Peter Golding FCSD created the first ‘designer jean’ in 1970, opened clothing store ACE on King’s Road in 1974 and created the world’s first stretch denim jean in 1978. He was the first fashion designer to be invited to join what is now known as the Chartered Society of Designers, and in 2004 was invited by The Queen to Buckingham Palace in recognition of his contribution to British design.
He has been described by Fashion Weekly as "the Eric Clapton of denim".
Beginnings and the Beat Hotel, Paris
Golding came from an academic family background, and became a clothing industry management trainee and production manager in his teenage years. An early trip to Paris saw him busk in the streets on blues harp and guitar, and take up residence at the infamous No. 9 Git le Coeur, later known as the Beat Hotel, a renowned hangout of Anglo-American beat artists and performers. Peter features in books on the beat generation by Harold Chapman (The Beat Hotel, 1984) and Mike Evans (The Beats: From Kerouac to Kesey, an Illustrated Journey Through the Beat Generation).
Leaving Paris, Golding set out on a 20,000 kilometre journey with friend Michael Kay on Lambretta Scooters. They travelled overland to Jerusalem via Athens, where they appeared as extras in the Jayne Mansfield film It Happened in Athens, then on through the middle east, appearing on television in Beirut and radio on Radio Jordan, before returning to London in the early-Sixties.
Fashion design and consultancy
On his return Golding worked for the Rael-Brook shirt company as a designer, combining his technical experience with his artistic background, before setting up one of the first professional fashion design consultancies in 1964, with offices in Old Burlington Street, then Savile Row. He attracted international clients such as Viyella International, Phillips-Van Heusen (USA), The International Institute for Cotton, The International Wool Secretariat, ICI (UK), Fabwerke Hoechst AG (Germany) and Hystron Fibers Inc (US), McGregor-Doniger (USA), Barracuta (UK) among others.
A series of ‘firsts’ followed. The introduction of the ‘Peter Golding’ label was with the first madras cotton shirts from India (sourced while travelling in India and Nepal)and sold through the early London boutiques - Just Men, John Michael and the Westerner and beyond with celebrity customers including the Beatles. The International Wool Secretariat promoted his designs as the first men's unconstructed clothing collection using double knit-wool jersey and also for Project Adam, chaired by Stirling Moss for the advancement of ergonomic clothing.
In 1970 with a commission from Falmer Company Ltd he created what can be considered the world's 'first designer jean' ‘Peter Golding for Falmer’.This successful line was followed in 1973 with Peter Golding bleached denim jeanswear which was distributed by Jean Machine and Mayfair Fashions in the UK. In that year Peter also exported these jeans and jackets to the USA through the Britannia Company in Seattle thus introducing the First Bleached Denim Jeanswear to America.
Peter was a visiting lecturer at the Royal College of Arts, and was invited to join the Society of Industrial Artists and Designers which today is known as The Chartered Society of Designers of which he is a Fellow and previously an Assessor for student membership both in the UK and Hong Kong.
In 1974, Golding opened his flagship store, ACE, in London’s King’s Road, with sculptures by Andrew Logan and an interior described by European Fashion Guide as “glittering”:
‘This may be the “hottest” store in the world. There is nothing inside here that does not glitter: the jeans, the shirts, the walls and the people. The black walls shine under silver lights, music plays continuously, and there’s no telling what stars may pop in - Liza Minnelli, Rod Stewart, Bianca Jagger or the Rolling Stones’...models,rock stars,movie people and lords and princesses come here for clothes that Golding designs to be both fun and sexy.Famous are the Golding jeans which fit like a second skin..' (Alan Flusser - European Fashion Guide US 1977)
Clients included.. The Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger, Rod Stewart, Queen, Britt Ekland, Twiggy, Yoko Ono, David Bailey, Bianca Jagger, David Bowie, Joan Collins, David Niven, Mary Quant, the Princess of Wales, Cliff Richard, Cilla Black, Ava Gardner, Marlon Brando, Bryan Ferry, Dudley Moore, Richard Burton, Adam Ant, Ossie Clark, Julie Christie, Jerry Hall, Jack Nicholson, Ringo Starr, Liza Minnelli, Amanda Lear, Zandra Rhodes, Cher ..etc. The store is mentioned in Bill Wyman’s Rolling with the Stones in an anecdote where Keith Richards attempts to try on Peter Golding stretch jeans, but instead takes several pairs on spec.
