grand stage for an inspirational artist who reshaped a generation”

MAR 20: PROFESSOR OF FASHION IAIN R WEBB
ON THE OPENING PARTY

❏ Just spent a blissed out evening at the V&A David Bowie is exhibition. It blew my mind! It is indeed a remarkable show… and to see all those pretty things that I’ve looked at in photos over and over again over the years is something akin to a religious experience… Not only is the clever curation of memorabilia and associated artefacts an inspiration (a lipstick stained tissue anyone?) but I got to personally thank both Mr Mick Rock and Mr Kansai Yamamoto for their wondrous workloads that helped transport me from village idiot to le freak! As the post-show party relocated from the V&A museum to The Rembrandt hotel across the road, the assembled fashion freaks, who also included fashion writer Judith Watt and costume designer Fiona Dealey, went crazy when Mr Yamamoto, who was responsible for many of Bowie’s flamboyant stage designs, entered. The fervour that greeted the legendary designer was akin to the Bowie-mania witnessed earlier in the evening when guests queued around the block to attend the private view.

➢ A great read about a great show – Sarah Crompton in the Telegraph, March 18:

In the opening room of the V&A’s new exhibition David Bowie Is, there is a four-second clip of film of a 17-year-old Bowie striding through the streets of Soho. The sun is shining, and as he catches sight of the camera he turns his bright blond head and smiles before vanishing from sight. The film was found on an old Super 8 camera. The amateur cameraman had been filming his wife in the Soho sunlight; it was quite by chance that he caught the nascent superstar. What is extraordinary is how, even then, Bowie behaves like the idol he was to become. If a camera is running, it must want to catch him in its lens. The mystery of David Bowie, the confidence that inspired a quiet boy from Bromley to become one of the most significant artists of his generation, hangs quietly over this entire show…

Geoffrey Marsh, a co-curator, says he is the first musical figure to be examined on such a scale: “This museum was set up to show how art and design work, to reveal the process. Although there have been a huge number of books about Bowie, they are by rock journalists and may not be of interest to the general public. The reason he is interesting is that he is more than a rock star”…

All the exhibits, presented using cutting-edge technology by – among others – the team behind the video projection at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, add to that sense of a fertile intelligence, changing constantly, shaping the world. You can see how firmly Bowie was in charge of everything he did.

The sheer grandeur [of the final room] brought tears to my eyes. I felt as I felt when I first saw Bowie live – simply glad to be in the same building as a man who could make music like this… / Full review at Telegraph online

➢ David Bowie is a retrospective exhibition of 300 possessions drawn from Bowie’s personal archive displayed at London’s Victoria & Albert museum, March 23–Aug 11.

David Bowie, NYC,The Next Day,Jimmy King, album charts,

Snowy Bowie, March 20: The Next Day debuts at #1 on charts in 12 countries and tops iTunes charts in 60. This week’s photo by Jimmy King

➢ Bowie is Go! Taster reviews for this week’s record-breaking V&A exhibition

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2013 ➤ Bowie is Go! Tasters for this week’s record-breaking V&A exhibition

+++V&A video trailer for the new exhibition, David Bowie is

➢ David Bowie is the enigmatic title of a retrospective exhibition of 300 possessions drawn from Bowie’s personal archive displayed at London’s Victoria & Albert museum, March 23–Aug 11. Appropriately, this week his first album in ten years, The Next Day, sits at No 1 in the Official UK Album Chart. It’s his ninth UK No 1 album (though spookily neither of his recent singles releases is anywhere near the singles chart). Before the V&A show launches, ticket sales exceed 42,000, more than double the advance sales of previous exhibitions at the museum. A few tickets are still available by booking online, in person in Kensington, or by phone +44 (0)20 7907 7073.

FROM THE BOWIE COMMENTARIAT

➢ David Bowie, the Return – Tony Parsons, Miranda Sawyer and La Roux’s Elly Jackson discuss Bowie’s music and influence for Radio 4’s Front Row (broadcast March 7, available on iPlayer for a year). Presenter John Wilson is guided through the V&A exhibits by the show’s curators Victoria Broackes and Geoffrey Marsh.

David Bowie, V&A exhibition, White Cloth Gallery, Leeds

Brian Duffy’s photography for the Lodger album sleeve 1979. © The Duffy Archive Limited

➢ The Duffy Collection of iconic Bowie images – which include three of his most famous album covers – goes on display May 2–June 4 at the White Cloth Gallery in Leeds LS1 4HT. The show documents Duffy’s special relationship with Bowie over ten years.

