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Retro rockabilly gangs of Tokyo
12.28.2015
02:37 pm

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Fashion
Music

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For the past 30 years (if not more), you can see a re-creation of leather jackets, greased-back pompadours, and lollipop dresses, just like something out of the movie Grease, if you go to Tokyo’s famous Yoyogi Park near the Meiji-Jingumae station, for that is where the Tokyo Rockabilly Club assembles every Sunday to pay tribute to musical heroes like Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Elvis Presley.

Rockabilly has been making inroads in Japan as far back as 1955, when Bill Haley’s “Rock Around the Clock” dominated the charts in the country, but the current groups probably trace their origins to the 1970s, the same decade that Americans were enjoying American Graffiti and Happy Days, not to mention Grease itself.

Rockabilly, especially the form that partakes so much of the 1970s revival phase, has a cutesy edge redolent of sock hops and guys named “Potsie,” but the genre has always had an authentically rebellious edge, and the same is true of the rockabilly gangs of Yoyogi Park. This particular tribe is probably influenced by an earlier Japanese youth culture called the Kaminari zoku (“Thunder tribe”), which was considered a dangerous gang in the 1950s due to its involvement with illegally customized motorcycles, reckless driving, street racing, and fighting. The group that gathers today in Tokyo, of course, is a tourist attraction and perfectly harmless.
 

“Kaminari zoku” from the 1950s
 
Dave Barry poked fun at the rockabilly nuts of Yoyogi Park in his 1992 book Dave Barry Does Japan (1992 was a big year for interest in Japan and Japanese pop culture):
 

... the first thing we saw was the Bad-Ass Greasers. These were young men, maybe a dozen of them, deeply into the 1950s-American-juvenile-delinquent look, all dressed identically in tight black T-shirts, tight black pants, black socks and pointy black shoes. Each one had a lovingly constructed, carefully maintained, major-league caliber 1950s-style duck’s-ass haircut, held in place by the annual petroleum output of Kuwait. One of them had a pompadour tall enough to conceal former president Carter. [Note that the pictures here feature just such a pompadour, as well.]

-snip-

One of them turned on a boom-box cassette tape of “Heartbreak Hotel.” The circle started clapping to the music; one of them got up, went to the middle of the circle, and began dancing. The dance he chose to do was—get ready for the epitome of menacing Badness—the Twist. He did it stiffly, awkwardly, looking kind of like Steve Martin and Dan Aykroyd doing the wild-and-crazy-guys routine, except that he was deadly serious. So were the guys clapping in the circle. They clearly believed that they were too hip for mortal comprehension. They did not seem to sense that they might look a little silly, like a gang of Hell’s Angels that tries to terrorize a small town while wearing tutus.

 
Well, 2015 isn’t 1992, and the existence of a small group of people dorkily enjoying whatever they choose to enjoy flies a lot better today than it did then. Dave Barry is amused that they don’t look sufficiently “cool” or “badass,” but this is Japan, land of simulacra and, more to the point, exuberant cosplay.
 

 

 

 
Much more after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
A look at cheeky 70’s London fashion boutique ‘Mr. Freedom’ (NSFW)
12.28.2015
08:26 am

Topics:
Fashion
Sex

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Mr. Freedom satin jacket designed by Muriel Carter and Pam Keats with art by Mike Rogers (from Nova magazine, 1970)
Mr. Freedom satin jacket designed by Muriel Carter and Pam Keats with art by Mike Rogers (from Nova magazine, 1970)

For a few short years back in the late 60s and early 70s, a clothing boutique called Mr. Freedom ruled the streets of London with its cheeky styles and glammy duds that were worn by everyone from Twiggy and Mick Jagger to Elizabeth Taylor. 
 
Kleptomania storefront in London
Kleptomania storefront
 
Mr Freedom t-shirts designed by Roger Lunn
Mr. Freedom t-shirts designed by Roger Lunn
 
Before opening Mr. Freedom, Tommy Roberts ran a shop called “Kleptomania.” It was an eclectic space not unlike a consignment store that carried non-wearables and collectables like vintage photographs and eroitica. It was a hit and quickly, Roberts enlisted his designer friend Roger Lunn to create a line of logo t-shirts (pictured above) that would go on to be wildly popular with the young London fashionistas.

It wasn’t long after that Lunn convinced Roberts that lining the walls of Kleptomania with Victorian-style military themed clothing was a good idea - and he was right. Kleptomania’s clientele soon included rock and roll fashion icons like Jimi Hendrix, members of The Who and Jimmy Page. This bit of luck inspired Roberts to start making and selling Mr. Freedom-branded clothing created by the hottest young designers in London. Like the “Bumster” jeans (below) designed by one of Mr. Freedom’s first in-house designers, Diane Cranshaw.
 
