August 05 2011
It should come as no surprise to see Sir Peter Blake signing T-shirts at an über-cool Shoreditch fashion launch (first picture) – he has long been keen on applying his art to popular culture, with designs for everything from Swatch watches to, famously, the Beatles’ Sgt Pepper album cover. Now Britain’s greatest exponent of pop art has linked up with hip-again sports brand Fred Perry, which is not as random as it sounds.
His 1961 Self-Portrait with Badges shows Blake wearing a badge-spattered jeans jacket over a red Perry polo shirt with distinctive striped collar – and this is what has inspired a collaboration on a limited edition of polo shirts, each featuring iconic Blake symbols including the target, heart and star, plus the Perry laurel wreath, in different combinations. There are three colours: the white (second picture) is the most flamboyant and likely to become a collector’s piece, though the red is closest to the original painting, and there is also a bright turquoise blue version. A thousand of each are on sale, at £125, online and in Fred Perry Laurel Wreath stores from August 8 and, from the diminishing piles at the launch, they won’t last long. (All have a printed signature, but are not individually signed by the artist.)
Blake’s Art Bus is also appearing at events this summer – a renovated Liverpool double-decker, it has a pop art, rock’n’roll tour bus interior, which he designed with target and Union Jack leather cushions and a glitzy bar. Upstairs, his gallery CCA shows visitors around his art, and sells his prints – some in limited editions of just eight – from £1,500 to £15,000.