➢ A cryptic guide to the typography of Bowie – The V&A exhibition catalogue dissected by Gavin Lucas at Creative Review, 4 March 2013:

Jon Abbott at graphic design studio Barnbrook said of the book David Bowie Is: “We wanted to create an engaging pop-object for an audience who have come to expect the unconventional” … The book’s body typeface, Priori Serif, is one from Jonathan Barnbrook’s own foundry, Virus Fonts. Drawn by Jonathan Barnbrook and Marcus Leis Allion, the typeface was influenced by British typographers Gill and Johnston, and fittingly it found one of its first outings on the cover of Bowie’s 2002 album, Heathen … / Continued at Creative Review

Celia Philo,Brian Duffy,David Bowie, V&A exhibition,

One of the rejected cover shots for the Aladdin Sane album taken by photographer Brian Duffy in 1973. © The Duffy Archive Limited

➢ The day that lightning struck Aladdin – In 1973, Celia Philo directed the photo shoot for David Bowie’s album Aladdin Sane. The result was one of the most iconic images ever created. She talks to Stylist magazine, 2013:

Sometimes, when you’re doing something that you know is going to be good, it’s because it’s come from an extreme end of the spectrum of experience: either it’s incredibly hard work, or it comes together almost effortlessly. The photographic shoot for the cover of Aladdin Sane happened like magic. Its success was the result of a lucky collaboration of people … / Celia Philo, continued at Stylist

David Bowie, V&A exhibition,Lower Third,Swinging 60s,

Setting out as Swinging 60s Mod: Bowie promo shot in 1966 for his first single on Pye, Can’t Help Thinking About Me, with his band The Lower Third which included producer Tony Hatch on piano. The NME decided: “Absorbing melody, weakish tune”

➢ Iain R Webb: How David Bowie liberated my wardrobe – As a 14-year-old boy living in a West Country village, Webb, the former Blitz Kid and fashion editor and now RCA professor, thought David Bowie’s style statements were a gift. And so have generations of fashion designers. Read feature in The Independent, March 16, 2013:

Bowie’s influence on my life has been major, from the fundamental desire to never be labelled or pigeonholed to my profound love of glitter and penchant for a spikey haircut. And I am not alone … / Iain R Webb, continued at The Independent

➢ Glam! The Performance of Style (Feb 8–May 12) is a seriously well-curated multi-media show at Tate Liverpool surveying the 1971–75 phenomenon on both sides of the Atlantic, across the whole spectrum of painting, sculpture, installation art, film, photography and performance. The in-depth survey comes in two halves, drawing a clear distinction between the playful subversion of pop music and fashion that characterised the British glam wave, and the American, which was driven much more profoundly by gender politics. Well worth a daytrip to Liverpool.

➢ 1970, Where to draw a line between glitter and glam: naff blokes in Bacofoil versus starmen with pretensions — analysis by Shapersofthe80s.

➢ How Glam Changed Britain, by Gary Kemp – feature written by the Spandau Ballet songwriter for The Times, Jan 28, 2013.

♫ EXPLORING BOWIE’S MUSIC

David Bowie, V&A exhibition, ,Berlin,Tony Visconti, Hansa Studios

Berlin 1976: Bowie with moustache, Tony Visconti and assistant engineer, Edu Meyer, taken in the control room of Hansa Studios by Meyer’s wife, Barbara

♫ BBC Radio 6Music celebrates the life and work of David Bowie throughout Easter week, March 25–31. Gems from the archive feature concerts and interviews which have not been heard in 30 years.

♫ 2013, Shock and awe verdicts – Shapersofthe80s rounds up critical opinion on Bowie’s born-again single Where Are We Now? and the masterful new album The Next Day – “beautiful, obsessive and deliciously cruel”.

♫ News of special vinyl release at Bowie’s website – His second 2013 single, The Stars, is scheduled for a limited edition vinyl 7inch 45 Record Store Day release on April 20. Backed with Where Are We Now?


❏ Music video for the 1979 song DJ (above) sees Bowie sporting a pink onesie dungaree outfit designed by Willy Brown and walking through London streets being snogged by fans, both boys and girls.

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