Tag Archives: Stephen Linard

➤ The Bowie factor at the Blitz: glamour, drama and collage couture

Iain Webb at St Martin’s School of Art in 1977 — photographed by fellow student Stephen Jones who went on to become an international hat-maker

❚ FOR TODAY’S HUFFINGTON POST, Iain R Webb, former Blitz Kid and later Times of London fashion editor, writes of the imminent photo-book about the tumultuous fashion and music scene that emerged from London’s Blitz Club in 1980. We Can Be Heroes by Graham Smith is a fascinating documentation of the demimonde nightclub scene from punk through New Romantic and out the other side… Webb writes:

It is certainly fitting that Smith has chosen the Bowie lyric as the title of his book because Bowie is to thank for inspiring the transformational theatrics employed by the Blitz Club regulars. In the early 1970s Bowie brought glamour and drama to rock music at a time when it was difficult to tell if the denim clad hairy on stage had nodded off during the drum solo. He was a shrewd style thief, an ardent advocate of collage couture. One of the only musicians to survive the vicious tongue-lashing of punk, it was Bowie who helped fuel the electro soundtrack of the 80s’ subterranean underworld. His Berlin trilogy of albums — Low, Heroes and Lodger — explored the neue world of Kraftwerk and machine Muzak. Although let’s not forget to credit Giorgio Moroder and Donna Summer who had been knocking out the electronic beats in the gay clubs of many a twelve-inch single / continued online

➢ A new book about 1980s club kids by Iain R Webb
at The Huffington Post

➢ When Iain met Stephen, London traffic stopped
and St Martin’s stood still

A sample spread from We Can Be Heroes by Graham Smith: his photos here show Blitz Kid style-leaders Kim Bowen, “Boy” George O’Dowd and Stephen Linard


❏ Will you help ensure publication of We Can Be Heroes by buying your personal copy today? Graham Smith’s book is the definitive history of early 80s nightclub music and style, which were the last manifestation of Britain’s collaborative youth culture. Alongside Graham’s superb photographs is racy text by Chris Sullivan, fabled host of Soho’s long-running Wag club, plus much other celebrity commentary.

Unbound is a new “crowd-funding” company run by three young dynamos well versed in publishing who are ensuring high-quality printing in Germany of this 320-page hardback using 180gsm paper, all in time for Christmas, priced £30. Visit Graham’s page at Unbound to discover why your immediate contribution towards the cost of the limited first edition is so important that the book will carry your name as an early supporter.

➢ £30 buys you the hardback first edition of We Can Be Heroes and your name printed inside — £50 buys an autographed copy and there are many other perks including a de luxe edition

❏ iPAD, TABLET & MOBILE USERS PLEASE NOTE — You be see only a tiny selection of items from this wide-ranging website about the 1980s, not chosen by the author. To access fuller background features and site index either click on “Standard view” or visit Shapersofthe80s.com on a desktop computer. ➢ Click here to visit a different random item every time you click


➤ INDEX of posts for June 2011

Boy George, 50th birthday,Jon Moss, Barbara Moss,

That Man in the Middle: George O’Dowd at his 50th birthday party with former Culture Club drummer and father of three children, Jon Moss and his wife Barbara. © Dave Benett/Getty

➢ Jarvis takes his lyrics to Eliot’s publisher Faber — video interview with Pulp’s songwriter

➢ Too cool to crow — Paradise Point just happen to be gigging in Hyde Park before Grace and Pulp top the bill

➢ Lest we forget: man has changed his ways since Peter Wyngarde cracked the sickest joke on vinyl

➢ Irrational, Professor Cox! Discussing science in a tent at Glastonbury?

➢ Martin Kemp’s Stalker gets autumn DVD release

➢ Will the magical blasts from the past follow St Martin’s out of Soho? Plus — Pulp’s finest hour at the art school’s farewell party

➢ Heaven 17 remind us how electronic music can send the soul soaring!

➢ The Blitz Kids WATN? No 28: Stephen Linard, fashion designer

➢ Hot days, cool nights, as Blue Rondo join the new Brits changing the pop charts — first glimpse of the crazy seven-piece as the 1981 charts fill with the new British pop

Pepsi DeMacque, Shirlie Holliman, Pepsi & Shirlie, then and now,Here & Now, tour

Back on tour: Pepsi & Shirlie in 1987, and this year photographed by Shirlie Kemp’s daughter, Harleymoon

➢ When Shirl asked Peps if she fancied an arena tour, Peps said to Shirl, Why not? — TV interview

➢ EPIC forecasts for the 2015 media landscape loom closer than we think

➢ Aside from the freaks, George, who else came to your 50th birthday party?

