ARTBOOK LOGO

ARTBOOK BLOG

WHAT'S NEW?
EVENTS
BOOKS IN THE MEDIA
AT FIRST SIGHT
FEATURED IMAGES
EX LIBRIS
ARTBOOK INTERVIEWS
EXCERPTS & ESSAYS
FROM THE SHELVES

RECENT POSTS

DATE 3/3/2015

Björk

DATE 3/3/2015

Sturtevant: Drawing Double Reversal

DATE 3/2/2015

Shirana Shahbazi: Monstera

DATE 3/2/2015

Tomma Abts: Mainly Drawings

DATE 2/28/2015

Man Ray: Human Equations

DATE 2/27/2015

On Kawara — Silence

DATE 2/26/2015

Christina Ramberg: Corset Urns & Other Inventions

DATE 2/24/2015

Hubert de Givenchy

DATE 2/23/2015

Art Books Continue to Insist on Being Committed to Print

DATE 2/23/2015

Swedish Details

DATE 2/22/2015

AIGA Presents Louise Sandhaus, Barbara Glauber, Lucille Tenazaas & Alexandra Lange on 'California Graphic Design'

DATE 2/19/2015

Jacqueline Humphries

DATE 2/19/2015

The Art of Smallfilms

DATE 2/18/2015

Making Design

DATE 2/17/2015

Peter Fischli & Nancy Spector in Conversation at the Swiss Institute

DATE 2/17/2015

Arctic

DATE 2/15/2015

Studio 54

DATE 2/15/2015

Titian

DATE 2/14/2015

STEIDL at Privet Lives

DATE 2/14/2015

Sweets for the Sweet

DATE 2/13/2015

Making Pictures: Three for a Dime

DATE 2/12/2015

Mona Kuhn Book Signing at Arcana

DATE 2/11/2015

German Pop

DATE 2/11/2015

ARTBOOK | D.A.P. at CAA

DATE 2/10/2015

ARTBOOK @ Swiss Institute Celebrates 30 years of Parkett

DATE 2/10/2015

German Pop

DATE 2/9/2015

Parkett 95: Wael Shawky

DATE 2/6/2015

Herbert Pfostl on 'The Puppet and the Modern'

DATE 2/6/2015

Art Green: Certain Subjects

DATE 2/6/2015

Paul Feeley: 1957–1962

DATE 2/5/2015

Common Wealth

DATE 2/4/2015

ARTBOOK, Swiss Institute & DIS Magazine Launch #artselfie

DATE 2/4/2015

Tools: Extending Our Reach

DATE 2/2/2015

Type 42: Fame Is the Name of the Game

DATE 2/1/2015

ARTBOOK @ Swiss Institute Launches 'The Look' by Diller, Scofidio & Renfro and Matthew Monteith

DATE 1/31/2015

Cameron: Songs for the Witch Woman

DATE 1/31/2015

Ed Ruscha

DATE 1/31/2015

Come to the Los Angeles ARTBOOK | D.A.P. Showroom Sample Sale!

DATE 1/30/2015

Join ARTBOOK @ MoMA PS1 for a Wael Shawky Book Launch

DATE 1/30/2015

Visit ARTBOOK at the LAABF 2015!

DATE 1/30/2015

Jim Goldberg: Rich and Poor

DATE 1/28/2015

Never Wrong: Dan Nadel's Best-Of Spring 2015

DATE 1/28/2015

'Semina Culture' at the LAABF

DATE 1/27/2015

BOOKS AND BEERS: Join Louise Sandhaus & Quindar at The Standard, Hollywood

DATE 1/26/2015

Bruce Davidson: In Color

DATE 1/25/2015

Joel Meyerowitz: Retrospective

DATE 1/24/2015

Join us at ForYourArt's Hollywood Walk of Art

DATE 1/23/2015

Joel Meyerowitz: Retrospective

DATE 1/22/2015

Emil Nolde: My Garden Full of Flowers

DATE 1/22/2015

BEST OF 2014: Georges Braque & Others: The Selected Art Writings of Trevor Winkfield, 1990-2009

DATE 1/21/2015

Art Catalogues at LACMA Book Launch (and Music Lesson) for Kaz Oshiro


BOOKS IN THE MEDIA

CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 4/25/2012

Tommy Roberts: Mr. Freedom Reviewed in W Magazine

Adelita's new book on the pioneering Carnaby Street designer responsible for backless "Bumster" jeans, Jimmy Hendrix's ruffled shirts and Mick Jagger's infamous "Zodiac" cape, worn at Altamont, is treated to a full page in the May issue of W magazine, in which Diane Solway talks to "Swinging London's pop pioneer," Tommy Roberts: Mr. Freedom.

