Granny Takes A Trip: A Psychedelic Fashion Revolution
Posted on August 10 2023
Granny Takes a Trip was the go to shop and brand for many a snake-hipped 70s rock star with their signature embroidered velvet jackets, platform boots and patterned shirts.
In the vibrant and revolutionary 1960s, a fashion revolution was underway that would forever change the landscape of clothing. At the forefront of this movement was "Granny Takes a Trip," a pioneering clothing company that redefined fashion by blending art, music, and counterculture influences. With its unique and avant-garde designs, Granny Takes a Trip became a symbol of the psychedelic era and a cherished chapter in the history of fashion.
Founded in 1966 by designers Nigel Waymouth and Sheila Cohen, along with the help of Savile Row tailor John Pearse, Granny Takes a Trip was established in the heart of London's King's Road. The boutique's name itself was a wink at the founders’ neo-Victorian style and the drug culture of the times. The shop quickly became a hub for artists, musicians, and fashion-forward individuals seeking to break free from traditional clothing norms.
Granny Takes a Trip is perhaps best remembered for its contribution to the psychedelic fashion movement. The boutique offered an array of innovative and eclectic garments that embodied the spirit of the 1960s counterculture. From vibrant tie-dye patterns to flowing Bohemian dresses, to iconic embroidered velvet suits—like the one Lou Reed wore on the cover of Transformer. The store's creations were a reflection of the era's newfound fascination with mind-expanding experiences and artistic expression.
The brand was also way ahead of its time when it came to upcycling vintage. Johnny Moke, a former sales assistant at Granny’s, said “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.”
The boutique's clientele included a range of iconic figures from the music and entertainment industry, such as The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and members of The Rolling Stones. These artists not only frequented Granny Takes a Trip but also embraced its unique aesthetic, contributing to the boutique's status as a symbol of the era's artistic and cultural shift.
Granny Takes a Trip left an indelible mark on the fashion world. Its influence extended far beyond its doors, shaping the trends and styles of the 1960s and beyond. The boutique's bold use of colors, patterns, and textures continues to inspire contemporary designers and artists who seek to evoke the free-spirited and experimental ethos of that transformative era.
Granny Takes a Trip stands as a testament to the power of fashion to capture the spirit of a cultural revolution. Through its innovative designs and boundary-pushing creations, the boutique helped shape the visual identity of the psychedelic era. Today, its legacy lives on in the annals of fashion history, a reminder of the transformative potential of clothing to reflect and shape the times in which they are created.
The original store closed in 1976, making all remaining garments—should you find them—very rare and special indeed.
(Pictured top left: George Harrison wearing Granny Takes a Trip, bottom right, vintage velvet Granny Takes a Trip suit once worn by Lou Reed)