The
The “Bumster” jeans for Mr. Freedom designed by Diana Cranshaw
 
Mr Freedom design by Diane Crawshaw
Mr. Freedom design by Diane Crawshaw
 
Mr Freedom designer, Diana Crawshaw
Mr. Freedom designer, Diana Crawshaw
 
Mr Freedom Tommy Roberts and his business partner, John Paul
“Mr. Freedom” Tommy Roberts (L) and his business partner, John Paul (R)
 
The grand opening of Mr. Freedom in Chelsea took place during the summer of 1969. Roberts had been inspired to curate a clothing line thanks to the visuals in the bizarre 1969 film, Mr. Freedom and with the help of another business partner and friend, Trevor Myles, soon the boutique was full of glammy satin jackets, statement beltbuckles and clothing with colorful pop culture details like rocket ships and stars. Roberts also obtained a licence to create a line of t-shirts adorned with Disney characters. Interestingly, it was t-shirts that helped finance the shop itself after Mick Jagger was photographed in one of Mr. Freedom’s “Zodiac” t-shirts that Roberts and Myles were selling at the Chelsea Antique Market.
 
Mick Jagger in a Mr. Freedom
Mick Jagger wearing a Mr. Freedom “Zodiac” t-shirt
 
Marc Bolan's jacket (designed by Tommy Roberts) worn in the 1972 concert film, Born to Boogie
Marc Bolan’s jacket (designed by Tommy Roberts) worn in the 1972 concert film, Born to Boogie
 
Roberts would go on to gain fans such as David Bowie and Bryan Ferry, and in 2011, a jacket designed by Roberts himself and worn by the mythical Marc Bolan in the 1972 concert film, Born to Boogie (pictured above) sold at an auction at Christie’s for a cool $15,375.  If all of this sounds fantastic to you as it does to me, I highly recommend that you check out the 2012 book that details Roberts incredible contributions to glam rock fashion and beyond, Tommy Roberts: Mr. Freedom: British Design Hero. Loads of photos (some that are delightfully NSFW) detailing the history and evolution of Mr. Freedom’s glamtastic fashion follow.
 
Mr. Freedom fashion spread in Nova Magazine, 1970s
Mr. Freedom fashion spread in Nova Magazine, 1970s
 
Design by Diana Crawshaw for Mr. Freedom
Design by Diana Crawshaw for Mr. Freedom
 
Images from the book, Tommy Roberts: Mr. Freedom: British Design Hero
A few pages from the book, Tommy Roberts: Mr. Freedom: British Design Hero
 
1972 magazine article featuring clothing from the Mr. Freedom boutique
1972 magazine article featuring clothing from the Mr. Freedom boutique
 
More Mr. Freedom, after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Christmas is saved by this Blondie ‘X-mas Offender’ sweatshirt
12.21.2015
03:57 pm

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Amusing
Fashion
Music

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Debbie Harry/Blondie
Blondie “X-mas Offender” Christmas sweatshirt
 
How this amazing piece of Christmas adornment slipped past my radar until now is beyond me but, here it is—an officially licensed Blondie “X-mas Offender” sweatshirt. Squeee! Christmas is saved!

The sweatshirt takes its name from the first single that Blondie ever released in 1976, “X-Offender.” Originally the song was dubbed “Sex Offender” by Blondie bassist, Gary Valentine who co-wrote the song with Debbie Harry. The band’s label at the time, Private Stock put Blondie on blast and made them change the name to “X-Offender.” Usually when suit-types tell the cool kids what to do, it really gets under my skin. But in this case I’m completely okay with it as we now has this super cool sweatshirt to wear that won’t cause people to call the cops on you while you’re out picking up extra Eggnog at midnight at 7-11.

The sweatshirt retails for $25.99 and while it appears that even expedited shipping methods won’t get it to you (if you’re in the U.S.) in time for Christmas, I’m sure quite a few of you will still be picking one up anyway. I know I will.  Get it here.
 

The ageless Debbie Harry performing John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s ““Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” with the Middlechurch East Village Gospel Choir, 2008.

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
These wild, wonderfully witty pop culture mashup t-shirts make great last minute holiday gifts
12.21.2015
02:17 pm

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Amusing
Fashion

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GG Allen. Get it here
 
Need a last-minute, inexpensive holiday gift for that hard-to-please friend? Okay, I believe I’ve got you covered with these amusing mash-up t-shirts by Wear Dinner. They’re pretty funny and each one sells for $25.00 + shipping. Not too shabby, in my opinion
.

Minor Sabbath. Get it here
 

Bernie 2016. Get it here
 

Mötley Cüre. Get it here
 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Are you in the market for a pair of ‘professionally done’ Brian Eno custom Converse?
12.16.2015
09:53 am

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Fashion
Music

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Well, this is what they were going for.
 
