Tag Archives: Peter York

2015 ➤ All in one room – more Blitz Kids than you could shake a New Romantic frill at

Café Royal, commemoration

Style guru Peter York meets Steve Strange’s family at Club Café Royal last night – sister Tanya, nephew Connor and mother Gill at right – with old friends centre, Judi Frankland and Anne Pigalle. (Photographed by © Shapersofthe80s)

◼ A BUZZING REUNION OF OLD ROMANTICS partied hard last night in memory of the inspirational host of the 80s Blitz Club Steve Strange, who died suddenly last February. He would have been proud of the gathering at London’s Club Café Royal last night, organised by his close friends Rosemary Turner, Amanda Lloyd and Steve Mahoney. Along with Amanda, Steve’s mother Gill and sister Tanya Harrington have created a charity called the Steve Strange Collective to sustain his legacy as style icon, popstar and one of the key shapers of the 80s. This celebration of Britain’s New Romantic heyday was the first of their projects.

The most impressive turnout last night came from the St Martin’s Massive ’78-84, a galaxy of original Blitz Club regulars whose attitude and talent ignited a new pop culture that became the Swinging 80s. Significant absentees included those living abroad or currently on the road with their still-active acts, such as Rusty Egan, Culture Club and Spandau Ballet.

The champagne party warmed up with a series of Steve’s admirers providing intermittent entertainment, opening with poet Celine Hispache. As Two Blondes and a Harp, former Shock dancer Lowri-Ann Richards in leather jacket and her accompanist Glenda Clwyd gave us a Berlinesque rendering of Visage’s Pleasure Boys. Cabaret chantoose Eve Ferret shimmied in a full-length black peignoir before the Harrington family, first setting fashionistas Stephen Jones and Fiona Dealey a-boogeying before animating her number All Ze French I Know by scattering mangetouts o’er the guests. Eve reminded us how Steve became the nucleus around whom a generation of like-minded spirits came to express themselves. For her the night became more special when she was reunited with her onetime partner James Biddlecombe of their act Biddie and Eve which was a backbone of the Blitz wine bar’s cabaret programme.

Click any pic below to launch the first slideshow

Later Romance vocalist Jamie Lovatt reminded us of his near triumph on The Voice TV talent show, and electro-swing deejay Lee Being gave us Love Croaks. Finally came the loyal friends who joined with Steve in recent years to revive the 80s clubbing spirit with their Face club-nights, Camden Palace doyenne Rosemary Turner and new-generation deejay Alejandro Gocast. He hushed the guests gently and reminded us with intense poignancy of Steve’s giant influence on possibly every single person in the room tonight.

Another giant figure quietly circulating the party was style guru Peter York, who in this context we could dub the Anna Wintour of subcultural commentators, having documented all manner of British tribes from Sloane Rangers to his unique discovery, Them, in his landmark book Style Wars. Back in the day, York claimed that Steve’s Blitz club created “a powerful mix of magpie retro, fastidious taste and market exploitation, tailor-made for what they were calling the art form of the 80s”. Last night, he was charm itself, evidently wowed to meet the Harrington family.

The evening’s music was absolutely on fleek. While David Holah resurrected the fabulous Blitz Jive amid some hefty dancing to good old Romo tunes from Roxy and Japan and Bowie, spinning the platters was a sequence of deejays from Lee Being, Dennis Da Silva, Alejandro Gocast, Steven John Proctor to Little Andy.

Lifelong friend of Steve and bright spark of the Welsh contingent Kim Smith reported today: “Steve, we celebrated your life last night and it was fabulous to meet people that you have told me about.”

Click any pic below to launch the second slideshow


In no particular order here are few of the guests we recognised at the Club Café Royal celebration, with apologies to many more whose names we hope to add once they become known. . .

Gill, Tanya and Connor Harrington, Kim Smith, Mark Fuller, Mark Paul Jones, Lorraine Fitzgerald, Amanda and Shannon Lloyd, Lloyd Daniels, Trevor Byron Jones, Richard Lewis, Peter York, Princess Julia, Fiona Dealey, Stephen Jones, Greg Davis, Judith Frankland, Duggie Fields, Darla Jane Gilroy, David Holah, Steve Mahoney, Jennie Belle Star Matthias, Dennis Da Silva, Alejandro Gocast, Steven Proctor, Little Andy, Leo Baker, Paul Simper, Mark Wardel, Pam Hogg, Daniel Lismore, Franceska Luther King, Anne Pigalle, Mick Hurd, Peter Ashworth, Kiki, ‪Gabriella Palmano‪, Paul Lonergan, Gemma O’Brian, Bob Biewald, Louise Prey, Ajay Kenth, Kenny Campbell, Nelson Santos, Robert Gordon Eddie, Tamara Adair, Lowri-Ann Richards, Janice Long, Tommy Mack, Mark Tabard, Laura D’Alessio, Steven Jones, Logan Sky, John Harlow, Kevin Buck, Marc Albert, Pinkietessa Pinkie, Caroline Fox, Terry Challingsworth, Soraya Wilkinson-Wyke, Sandra Fox, Angelina Emma Whelan, Bart Barton, Francesca Shashkova, Crimson Skye, Philip Anthony Gable, Nigel Marlow, Tony Vickers, Mark Allen, James Leigh, Ffio Welford, Fifi Russell, Peter Barney, Jurgita Kareivaite-Hamblin, Alejandro Dante, Neena Richies, Dave Baby, Glenda Clwyd, Matthew Mullane, ‪Lee Being, Issidora Mua Rose‬, Heather Crimson, Andy Adamson, Jamie Karl, Alex Gerry, Sasha De Suinn, Stephanie Henie, Dane Goulding, Michelle Deyna-Hayward, Kevin Bennett…

