The House of Beauty and Culture

Kasia Maciejowska & Gregor Muir


Published to coincide with the ICA exhibition Judy Blame: Never Again (29 June - 4 September 2016) 

The House of Beauty and Culture (HOBAC) was an avant-garde boutique, design studio and crafts collective in the late 1980s and the first destination to put Dalston on the fashion map. Alongside Judy Blame key members of the group included shoe designer John Moore, fashion designers Christopher Nemeth and Richard Torry, photographers Mark Lebon and Cindy Palmano, furniture duo Fric and Frack, and artist Dave Baby.

HOBAC developed deconstruction, both as a design technique and a grunge aesthetic, and were among the first to upcycle found materials and champion androgynous urban style. Their key influences were the provocative iconography and DIY spirit of Punk plus outsider idols such as David Bowie and William Burroughs. HOBAC worked and played at the heart of London's creative gay club scene, then in Soho, collaborating with the era's most progressive culture-makers including Derek Jarman, Susanne Bartsch and Leigh Bowery.

HOBAC's lasting legacy was acknowledged by Kim Jones in his AW15 menswear collection for Louis Vuitton, a tribute to this radical collective that sprung from what may now be considered to have been the first guerrilla store.