July 14, 2009

The Apple Boutique

Info from:

The Apple Boutique started life in the 19th century as a four-story house. Over the years it evolved into an office and shops in the busy part of London at the corner of Baker Street and Paddington Street. During the 60's three Dutch designers had an initially successful fashion boutique called the Trend in Amsterdam. It was closed due to financial problems.

Apple Boutique designs. From left: Pattie (Boyd) Harrison, Cynthia Lennon (John's wife), and Maureen Starr (Ringo's wife); kneeling in front: Jennie Boyd (George's sister-in-law). I guess Jane Asher was busy? - pic source

The designers later met Simon Hayes and Barry Finch. Hayes became the business manager while Finch joined the three Dutch designers who became known as the "The Fool." Pattie Harrison was familiar with them and even wore some of their designs. How it all started is not clear, but in September 1967, The Beatles gave "the Fool" 100,000 pounds to design and stock the new Apple Boutique.

Pattie Harrison and pals model Apple Boutique goods (pic source)

"The Fool" engaged several dozen art students to paint a huge psychedelic mural across the entire front and side of the store. Instant complaints from local merchants soon had them erasing the mural. "The Fool" also created the psychedelic designs for John's Rolls-Royce and a fireplace for George.

Tuning in, turning on, and checking out at the register

Pete Shotton managed the store with Pattie Harrison's sister Jennie. Invitations to the grand opening, on 5 December 1967, read "Come at 7.46. Fashion Show at 8.16." John and George were the only Beatles that attended. The only drink available that night was apple juice. The Apple Boutique turned out to be a financial disaster and was closed just 8 months later. On Tuesday morning, 30 July 1968, the staff was told they could give everything away. Paul's "beautiful place" was no more.

A relatively obscure 1968 film called Hot Millions (yes, that is Bob Newhart) has a scene set in the Apple Boutique, providing a sense of what an average day might have been like:

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