The Making of Palace – These Three Photographers Defined the Modern Vision of the Skate Brand
“90% POSH, 10% BIG LOGO UP THE SLEEVE, SO PEOPLE KNOW YOU’RE A GANGSTER,” reads the description of a navy knitted cardigan taken from the latest Palace drop. Known as much for the sleek streetwear designs, as their witty ways of going about things, the skate brand founded by Lev Tanju in 2009 is nothing short of a homegrown success story. From skating at Southbank, to walking for Virgil Abloh’s debut at Louis Vuitton, the Palace boys have become stars in their own right. As much as their fits are sought after by teens scouring the streets of Soho, its the images taken of the collective over the past decade that have cemented the likes of Blondey McCoy and Lucien Clarke as London It-boys, even though we’re sure they’d love to hate being called that. Here are the Palace photographer pairings which have stayed with us.
Back when they went by moniker Palace Wayward Boys Choir (PWBC), it was Alasdair McLellan’s pictures of the collective which caught an intimate glimpse into the unseen day-to-day lives of the skaters. ‘The Palace Book’ was released in 2016, a collection of 120 photographs shot over the space of seven years. McLellan’s peak in interest came seeing the crew skate at London’s Southbank – yet the photographer wanted to capture the going-ons outside the actual skating. Most of the images are shot at the squat the collective lived in from 2009 till 2015, where pictures of Blondey McCoy as young as 15 eating pizza sit alongside the grotty stairwell in their home. The photo book, ring-bound to resemble a family photo album, remains a staple at IDEA’s corner in the basement at Dover Street Market.
If you didn’t know, teller means plate in German. And London-based photographer Juergen Teller sure does love them. He’s lugged them from his studio in Ladbroke Grove all around the city, even getting Katie Price to pose with one a few years back. When we saw Juergen was shooting the Palace SS18 collection, we were expecting something similar to the clean up of a Greek wedding. Instead, the walls of London Underground stations were plastered with pictures of the Palace lot balancing on plates, standing on cars holding plates, sitting away from the camera on a plate and even carrying a whole bunch of plates. Juergen couldn’t resist joining in on the action either, posing in a pair of skimpy acidic neon shorts. We wonder who had the job of doing the washing up afterwards?
Palace’s collaboration with Ralph Lauren last November was a seminal moment in the brand’s career thus far, to say the least. The group appointed David Sims to shoot the look book for the capsule collection. Bukaroo meets Top Gear: Sims captured Palace skaters Chewy Cannon, Rory Milanes, Lucien Clarke and Juan Saavedra off-roading and riding horses – set against a desert backdrop. The photographer pictured the group again, this time for the latest issue of i-D, where Lucien can be seen fist-bumping a man on fire, riding a motorbike, wearing a hoodie bearing “SAFE!” in brash red lettering. You wouldn’t even catch the Stig pulling stunts of these kinds.