mrjyn dailymotion videos

Search This Blog

July 2, 2011



← Back to YouWeirdTube

Story of the tits tee

Share on Facebook
The story of the tits tee starts in the late spring of 1969 with Janusz and Laura Gottwald, students at Rhode Island School of Design with their own studio Amperzand Design in the college's town of Providence.
//Advert in Los Angeles Free Press, June 18, 1971//
Janusz came up with the concept of the trompe de l'oeil shirt - as well as another featuring a hairy male chest - and together the pair produced a limited edition RISD "yearbook" consisting of a corrugated box containing various editions of items, one of which was the t-shirt.
"Janusz was yearbook editor and every student in the graduating class of 1970 was to receive a box," says Laura, who these days heads her interior design company while Janusz operates an architectural practice.
"But word got out and the closet storing the boxes was raided and the tit t-shirts were stolen."
//Alice Cooper, Max's Kansas City//
On leaving college the Gottwalds produced the shirt commercially via San Francisco-based Jizz Inc, the label run by Dick Lepre, Janusz's best friend from Notre Dame, and his wife Judith Muller.
"We produced the tits t-shirt in our basement in San Francisco, selling them along with other Amperzand designs," says Judith, who was Jizz production manager. "The original ideas came from Amperzand, but we branched out to include other designers. All our clothing was produced in and around San Francisco and presented at the Men's Sportswear and Boutique shows in New York."
Among the boutiques which stocked the tits tee was San Francisco's Water Brothers. The Rolling Stones played their fateful gig at the Altamont Speedway in nearby Livermore on December 6 and it is at Water Brothers that Charlie Watts is believed to have bought the one he sports in the David Bailey photograph on the cover of the Rolling Stones' live album Get Your Ya-Yas Out!.
Watts also wore the t-shirt for performances recorded for the BBC back in England on December 12 1969, and the group's chronicler Stanley Booth recounts how the Ya-Yas cover shoot took place near Birmingham towards the end of that month.

//Get Yer Ya-Yas Out!, The Rolling Stones, released September 10 1970//
On September 8 1970 the Alice Cooper band played New York's hallowed Max's Kansas City. According to alicecooper.co.uk, the singer was arrested that night for uttering the word "tits"; maybe it was actually for the perceived obscenity of his t-shirt.
Just the day before, Time magazine featured the tits tee in a report on the growing popularity of printed tops headlined: The Breakout Of The Undershirt: "Exhibitionists will love the startling model imprinted with a properly located life-size photo of a pair of breasts…"
//From Time, September 7, 1970. Courtesy Ben Cooney collection//
"We also produced NASA photograph moon and saturn shirts, several Jesus ones (Catholic and Protestant versions) and a gorgeous snake shirt," says Laura.
Meanwhile, Judith points out how deals with other 70s fashion companies such as Smiling Crow, and designs by the likes of Norman Stubbs of East West Musical Instruments Company and Bruce Smith of Rainbow Cobblers enabled Jizz to expand into a full range of shirts and jackets which were sold through independent outlets across the US.
These ranged from Freddie Hornik's Granny Takes A Trip in Los Angeles to Terry Slobdzian's outlets in upstate New York.
"I designed men's smoking jackets and satin cowboy shirts with embroidered yokes which were featured in Playboy and Esquire," says Laura. "Actually, I won a designer of the year award from Esquire for the robes."
<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=5FJYyA4jRdM" onclick="javascript:pageTracker._trackPageview('/outbound/article/youtube.com');">http://youtube.com/watch?v=5FJYyA4jRdM</a>
//Honky Tonk Women, Top Of The Pops, BBC, 1969//
One of Jizz's most avid customers was Goods Department Store on Harvard Square in Cambridge MA, described by Laura as "Biba-like". The owner/founders were entrepreneurs Daryl and Don Levy, who now run the Deluxe Town Diner in nearby Watertown.
"It carried merchandise ranging from charming conceptual kitsch like our t-shirts to divine Brit fashion from Mulberry and Margaret Howell," adds Laura, who believes that the enduring appeal of the tits tee is rooted in the care and attention originally lavished upon it.
"Quality was the key," she says. "Ours were silk-screened, using a very fine dot screen, as you'd expect from an art object created by RISD students."
The Jizz team is still smarting that the design was later picked up by Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood for their shop SEX. While Dick Lepre has said that he has been tempted to contact the San Francisco Museum of Contemporary Art over it's attribution of the design to Westwood, Laura Gottwald has also expressed her annoyance.
"Vivienne Westwood ripped us off; we had the shirt out first," is Judith Muller's succinct summation.
Yet, as we shall see, it was actually McLaren who brought the design to England where it was positioned in a very different context. Judging by the difference in proportion and size of print, this may have been taken from a copy of the original.
But such dissection of the garment lay far in the future.
Back in 1969, simultaneous to the Gottwald's creation of the tits tee, another pair of former art students were working on a similar concept which was to propel this unlikely design classic further along its extraordinary journey.

