Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Dedicated Followers of Fashion: Warren Gold, Lord John of Carnaby Street

Lord John, Carnaby Street in 1967
Very sad to hear that Warren Gold, proprietor and founder of the legendary Lord John shop in Carnaby Street in the 1960s, has passed away. Here's an article and interview we did with Warren Gold for Issue 2 of Up&Atom magazine, originally published in December 2013.

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The codswallop fashions of perverted peacocks!” - so one newspaper christened Carnaby Street in the 1960s.

Far from being ‘codswallop’, Carnaby Steet was revolutionising fashion. The sixties youth - tired of wearing clothes their dads or granddads might have liked - wanted something new, daring, colourful and different, and Carnaby Street did just that.

John Stephen’s His Clothes opened on Carnaby Street in 1957 and more followed. John Stephen had as many as eight shops on Carnaby Street alone, and they were joined by Irvine Seller’s Mates, Tom Salter’s Gear, Henry Moss and Harry Fox’s Lady Jane boutiques, and of course, Warren Gold’s Lord John.

One of the most iconic and enduring symbols of Carnaby Street is the world famous Lord John boutique. In the late Sixties it was painted with a huge psychedelic mural, making it one of the most photographed buildings in London at the time. Up&Atom sent Simon Parr, a 60s fashion enthusiast and sales exec for Gibson London menswear, to catch up with Lord John himself - Warren Gold.

Lord John opened it’s doors for the first time in 1964. Warren Gold and his brother, David had originally began trading on Petticoat Lane, but as Warren explained, the foundations for what became Lord John began long before then. ‘That really goes back many years,’ Warren told us. ‘David and I lived in Stamford hill, North West London. David was studying to be a master tailor which he achieved. My interest was more on the artistic side of the clothing industry and window displays and then I got involved in actually drawing and designing clothing. We complimented each other. My late father, Joseph known as Johnny Gold, was in the mens clothing business as well and I suppose it's in the genes. I knew nothing else.’

The move to Carnaby Street seemed inevitable. Carnaby Street had quickly become the fashion centre of the world. The Gold brothers opened two shops at 27-28 Great Marlborough Street, just off Carnaby Street and what would become the world famous Lord John boutique at 43 Carnaby Street.

Warren recalls it wasn’t an easy start. ‘David and I opened our first shop in Carnaby Street on February the 13th 1964. The rent was £3000 a year. We had to pay a quarters rent up front. We had a bit of money in the family, something like £700, but we didn't have enough to satisfy the landlords. We asked an uncle if he would lend us four or five hundred pounds, but he said, "No, I can't do that because my money is my business.” He was a money lender; a very wealthy man. We managed to overcome that and got the money. As the years went by, this same Uncle, Uncle Len his name was - a lovely man! He wanted to invest in our business when we had about 15 or 16 shops, and being very respectable, from a nice Jewish family, we politely told him to piss off!’

In the sixties, fashion designers became celebrities in their own right for the first time. Warren remembers a taste of this, ‘At times I used to sign customer’s receipts. They said, "Lord John would you please sign this?" and I'd say ‘With pleasure, yes’. They loved it!’
Up&Atom Issue 2, signed by Warren Gold, Lord John of Carnaby Street

Lord John catered for the new ‘mod’ look which was sweeping the nation in the mid sixties. The latest trends were stocked - whatever you might see on Ready Steady Go! that week, you could nip down to Lord John and buy it the next day. The shop was frequented by pop stars, from The Rolling Stones to The Beatles - and perhaps most famously, The Small Faces. ‘All the celebrities or many of them; The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Hermans Hermit, The Kinks, The Small Faces, The Animals and so on and so forth... the list is endless. [They] were customers and friends.’

Don Arden, manager of The Small Faces, paid the group ‘a wage of £20 a week each, along with accounts in clothes shops in Carnaby Street', in particular, Lord John. Warren remembers, ‘The Small Faces, their style, part of their success was giving away clothes. Their main office was in Carnaby Street, at number nine. Their manager was Don Arden. He was the father of Sharon Osbourne. The Small Faces used to come in every day and buy replacement clothes because over night, they'd given away their shirts and trousers to their fans! We loved it! Don Arden wasn't always happy because we were presenting him with the bill every day. Lovely business!’

Standing out from the crowd, and wearing something no one else was, became of paramount importance. The Small Faces promoter and co-manager, Tony Calder recalled, ‘I had a phone call from Lord John saying Ronnie Lane wanted to buy some shirts - all of them. We had a hundred delivered to the office... Ronnie couldn’t have someone else wearing the same shirt as him!’ 

