Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Boy London

Those of us that can remember as far back as the 1980s will no doubt have a soft spot for Boy London, the label that emblazoned T-shirts, caps, sweaters and more with its bold logo. Now the label has been revived and counts Chloe Sevigny as a fan, so we thought we’d fill you in on its history.

Boy London was set up by Stephane Raynor, a man with quite a London history. In the 1970s, at the same time that Malcolm Maclaren and Vivienne Westwood were causing a stir with their Chelsea store SEX, Raynor set up a stall also on the Kings Road called Acme Attractions with John Krevine. At the heart of London’s Punk scene, it was run by now legendary DJ Don Letts and attracted everyone from Boy George and Chrissie Hynde to Patti Smith and Bob Marley. It even spawned one of the capital’s greatest clubs – The Roxy was opened by its accountant, Andy Czezowski to cater for its cool clientele.

Come 1976 Raynor and Krevine had shut up shop and turned their attention to Boy London. The clothing line had its first store on the Kings Road and started off as a punk staple, decking out the likes of the Sex Pistols. But it was in the 1980s that the brand really came into its own. By this time punk was dead and the coolest kids in town were kick-starting the New Romantic scene – Raynor was right there with them. He and his friends, now 1980s icons (Boy George, Steve Strange, Rusty Egan and Princess Julia) spent their time hanging out at the Blitz club and teaming their Boy looks with outrageous makeup and homemade accessories.

Raynor showed off his new offerings with shows more akin to parties in the London’s hippest night spots and before long the brand had an international following. By the end of the decade no fashion fan’s wardrobe was complete without a T-shirt emblazoned with its winged logo, and, with his finger firmly on the pulse of the next big thing, Raynor channelled the emerging Ibiza club scene into his collection, complete with eye-popping shades and smiley faces. It became one of the most copied labels around, to such an extent that Raynor effectively lost control of the brand and it fizzled out.

These days Raynor runs a vintage store in London’s East End called Sick. And he’s just revived the Boy London label – he’s teamed up with Urban Outfitters to create a small range of uber-cool branded pieces.

(Elle UK)

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