When the store closed in 1984 an advertisement was taken out in Ritz magazine to thank the celebrity clientele - the "Lords and Ladies of the night" which has become known as the "Ace Goodbyes".
The Original Stretch Denim Jean
PG's ACE store was the platform from which Golding created and launched the world's First Stretch Denim Jean in 1978 which was quickly popular with its British and International star studded clientele.
Design development and early production began in the mid 70s,as a response to the changing profile of the average jeans wearer. Golding found the solution to the demand for close-fitting jeans in a Japanese stretch indigo denim fabric (96% cotton 4% spandex) and then a sateen stretch fabric in black and plain dyed colours.
The original product was launched in the UK through the ACE store and other outlets, but was swiftly marketed in the USA with great success, stocked by American celebrity retailers including Fred Segal and Bloomingdales, and worn by LA's Hollywood and music fraternity including: The Rolling Stones,Guns N' Roses, Fleetwood Mac, Madonna, Jeff Beck,Stray Cats,Darryl Hall,John Oates, Van Halen, Gloria Estefan, Janet Jackson, Steve Miller and many others. His distinctive cuts featured his Rock Fit,Chelsea Cut, Two-way Cut and The Original Stretch.
Production of the stretch jean required an in-depth study of the performance of the fabric - namely shrinkage and stretchability and fit.The Peter Golding brand remained dedicated to the design and technology of stretch denim and other fabrics right through the eighties and nineties into the 2000's,as the brand expanded the range to include numerous jean fits, skirts, and jackets as well as his Ace inspired glamorous T-shirts and tops.
In October 2002 Jerry Hall kindly agreed to be featured in an article by Hilary Alexander for the Daily Telegraph with photographs by David Bailey to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Peter Golding Stretch Jeans since 1978. British society girl Tamara Beckwith then became the jean's photographic model, being featured in various press articles as well as in Hello and OK celebrity Magazines.
Rock art collection
Peter Golding is also known for his unique collection of Rock and Roll Art – 'Inspirational Times'.
The collection had its beginnings at a “happening” in Hyde Park in 1967, when Golding picked up a hand-drawn poster from the ground, and has grown to be one of the most comprehensive collections of its kind. It includes drawings, studies, finished artwork and paintings as well as an extensive collection of double uncut posters and printing plates for major bands and Family Dog venues, created by the well known artists of the era. Golding was a major lender of items to the popular Tate Liverpool exhibition: ‘Summer of Love’, in 2005, which went on to important museums in Germany and Austria in 2006, and to its exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York in 2007.
The collection includes works by Nigel Waymouth, Michael English, Victor Moscoso, Stanley Mouse and Alton Kelly, and artworks commissioned for bands and performers such as: The Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd, The Doors, Jefferson Airplane, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Quicksilver Messenger, The Cult, David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen, and Journey. Stanley Mouse’s painting, 'The Jester' for the Grateful Dead is particularly well known, as is the late Alton Kelley’s ‘Rolling Thunder’: This Kelley painting of the Mouse-Kelley artwork for Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart’s LP, with its star studded line up stands at over 6ft 6 inches square and is possibly the largest rock and roll art painting by a major artist! These items serve as a great visual history and spectrum of the famous bands and musical influences of this unique American counter culture.