Part 2: Wonder Workshop's wonderful breasts

Tuesday, Aug 4th, 2009
Categories: 00s, 60s, 70s, Boutiques, Celebrity, Fashion design, Punk, glam
"Ideas evolve and the artwork develops as you draw more from life," says John Dove, who, with his wife and Wonder Workshop partner Molly White, was tuning into the zeitgeist at exactly the same time as the Gottwalds across the Atlantic.
//Photomontage of late Victorian pin-ups for shirt print, John Dove and Molly White, 1967//
"In 1966 I'd made some drawings of Brigitte Bardot wearing a topless dress, and the following year we'd produced photomontage shirts of early 20th century pin-ups," explains John. "And in 1968, prior to making the breasts screen-print, I'd drawn and montaged about 20 breasts images for a poster printed as part of OZ magazine no.12 with Barney Bubbles and a host of other artists."
//Brigitte Bardot in topless dress 1966/Front cover Marshmallow Pie, Graham Lord, 1970. Both John Dove//
In 1969 John and Molly came up with the notion of Painless Tattoos; a series of prints on garments manufactured from sheer material.
"When I was delivering drawings to Nova I often talked to the fashion editor Caroline Baker about the tattoos, which she loved," says John.
//Existence Is Unhappiness, OZ 12/Detail of breasts drawn by John Dove, May 1968//
"Honey magazine published a small piece of reportage in December 1969 and photographer James Wedge was in the Nova office with his portfolio one week around that time; he showed some interest in stocking the tattoo clothes for the shop he owned with his girlfriend Pat Booth, Countdown in the King's Road."
//Painless Tattoo photospread, Nova, April 1970//
Booth was one of the key movers and shakers of the 60s and beyond, escaping a tough East End childhood to first become a successful model and then boutique owner before carving an international reputation as an author. Sadly she succumbed to cancer just a couple of months ago.
Nova showcased the Painless Tattoo collection in it's April 1970 issue with photographs of Booth by Wedge. Around this time Wedge also photographed Booth's torso for a new idea of John and Molly's; the breasts shirt.
//Pat Booth's torso by James Wedge, 1970//
"It was a natural progression on the trompe de l'oeil effect of the tattoos," says John. "We printed it on an ecru jersey T-shirt, using the underwear manufacturer Morley, which made cotton and silk shirts made for the armed forces."We also printed some sleeveless versions on vests by Invicta. The breasts were printed with a basic mono black and a fine blue tint and there were some sepia versions too. At the same time we did a short edition of prints on paper which Peter Bird purchased the prints for an Arts Council exhibition."
Soon Countdown was stocking the breasts shirt and John and Molly also supplied a couple of stores in New York and continental Europe, though it likely that a maximum of 40 were ever made.
"In 1971 we produced the T-shirt with a black back but we couldn't persuade Trevor Myles to stock it at Paradise Garage," says John.
More interest was shown a couple of years later by Myles' successors at 430 King's Road, Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren, who visited John and Molly's studio in Villiers Road, Willesden, north-west London in 1974 as they prepared the transition of the shop from Too Young To Live Too Fast To Die to SEX by researching the underground sex and fetish clothes market.
//Trevor Myles receives a ticket outside Paradise Garage 1971. Pic: David Parkinson//
"This was a little after Malcolm had returned from Paris, hanging out on the New York Dolls' European tour," says John. "Malcolm looked a different kind of rocker from before: the Teddy Boy drape had given way to a blousey jacket and scarf, the Cockney accent had gone and he was wearing cuban high-heeled shoes. By then the Teddy Boy scene had backfired.
"We talked about sex clothing and the overlapping images of pornography and art. Vivienne said how they had found all these people making fabulous clothes for fetishists - an entire industry out there running under the surface which they wanted to bring into the open.
"Up until the late 60s, sex fetish clothing was still taboo but the ice was now wearing thin."
John says that Westwood liked the Wonder Workshop Lips and Leopardskin Pin-up T-shirts."But we couldn't agree on a shape, a pattern or a label," he adds. "We insisted that we could only supply T-shirts with our own labels. Then Malcolm noticed the breasts print on the wall and asked when we did it so we told him the Countdown story. Malcolm liked it and declared he was gonna do it."
The quartet also discussed another T-shirt John had seen in Portobello Road earlier that year "like the one that Charlie Watts had worn on the cover of The Stones' Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out!".
//Molly in the Kitsch-22 breasts & tattoos tee 1977/From BOY Blackmail catalogue 1981//
In the event SEX did not carry the Wonder Workshop designs and John and Molly relaunched the breasts shirt with their shop Kitsch-22 in 1977, combining it with an overprint of their eagle & snake tattoo (which was reissued last year as part of their range for The Look Presents).
This was also included in BOY's mail order range Blackmail in the early 80s.
//From BOY Blackmail catalogue 1981//
"When M&V visited us in the autumn of 1974, it wasn't purely a social visit - it was business," stresses John. "I'm certain they hadn't seen a tits t-shirt before that and even if they had, they hadn't considered producing one.
"Whatever the historical facts, all the novelty genre tits t-shirts in the world may have gone completely unnoticed had Malcolm and Vivienne not made that souvenir t-shirt their own. Lets face it - its a work of art! End of story!"
But the story doesn't end there - in the next and final chapter Malcolm McLaren explains for the first time the exact circumstances of his discovery of the print and we look at how it remains as a high-end fashion item/art statement to this day.