John Lennon's Cape
Warren also counted John Lennon as a friend and customer. He told us a story about what was to be John Lennon’s last order from Lord John. ‘John Lennon ordered this cape [Pictured] which is in the office. Sadly he passed away, suddenly as we all know, and he never actually picked it up. I am planning when I've got a bit of time to donate it to the Victoria and Albert Museum. I’ve often been asked what value financially I'd put to it. I don't know is the answer, but I'd like the museum to have it.’ 

In 1967, the Gold brothers commissioned artists David Vaughan, Douglas Binder and Dudley Edwards to paint the famous psychedelic mural over the Lord John building at 43 Carnaby Street. Warren told us, ‘If you look at the photographs, the mural is ‘Lord John’ lettering. My brother David worked with the artists to create this, very cleverly and very beautifully. Sadly when I was in Carnaby Street a year or two ago the building has been painted yellow, so that's lost, which is very sad.’

By the end of the sixties, the Gold brothers had expanded to eight boutiques. This included a large five floor shop on Oxford Street, London, which came complete with VIP area for celebrities and pop stars to shop in private. There were eighteen franchises in Macy’s stores in America and more shops in continental Europe. During the seventies they expanded to 30 shops. However, the golden age of Carnaby Street itself appeared to be coming to a close. Strangely, the pedestrianisation of the street in 1973 seemed to spell the end for it as the centre of British fashion. As big names moved in, the independent boutiques closed or moved onto other things. 

Warren says, ‘I think that in the seventies there was less interest because there was nothing new. It wasn't until the latter parts, '78 onwards, that some excitement was created and some new talent came into the design studios and created some beautiful clothes.’

Still working in fashion and menswear retail today, the Gold brothers still run the family business. The Lord John shops were sold and became a public company and the Gold Brothers moved on to ‘Goldrange’, one of London’s very first outlet stores in Petticoat Lane, taking the Gold brothers full circle and back to where they’d begun in the early sixties. A radio jingle advertised the business as being in  ‘The Big Red Building in Petticoat Lane’ - and the name stuck.

‘The Big Red Building’ is now located in Golders Green, London, still selling menswear, and with Warren Gold still serving his customers. Warren told us, ‘The Big Red Building in Golders Green Road has been going 20 years as of last month. We sell discount men’s clothing, formal predominantly and carry a huge stock of mens suits in all fittings. We had as of last week over 4,000 garments in stock and can pride ourselves on being able to outfit virtually anyone.’ 
Warren Gold in 2013

Carnaby Street today is as much a tourist attraction as it is a shopping street. Every day visitors from all over the world come to see Carnaby Street, fashion’s most famous street and perhaps to shop in some of the renowned fashion names which are there today. From it’s glory days in the sixties, to the decline in the seventies, Carnaby Street is climbing again. Trendy fashion labels compete for a key location on the street still and in 2012 the Rolling Stones celebrated their 50th anniversary right in the heart of the street with their limited time only pop-up shop. 

Warren told us he still visits too. ‘I go there as often as I can which is usually two or three times a year,’ Warren tells us. ‘I've got eight grandchildren and three of the oldest boys, James, Robbie and Max; they are 14, 16 and 17 years of age; they love it. I often go up and down and drive them mad with some of my stories! I think it's great. It’s really expensive, but what isn't? It's hard to explain to people that didn't experience what I did how electrifying Carnaby Street and Kings Road was. People, retailers, wholesalers, celebrities, members of the public by the thousand, were coming to the street to buy any item, just as long as it had Carnaby Street on it.’


This article was originally published in Up&Atom Magazine, Issue 2, December 2013. 
Article by Lindsey Hagston. Interview conducted by Simon Parr. 
Thanks to Simon Parr & Warren Gold. 

Friday, 29 May 2015

The History Of The Polka Dot Trend

The Polka Dot trend on clothing started in the late nineteenth century, it has been popular throughout time, however it is seen to be cropping back up recently, a lot more within the fashion industry. Polka dot clothing is exploding back up onto the fashion scene!

In 1965 Bob Dylan wore a large print green polka dot shirt in the photo on the cover of his single 'Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues', this blew up the polka dot trend massively and caused more and more people to purchase and wear polka dot clothing.

Other famous artists can still be seen to wear the iconic polka dot shirt in present day. For example Miles Kane has sported the polka dot shirt in a black and white theme, this showing that the polka dot trend is still going strong and is still very influential when it comes to giving off bold fashion statements.


