Lloyd Johnson: The Modern Outfitter
Curated by Paul Gorman
24.01.2012 - 03.03.2012
Tuesday 24th January 2012 6 – 8.30pm
The story goes that five or so years ago a Chelsea inhabitant encountered Bob Dylan standing outside the dry cleaner’s which now occupies 406 King’s Road.
Dylan looked lost, puzzled. The Chelsea local plucked up the courage to ask what was of concern to the spokesman of several generations.
“Didn’t there used to be a great rock & roll clothes shop here?” wheezed Dylan.
The answer is, of course, yes. And its name was Johnson’s. This fabulous fashion store operated on the site for more than two decades, and – with an equally impressive sister outlet in Kensington Market - provided popular music with a dazzling variety of visual identities from the 60s to the 00s.
Dylan is just one of the stellar cast who sported Johnson’s designs on stage, on the street, on film, on record sleeves and on the road. So also did Tom Waits, Rod Stewart, Sex Pistols, The Clash, Keith Richards, Chrissie Hynde, The Specials, George Michael, Jack Nicholson, Kid Creole, Fred Astaire...the list of Johnson’s fans is breathtaking.
Now the exhibition LLOYD JOHNSON: THE MODERN OUTFITTER celebrates the career of the man behind the facade. In recognition of Lloyd Johnson’s position as one of the central figures operating at the cross-hatches of popular music and fashion design, the exhibition is centred on his core archive of garments, textiles, artwork, personal effects and ephemera, and brings together key clothing from customers and collectors from around the world.
THE MODERN OUTFITTER also opens the door on a pre-digital world of shopping, retailing, production and design, one where Johnson’s boutiques became total environments which also told his own story, from Modernist beginnings in the seaside town of Hastings through hippy splendour in London and Paris in the 60s to new wave, post-punk and New Romanticism in the 70s and 80s to LA’s Tiki/lounge scene and Tokyo’s leather-clad rockers of the 90s and 00s.