The collection includes extensive work by the late Rick Griffin, considered the ‘grand master’ of this art form. It includes his working portfolios, sketchbooks and paintings as a special spectrum of his unique artistic style, with the Grateful Dead being well represented as one of his most important clients. There are works from his student days through to his later paintings – covering three decades of his talented and renowned artistic journey.
A selection went to auction under the title 'The Peter Golding Collection of Rock & Roll Art' at Bonhams in New York on 14 May 2008, as a first showing of its kind with a preview tour of the United States in April.
The first publicized and curated exhibition for Inspirational Times was held in London in 2003 courtesy of Sotheby's Olympia. A celebrity crowd, including the Marquis of Bath, Jeff Beck, Noel Gallagher, and Jimmy Page attended the gala opening, and the evening and exhibition was extensively featured in the British press.
Peter Golding is an avid musician, dedicated to blues and jazz playing harmonica, guitar and piano.
His influences have strong roots in the US, and Golding enjoys jamming and performing there: on R & B cruises around the Caribbean, or performing with friends like Slim Jim Phantom of The Stray Cats at his ‘Cat Club’ on Hollywood’s Sunset Strip. Peter Golding with April De Silva and their band the Ace All-Stars, co-hosted the Valentine's Ball charity event at the Royal Albert Hall in 1990, playing with Mick Jagger’s brother Chris Jagger.
He recorded his 1997 album Stretching The Blues with eminent blues musicians, including Otis Grand, Doris Troy and Slim Jim Phantom, and released it with a fashion and live music and fashion extravaganza at the Café de Paris London. The crowd included close friends, the fashion industry, Larry Adler, the Marquis of Bath, Kid Creole and Leo Sayer.
Golding was invited by the Adler family to play harmonica at the tribute to Larry Adler concert in 2001, joining Sir George Martin, Ned Sherrin and Issy Van Randwyck. In 2010 he participated in the tribute concert to renowned guitarist Diz Disley at the Half Moon Putney with many of Diz's old friends. He re-grouped Diz's band, The Hot Club de Londres, for the occasion.
He presented a ‘Talking Jazz & Blues’ series at London’s Chelsea Arts Club, including his own lecture: ‘75 Years of The Glorious Blues Harmonica’.
Golding’s own jump-blues band "PG & The T-Bones" continues to perform at the Chelsea Arts Club and other London venues, as does his group Cafe Django, featuring Gypsy Jazz with his unique style of harmonica swing. The T-Bones played London's famed 100 Club in January 2010 and Cafe Django recently played London's renowned hot spot Momo in September 2010 and is schedule there again for March 2012. Cafe Django "Gypsy Jazz & Hot Harmonica Swing" continues to play selected London venues to great audience appeal and Peter's 6-piece harmonica and vocals led combo features two guitars, violin,accordion and double bass.In December 2011 it played to a great enthusiastic crowd at the Chelsea Arts Club as an 8 piece by including an additional guitar and saxophone/clarinet and recently in March 2012 the regular 6 piece played two nights at London's celebrated Django Reinhardt inspired music cafe Le Quecumbar with further gigs in autumn 2013.
ICA Culture Now 2013
Peter Golding was invited by the Institute of Contemporary Arts The Mall SW1, to participate in their ‘Culture Now’ lunchtime series in February 2013.He was ‘in conversation’ with Chris Sullivan, well known journalist, contemporary author and commentator, with a lively discussion and power point presentation of Peter’s fashion and design heritage as well as his music and rock art interests.
- Roger Tredre, Fashion Weekly, February 16, 1989
- Gorman, P (2006) The Look: Adventures in Rock and Pop Fashion London:Adelita Ltd
- Wyman, B () Rolling with the Stones ISBN 978-0-7513-4646-6.
- Mike Evans (2007) The Beats: From Kerouac to Kesey, an Illustrated Journey Through the Beat Generation New York: Running Press Book Publishers
- Harold Chapman ( 1984) The Beat Hotel Paris: Editeur banal gris