Recently, I have been contacted via e-mail by Laura Jamieson - a designer, who in late 1960's ran a boutique in Chelsea called The Sweet Shop. Ms Jamieson shared with me some of her memories from her time as the owner of The Sweet Shop as well as the photos of the amazing clothes she designed worn by top models and pop stars of 1960's London. I am sure that the readers of this blog will find this 'mini - memoir' very interesting:
" I left Chelsea School of Art in 1965 then did a post graduate at Horsey College of Art for year. I started my own collection of knitwear selling to boutiques in the Kings Road and to Alice Pollock and Ossie Clark's Quorum in Radnor Walk. I then rented a building in Blantyre Street from the council at £7 per week, a shop with rooms above and opened The Sweet Shop in 1967. Trevor Miles did some of the designs and I also produced my own designs using outworkers and turning the basement into a workroom. Trevor Miles left to work with Tommy Roberts and they opened Mr. Freedom in the King's Road. Then Willy Daly came on board as production manager - he was working with Ossie Clark until he joined The Sweet Shop. The medieval theme just evolved and I think we were original in using silk velvets, patchwork with appliques of Iconic medieval and space age themes. Dresses sold for £35 and men's velvet tunics £25. Floor cushions £60 Wall hangings £200. The outside of the shop was boarded and painted white initially and, as we were off the beaten track, it was only fashion and style insiders who knew about us, though the shop eventually got loads of publicity in Daily Press and Vogue.
In fact, I did Grace Coddington's wedding dress when she married Michael Chow - her first husband. Fashion historians and academics have not heard of The Sweet Shop as it was quite ethereal only known to the in-crowd and did not have visibility such as Granny Takes A Trip on the King's Road. Eventually the shop front was painted with strange little running men by Martin Sharp who is now an artist of renown in Australia he worked for OZ magazine and shared a studio flat with Eric Clapton at the Peasantry in the King's Road.
Once inside the shop there were huge floor cushions, wall hangings, and clothes hung from the ceilings and adorned the walls more like an art installation. It was a social hub and friends and customers mingled, they sat on velvet floor cushions drinking jasmine tea while listening to sounds of Bob Dylan playing on an old record player hidden behind Victorian screen and the scent of incense filled the room. It was all very atmospheric and exotic and fun unlike the corporates fringing the King's Road today. Here Julie Christie, Twiggy and Justin, Jean Shrimpton, Lionel Bart, Syd Barrett, Jefferson Airplane, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Keith Richards et al and, local aristocrats and hippies mingled.