MODERN ENGLISH 
With his outrageous fashion emporiums, Tommy Roberts was the go-to guyfor rock royalty.DIANE SOLWAY talks to Swinging London’s pop pioneer. 
Twiggy wore the store’s signature Mickey Mouse T-shirt, and Jean Shrimpton loved its clingy vest dress. Mick Jagger was a fan of the appliquéd- zodiac-sign T-shirts, while Elton John favored the flamboyant winged ankle boots, which he showcased on his breakout 1971 U.S. tour. Then there was Peter Sellers, another habitué, who could often be found lingering around taking photos of the pretty young birds who flocked about the Mr. Freedom store.

One of the most innovative boutiques in rock fashion history, Mr. Freedom was as much a show as a shop—a fashion, art, and design mecca for Swinging London’s most outré set. In his new book, Mr. Freedom—Tommy Roberts: British Design Hero (Adelita), Paul Gorman tells the story of the boutique’s driving force: the stocky maverick entrepreneur Tommy Roberts, “one of those unpindownable figures,” the author says, “who fast-tracked vanguard ideas right into the mainstream.” Roberts was the first to sell slogan T-shirts, license images from Disney, and integrate the new Pop aesthetic into everything from the clothes and furniture he sold to the decorating of his shop, a task he regularly put in the hands of young designers and artists just out of art school. Hot pants, chairs shaped like dentures, and window displays of huge detergent boxes were the order of the day. Though Mr. Freedom’s moment was fleeting, such was its impact that when Cecil Beaton organized the Victoria and Albert Museum’s first fashion exhibition, in 1971, he featured 24 of the label’s pieces alongside loans from the British royal family, Madame Grès, Balenciaga, and Mary Quant.

A onetime student at Goldsmiths College, the ebullient Roberts, now 70, debuted his first shop near Carnaby Street in 1966. Called Kleptomania, it sold Victoriana, military wear, caftans, and penny-farthing bicycles. The club next door, Bag O’Nails, was home to the rock glitterati of the period, and it wasn’t long before the Who became store regulars and Jimi Hendrix owned the signature frilly-front shirts. 

But in 1969 Roberts decided to change things up: Opting for bright, bold color and a cartoonish aesthetic, he opened Mr. Freedom at 430 Kings Road in Chelsea, a space that would eventually be taken over by customers Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood. “If you were a pop star wanting to make a bit of an impression,” recalls Roberts, “we were the shop to go to.” Paloma Picasso bought her father a T-shirt for his birthday there; indeed, wearing Roberts’s jersey maxi dresses and velvet hot pants was statement-making in that pre-stylist era. “It was anti-hippie,” Gorman says. “You weren’t walking around in sandals and flares; you were wearing these things from an aggressive youth cult. His store was very urban—a reaction to the bucolic folkie celebration.” Roberts relocated in 1970 to a three-story “countercultural department store” in tonier Kensington, creating a pioneering lifestyle emporium where Elton John and Rod Stewart jammed one night on the tiny stage in Mr. Feed ’Em, the brashly colored basement diner.

In yet another about-face two years later, Roberts debuted City Lights Studio, the first fashion store in Covent Garden, stocking it with somber, tailored suits for both sexes—such as the box-jacket one David Bowie wore on the back cover of his 1973 Pin Ups—in a goth setting that anticipated the glam-rock scene. Coffins hung from chains, the black floor was spackled in gold glitter, and Schoenberg provided the soundtrack. (Yohji Yamamoto later credited City Lights Studio as an influence on him as a young designer.) 

After the store’s closing in 1974, Roberts managed Ian Dury’s art band and subsequently became an influential housewares, antiques, and furniture dealer, introducing Memphis design and Tom Dixon to savvy collectors. “He appeared to kind of disappear,” Gorman says. “But, of course, he didn’t.” This book ensures that he won’t. 
 Tommy Roberts: Mr. Freedom Reviewed in W Magazine

MODERN ENGLISH
With his outrageous fashion emporiums, Tommy Roberts was the go-to guy
for rock royalty.
DIANE SOLWAY talks to Swinging London’s pop pioneer.

Twiggy wore the store’s signature Mickey Mouse T-shirt, and Jean Shrimpton loved its clingy vest dress. Mick Jagger was a fan of the appliquéd- zodiac-sign T-shirts, while Elton John favored the flamboyant winged ankle boots, which he showcased on his breakout 1971 U.S. tour. Then there was Peter Sellers, another habitué, who could often be found lingering around taking photos of the pretty young birds who flocked about the Mr. Freedom store.