Part 3: SEX & The Tits Tee

As John Dove points out, it took Malcolm McLaren's unique combination of commercial nous and artistic insurrection to conduct a Dr Frankenstein and bring the tits tee back from the novelty graveyard for resurrection as a vital fashion statement.
Works at Workplace Studies at {text:School} {/block:ifSchool} {block:ifCurrentLocation} Lives in {text:Current Location} {/block:ifCurrentLocation} {block:ifRelationshipStatus} {text:Relationship Status} {/block:ifRelationshipStatus} {block:ifLanguages} Speaks {text:Languages} {/block:ifLanguages} {block:ifBirthday}
  • Born on
    //Steve Jones wears his tits with pride, 1976. Pic: Joe Stevens//
    In the spring of 1975 McLaren found himself far away from home. The previous year he had overseen the transformation of 430 Kings Road into Sex, aided by his design partner Vivienne Westwood with creative input from friends including Bernie Rhodes and Gerry Goldstein and the practical help of Vick Mead, a master carpenter he had chanced upon in his south London neighbourhood of Clapham.
    //430 King's Road, London SW3, 1975. Pic: Peter Schlesinger//
    When the shop was open again McLaren had upped sticks across the Atlantic to work with the New York Dolls, but, as documented extensively elsewhere, their combined and gargantuan drink and drug habits mitigated against any hope of commercial resuscitation.
    A final series of dates in the south had resulted in the collapse of the group. "The Dolls had broken up in Florida in a drunken, drug-induced frenzy, and left me with just two assets: a Les Paul guitar and a convertible car," says McLaren.
    "From the swamps of a trailer park I sped with the guitarist Sylvain Sylvain to the Big Easy.
    //McLaren wades in at the Nashville Rooms, April, 1976. Pic: Joe Stevens//
    Birthday} {/block:ifBirthday} {block:ifHometown} From {text:Hometown} {/block:ifHometown}
  • Share:
    "There, on Bourbon Street, I found the sexiest t-shirt of all, one with a blue print of a pair of perfect-sized tits so as to transform the wearer, man or woman. This t-shirt was purchased in what you would consider today some kind of little tourist boutique."
    //Anarchy In The Eighties, The Face, February 1986. Photograph: Nick Knight//
  • "I remember the shop clearly; it was opposite a house in which, on the second-floor window, there was an open curtain. Every 10 seconds a girl on a swing traversed the street in mid-air, her legs wide to an open crotch, and then back through the window and the curtain closed; it was a knocking shop and she was advertising the wares."
  • Message
  • {/block:AskEnabled} {block:ifEmail}
  • Email
  • lock:ifEm
{/block:ifShowSubmitandAskLinks} {block:TagPage}