➢ One million people think Charlie really is SoCoolLike — meet  the UK’s most popular YouTuber

➢ 1904, The day Nora made a man of Joyce — Bloomsday celebrated

➢ Boy George hits the big Five-0 and he now says, yes, he has ‘lots of regrets’

Paradise Point, Run In Circles , video, Cameron Jones,pop music

Cameron Jones: Paradise Point vocalist

➢ Hear about the many lives of Midge Ure, the Mr Nice of pop — This Is Your Life, 2001

➢ Wise-cracking Sallon shimmies back onto London’s party scene — Boy George’s best friend recovers after assault

➢ Mix your own version of Bowie’s Golden Years with a new iPhone app

➢ 2010, Lady Gaga ousts Lily Allen as UK’s most played artist

➢ Martin Rushent is dead — friends pay tribute to the man who made stars of the Human League and shaped the sound of 80s electro-pop

➢ What happens when retromania exhausts our pop past — Simon Reynolds on our compulsion to relive and reconsume pop history

➢ Up close and cool — Paradise Point’s first official video wins Boy George’s approval

Farewell St Martin’s, Pulp, Jarvis Cocker,University of the Arts, CSM,

Pulp playing at St Martin’s: Jarvis Cocker bids farewell to his old art school at the best party for years. Grabbed from gstogdon’s YouTube video


➤ The Blitz Kids WATN? No 28, Stephen Linard

drakes-london,Stephen Linard,British tailoring, haberdashery,Drake’s,Michael Hill,luxury shops, Clifford Street , London

Former Blitz Kid and St Martin’s fashion graduate Stephen Linard: today he is a designer with Drake’s, the gentlemen’s haberdasher, seen here at a staff preview for the opening of its first shop just off Savile Row. Photographed © by Shapersofthe80s

❚ WACKIEST AMONG THE 80s BLITZ KID RACERS was Stephen Linard, the Essex boy who nevertheless graduated from St Martin’s art school with a first-class degree in menswear 30 years ago this summer. Modelled by six of his hunky clubland pals, his collection titled Reluctant Emigrés featured swishy draped greatcoats, pinstripe trousers and city shirts that all evinced an Edwardian air of immaculate tailoring while declaring edgy details with organza and contrast patches. Amid the women’s outfits shown by most of the other fashion graduates, Linard’s chic street-savvy lads had a gasp-out-loud impact, as commentator Suzy Menkes noted after the show. The influential South Molton Street shop Browns immediately wanted to develop the range, but Stephen decided instead to sell his original garments to a short-lived synthpop band called Animal Magnet. “I needed the money,” he says now in a shocking confession of short-termism.

A hugely original and resourceful talent, Stephen was feted by the fashion press upon graduation. His high-visibility fashion leads were key among the 15 sharpest Blitz Kids who shaped the New Romantics silhouette from Covent Garden’s Blitz club — Stephen Jones, Kim Bowen, Lee Sheldrick, Helen Robinson, Melissa Caplan, Fiona Dealey, Judi Frankland, Michele Clapton, David Holah, Stevie Stewart, Julia Fodor, Dinny Hall, Simon Withers and über-wag Chris Sullivan were the others. Most significantly, Linard advertised his bizarre imagination by changing his appearance on an almost daily basis, from his foppish Fauntleroy dandy, to the Endangered Species outfit made from animal skins, to the Bonnie Prince Charlie tartans copied for his character in Worried About the Boy, last year’s TV biodrama on Boy George, who became a soulmate the moment Stephen walked into Billy’s club, where the Swinging 80s were hatched in 1978.

Click any pic below to enlarge Linard’s degree collection 1981:

So… where is he now, the dignified Stephen Linard pictured this month sporting a three-button, three-piece linen suit in a faded shade of indigo, and handmade in Venice? Well, since 1989 Stephen has been on the design team at Drake’s, the respected men’s haberdasher which has just opened its first shop at No 3 Clifford Street, just off Savile Row, the global epicentre of serious tailoring. Those with fond memories of Bowring Arundel & Co — for whom Stephen’s late father once supplied handmade leather goods — have welcomed the arrival of the new shop.  Though Drake’s was founded in 1977, the firm has never had its own retail outlet.

Michael Drake, a former head of design at Aquascutum, was its co-founder (and incidentally, “my grandmother’s nephew,” Stephen said). He began making the finest accessories, from cashmere scarves and printed silk handkerchiefs to knitwear, shirts and the elegant neckwear that has made Drake’s the largest independent producer of handmade ties in England. It enjoys a prodigious export market, by designing collections for international luxury shops and collaborating with such style-leaders as the Japanese fashion label Commes des Garçons.

drakes-london,British tailoring, Clifford Street,London, Michael Drake, handmade ties, haberdashery,Adam Dant

The young Linard by artist Adam Dant: lining this antique vitrine at Drake’s new shop is a busy tableau of life at the firm’s Clerkenwell factory. At lower left we see a youthful portrait of the designer alongside some of the handmade ties in fine Shantung silk Drake’s is renowned for. Photographed © by Shapersofthe80s

Today the creative director Michael Hill encourages his designers to refresh the seasonal ranges with new textiles, both for readymade production and for bespoke handcrafting at Drake’s workrooms in the artisan quarter of Georgian Clerkenwell. A revival of bespoke suit-making has seen a new appetite for accessories in raw shantung and Indian tussah silk — its slubbed texture playing well with both formal suits and casual jackets — as well as traditional madder silk from Macclesfield in Cheshire, where Stephen is a frequent visitor ensuring that exacting standards are met.

