"Mr. Freedom- Tommy Roberts: British Design Hero".
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.
-from Diane Solway's article in W
Paul Gorman's brilliant new book is my new favourite. Tommy Roberts is absolutely fascinating: entrepreneur, shopkeeper, designer, curator, restaurateur- like a more fantastic Terence Conran. The book is filled with creativity and inspiration- it reminds me of Conran's House Book in the regard that virtually every page has something incredible on it that you need to bookmark. Roberts makes one want to do more- be more creative, to push it. The clothing and furniture designs he had made for his boutiques (Kleptomania, Mr. Freedom, City Lights Sudio, Practical Styling) and restaurant (Mr Feed'em) were all amazing, fun, and ahead of their time. Paul Gorman and Tommy Roberts were on BBC radio last week, and Robert Elms asked Tommy, "Where are all these fantastic things? What happened to them?" "Well, we didn't keep anything, we just moved on to the next thing". Thankfully it was all documented, and thanks Paul Gorman for bringing it all back and into our bookshelf.
Mr. Freedom on Amazon
Paul Gorman's blog
related (literally) Mrs. Paul Gorman's blog, which you'll also like.