I picked up Boutique London A History: King’s Road to Carnaby Street by Richard Lester ( ACC Editions) last weekend and pretty much read through it in one afternoon. Starting off in the later Fifties, the book chronicles the gradual rise of Carnaby Street and Kings Road as the two most fashionable streets of the 1960s.
Featuring shops such as ‘Top Gear’ and ‘His Clothes’, as well as more famous ones such as ‘Granny Takes a Trip’ and, of course the Biba Boutique, the book really captures what made these shops such a success: the youthful determination of the designers and shop owners, who – bored with the old – decided to make fashion on their own terms.
I loved reading about the people behind the shops – what motivated Ossie Clark, how did Mary Quant set up shop – and found it quite inspirational to read that most of these people had nothing – no experience, no money – and yet through utter determination and hard work somehow made it, simply because of their love for fashion.
Boutique London also contains some great photos and illustrations again very inspirational to me – as well as interviews and quotes from retailers and shoppers.
If you’re interested in the history of British fashion or if you’re a modern-day shop owner in need of some inspiration, this is an absolute must read.