In the mid-1960s, the expert tailor Freddie Hornik worked at Dandie Fashions in London, which was owned by multiple business partners that included Guinness heir, Tara Browne. They sold Saville-Row quality mod-like suits to fit the average lanky, shaggy haired patrons that had naturally skinny figures due to the WWII food rations they suffered through while growing up. They made sure to peg the end of the pants to accommodate the Beatle boots, which were usually worn. Musicians from all over England flocked to the boutique. The Beatles ended up investing in the firm in 1968 and for a short while it became menswear supplier Apple Tailoring. Surprisingly, their venture closed after a few months. In 1969, Hornik took over the King’s Road boutique Granny Takes a Trip with Gene Krell and Marty Breslau.
Opened in ’66 by John Pearse, Nigel Waymouth and Sheila Cohen, Granny Takes a Trip became well-known for its visually surreal and colorful store fronts. The boutique had a reputation for being the rock n’ roll hot spot of swinging London, eventually adding shops in New York and Los Angeles. They sold abundant velvet, sequins, fur, and paisley pieces. Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Johnny Thunders, the Rolling Stones, Elton John, and many other famous musicians took to sporting the psychedelic threads that hung in Granny’s windows.
Man’s suit in three parts (jacket, waistcost and trousers), early 1970s, Designed for: Granny Takes a Trip
Journalist and co-owner, Nigel Waymouth, named the boutique with the word “Granny,” referring to his love of retro fashions and “Trip,” obviously a L.S.D. reference. He was also responsible for the early clothing designs, as well as the interior of the store and storefront design. He went on to make pop art posters and become a famous painter. John Pearce was a tailor on Saville Row and currently clothes, amongst others, Tom Hanks, Rupert Murdoch, and British royalty.
Kings Road storefront of Granny Takes a Trip. Photo by Max Decharne.
In 1972, Lou Reed wore a black velvet and rhinestone embedded Granny’s suit on the cover of his album, Transformer. Also that year, Mick Jagger appeared wearing a Granny’s tartan velvet jacket on the inside cover of the Stones Exile On Main St. and Todd Rundgren wore Hornik’s sequined bolero jacket on the reverse side of the Something/Anything? gatefold sleeve.
KEITH RICHARDS AND MICK JAGGER WITH BOB DYLAN (who is obviously not wearing Granny Takes a Trip).
JOHN LENNON outside Apple Tailoring Boutique, 1968. Photo by Bill Zygman.
“We used to cut up blouses and dresses and turn them into shirts or tops for men. What was great about Granny’s was that there were no boundaries. Anything went and they kept on changing. The effect of Granny’s clothes was foppish, flamboyant and decadent – a 1960’s reinvention on fin-de siecle dandyism. ” Johnny Moke (sales assistant at Granny’s)
British 60’s group The Move in Granny Takes A Trip.
Woman’s boots, 1969, Granny Takes a Trip
Check out Johnny Thunders shopping below at Granny’s!
The Purple Gang wrote a song called Granny Takes A Trip after the famous boutique. The BBC banned it from the radio due to the LSD reference.
Inside The Beatles Apple Boutique from the movie Hot Millions. -London ’68.
Pink Floyd. The Who, and Jimmy Hendrix scenes are all shown in the video below on the London music scene of 1967.
AFTERWORD BY GILLIAN MCCAIN
About twenty years ago I was walking around the Lower East Side and stumbled into a vintage clothing shop called, I believe, Cherry. There is it was– for the first time in my life I was confronted with a Granny Takes a Trip suit in the flesh. Even though the pants wouldn’t even get past my thighs, I had to have it. I’ve worn the jacket but it’s hard to know what to wear as bottoms or even underneath as a shirt. It’s a very unusual shade of pink with cream accents.
The bottom of the trousers are works of art. I’ve never seen anything before or since like them.
The owner said that it used to belong to Ringo—information that I took with a grain of salt, but he was skinny enough to wear it… Ringo, are you out there? Whatever the case, he couldn’t have looked more dashing in it then my nephew Luke did.
Doesn’t he look like a Sixteen magazine heart throb?