Tag Archives: i-D

➤ Princess Julia relives the day when 1980 went Boom!

 Daily Mirror, Blitz Kids, New Romantics

The Daily Mirror, 3 March 1980

◼ IT WAS MARCH 1980 WHEN the term Blitz Kids was first used to describe the “weird” and “whacky” young people making waves with their in-flight haircuts at the Tuesday club-night in London’s Blitz wine bar. The cutting here from the Daily Mirror says it all: in those days the left-wing tabloid sold 3.6million copies daily and was still taken seriously for its news coverage, while the Sun was just overtaking those sales figures with a distinctly down-market approach. Newspapers were a mass medium back then.

Using the lively wide-eyed language of the red-tops, Mirror feature writer Christena Appleyard put her finger on exactly those elements of individualism and waywardness that would later the same year see the Blitz Kids renamed the New Romantics. What she completely omits to mention is that four days later the house band of the Blitz, Spandau Ballet, were playing only their fourth live gig in London, at the trendy Scala cinema. In fact, she doesn’t even mention the band alongside Visage and Yellow Magic Orchestra as part of the club’s “electro diskow” synthesised soundtrack.

Appleyard was a savvy writer hearing only one part of a genesis story, yet her headline put the Blitz Kids on the media map and Boom! – this was lift-off for the careers and reputations of about 50 cool clubbers
in the short term, and a whole new look and sound for UK pop culture generally.

Julia Fodor is part of the founding mythology of the Blitz Kids, and tonight in London she was giving an illustrated “audience” to a select crowd in Hoxton. At The Glory pub she was reliving her teen years as mannequin de vie for PX, the New Romantic clothes shop, and as Blitz Club cloakroom girl, who later became a cultural commentator and international club deejay who at her height was being helicoptered into Paris to play at the posey Queen nightclub on the Champs Elysées.

New Romantics, fashion

PX moves into Endell Street in Feb 1980: New Romantic satin gowns, Fauntleroy collars – and Julia. Photographed © by Martin Brading

And Julia’s rise was the norm for those key Blitz Kids with ambition and attitude in 1980. Before that March you could count the media mentions of Steve Strange’s club night: three in the Evening Standard; a page in Tatler; a feature in New Society, the sociology weekly; and a feature about “chiconomy” in the March issue of 19, the teen magazine.

Then Boom! The Blitz Kids headline triggered a small rash of media outbreaks as two perceptive photographers visited the club to take pictures – Homer Sykes and Derek Ridgers – while student journalist Perry Haines featured his Blitz pals in the Evening Standard fashion pages. What put Spandau Ballet on the map, however, were reports in the Standard, the Daily Star and Record Mirror of their electrifying concert, complete with ornamental Blitz Kids dancing in the aisles to a whole new style of music-making – theatrical, romantic, fashion-conscious and danceable – that resulted in a second Scala concert being scheduled for May.

Reading about the Blitz phenomenon had intrigued a young researcher on Janet Street-Porter’s yoof documentary slot, 20th Century Box, at London Weekend Television which then commissioned the May replay for their cameras. In the meantime one alert talent scout at Chrysalis Records also wanted to hear the band’s music. The next few months saw the Blitz Kids start to gobble up column inches and enliven the odd TV strand, while the two coolest magazines of the decade, The Face and i-D, were launched specifically to report this burgeoning youth culture based on street style.

Spandau landed the first contract for a New Romantic band in October, while Visage released its first album in November after signing to Polydor, and the Romantic band-wagon was under way. By Christmas 1981 the sound of the UK pop charts had been transformed completely from rock guitars to bass and drum.

❏ Tonight and for two more Mondays, An Audience with Princess Julia celebrates London’s glorious counter-culture with extracts from her own memoirs supported by visuals by her friend, deejay and face about the club scene Jeffrey Hinton. Tonight Professor Iain Webb also participates, with bespoke accessoriser Judy Blame on Nov 16 and milliner Stephen Jones OBE on Nov 23 – all at The Glory, London E2 8AS.
➢ Tickets available only in advance via Ticketweb


Blitz Kids, Ryan Lo, fashion, Princess Julia

Julia talks: adorned in a kind of Baby Jane pink ruffled nightie by Ryan Lo, from his SS16 collection, with cap of roses (inset, being snapped by Louie Banks)

