Roger K Burton
Roger K. Burton first made his indelible mark on the Movie world in 1978 by kitting out the entire cast of Franc Roddam’s cult classic “Quadrophenia” with authentic 60s Mod clothes.
Starting out in the vintage clothes industry supplying thousands of choice garments to shops across Europe and as far as Japan, Burton quickly realized through his experience with Quadrophenia that film productions were keen to acquire his specialist knowledge of youth culture. That same year he formed the Contemporary Wardrobe Collection – now Europe’s largest collection of Street Fashion, and suppliers to the entertainment industry for over 25 years – and soon became primary consultant/supplier to Dick Clark’s “Birth of the Beatles”. The following year, his expertise was again called upon for Hugh Hudson’s epic “Chariots of Fire”.
But his career really took a turn in 1980, with his designing of Vivienne Westwood & Malcolm McLaren’s landmark “Worlds End” shop on the Kings Rd in London and a chance meeting with “Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle” director Julien Temple, who invited him to design and style a music video for the No 1 band ABC. Over the next few years the ‘Pop’ flood gates opened, and Burton went on to style and design promos for all the major artistes of the time, from Culture Club and The Kinks to Blondie and the Human League.
Burton’s relationship with Temple flourished and included several important long form video projects featuring The Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger, and David Bowie. During this time Burton worked very closely with Bowie, styling his very public image.
There was only one choice of style consultant for Temple’s lauded 50s musical “Absolute Beginners”, and this would also be Burton’s first major costume design credit. Involvement in other important movies followed, such as “Sid & Nancy”, “Drowning by Numbers” and Frank Oz’s hysterical black comedy, “Little Shop of Horrors.”
LA beckoned in 1987, when UK director David Leland asked him to style Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne – collectively rock supergroup “The Travelling Wilburys” – for their first promo. Burton’s work relationship with Harrison continued for several years, alongside fellow Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr.
As the 80s drew to a close, Burton had successfully designed – to great acclaim – well over 100 music promos, and his expertise and distinct style was now being called upon by the commercials industry. Working with such prestigious clients as Wrangler, Panasonic, Volkswagen, Kellogg’s, McDonalds and Coca Cola – to date his work can be seen on over 150 commercials and a further 50 music promos.
Inspired greatly with the imagery being created by film makers such as David Lynch and The Coen Bros, and the growing Low Brow art scene in LA, in 1992 Burton opened the Chamber of Pop Culture in London – a gallery/film space dedicated to the exhibition and appreciation of underground arts. The space premiered with a historic retrospective of McLaren & Westwood’s seminal Punk designs, 1972 – 80. This opening of the gallery would begin a continuing long cross-fertilization period with artists and filmmakers from across the US. He has now designed and curated over 40 diverse art exhibitions, and the space has screened over 500 films.
Film is in his blood, eagerly returning to designing movies whenever the right project comes up. In 1994 he was hired to design Iain Softley’s adventurous “Hackers” staring Angelina Jolie, and in 1998 teamed up again with Julien Temple to re-interpret the 1920s for “Vigo” – a bio-pic about the French Surrealist director Jean Vigo, starring James Frain and Romane Bohringer.
Collaborating with top UK commercials directors such as Joe Public, Brian Griffin, Jeff Stark and Paul Arden, Burton has travelled the world on a number of important campaigns. Over the years he has also enjoyed working with high profile US directors, such as Joe Pytka, Doug Nichol and David Ramser. In the late 90s his distinct style was spotted by notorious US director Michael Haussman, and after completing a series of prestigious spots for him, wound up designing Haussman’s debut feature “Blind Horizon” starring Val Kilmer, Neve Campbell, Sam Shepard and Faye Dunaway.
2006 saw the release of the long awaited “Stoned” a biopic about the original 60s Rolling Stone, Brian Jones. Director Stephen Woolley called upon Burton’s expertise to costume design the film, and once again the Contemporary Wardrobe Collection became an invaluable source for hundreds of authentically clad popsters, spanning the years 1959 – 1969.