Ben Sherman has existed for 5 decades and is still going strong.  The Ben Sherman brand has been embraced by almost every youth culture or style movement for the last 5 decades, these ranging from the mods to the 2 tone and ska, right through to Brit pop. Ben Sherman is still worn in the current period by a vast majority of bands and style leaders and is still seen as a major fashion label within the mod culture.


Ben Sherman has followed in the sixties craze for polka dots, seeing its vastly growing popularity rising they have created some perfectly precise polka dot shirts. An example of these would be the two shirts shows on the right, They are both polka dot themed however both have different colours which could been seen to be worn for different occasions. Both of these shirts seem to be very formal and can give any look a smart finish with a mod and sixties inspired edge. 

The polka dot theme can be clearly seen to be bouncing its way back into the current era, its edgy and popular design has been used on many types of clothing for example; dresses, t-shirts, polo's and shirts etc, Its popularity has risen throughout time and has also been used on accessories for example; phone cases, bags, shoes etc. An increased amount of people have been wearing polka dot themed clothing and the demand for polka dot  themed items is forever increasing within popularity. 

Find these fab new Ben Sherman Polka Dot Shirts here. 

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

The British Invasion: Interview With The Cavern Club Beatles


2014 is the 50 year anniversary of when The Beatles first took America by storm. The Cavern Club, Liverpool sent their house Beatle band to re-enact the scene, exactly 50 years later to the day. Of course they needed some new Beatle Boots for that - and they knew where to come! We caught up with Paul Jones, who plays George in The Cavern Club Beatles for a quick chat.

Up&Atom - How did you become - not just a Beatle - but a Cavern Club Beatle?

Paul Jones - Me and some friends started a band in high school, when I was 14, and we decided we’d learn some Beatles songs. The next year, when I was 15 years old, we entered ITV’s ‘Stars In Their Eyes Kids’ and we were successful! So through The Beatles I (very early in life) entered the world of music and performing! From there it just grew from strength to strength to strength. I spent about 4 years playing all over the world on a cruise ship as a ‘John’, then after a while I wanted to come back home. The Cavern Club were auditioning for a ‘George’, so I learned a few songs and went for it and got the gig! This was about 2 years ago, and since then the band is the best thing I’ve been a part of. We’re all great friends who have a good laugh daily, but more to the point everyone is very good at their jobs and has a genuine love for performing, Liverpool as a city and The Beatles.

U&A - You recently went to the States to mark the 50th anniversary of the Beatles American invasion. What was that like?

PJ - Our trip to the USA was amazing. From the moment we arrived at Heathrow on the morning of the flight it was non-stop interviews, media and all sorts of attention! We even spent the whole flight in costume, which the air hostess’ loved! Arriving in the same terminal 50 years later to screaming fans and camera flashes was incredible, and what’s more frightening is what we experienced wasn’t even 1/100th of what The Beatles did! It was humbling because everyone was there to celebrate and just marvel at what The Beatles were. The audience and fans were having just as much fun as we were experiencing the ‘hype’ around us.

The performances were some of the most important I have ever has the privilege to be part of. Having your name in Times Square was so special and knowing you were on the same stage, playing the same songs, in the same clothes as they did was just surreal. Cavern City Tours who arranged it all were fantastic. We stayed in a suite in The Plaza, overlooking Central Park. We travelled in limousines, played iconic venues like The Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square (formally The Paramount Theatre), The Deaville Hotel (where the Miami episode of The Ed Sullivan Show was recorded) as well as an open air beach gig! Also supporting us every step of the was was Julia Baird, John Lennon’s sister. We would be driving around Miami with her telling us stories about John - very surreal! I’m sure any tribute band will tell you that attention to detail is paramount, and having John’s sister describe you as ‘the best Beatles tribute band’ she’s ever seen is just amazing, and only makes you want to try new things and develop the show.

Looking back, it couldn’t have gone any better. We loved the excitement when we were there, but now a few weeks have passed and we’ve seen all the coverage I think we’ve all realised how lucky and fortunate we were to be part of such an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime anniversary!

U&A - What’s been your most memorable moment as a Cavern Beatle?

PJ - America was such an amazing trip. Me, Tony Coburn [who plays Paul in The Cavern Club Beatles] and Paul Laverick (our keyboard player) all got our first tattoos in South Beach, Miami at 4am to remember the occasion!

