Monday, May 2, 2011

Granny Takes A Trip

 Granny Takes a Trip was a boutique that opened in February 1966 at 488 Kings Road in Chelsea, London by Nigel Waymouth, Sheila Cohen, and John Pearse. It has been called the "first psychedelic boutique in the 'Swinging London' in the 1960s." It started out as an outlet for Sheila's collection of antique clothing, and morphed into a hangout for the rich and famous as well as a place to buy fabulous clothes. Taking the gaudy upholstery, lace and brightly patterned wall coverings that typified geriatric chic, designers twisted them into messed-up takes on the tailoring tradition. The shop became known for its changing facade. In 1966 it featured giant portraits of Native American chiefs Low Dog and Kicking Bear. In 1967 the entire front was painted with a giant pop-art face of Jean Harlow ('30s movie starlet), the best known version of the boutique. That was later replaced by an actual 1948 Dodge saloon car which appeared to crash out from the window and onto the forecourt, painted black and gold then completely yellow. "One should either be a work of art or wear a work  of art" was written over the door. At first, the ambiance was a mixture of New Orleans bordello and futuristic fantasy. Marbled patterns papered the walls, with rails carrying an assortment of brightly-colored clothes. Lace curtains draped the doorway of its single change room, and a beaded glass curtain hung over the entrance at the top of steps, which led on into the shop. In the back room, an Art Deco Wurlitzer blasted out a selection of music. By 1969 though, Nigel Waymouth was more interested in art and music, and John Pearse went into theatre. Freddie Hornik, a fashion entrepreneur, bought the business. He, Gene Krall, and Marty Breslau "dandified" the shop, attracting customers like Rod Stewart, Ronnie Wood, and Keith Richards. Branches were opened in New York and Los Angeles and sold to Elton John, Keith Moon and Mick Jagger. These were closed in 1973 when it was acquired yet again by Glen Palmer who moved the location to the Sunset Strip. That closed in the early '80s.

The Animals

Back of the Beatles' Revolver

The Rolling Stones' Between The Buttons
George Harrison's blazer

Pink Floyd
Jim Morrison
Joe Cocker's Woodstock boots

Ossie Clark
John Pearse, co-founder
Nigel Waymouth, co-founder

Inside the boutique:

Iggy the Eskimo

Sheila Cohen, supplier of clothes
Artist Patrick Procktor

Dinah Adams

Freddie Hornik

Kurt Cobain - vintage in the '90s
(Photos- The Look, Women of the Beatles, random online auctions, scans from Boutique and Radical Rags, and screen caps from 60's Fashion and Granny Takes a Trip on BBC British Style Genius.)


JessM said...

everytime I read about this boutique, I'm so jealous that I never got to shope there.
and wow even Kurt wearing this stuff?
I mean I always picture Keith or Patti Boyd in my head, but I guess it touched many generations.
That's pretty cool

Lise.silva said...

So great!!

I'm super fascinated by London boutiques of that era... The first photo is on the cover of a book I've been coveting for so long called "Boutique: A 60s Cultural phenomenon"

Have you already check it out? This amazing post is reminding me to buy this book which Ive had on my wishlist so long!


Kaitlyn said...

JessM- I am SO fascinated by these old boutiques too... My wish is to pick up some pieces from Granny's some day. :)

Lise.silva- Yes, I absolutely ADORE that book!! Some of the photos in this post are from Boutique, actually. I highly recommend it if you are at all interested in the London '60s-'70s boutiques - it has a TON of amazing color pictures and a lot of information. I'm sure you'll love it! :)