A stylish touch to Drake’s new strategy has been to recruit the impish graphic artist Adam Dant, whose witty drawings adorn the shop and the stylishly written Drake’s website. In particular it commissioned him to create one of the Hogarthian “mockuments” which won him the Jerwood Prize. Rather like flowcharts, these reveal the inner workings of an institution and its people, and Dant’s depiction of Drake’s Clerkenwell factory provides the lining to one antique vitrine, formerly property of the Victoria and Albert museum and now in Clifford Street, displaying shantung ties and enormously long (in the Italian style) knee-socks.

Included among Dant’s portraits of colleagues who are said to have influenced Michael Drake is Stephen Linard’s and it echoes an emblematic photograph published in i-D magazine in which he wears a Yohji jacket and jaunty Confederate Army leather cap, “bought in Anchorage airport in the days when I was rich — bathtubs filled with champagne”. This is a reminder of the period 1983–86 when he lived in Tokyo designing for Jun Co, the fashion giant, on a salary which, he liked to boast, exceeded the prime minister Margaret Thatcher’s. In the mid-80s, to be an English designer brought you popstar status in Japan, as those fellow Blitz Kids Stephen Jones and Lee Sheldrick also discovered.

drakes-london,British tailoring, Clifford Street,London, Michael Drake, handmade ties, haberdashery,Adam Dant

Close-up of the portrait: Linard is one of many talents associated with Drake’s who have been captured by the artist Adam Dant. His reference was a photograph dating from 1983 — note the ornamental bath tap. Courtesy of Adam Dant and Drake’s

The 1983 look that inspired the portrait: Stephen Linard sports a leather Confederate Army cap $15 from Alaska, and Yohji Yamamoto jacket £250, over giant-collared Yohji shirt £120. Artfully placed on his left lapel is a silvered bathroom tap £60 and faucet brooch £40, both from a jewellery collection for Chloe, Paris. Seen here with Lee Sheldrick (rear) and Steve Strange at the Worlds End fashion show in Paris that October. Photographed © by Shapersofthe80s

Long before he joined the “Japanese invasion” effected by Britain’s emergent new wave of streetwise fashionistas, Stephen had gained the admiration of the international fashion glossies. With 1983 came his collection Angels With Dirty Faces, inspired by the Bogart-Cagney gangster movie set in the 30s depression. It was both pretty and poignant and it sold worldwide. That year, the snappiest magazine of the day, New York, headlined a special fashion section The British Are Here, and selected as the UK’s five leading lights Jean Muir, Zandra Rhodes, Katharine Hamnett, Vivienne Westwood — and Stephen Linard, “one of the most creative of the young designers”.

Linard designs from his heyday: bias-cut tea dress, $100 in Bloomingdale’s, from his 1983 Angels With Dirty Faces collection, here photographed by Tony McGee for New York magazine. Right, Neil Tennant wears a Reluctant Emigrés topcoat by Linard in the Pet Shop Boys video for West End Girls (Parlophone 1984)

Stephen’s clothes had always been sought after by his popstar contemporaries from Spandau Ballet, Boy George and The Slits, to U2, Womack & Womack, even Cliff Richard and Johnny Mathis, and ultimately to the great god David Bowie himself. (Stephen had to turn down the invitation to go on location to appear in the Ashes to Ashes video in 1980 “because I was on a disciplinary warning at St Martin’s over attendance”!) His Reluctant Emigrés collection enjoyed a curiously long life and in 1984 we see Neil Tennant lording it in one of the black linen topcoats in the Pet Shop Boys video for West End Girls, their first single which went to No 1 in the UK and US.

Many Linard looks have been coveted by the fashionistas but, as with so many gifted designers, let’s say a head for business came second to his eye for fashion. The timing of funds hit the rocks in more than one of Stephen’s creatively successful ventures, and decades ago he complained loudly that the St Martin’s fashion department didn’t do enough to equip graduates with basic business skills. (This, we are assured, has since been addressed by the college.) In the end it wasn’t surprising that he accepted the offer to join the Drake’s family, which seems to have dealt him a lucky hand.

One tip for wearing the perfect handmade tie? “Never tuck the smaller blade through the ‘keeper’— the loop on the back of the large blade. Much more stylish to let it flap free. Like undoing the button-cuff on your jacket, to show you don’t care.”

drakes-london,British tailoring, Clifford Street,London,Augustin Vidor, Michael Drake, handmade ties, haberdashery,Stephen Linard

The new shop in Clifford Street: Linard joined the Drake’s design team in 1989 whereas sales assistant Augustin Vidor is currently an intern. Photographed © by Shapersofthe80s