- Title: UK/FILE: London's Carnaby Street celebrates 50 years since its 1960s heyday
- Date: 26th February 2010
- Summary: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (FEBRUARY 25, 2010) (REUTERS) SHOPPERS ON CARNABY STREET CARNABY STREET SIGN WITH BRITISH FLAGS SHOPPERS VARIOUS OF SHOPPERS CARRYING BAGS MOTORBIKE HELMET IN WINDOW OF SHOP LAMBRETTA SHOP SIGN LAMBRETTA SHOP VARIOUS OF UNION JACK COAT OUTSIDE SHOP BRITISH FLAG HANGING BETWEEN SHOPS SIGN READING: CARNABY STREET 50 EXHIBITION BUILDING VARIOUS OF WOMAN HANGING PHOTOGRAPHS PHOTOGRAPHS VARIOUS OF PHOTOGRAPHER PHILIP TOWNSEND LOOKING AT HIS PHOTOGRAPHS VARIOUS OF PHOTOGRAPHS (SOUNDBITE) (English) 1960s PHOTOGRAPHER PHILIP TOWNSEND, SAYING: "The Beatles, the Rolling Stones and all the other bands just sued to walk around the streets without security men. Usually they weren't even stopped by walking along the street just sort of 'hell mate, alright Mick'. And off you went." TOWNSEND'S HANDS TOWNSEND SPEAKING (SOUNDBITE) (English)1960s PHOTOGRAPHER PHILIP TOWNSEND, SAYING: "You don't get the really big chains like on every high street. And I think that's important. I think if it was just like another high street it wouldn't be so interesting." TIMELINE OF CARNABY STREET OLD NEWSPAPER ARTICLE PHOTOGRAPH TIMELINE VARIOUS OF PHOTOGRAPH VARIOUS OF EXHIBITION CURATOR AMY DE LA HAYE EXAMINING DRESS ON MANEQUIN
- Embargoed: 13th March 2010 10:38
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment,Lifestyle
- Reuters ID: LVA7EYLEILO3WFUXGMAM9FAIN6I5
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Once home to a pesthouse for plague victims, London's Carnaby Street has had a long and diverse history, but it was its influence on 1960s fashion and youth culture that propelled it onto the world stage.
A place where unique, eclectic design and independent boutiques rub shoulders with flagship stores of international brands, Carnaby Street remains one of London's best known shopping destinations 50 years on.
"If it was just like another high street it wouldn't be so interesting," said 1960s photographer Philip Townsend, whose subjects have included The Rolling Stones and model Twiggy.
"You get small firms that are having a go just like we did in the 60s ... That is why I think it has kept its appeal."
Townsend, whose favourite photo of the street features two smartly dressed men in bowler hats, said the combination of fashion conscious shoppers and celebrities alongside ordinary people using the street as a thoroughfare gave it a unique feel.
"The Beatles, the Rolling Stones and all the other bands just used to walk around the streets without security," he said.
Some of Townsend's work features in a free exhibition, "Carnaby Street: 1960-2010", opening on Friday, which explores the fashion, music and history of the 12 streets which comprise the Carnaby Street area.
The exhibition centres around a three dimensional timeline -- featuring an assortment of objects including drawings, magazine covers and vinyl records -- to illustrate the key people and events in the area's transformation from little more than a field with a disused windmill 500 years ago.
Housed in a vacant shop at number 38, it also features a selection of clothes, such as a 1969 paper mini dress, which provide a glimpse of how Carnaby Street's style has evolved over the decades.
It was the arrival of entrepreneur John Stephen, a charismatic Scotsman credited with introducing hipster trousers and floral patterned shirts, which first established Carnaby Street as the home of flamboyant male fashion, targeting affluent teenage consumers.
"Carnaby Street became a new space for fashion in the 1960s and what was unprecedented was the fact that it was aimed specifically at teenage youth and it was aimed at men," said fashion historian Amy de la Haye, one of the exhibition's curators.
"Because the designs were so innovative and so extraordinary and weren't available elsewhere you also got celebrities and pop stars coming to buy them as well so it was this incredible exciting atmosphere of a mix of people."
In 1973 the street, through which as many as 4,000 cars would pass in a day, was pedestrianised and paved with various shaped orange, white, yellow and black tiles, a striking pattern which has been replicated on the floor of the exhibition.
With over 65 percent of shops in the area still independent, de la Haye says the individual, original creations on offer have helped Caranby Street maintain its appeal both among young designers and shoppers.
Just minutes from Oxford Street and Piccadilly Circus in London's west end is still a popular draw for both tourists and locals.
The exhibition will be followed by a series of events throughout the year including live music weekend in June and fashion show in September.
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