➢ Click to view Nigel Marlow’s brief video at Club Café Royal

➢ Click to view video by Francesca Shashkova of Alejandro’s moving tribute to Steve

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s:
A Strangely Steve farewell – the funeral video, 2015

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s:
Original Blitz Kids say farewell to Steve Strange, their host, pivot, style icon, friend


2011 ➤ Soho House purges suit-and-tie man while the Groucho laughs all the way to the bar

Soho House, Nick Jones,Richard Caring

The Soho House dress-code paradox: shirt-sleeved founder Nick Jones and his suited boss, multi-millionaire Richard Caring. (Jones pictured by Christopher Morris)

❚ “TOO SCHOOL FOR COOL”!!! This is the Soho House’s newly enforced verdict on the wearing of suits and ties by its 15,000 members at its achingly hipster hangouts across the world. One London member has now been banned from entering the Greek Street club and a second warned via text message that he was dressing too formally.

A year ago The Daily Telegraph reported New York’s Soho House purging members to regain its cool, and over the past two years about 1,000 of its 4,500 members have not had their annual $1,800 memberships renewed, mainly bankers, lawyers and anyone considered “too corporate”. Being aged over 27 didn’t go down too well either.

The paradox is that the 80% owner of the Soho House Group, the immaculately groomed restaurant tycoon Richard Caring (worth £700m on The Sunday Times Rich List) is never seen out of a suit and seldom without a tie. On the other hand, his open-collared Soho House chief executive Nick Jones, who founded the careerist club in 1995, favours the dress-down style of the creative industries, judging by most of his Google images. In 2005 he told the Independent: “Yes, I get Basil Fawlty moments. They usually revolve around suits. I don’t like packs of people in suits. I feel like giving these people some jeans and a T-shirt and saying, ‘Can you go and put these on, please?’ ”

Does this mean Basil would turn away his boss Richard Caring at the door?

Stephen Fry, Groucho Club

Groucho Club style: the corduroyed Stephen Fry

Style guru Peter York identifies what he calls Soho House’s implicit dress code as “knowing casual, rather than the smart casual people bang on about — Tod’s, dark linen, soft shirts with teeny open collars and all that expensively sub-fusc kit”. So loosen up, Mr Caring, if you expect to gain admission.

At the other end of London’s Old Compton Street, peels of laughter were tonight ricocheting round the distinctly more artsy and proudly louche Groucho Club (founded 1985) where broadcaster Stephen Fry has been known to murmur: “Ties are tolerated but not encouraged.” Matthew Hobbs, managing director of the Groucho, gave today’s Evening Standard the official line: “We have no dress code whatsoever.”

❏ Soho House members include: Kirsty Young, Michael Hill, Ashley Highfield, Spencer Matthews, Ollie Locke, Geri Halliwell, Nigella Lawson, Scarlett Johansson, Uma Thurman, Ed Westwick, Ellie Goulding, Davina McCall.

❏ Groucho Club members include: Stephen Fry, Sienna Miller, Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Sarah Lucas, Sam Taylor-Wood, Jonathan Yeo, Alex James, Janet Street-Porter, Melvyn Bragg, Julie Burchill, Gary Kemp, Robert Elms, Liam Gallagher, Peter Saville.

➢ Club bans PR boss for wearing a tie — extract from tonight’s Evening Standard report:

A leading London businessman has attacked “Stalinist” rules that led to him being banned from Soho House for wearing a suit and tie. Peter Bingle, 51, has been told he is not welcome at the West End members’ club or any of its offshoots after “clearly disregarding” its casual dress code. The sanction comes after another member was told that his suit was “too school for cool”.

Mr Bingle, chairman of Bell Pottinger Public Affairs, said he had received a “yellow card” e-mail two weeks ago. It warned him Soho House “openly discourages the wearing of suits at the clubs as we are a club for the creating industries and like being a relaxed environment”. Yesterday he was given his marching orders in a letter from UK membership manager Tom Russell.

➢ The PR man Peter Bingle musing about being banned from Soho House for wearing a suit


➢ “As a member myself I go to Soho House wearing a tie because you are not allowed to” — Michael Hill, creative director of Drake’s, the Savile Row haberdasher, in the Evening Standard, July 28

Soho House, anti-suit, dress codes,

Culture Gestapo’s message

➢ Do suits indicate pretentious self-regard and lack of imagination? — FT.com, July 28

➢ Soho House gets it in the neck for telling members to remove ties — Evening Standard, July 29

➢ Peter York: The secret and changing life of the private members’ club — Independent, July 31

➢ New York’s Soho House purges members — Daily Telegraph, July 2010

➢ The Culture Gestapo is on the loose — Gawker, 2009