The Converse “Chuck Taylor” All-Star has, for half a century, been the official shoe of “cool.”

In recent years, it’s become commonplace for shoe companies, including Converse, to issue limited edition pairs in homage to pop culture figures or bands. For example, these spiffy Clash kicks:
 

 
Earlier this year Dangerous Minds told you about a badass collection of Andy Warhol-inspired Chucks.

It’s also become commonplace for individual artists to paint “blank canvas” Chucks and offer them up for sale on Etsy or Ebay, which is where we found these Brian Eno Ambient 1 shoes.

Certainly Ambient 1:Music For Airports is an album worthy of homage. Eno’s landmark minimalist sound sculpture holds a place in history as one of the most influential albums ever recorded. Indeed it should be celebrated.

So, here they are. One artist’s, uh, struggle at capturing the subtle majesty of Eno’s masterpiece:
 

“Hi. These are new and unused beautifully professionally done unisex custom all star converse size 8.5 in acrylic waterproof paint . Thanks.”
 

 

 
Starting bid is ONLY 50.00 GBP (approximately US $75.24)! Who could resist, right?

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
The Show MAS Go On: Absolutely fabulous doc on MAS, Rome’s fashion emporium for ‘everyone’
12.09.2015
01:10 pm

Topics:
Fashion
Movies

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Nobody ever claimed that the Italians were prone to stinting on style, and you can see ample evidence of the country’s flair for both in Rome’s retail mecca for discount clothing and a recent documentary celebrating the store’s unique status and popularity in the country’s capital city.

Located at Via dello Statuto 11 in Rome, Magazzino allo Statuto is universally referred to as “MAS.” The store has had a colorful history of three broad chapters—punctuated by periods in which the store was literally closed for business—first as a luxury store in the pre-WWII era and then as a symbol of the country’s postwar economic boom in the 1950s.

In 1974 Gianni Pezone re-opened MAS in its third incarnation, as a fashion emporium catering to “everyone,” to people of all income levels—it is this most populist iteration of the store’s history with which Rä Di Martino’s 30-minute documentary “The Show MAS Go On” concerns itself. In 2013 it was announced that MAS would be closing its doors, a fate that it apparently averted, but the scare was enough to spur Di Martino to action, spearheading a loving documentary about the store that started out as a crowdfunding project but was eventually financed by Gucci, of all possible companies (once you watch the movie, the strangeness of the juxtaposition will become clearer) who decided to bankroll the movie. It premiered at the 2014 Venice Film Festival.
 

 
In New York City the functioning analog would be Century 21, but even that important store fails to capture the tacky centrality that MAS seems to enjoy in contemporary Roman life. The playfulness of “The Show MAS Go On” is already signaled in the title, and however you may feel about it after 5 minutes, I can say with confidence that you will not foresee where the movie intends to take you. (Among Di Martino’s creative appropriations are the episode of The Twilight Zone titled “The After Hours” and Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day.”)

The viewer will hear a lot from Pezone’s voluble daughter, who makes flamboyant claims of MAS’ importance, as well as get acquainted with the fellow responsible for the store’s distinctive handmade signage. We also learn that MAS was (and probably remains) a favorite of Italy’s many hardworking costume designers working in movies and TV. But one of the documentary’s greatest pleasures is the ample footage of the diverse clientele of MAS wandering through endless aisles and piles of discounted jeans and polo shirts.
 

 
via Hyperallergic

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘The higher the hair, the closer to God’: Glorious BIG hair from the 1960s
12.07.2015
11:33 am

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Amusing
Fashion

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I was going to make this post about big, teased-up hair and how they should bring it back. Then I remembered how many times in the near past people have tried to bring big hair back. Most of the time, IMO, very poorly. The only two I can think of who were really able to pull it off in “modern times” were Michelle Mae (when she was in The Make-Up) and, of course, Amy Winehouse. Other than those two, it’s a look that looks kind of forced on everyone else.

That being said, I had a good time finding photos of big ol’ hair from the 1960s and a few from the early-‘70s. As they say, “The higher the hair, the closer to God.” I believe that with a few of these towering backcombed coiffs. 


 

 

 

Dusty Springfield and Paul McCartney
 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Kafka-inspired cockroach backpack
12.03.2015
08:55 am

Topics:
Books
Fashion

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A Dangerous Minds reader submitted these images of a Kafka-inspired cockroach backpack without any information. First, I was instantly intrigued. Second, I had to know where to get one! Sadly, I don’t know its provenance. The text at the bottom is in Spanish and says “To go to work… with style.” At this point, I’m concluding it’s just a wonderful conceptual design. Who came up with this? I don’t know.

