Carnaby Street in the city’s West End epitomised London’s swinging sixties; it was an exciting mix of independent clothing shops and boutiques, including Mary Quant and the infamous I Was Lord Kitchener’s Valet, a shop selling vintage and ex-issue military clothing. Formerly of Portobello Road, the shop helped popularised the wearing of ex-military clothing as fashion pieces. ‘They’ say Jimi Hendrix bought this Royal Hussars jacket at the shop… along with another jacket that according to this website, he was ordered to remove by a group of policemen, as it was disrespectful to its previous wearers(!).
Its not just fashion that made the street so notorious; the musical connections to Carnaby Street are endless; The Kinks, The Stones, Paul Weller and The Who, have all been photographed there – often by Philip Townsend.
Images via NME.com
More recently Liam Gallagher opened a Pretty Green store there, and The Stones have made a spiritual return this month opening a pop up store to celebrate their 50th anniversary. It’s basically a Rolling Stones Carnaby Street Christmas, the street’s arches have been decorated with Sir Mick’s red lips, and Stones-emblazoned gold discs have replaced more traditional festive baubles… The group also has its own store on the street, selling everything from Stones-inspired fashoin to posters and other pop memorabilia.
At one end of Carnaby Street is a rather spectacular Tudor Revival department store (c. 1920), which was purpose built, (from the timbers of two ships) as the home of Liberty‘s London.
Liberty is famous for producing fine printed fabrics, from satin to silk crepe de chine, wool to cotton jersey. Incidentally it was its archive of Art Nouveau designs that enjoyed popularity in the 1960’s when the trend resurfaced. As a child, I remember having adorable dresses made for me from Liberty fabrics. I also remember visiting the store, it is incredible. With its rows upon rows of ribbons and yarn, fabrics and buttons; dark wooden floors, shiny old lifts and painted ceilings. The best view is from the wooden balcony on each floor, which allowing you to view the whole store from floor to ceiling.
So a little touch of that Tudor-inspired London fashion has popped up in Arnotts this week.
Here are a few pieces available…
Embossed Leather stationery, purses, wallets and ipad cases