BREASTS Sleeveless T-shirt. 1969.

BREASTS Sleeveless T-shirt. 1969.

from the book 'Seventies Style' Thames & Hudson. 2009.
by Dominic Lutyens and Kirsty Hislop.

In November 1969, Caroline Baker, Fashion Editor of NOVA magazine had introduced us to James Wedge when he was commissioned to photograph our 'Painless Tattoos' Collection. James agreed to do the Breasts picture. It was of top model, Pat Booth - James' girlfriend. We printed the image on ecru jersey T-shirts made by Morley, an underwear manufacturer that made especially for the armed forces in cotton and silk. We also printed some sleeveless versions on vests by Invicta. The breasts were printed with a basic mono black and a fine blue tint -- some sepia versions too. At the same time we did a short edition of prints on paper. In 1970, Peter Bird purchased the Breasts print on paper for a travelling Arts Council exhibition.

The idea was to create a duality with a two dimensional image of the breasts onto the three dimensional torso of a woman. We had also made a large jig-saw puzzle in a box of a two dimensional print of a jig-saw puzzle. We made drawings of a pencil with a pencil and a pen with a pen, we printed a fair-isle sweater on a shirt etc. It was to create the illusion and to explore that paradoxical superimposition that brought us to make the piece. In contrast, the 1970 "Tits T-shirt' from Jizz and the 1976 McLaren/Westwood T-shirt were really novelty T-shirts to be worn by a man.

Drawing 'Bardot Topless Dress' 1966. Collection Bruno Alferi.

"Ideas evolve and the artwork develops as you draw more from life. I had made some drawings of Bridget Bardot wearing a topless dress in 1966 and we had produced photomontage shirts of early 20th century Pin-ups in '67. In 1968, prior to making the Breasts Screen-print, I had drawn and montaged about 20 breasts images for a poster printed in OZ Magazine no.12 with David Wills, Barney Bubbles and a host of other artists"

'Existence' breasts drawings 1968. OZ Magazine no.12.

Book-Cover 'Marshmallow Pie' Macmillan. 1968

'Omega Pin-ups' Shirt print. 1967.

"The BREASTS T-shirt was a natural progression following the 'Painless Tattoo Collection' where we had first experimented with printing stark-naked illusions on the clothes - trompe-l'aeil."

In 1970 Pat and James had sold our BREASTS T-shirts in their famous Chelsea Boutique called COUNTDOWN - which in the 60's had become a cultural hub for the hip Pop Stars and Artists of the day from the Rolling Stones to Patrick Hughes. We also sold the T-shirts in New York and a few shops in Europe but there were probably only about 30 produced at that time. We had also made the T-shirt with a black back in 1971 but we couldn't persuade Trevor Myles to stock it at Paradise Garage.

Original Breasts T-shirt, made in 1969

BREASTS cotton/silk T-shirt 1969

When Malcolm McLaren & Vivienne Westwood visited our studio in Villiers Road NW10, we're certain they hadn't seen a Tits T-shirt before and even if they had, they hadn't considered producing one. Malcolm had followed the NEW YORK DOLLS around for a time and had restyled his own image. After they closed TOO FAST TO LIVE, TOO YOUNG TO DIE, Malcolm looked a different kinda rocker. The Teddy Boy drape had given way to a blouson jacket and scarf, the cockney accent had gone and he was wearing cuban high-heeled shoes. While Malcolm was away, Vivienne had been researching the underground sex and fetish clothes market, the very opposite of the Ted culture. By then the Teddy Boy retro scene had backfired. We talked about sex clothing and the overlapping images of pornography and Art. Vivienne said how she had found all these people making fabulous clothes for fetishists - an entire industry out there running under the surface, she wanted to bring it into the open. Up to the late 60's, sex fetish clothing was still considered taboo but the ice was wearing thin......

Our T-shirt of Pat Boothe's breasts was hanging on the wall. Vivienne said she would like our Lips and Leopardskin Pin-ups T-shirts we had produced that spring for their new venture. But we couldn't agree on a shape, a pattern or a label. We insisted that we could only supply T-shirts with our own labels. Then Malcolm noticed the breasts print, he asked when we did it, we told him the Countdown story. Malcolm liked it and declared he was gonna do it. We discussed another Breasts T-shirt I'd seen in Portobello Road earlier that year, like the one that Charlie Watts had worn on the cover of 'Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out!' (released for Xmas 1970). Malcolm &Vivienne never did our T-shirts.

Our BREASTS T-shirt was successfully re-launched in 1977 at Kitsch-22, combined with an overprint of Tattoos, we included it in the Boy Blackmail collection in 1980.


From BOY BLACKMAIL 1980. Picture: Sheila Rock

Molly wearing the BREASTS T-shirt in 1977 at John and Molly's studio

A Polaroid of Molly wearing the BREASTS T-shirt. 1977


The "Paradise Garage Massacre" exhibition resurrected our BREASTS T-shirt in a limited edition, boxed, signed with provenance sheet published by The Aquarium Gallery September 2007.

The Paradise Garage Massacre.  31st October - 30th Movember 2007 The Aquarium/Amuti Gallery, 10 Woburn Walk, London

Poster for 'Paradise Garage Massacre' Exhibition.
Aquarium Gallery 2007.

Photographer Gerald Jenkins made this picture of the Breasts T-shirt in 2011.

Photographer Gerald Jenkins made this picture of the Breasts T-shirt in 2011.

Breasts T-shirt in production

On the table, the last three prints of the limited edition of BREASTS
T-shirts from the original screens.

This photograph of Pat Booth by James Wedge
was from the same photo-session.


In 2009, Popular Rock/Fashion author and journalist, Paul Gorman, wrote the definitive update to his Tits tee blog - "The strange and intriguing story of the Tits tee."

"Maybe it speaks of the universal breast fixation, but the fact is that this design - at once simple and complex - continues its journey from art project to novelty item to radical fashion apparel and eventually to 21st century art object.

Along the way this tale absorbs such disparate elements as Rhode Island School Of Design, Oz magazine, Bourbon Street, the King's Road, Alice Cooper, the LA Free Press and Forum in the 70s, The Face in the mid-80s, the late lamented model, boutique owner and novelist Pat Booth, the implosion of the New York Dolls and the rise of the Sex Pistols, the Met's Anglomania exhibition of 2006 and much, much more. THE LOOK's three-part special, based on testimony supplied exclusively by the key protagonists, presenting rarely seen images and previously unpublished and updated interviews and information for the first time anywhere, ever."

Photomontage by Caz Facy, THE LOOK 2009.



Breasts T-shirts drying on print table

BREASTS T-shirt fronts drying after printing. 1980