Click any pic below to launch slideshow


➤ Britain’s top hatter, Stephen Jones OBE, celebrates 30 years of Jonesmanship

On Facebook today Stephen Jones writes:

“7pm, 1st Oct 1980, 30 years ago today, I opened my first
hat salon in Covent Garden, with the fabulous Kim Bowen and the super talented Lee Sheldrick (R.I.P). Thank you all, it’s been an amazing adventure! Xs”

Lee Sheldrick, Kim Bowen, Stephen Jones, PX shop

The first Jones salon: star rebels from St Martin’s Lee Sheldrick assisting and Kim Bowen modelling at Stephen Jones’s boutique in PX, October 1980

❚ FROM 1978 HELEN ROBINSON HAD MADE HER SHOP PX the flagship for New Romantic ready-to-wear in James Street, Covent Garden, all velvet suits, Robin Hood jackets and hippy frills. In February, 1980, it moved a few yards round the corner to bigger premises in Endell Street. Since his graduation from St Martin’s in 1979, Stephen Jones’s uncompromising hats had made the perfect accessories for the excesses of PX so Robinson and partner Stephane Raynor made space in the basement for Jones’s own hat salon. He says: “To get the finance I sold my car, an ex-GPO mini-van, for £150, and that’s how I started the business.” Blitz club-host Steve Strange was a regular customer. Inevitably, the whole place became a social centre for fellow Blitz Kids, the clubbing fashionistas who were by then regular faces in fashion pages and gossip columns. Stephen’s wittily titled “First Collection” was previewed on October 1 and commissions came in from the New Romantic pop groups Visage and Spandau Ballet who were releasing debut records that autumn, from Grace Jones and, later, Boy George.

Stephen Jones ,millinery, Kim Bowen, Peter Ashworth

Stephen Jones and Kim Bowen, dressed by PX, topped out by Jones, 1979: business card for the milliner and his mannequin de vie. Photographed © by Peter Ashworth

Stephen Jones, Culture Club, music video, J-P Gaultier

“Very Tangiers in Paul Bowles’s 1950s”: In Culture Club’s first video, 1982, Jones wears the fez that caught J-P Gaultier’s eye. Also a pale blue zoot-suit from Flip, and correspondent shoes in black and pale blue

With the dawn of the 1980s, Britain’s outlandish street styles drew the attention of the world’s leading fashion tastemakers who had to start taking London Fashion Week seriously, to the benefit of a new generation of designers and established names alike. The sheer wit and chutzpah of Stephen Jones millinery played brilliantly to both marketplaces and with Diana Spencer’s marriage to the Prince of Wales the Princess became an international icon for classic British elegance, and a huge fan of the quixotic Jones look. Though he says now that he never drew up a career plan, he did enjoy one lucky break after another: “I had a phone call one day from Vogue who were coordinating a wardrobe for the Princess of Wales and I made quite a few hats for her early on.”

Culture Club’s phenomenal global appeal also established Boy George as Britain’s alternative fashion icon. In another stroke of fate, Jones says that it was his red fez worn while sitting in the audience during Culture Club’s first video, Do You Really Want To Hurt Me (filmed in Soho’s Gargoyle club in 1982), that caught the attention of the French designer Jean-Paul Gaultier. Two years later Jones went to design hats in Paris for Gaultier who was building his own reputation as an enfant terrible. He says now: “Working in Paris then was slightly akin to sleeping with the enemy, and I got gyp from the British Fashion Council who didn’t approve.”

Julia Fodor, Princess Diana, Stephen Jones, hats

Early Jones creations: modelled by Julia Fodor, by appointment to Princess Di

Jones’s familiar bald dome came about after he shaved his head as a crazy gesture, only to discover that it was the same size as the average milliner’s model, which is normally a wooden block, and ever since he has played the role of his own hat mould. Jones’s favourite show was his first for another designer, Zandra Rhodes in 1981. “It was huge — extravagant production, hundreds of models, over the top make-up, vertiginous shoes, tantrums, tears. I loved it.”

His reputation soared in the early days on the coat-tails of such provocateurs as Vivienne Westwood, Claude Montana and Thierry Mugler. When in 1996, the younger St Martin’s superstar, John Galliano, crossed the Channel to design for Christian Dior, the fashion world was amazed. Within minutes, he had invited Jones to join his team and be the milliner at Dior. As Galliano’s dreams became the stuff of legend, his runway shows became ever more spectacular, while the Jones confections reached new heights of extravagance.