U&A - Which Beatles era is your favourite to perform?

PJ - The best section of the show for me is the Sgt. Pepper and Magical Mystery Tour section. This reflects the band circa 1967, when they were experimenting a lot in the studio with effects, orchestration, arrangements, lyrics, etc. This is why it’s so good to play live, because essentially some of it is difficult and challenging. The early stuff is great and lively, real rock n roll, but the Pepper stuff is intricate and really takes some time getting right, so when it works it’s great and very rewarding!

Catch The Cavern Club Beatles at The Cavern Club, Liverpool every Saturday night at 8.00pm
and find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheCavernClubBeatles


This interview was originally printed in Up&Atom magazine, Issue 3 (May 2014). 
Images used by permission, © The Cavern Club Beatles & The Cavern Club, Liverpool. 
Big thanks to The Cavern Club Beatles and Nick Robinson from The Cavern Club, Liverpool. 

Find Chelsea Beatle Boots here -
The boots worn by The Cavern Club Beatles are Madcap England OutlawCasbah and Lightfoot Boots and Delicious Junction Beatle Boots.

Friday, 10 April 2015

A Pocket Full of Pretty Green: Interview with Pretty Green's Dean West

A Pocket Full Of

There are a lot of people out there who would give anything to be the head of wholesale at Pretty Green. The affiliation between music and fashion, and working with one of the UK’s biggest rock icons, make it one of the most desirable vocations going... but there can only be one man for the job - Dean West... and he knows his stuff...!


Up&Atom: I’m sure everyone knows, but can you humour us and tell us the Pretty Green story? How did it come about?

Dean West: It had been a dream of Liam’s for sometime, to create a clothing brand that reflected his personal style. He always knew what it would be called (the name, taken from the track on The Jam’s Sound Affects, means money), designed the logo, taking his inspiration from The Beatles Rubber Soul album and set about gathering a team of like minded people together to help make it happen.
We started with a small collection based on the outfits worn by the kids in Ethan Russell’s photo book from The Who’s Quadrophenia album; a parka, a striped boating blazer, a Harrington, the target t-shirt. So with a core of traditional British street clothes, still at the heart of every collection, we’ve developed and grown those same looks into the broader brand offer you see today.

U&A: There’s several elements to the Pretty Green range, including limited edition collections. What’s the inspiration behind these ranges? Can you give us some inside info on future ranges?!

DW: We’re an extremely music obsessed bunch at Pretty Green and music is always at the heart of every collection. Pretty much every piece you see can be tracked back to an authentic link with the world of rock and roll. Our eponymous Lennon Jacket is based on the ones worn by The Beatles at their Shea Stadium gig in America, ’65. A print based on the embroidery on George Harrison’s kaftan in ’68, that jacket Keith Richards was wearing in the photo of him in a scuffle outside the Speakeasy in ’70, the graphic from the t-shirt Keith Moon was wearing in his incredible solo at Hammersmith Odeon in ’72. There’s so much we draw from. The embroidery on next seasons desert boots for instance is John Lennon’s guitar strap from The Beatles last live performance on the roof of Apple in Savile Row in ’69.

U&A: Pretty Green is a complete menswear brand with clothing, footwear and accessories in it’s range. What exciting pieces can we expect to see added to the range going forward?

DW: Well, we’ve really expanded the footwear offer, from 9 styles to about 50, so that’s very exciting. The tailoring collection is coming along very nicely thank you. The Theme collection next season is all about Abbey Road and the album cover artwork of Storm Thorgerson. We’ve taken the giant pig seen floating above the Battersea Power Station on the cover of Pink Floyd’s Animals album and used it as the collection motif, but we’ve embellished it with black and white stripes representing the famous zebra crossing outside Abbey Road studios.

U&A: You’ve been with Pretty Green from it’s inception, but what did you do before tackling this project?

DW: I’ve been working in fashion since I was very young. My Nan was a seamstress in Soho and my Dad, who trained at Simpsons of Piccadilly, made leather jackets and was proud to include Apple, the Beatles’ clothes store in Baker Street amongst his customers. I’ve had many roles over a long and happy career, from an international buying director for a key independent to creating and opening stores for brands in Tokyo, taking in retailer of the year, export manager at Ted Baker and working in a tannery in Mumbai along the way. Pretty Green feels like the role I was working towards the whole time though, to be honest. I love every minute!

U&A: What’s your favourite Pretty Green piece? Is there anything you’d like to add to the range?

