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Scooter Style and the eternal call to be cool

Italian scooters, design and personal identity. Specialists on contemporary cultural styles examine the influence of Italian scooters on British culture.

Speakers: Richard Barnes, Susan Holder, Alfredo Marcantonio Alistair O’Neill, Carol Tulloch. Chaired by Alice Beard.

Italian designed scooters, the Vespa and Lambretta, stand out as some of the most innovative pieces of transportation design in the 20th century and they continue to be regarded as symbols of freedom and independence. In Britain however, the scooter has always had a very close relationship with style, image, fashion, music and its history reflects our ever evolving social landscape.
To coincide with the Ready Steady Go! Scooter Style & Urban Dreams exhibition at Chelsea Space gallery the curators have invited a number of specialists on contemporary cultural styles to explore just some aspects of that ‘labyrinth’ of associations and connections between the scooter, design and personal identity.

Scooters were adopted by the Mods of the 1960s and their style is still influencing the new generation of Mods. Richard Barnes contribution to the talk will explore the musical taste of the Mods and the powerful role it played in creating this sub cult.

Alfredo Marcantonio, an advertising creative director with a string of awards to his name, was an original Mod and lived the lifestyle of a true Mod, which included riding a scooter. He will revisit some of the key moments of his early life and give us a flavour of what it was really like.

Black style was a powerful influence amongst the early London "modernists" and continues to be a firm favourite with the scooterist of today.

Carol Tulloch will use rare archive photographs to depict black youth involvement with subcultures of this period.

Alistair O'Neill will consider the influence of post war Italy on the lifestyles of Britain in the 1950s, including eating, drinking and transportation - in the form of the scooter.

The earliest scooters were designed to meet the imagined needs of the female motorcyclist. When the scooter was first mass marketed women were key targets as purchasers and they quickly became enthusiastic participants in the rallies and club events in those early days. Over time though, they were increasingly relegated to the pillion seat.

Susan Holder, co curator of Ready Steady Go! will talk about women and scooters with examples from the exhibition loans.

More about the speakers:
Alistair O'Neill is a writer, curator and Research Fellow at the London College of Fashion. Author of ‘Mapping Fashion in London', Alistair‘s research centres on the interpretation of visual culture particular to metropolitan contexts.

Carol Tulloch is Senior Research Fellow in Black Visual Culture at Chelsea College of Art and Design, and the Victoria and Albert Museum. She also curated the much acclaimed Black British Style exhibition at the V&A and is the editor of the book ‘Black Style’ and due to publish ‘The Birth of Cool - Dress Culture of the African Diaspora’.

Richard Barnes is the author of Mods!, which is still in print and in its 3rd edition, and more recently of ‘The "Who": Maximum R & B - A Visual History’

Alfredo Marcantonio is a writer and creative director who has been involved in the development of some of Britain's most successful advertising campaigns including Hamlet, Heineken, BMW and Carling Black Label. He is the author of several books about advertising including ‘Well-Written and Red’ (about the Economist campaign) and 'Remember Those Great VW Ads?'.

Susan Holder is co curator of the exhibition. She has recently graduated from Kingston University with an MA in Design History and previously ran a consumer consultancy that specialised in market research and new product development.

Alice Beard, who chairs the discussion session, is Senior Lecturer in Design History at Kingston University. She is also currently curating an exhibition on Nova magazine at the Women's Library.


Richard Barnes | talks
Susan Holder | talks
Alfredo Marcantonio | talks
Alistair O'Neill | talks
Professor Carol Tulloch | talks
Alice Beard | talks


Date and Time:

19 May 2006 at 6:30 pm


1 hour 30 minutes



Chelsea Programme, Chelses College of Art & Design
16 John Islip St
+44 20 75 14 77 80

More at Chelsea Programme, Chelses College of Art & Design...



£5 (£3 concessions)

Available from:

020 7269 1606, 10am-6pm or info@cochranetheatre.co.uk

Additional Information:

The talk will take place in the Lecture Theatre.

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