Stephen Jones, hats, Peter Ashworth

Jones creations from 2002, photographed © by Peter Ashworth

Jones declares: “Just as accents in language lead to the correct reading and rhythm of a text, my hats add the appropriate punctuation to a designer’s fashion statement.”

Today style-icons crave to wear Jones — think of Gwen Stefani, Beyonce Knowles, Kylie Minogue, Alison Goldfrapp — while yet more of the world’s cutting-edge designers commission his creations to enhance their collections. Today they include Rei Kawakubo, Comme des Garcons, Azzedine Alaïa, Loewe, Giles Deacon, Kinder, Issa, Donna Karan, Jason Wu, L’Wren Scott and Marc Jacobs. Back at his Georgian London boutique a few doors along from the former Blitz club, Jones also designs the Miss Jones and JonesBoy diffusion ranges in addition to his Model Millinery collection. “My British milliners are the best in the world,” he maintains. “The hat is a certain British thing that people do love wearing.”

Stephen Jones, hatmaker,Madonna, Madonna, millinery, MoMu, V&A

Then and now: Stephen Jones enlists as a student at St Martin’s 1976, and curates a show of landmark designs at the V&A museum 2009. Union Jack top-hat photographed © by Justine

Last year London’s Victoria & Albert Museum staged a huge exhibition entitled Hats, An Anthology by Stephen Jones, which attracted 100,000 visitors and has since set off on a world tour. This summer he has been working on Sex and the City 2, and told Vogue.com that he had been recruited by Madonna for her latest film, W.E., based on the life of King Edward VIII (played by James D’Arcy) who in 1936 gave up his throne for the American Wallis Simpson (played by Andrea Riseborough). “Madonna is directing it and she asked me to do the hats. Somehow I’ve ended up starring in it, too.”

This autumn Antwerp’s Mode Museum (MoMu) is hosting a solo exhibition of 120 hats, Stephen Jones & The Accent of Fashion (Sept 8-Feb 13, 2011), plus his work in film, music and photography. He explains the magic of the titfer: “A hat makes clothing identifiable, dramatic – and most important, Fashion … It’s the dot on the i, the exclamation mark, the fashion focus. Everyone from showgirls to dictators knows that by wearing a hat they will be the centre of attention.”

The crowning glory for 30 years of dotting the i’s came this spring when Her Maj the Queen recognised the mad hatter’s achievements by appointing him to the Order of the British Empire. Hats off to the Age of Jonesmanship!

MoMu, Fashion Museum, Antwerp, Stephen Jones, The Accent of Fashion

MoMu Fashion Museum Antwerp: Stephen Jones & The Accent of Fashion photographed © by Frederik Vercruysse

VIEW an i-D video at the Antwerp show in which Jones declares:

“At school science was my best subject. Millinery combines physics and art together in a weird mix — you can’t have one without the other.”

Detailed interview with Stephen Jones in Antwerp for the Independent

 Stephen Jones

His sobriquet fulfilled by photographer Annie Leibovitz: Stephen Jones as the Mad Hatter in The Mad Tea Party (detail), one of a series of Alice in Wonderland tableaux shot for American Vogue, December 2004

Showstudio has intelligent backgrounders from Jones’s V&A anthology

Stephen Jones, interview, Showstudio, Alex Fury
❚ UPDATE — STEPHEN JONES DISCREETLY MENTIONS A CHARMING, frank, gossipy and self-effacing interview with him which has just popped up on Showstudio (despite being dated May) and, as if by telepathy, addresses many questions begged by the brief Shapers outline above! “Steve Strange was, apart from my Mum, my first paying customer” … “I appear to have reinvented the world of millinery but I didn’t have a grand purpose like that at the beginning. I just wanted to go to a great party.” Who is this perceptive young interviewer Alex Fury? With a name like that he will go far.
➢ Video: Stephen Jones interviewed for Showstudio

Stephen Jones, David Holah, Blitz Kids, New Romantics,

New Romantics cutting loose, 1981: Stephen Jones in PX’s definitive Little Lord Fauntleroy outfit jives with designer David Holah who went on to co-found the BodyMap empire. Photograph © by Alan Davidson