{lang:Posts tagged Tag 3

Suitably impressed, McLaren included the tee in the haul he took back to London a couple of weeks later.
//Sex in Forum, 1975. Photographs: David Parkinson//
Reprinted, mainly in blue on white, and worn by rebellious teenagers of both sexes, it was to become a staple during the Sex Pistols' rise after the line-up coalesced in August that year.
Guitarist Steve Jones and drummer Paul Cook were early adopters; Jones can be seen wearing it in the 1975 Forum magazine photoshoot on Sex and in photographs from many of the Pistols live performances.
<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=p25SdQEnhHI" onclick="javascript:pageTracker._trackPageview('/outbound/article/youtube.com');">http://youtube.com/watch?v=p25SdQEnhHI</a>
{block:Text} {block:Title}

PROCESS: buy the exhibition booklet

Copies of the 24-page Barney Bubbles exhibition booklet are now available exclusively from this site.
Featuring the cover image of the ingenious hammer & sickle artwork for Nick Lowe’s 1979 album Labour Of Lust, the illustrated booklet includes:
  • Title sticker (in ‘process magenta’)
  • Introduction by author Paul Gorman
  • Overview of Barney Bubbles’ design practices
  • Photograph of Barney Bubbles creating set design for cover of Carlene Carter’s Musical Shapes
  • Letter to Barney Bubbles from client Line Records
  • Design for The M!ss!ng L!nk tattoo for The Damned drummer Rat Scabies
  • 18 images including original artwork, sketches and photography for Elvis Costello, Dave Edmunds, Hawkwind, Clive Langer & The Boxes and Whirlwind




{lang:Search results for SearchQuery 2

Jones also makes sure that it is on full view during the epochal encounter with Bill Grundy on Thames TV's magazine show Today in December 1976.
{/block:Text} {block:Photo} {LinkOpenTag}{PhotoAlt}{LinkCloseTag} {block:Caption}
{/block:Caption} {/block:Photo} {block:Photoset} {Photoset-500} {block:Caption}
{/block:Caption} {/block:Photoset} {block:Quote}


{/block:Source} {/block:Quote} {block:Link}

{Name} →

{/block:Description} {/block:Link} {block:Chat} {block:Title}


  • {block:Lines}
  • {block:Label}{Label}{/block:Label} {Line}
  • {/block:Lines}
{/block:Chat} {block:Audio} {block:AlbumArt}{/block:AlbumArt} {AudioPlayerGrey} {PlayCountWithLabel} {block:Caption}
{/block:Caption} {/block:Audio} {block:Video} {Video-500} {block:Caption}
{/block:Caption} {/block:Video} {block:Answer}

{Asker} {Question}

{/block:Answer} {block:HasTags}
In this post: {block:Tags}{Tag} {/block:Tags}
{/block:HasTags} {block:Date}
{block:Photo} {/block:Photo} {block:Link} {/block:Link} {block:Video} {/block:Video} {Month} {DayOfMonth} at {12Hour}:{Minutes}{AmPm} {block:ContentSource} via {block:SourceLogo}{SourceTitle}{/block:SourceLogo}{block:NoSourceLogo}{SourceLink}{/block:NoSourceLogo}{/block:ContentSource} {block:IndexPage}· Like · View Post{/block:IndexPage}
{/block:Date} {block:NoteCount}
{/block:NoteCount} {block:PostNotes}
{/block:Posts} {block:PermalinkPagination}
{/block:PreviousPost} {block:NextPost}
{block:AskEnabled} Send Message {/block:AskEnabled}


Thereafter it was worn by such SEX shoppers as Siouxsie Sue and was reproduced throughout the 80s by the likes of BOY and Kensington Market's Pure Sex, who provided the design for a Nick Knight-shot celebration of the 10th anniversary of punk in The Face in February 1986.
Siouxsie Sue in her tits tee, 1977/ 666 version 2009//
It is still available, officially in a number of colourways from Westwood, or unofficially via such repro companies as 666.
//Westwood MAN and Anglomania tees//
Four decades after this strange design was innocently produced for an art school project, the tits tee is more popular than ever, though there is something beautiful about the fact that it doesn't look likely we'll ever know whose breasts they were originally.
"The model lived downstairs from us in Providence," says Laura Gottwald. "I forgot her name."


{Likes limit="7" summarize="100" width="239"} View more likes {/block:Likes}{/block:ifShowLikes}
{Name} © 2010
Tumblook by Gabrielle Wee · This is not Facebook.com or any site associated with Facebook.com.