One of the most innovative boutiques in rock fashion history, Mr. Freedom was as much a show as a shop—a fashion, art, and design mecca for Swinging London’s most outré set. In his new book, Mr. Freedom—Tommy Roberts: British Design Hero (Adelita), Paul Gorman tells the story of the boutique’s driving force: the stocky maverick entrepreneur Tommy Roberts, “one of those unpindownable figures,” the author says, “who fast-tracked vanguard ideas right into the mainstream.” Roberts was the first to sell slogan T-shirts, license images from Disney, and integrate the new Pop aesthetic into everything from the clothes and furniture he sold to the decorating of his shop, a task he regularly put in the hands of young designers and artists just out of art school. Hot pants, chairs shaped like dentures, and window displays of huge detergent boxes were the order of the day. Though Mr. Freedom’s moment was fleeting, such was its impact that when Cecil Beaton organized the Victoria and Albert Museum’s first fashion exhibition, in 1971, he featured 24 of the label’s pieces alongside loans from the British royal family, Madame Grès, Balenciaga, and Mary Quant.

A onetime student at Goldsmiths College, the ebullient Roberts, now 70, debuted his first shop near Carnaby Street in 1966. Called Kleptomania, it sold Victoriana, military wear, caftans, and penny-farthing bicycles. The club next door, Bag O’Nails, was home to the rock glitterati of the period, and it wasn’t long before the Who became store regulars and Jimi Hendrix owned the signature frilly-front shirts.

But in 1969 Roberts decided to change things up: Opting for bright, bold color and a cartoonish aesthetic, he opened Mr. Freedom at 430 Kings Road in Chelsea, a space that would eventually be taken over by customers Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood. “If you were a pop star wanting to make a bit of an impression,” recalls Roberts, “we were the shop to go to.” Paloma Picasso bought her father a T-shirt for his birthday there; indeed, wearing Roberts’s jersey maxi dresses and velvet hot pants was statement-making in that pre-stylist era. “It was anti-hippie,” Gorman says. “You weren’t walking around in sandals and flares; you were wearing these things from an aggressive youth cult. His store was very urban—a reaction to the bucolic folkie celebration.” Roberts relocated in 1970 to a three-story “countercultural department store” in tonier Kensington, creating a pioneering lifestyle emporium where Elton John and Rod Stewart jammed one night on the tiny stage in Mr. Feed ’Em, the brashly colored basement diner.

In yet another about-face two years later, Roberts debuted City Lights Studio, the first fashion store in Covent Garden, stocking it with somber, tailored suits for both sexes—such as the box-jacket one David Bowie wore on the back cover of his 1973 Pin Ups—in a goth setting that anticipated the glam-rock scene. Coffins hung from chains, the black floor was spackled in gold glitter, and Schoenberg provided the soundtrack. (Yohji Yamamoto later credited City Lights Studio as an influence on him as a young designer.)

After the store’s closing in 1974, Roberts managed Ian Dury’s art band and subsequently became an influential housewares, antiques, and furniture dealer, introducing Memphis design and Tom Dixon to savvy collectors. “He appeared to kind of disappear,” Gorman says. “But, of course, he didn’t.” This book ensures that he won’t.

Tommy Roberts: Mr. Freedom Reviewed in W Magazine
IMAGE CAPTIONS: Clockwise, from top left: Models in Mr. Freedom T-shirts and hot pants, 1970; Tommy Roberts, 1970; Mr. Freedom shop on Kings Road, 1969; Jimi Hendrix in a Kleptomania shirt, 1967; Mr. Freedom Disney T-shirt; Roberts’s own pair of winged boots; Elton John performs in the iconic boots, 1971; Kleptomania exterior, 1967; David Bowie in a City Lights Studio suit on the back cover of Pin Ups, 1973; Mick Jagger in Mr. Freedom cap and T-shirt, 1971.

Tommy Roberts: Mr. Freedom Reviewed in W Magazine
Tommy Roberts: Mr. Freedom Reviewed in W Magazine
Tommy Roberts: Mr. Freedom Reviewed in W Magazine
Tommy Roberts: Mr. Freedom Reviewed in W Magazine
Tommy Roberts: Mr. Freedom Reviewed in W Magazine
Tommy Roberts: Mr. Freedom Reviewed in W Magazine

DATE 3/11/2013

Mariana Cook: Justice

Mariana Cook: Justice


ARTBOOK LOGO
 
 

the artworld's favorite source for books on art and culture

  

CUSTOMER SERVICE
orders@artbook.com
212 627 1999
M-F 9-5 EST

TRADE ACCOUNTS

800 338 2665

CONTACT

JOBS + INTERNSHIPS

NEW YORK
Showroom by Appointment Only
155 Sixth Avenue
New York NY 10013
Tel   212 627 1999

LOS ANGELES
Showroom by Appointment Only
818 S. Broadway, Suite 700
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Tel. 323 969 8985

ARTBOOK LLC
D.A.P. | Distributed Art Publishers, Inc.


All site content Copyright C 2000-2013 by Distributed Art Publishers, Inc. and the respective publishers, authors, artists. For reproduction permissions, contact the copyright holders.

ARTBOOK AMPERSAT

The D.A.P. Catalog
www.artbook.com