DW: My personal favourite is the Fool On The Hill Overcoat from the second collection. It was a beautiful re-imagining of a British military coat from the mid 1800’s. We made it in the original fabric, a 900 gram cavalry twill, so dense it could apparently stop a musket ball at 100 yards and had a domed Pretty Green logo brass button specially cast for it. The half belt at the back and inverted vent gave it a striking flared-out silhouette. Really cool and very 70s rock star!

I’d quite like to do a version of the traditional Perfecto leather jacket. The double breasted, zip front, cinched biker jacket as sported by Brando, Iggy, Sid, etc but as it’s the jacket most associated with the Rockers of the 60s I’m not sure how well it would be embraced by our loyal mod followers!

U&A: What’s your personal style?

DW: I dress to fit my mood really, but I have a real passion for Japanese raw selvedge denim and only ever wear dark jeans, with a t-shirt and leather jacket ideally, but even to weddings, funerals and events with a tailored jacket. Now I’m an older gentleman, I would love to have a Savile Row made to measure suit and a Crombie overcoat, one day!

U&A: What’s next for Pretty Green?

DW: We have a few stores opening over the next few months and a really exciting collaboration launching later this year. (If I tell you, I’d have to kill you though!) Personally I’ll be concentrating on taking the brand a little further afield and into the global market place as my next step. Onwards and upwards!

U&A: Now for a question we always like to ask. Do you have an all-time favourite album and/or film?

DW: Soooo hard! Probably Quadrophenia and Clockwork Orange. Or Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On and Goodfellas. Or...

U&A: Finally, we’ve got to sneak this one in before we let you go... What’s it like working with Liam Gallagher?

DW: As Liam once described the original Pretty Green 12 colour paisley... ‘It’s fuckin’ Biblical, man!’


Big thanks to Dean! 

This interview was originally printed in Up&Atom magazine, Issue 4 (Winter 2014). 
Image of Dean and Liam used by permission, © Dean West. 

Look out for the Pretty Green Storm Thorgeson & Abbey Road collection arriving soon. Check out the current range of Pretty Green at Atom Retro here.



Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Up&Atom - Issue 5!




Issue 5 of Up&Atom is out! Out now and free with all orders of clothing and/or shoes!
The fab new issue features:

  • This Art 2-Tone: Exclusive interview with 2-Tone graphic artist, John 'Teflon' Sims
  • Jonny Owen: A chat with Svengali director and star, Jonny Owen.
  • A Very British Phenomenon: Author Terry Rawlings on books, Brian Jones and The Small Faces
  • A Well Dressed Man About Town: Interview with tailor and designer, Mark Powell
  • Black Noire: Darron J Connett's new experimental musical adventure 
  • The Famous and Fascinating History of Peckham Rye
  • Atom is 10! The pics! 
  • The Sounds of The Sixties show.
  • A Pint With... DJ Dan Nolan
  • Plus: Star Wars Vintage Tees, Lyle & Scott, Lee Jeans and more! 
Want to get your mitts on a copy? Simply place an order at www.atomretro.com! Up&Atom is free with all orders of clothing and/or shoes, until stocks run out. (Some of the articles will also be featured on the Up&Atom blog - right here!)

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

A Crazy Gospel of Chance: LAMBERT & STAMP


James D. Cooper's Lambert & Stamp is documentary film that tells the story of an unlikely partnership. A duo that couldn't be more different, Lambert, the son of a classical composer and Stamp, the son of a tug-boat captain and their key role in launching and producing one of the most formidable rock bands the world will ever see. 


Originally setting out to make a documentary that would tell a tale of discontented youth, Lambert & Stamp would instead become perpetually and permanently side-tracked by the band we all know and love, The Who. From discovery, nurturing and evolution, Lambert & Stamp helped formulate the rise of a legend. 

The film is packed with gossip, stories and archive footage and was premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Lambert & Stamp is slated for general release in April (USA) and May 15th  (UK). 

Friday, 27 February 2015

Preview: Friday On My Mind's Cyclone!


The new Friday On My Mind Collection for Spring 2015 will be arriving soon, so here's a quick sneak preview to whet your appetite!

Friday On My Mind's collection centres around a cycling theme this summer, with a vintage cycle motif appearing throughout. In addition, some select piece are Made in England, adding a twist of something a little special.

All your faves are still here, the shirt dress, the prom dress and the sailor top, but these new designs lift and refresh the collection and give it a Retro Vintage inspired lift for Summer.

Read on below for a preview.