Now if you have to have one or want something similar, I did find this beetle backpack. It’s just not as cool as the chic cockroach carryall I posted here, though.


 
h/t Andri An

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Amanda Lear: 70s disco diva, fashion model, TV star and Salvador Dali’s transsexual muse
11.24.2015
02:19 pm

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Fashion
Music

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Model, painter, disco diva, TV personality and the absolute fiercest of the pioneering transsexuals (along with Candy Darling), Amanda Lear was born Alain Maurice Louis René Tap in Saigon, 1939. Or it could have been Paris. Or Hong Kong. The year might have been 1941, 1945 or as she now claims 1950. There is much competing information about her parents, none of it conclusive. In general, not much is known for sure about the early life of Amanda Lear and she would very much like to keep it that way. She claims to have been educated in Switzerland and she eventually made her way to Paris in 1959, taking the stage name “Peki d’Oslo,” performing as a stripper at the notorious drag bar, Le Carrousel.
 

Amanda Lear’s mid-60s model card.
 
The story goes that the gangly, yet exotic Eurasian beauty Peki had a nose job and sex change in Casablanca paid for by none other than the Surrealist master Salvador Dali, who frequented Le Carrousel, in 1963. Amanda, as she is now known, then makes her way to London to become a part of the swinging Chelsea set where she is rumored to have had a relationship with Rolling Stone Brian Jones. She models for Yves St. Laurent and Paco Rabanne and is a constant muse for the Divine Dali, but her career is held back by rumors that she was born a man or was a hermaphrodite.
 

‘For Your Pleasure’ cover
 
Roxy Music frontman Bryan Ferry saw Lear on the runway during an Ossie Clark fashion show and invited her to be the model for Roxy’s For Your Pleasure album cover, walking a black panther on a leash. They were briefly engaged and that image has become iconic. Lear also had a yearlong affair with David Bowie who serenaded her with “Sorrow” in his “1980 Floor Show” (broadcast on The Midnight Special in 1974). Bowie helped Lear launch her musical career and by the late 1970s she had become a bestselling disco singer and television personality in Europe with hits like “Follow Me,” “Queen of Chinatown” and “I Am a Photograph.”
 

The David Bailey photograph of Lear that appeared in the infamous 1971 Dali-edited issue of French Vogue
 
Amanda Lear’s autobiography, My Life With Dali came out in 1985 and it begins when she would have been approximately 24 or 25 years of age. Almost no mention whatsoever is made of her life before arriving in London in 1965. When Dali biographer Ian Gibson confronted her on camera about the gender of her birth in his The Fame and Shame of Salvador Dali TV documentary, Lear angrily—and not at all convincingly—stonewalled him. She has always vehemently denied that she was a transsexual despite it being a well-established fact. She even posed nude for Playboy and several other men’s magazines and often sunbathed naked on beaches to dispel the rumors. All this really proved was that she had a kickin’ bod, but if you ask me, I think it’s sad that she choses to keep up this pretense. She should be rightfully celebrated for her biggest accomplishment in life—ironically, being true to herself—but apparently Amanda Lear just doesn’t see it that way.
 

Amanda Lear vehemently denies having had a sex change on German television 1977.
 
Today Amanda Lear still looks amazing—she’s practically ageless no matter what her real biological age might be—and continues to perform all over Europe. She’s sold somewhere in the vicinity of fifteen million albums and 25 million singles. She also has a thriving career as a painter and an original painting of hers can sell for $10,000 or more. She’s done stage acting and was the voice of Edna ‘E’ Mode in the Italian-dubbed version of The Incredibles. Lear was a judge on the Italian version of Dancing with the Stars.
 
“The Stud” from 1979’s ‘Sweet Revenge’ album

 
Much more of Amanda Lear, after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Cool T-shirts featuring Ken Russell, Klaus Nomi, John Waters, Sylvia Plath & more
11.24.2015
12:26 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Design
Fashion

Tags:

ken-russell_design.png
 
It’s getting near that time for buying presents and shit. The one present I’ll certainly be adding to my holiday wish list of hoped-for Christmas goodies is a Ken Russell T-shirt from Hirsute History.

The l’enfant terrible genius of British cinema, Unkle Ken—the man responsible for such classic movies as Women in Love, The Music Lovers, The Devils, Tommy and Altered States—is just one of the many hirsute heroes to be found on a range of colorful clothing available from Hirsute History at Amphorphia Apparel. Here he joins Sylvia Plath, John Waters, Susan Sontag, Jerry Garcia, Ada Lovelace and a whole bunch of other artists, scientists, ideas and stars that’ll look good on your body.

So, if you fancy wearing a Ken Russell or an Ada Lovelace, then hop over to the site or get a retina burn from the selection below.
 
ken_russell_12-58-52.jpg
Ken Russell.
 
sylvia_plath.jpg
Sylvia Plath.
 
groucho_marx.jpg
Groucho Marx.
 
More fab T-shirts, after the jump….
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
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