Tag Archives: Nick Knight

➤ The makings of Scarlett, a perfect muse for the Eighties

DuoVision , Scarlett Woman, Photography, painting, sculpture, exhibition, Swinging Eighties, The Gallery Liverpool,

Scarlett Cannon at her preview: flanked by DuoVision curators James Lawler and Martin Green. (Photo © Melanie Smith)

WHICH ICON OF THE EIGHTIES catapulted herself to fame using a single name, sculpted hair and red lips? The clue is in the exhibition title just opened in Liverpool: Scarlett Woman. The Gallery in Stanhope Street is crammed with dozens of instantly recognisable images of her in all media – posters, prints, drawings, photos, videos, holograms, mosaics, sculpture and even painting. Fortunately the savviest interpreter of 80s style is at hand to make sense of the life and times of Scarlett Cannon, since she began fronting a club-night called Cha-Cha in 1981. In a guide to the exhibition, the lynchpin fashion editor Iain R Webb outlines how he promoted her career as model and muse.

He writes with intense concision: “It was a time of transformation and transgression, self-expression and collective empowerment. I was immediately taken by Scarlett’s uniqueness, an individual look being our club-kid rallying cry. With her startling peroxide blond haircut and a profile almost as flat as her reflection in the mirror she was magnificent!”

Scarlett says: “I wanted to look like a black and white photograph.” And Webb was happy to oblige, styling her in fashion spreads for BLITZ magazine. “She was an ideal made real, the perfect muse. We shared a common aim: to present our version of the world that celebrated difference and redefined beauty.” Scarlett, he reports, emerged from London’s demi-monde “artfully constructed from captured moments from yesteryear movies and imagined narratives. We made it up as we went along. . . Scarlett has always lived on the outskirts.” She adds: “It was extreme, we were really not afraid and we lived in a different world then.”

DuoVision , Scarlett Woman, The Gallery Liverpool,

Scarlett with Maude, alongside David Hiscock’s 1985 photograph, scarfed by Hermès. (Liverpool photo by Marc Albert)

Never before has there been such a perfect summary of the ingredients that made the Swinging Eighties unique, though Webb’s consummate book As Seen in Blitz: Fashioning ’80s Style came close in 2013. Coincidentally that was the year that Scarlett was visible across London as the poster girl for the V&A’s brave exhibition Club to Catwalk, a sharp retrospective nailing London fashion in the Eighties.

What’s impressive about the Liverpool retrospective mounted by the DuoVision team James Lawler and Martin Green is the number of artists whose work it embraces. . . Andrew Logan, Derek Jarman, Nick Knight, Robyn Beeche, Monica Curtin, Mark Lebon, Thomas Degen, Donald Urquhart, David Hiscock, Julian Kalinoswki, Sadie Lee, Judy Blame and others – most intriguingly the Polish expressionist painter Feliks Topolski, whose huge Punk Triptych makes a rare outing.


➢ Scarlett Woman runs until 15 September at The Gallery Liverpool, 41 Stanhope St, Liverpool, L8 5RE

➢ Gender-bending 1980s muse paints the town Scarlett – review in the Art Newspaper

➢ Previously at Shapers of the 80s: Scarlett from i-D cover girl to glamorous gardening mode

➢ Previously at Shapers of the 80s:
2013, Webb’s flipside of the 80s fashion revolution

DuoVision , Scarlett Woman, Photography, painting, sculpture, exhibition, Swinging Eighties, The Gallery Liverpool,

Scarlett Cannon with a slice of history: Feliks Topolski’s enormous Punk Triptych en route to Liverpool


➢ Feliks Topolski’s reputation reaches back to King George V’s silver jubilee while his monumental postwar mural of people and events called Topolski Century was unveiled by the Duke of Edinburgh and housed in the artist’s studio in the Hungerford Bridge arches beside the Festival Hall, where his legacy at Bar Topolski today is well worth a visit. His caricatures adorned the opening credits of John Freeman’s landmark series of TV interviews, Face to Face.


2018 ➤ Judy Blame dies: cherry-picker of cultural detritus

Judy Blame ,Nicola Tyson,fashion, stylist, photography,

Judy Blame in 1983, photographed by Nicola Tyson

THE VERY DAY THIS WEEK WHEN HM THE QUEEN put a smile on the face of the British fashion industry, by attending London Fashion Week for the first time, also brought the sad news of Judy Blame’s death, aged 58. He (yes, he) was one of those self-taught iconoclasts who was acquiring a luminescent reputation in the electric 1980s when Fashion Week came into being, driven in part by the streetwise youth culture that Shapers of the 80s celebrates.

Blame shared friends with the charismatic Ray Petri whose flair gave kudos to the word “stylist” by injecting attitude and dash into the role of the humble gofer who gathered props and make-up for a photo shoot. This was the generation of creatives who asserted their urban savviness and shifted the word style itself from meaning a suspect and second-rate lure with which marketeers sold their wares. By the end of the decade, style and fashion had become distinct goals in their own right, the first announcing individuality in consumer choice and mainstream media, while fashion confirmed convention.

Blame’s own talents as an image-maker were celebrated in 2016 at an Institute of Contemporary Arts exhibition titled Never Again which displayed his DIY jewellery, objets trouvés, clothing, photomontages, sketchbooks and T-shirts, and gave insights into working with Neneh Cherry and Massive Attack.

➢ Pictures and fulsome tributes to Judy Blame
on our inside page

Born Chris Barnes in 1960, Blame died on 19 February 2018 and the tributes flowed in. Dylan Jones, editor-in-chief of GQ, wrote: “He was an artist, a genuine one, someone who could cherry-pick cultural detritus and then mix it all together to create something new, something lasting.”

Nick Knight, photographer and director of SHOWstudio, wrote: “Always totally unique, always a champion of the underdog, always fiercely anti-fascist and anti-establishment, always inspiring, always so immensely talented and always one hundred % brilliant.”

Scarlett Cannon, Blame’s dearest friend and partner in fronting the Cha-Cha club-night 1981-82, said: “I’m heartbroken but so happy to have had him in my life all these years. He left such a rich heritage of inspiration and touched so many people.”

Judy Blame,Scarlett Cannon, fashion, nightclubbing

Judy Blame with his long-standing friend Scarlett Cannon, and little Maude

➢ So much purpose. So much talent – Tribute by Paul Flynn at Guardian online, 20 Feb 2018


➤ 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…