The exuberant and colourful label sprang out of the boutique at 430 King’s Road – now Dame Vivienne Westwood’s Worlds End shop – and went on to take the world by storm, pioneering Pop Art design in the 60s and defining the Glam Rock and pre-Punk looks of the 70s.
Worn by style icons Jean Shrimpton, Twiggy, Julie Christie and Liz Taylor and rock stars such as Mick Jagger, Elton John and Marc Bolan, the recognition factor of Mr Freedom was so high that when Yves Saint Laurent unveiled an early 70s Paris catwalk show with applique stars and hearts motifs and a dress proclaiming “Love Me Forever Or Never’, haute couture’s debt to Mr Freedom’s unique and revolutionary ethos was made manifest.
Mr Freedom broke the mould and set the tone for international youth style by scoring a series of fashion firsts: It was the very first label to license Disney characters for incorporation into designs and repeat prints, in the process sewing the seeds for a huge multinational multi-million dollar business.
It was the first fashion brand to branch into related lifestyle areas, including children’s wear, fun furniture and even food (with the outrageous restaurant Mr Feed’Em)
The significance of Mr Freedom to the contemporary fashion narrative is underlined by the fact that there are 25 examples of original designs in the permanent collection of Britain’s the Victoria & Albert Museum.
“These include such inspired and ingenious pieces as a pair of the wild ‘winged boots’, a two-piece velvet baseball suit and the so-called ‘Bingo Jacket’ complete with appliqued felt numbers. All were personally selected for the V&A by the late royal photographer and fashion doyen Cecil Beaton.
Original pieces of Mr Freedom clothing are increasingly rare, fetching thousands of pounds at auction and among the most collectible and desirable in vintage circles.
As a result, the label’s mixture of exuberance, sexiness and sassiness has never been more on-trend and so it is fitting that Mr Freedom is back, reinvented for the 21st century by the man who came up with the name and hot-housed this unique fashion offer: creative director Trevor Myles, who
cofounded Mr Freedom with the late Tommy Roberts.
Myles has teamed up with fashion veteran Mo Khan to draw on Mr Freedom’s rich legacy to appeal to today’s savvy young female fashion consumer.
Says Myles: “Mo and I have carefully selected a bespoke team of contemporary and original designers who are fusing Mr Freedom’s brand values with fresh imagery, up-to-the-minute fabric technology and digitally-realised graphics.”
Words by Paul Gorman