2010 ➤ Index of posts for July-Aug

Kylie Minogue, Heaven,London,live,All The Lovers

All The Lovers, live: photograph © Christie Goodwin

➢ A big wink to i-D on its 30th birthday

➢ For one year only, £75m deal reunites Take That dormice with mega-millionaire Robbie Williams

➢ Kylie dazzles London with laser-love

➢ Cheers to Peter and Chris – two nice unassuming radio listeners (among the many) who clinched the rescue of 6Music

➢ Vince Clarke on how to make the perfect pop song

Save 6Music, 6Music, BBC, demonstration, Alison Gibbs

Too, too British: Save 6Music demonstrators outside Broadcasting House. Picture © Alison Gibbs


➤ A big wink to i-D on its 30th birthday

i-d magazine,covers,30th anniversary, Then Now Next

Launched August 1980: who’d have guessed that 72 covers and almost as many winkers later the magazine would have arrived at the end of its first decade?

❚ A MONTH AFTER i-D MAG’S LAUNCH in August 1980, cub-editor Perry Haines was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, fresh from the St Martin’s fashion journalism course. Armed with such axioms as “Pitch and stitch dance hand in hand”, he was launching his club night at Gossip’s in Soho, calling it the i-D Sink or Swim night, admission £2.50. “We play 100mph dance music,” he said, meaning sounds like James White and the Blacks. “People are waiting for something to run with. They’re at the starting blocks.” Shapersofthe80s was there like a shot.

Launched as a quarterly in A4 fanzine format, economically printed in black-and-white and stapled, i-D was soon dubbed the UK “manual of style” for inventing the so-called straight-up more or less on the hoof: kids were photographed full-length, as and where they were found on the streets of Britain, then captioned down to the last thrift-shop nappy pin. Today editor-in-chief Terry Jones celebrates identity as the theme that has sustained his unique mag for three decades by turning the 30th birthday pre-fall issue of i-D over to the talented photographer Nick Knight, who was appointed an OBE in the most recent Queen’s birthday honours. It is one stunning run of superb black-and-white portraits of 200 people the mag believes are brainy, beautiful and downright gorgeous — from The xx, Phoebe Philo, Sir Paul Smith, Florence Welch to a rude Cerith Wyn Evans and a raunchy Vivienne Westwood, both enjoying their age disgracefully, plus three alternative cover stars epitomising this issue’s title of Then, Now and Next, Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell and Lady Gaga.

The key question is: How many of i-D’s 100 People of the 80s from Knight’s fifth anniversary shoot have made it into the 20-tens?! Uh-oh, only 12 found so far. Still counting.

Nick Knight, i-D 30th anniversary, Then Now Next

Nick Knight, then and now, separated by 25 years: captured by yours truly during his first shoot for i-D, titled People of the 80s, on the magazine’s fifth anniversary ... right, this year’s self-portrait as one of the world’s most innovative fashion photographers, taken for i-D’s 30th anniversary issue which he also art directs. Photographs © Shapersofthe80s and Nick Knight


2010 ➤ Lady Gaga spices up i-D’s 30th birthday

❚ A LIGHTNING-FAST PHOTOSHOOT with Lady Gaga (above) was previewed before Christmas at Showstudio, the showcase website directed since 2000 by Nick Knight. Today Knight ranks among the world’s most original fashion photographers, but his association with i-D, launched as a street-style magazine in 1980, goes back to its earliest days. On i-D’s fifth birthday he photographed 100 “People of the 80s” (➢➢ link below) who had all appeared in the magazine’s formative issues.

During December 2009, as part of his Fashion Revolution exhibition at London’s Somerset House, Knight photographed a further 100 of London’s current creative leaders — including models, actors, musicians, artists and Lady Gaga — in the space of 20 days.

Nick Knight, People of the 80s, i-D fifth anniversary,

The snapper snapped: Nick Knight caught framing up yours truly during the i-D shoot, June 6, 1985. Photographed © by Shapersofthe80s

Knight says: “We started saying that we were going to do five portraits a day, so we did five one the first day and we thought it felt too easy. So we pushed it to 10, it felt reasonable, but then we sort of let things happen and we were looking at 20 a day!”

The 100 portraits are slated for inclusion in i-D’s 30th anniversary issue later this year, with video portraits captured from each of the sitters viewable on Showstudio in the weeks before publication.

➢➢ For more pix and the full monty on i-D’s metamorphosis from stapled fanzine to international fashion glossy, read on here…