During the British psychedelic revival of the early 1980s, an ex-mortician named Christian Paris got together with Clive Jackson (better known as the Doctor from modern psychedelic group "Doctor and The Medics") to form a psychedelic club called Alice In Wonderland in the basement of Gossips club in London's Soho. The club opened in 1983 and was held every Monday night, featuring both live bands and psychedelic records. Unlike the other psychedelic clubs around at the time, Alice had a strong goth connection, being held in the premises of the former Batcave which had been THE in-place for the goth scene. The small club became so popular that they had to operate a members only policy offering exclusive membership to their in-crowd of psychedelic hipsters, goths and well known faces from the British music scene.
Soon Alice was expanded to include Magical Mystery Trip events which proved so popular that they outsold even the Trips, Festivals and Freakouts of the sixties. Following on from their success Christian began holding Alice In Wonderland All Night Psychedelic Film Festivals in 1984, which were more of a multi-media event involving night long screenings of 'cult' movies, psychedelic discos, lightshows, laser shows and live music.
In the creative mind of Christian Paris, the logical follow-up to this scene of groovy events was to open a boutique selling the kind of fashions that the psychedelic and goth crowd at the club would wear, and soon a successful boutique named Planet Alice was operating from 284 Portobello Road, London. The fashions sold there were vintage 60s clothes and psychedelic influenced 60s and 80s style fashions designed for the boutique.
The other designer behind these fashion ideas besides the arty Christian Paris was Lee Starkey, a former drama student and beautican who also happened to be the daughter of Beatle Ringo Starr.
By the 1990s, the clubs and events eventually ended, but the boutique was still going strong and twenty-year-old Lee persuaded Christian to re-locate to Los Angeles where her mother was now living with husband Isaac Tigrett, founder of the Hard Rock Cafe and House Of Blues chains. The young couple moved in with Lee's mother and stepfather while they created the new shop and found places of their own. Lee's father Ringo helped paint the shop in the psychedelic style he and his fellow Beatles had used in their homes during the late 60s and her mother was persuaded to work in the shop one day a week as a sales assistant.
In May 1991 the new boutique opened on Melrose Avenue, stocked with Lee's "90s interpretations of 60s styles" which were soon splashed across various fashion magazines.
Unfortunately the store lasted little over a year due to the the limited stock it held and the chaotic style in which it was run just not working in LA like it had in Britain. Lee continued as a fashion designer after the shop's closure but her career came to a stand still within a couple of years due to unfortunate events in her personal life. In December 1994 Lee lost her mother to lukaemia and a few months later she was admitted to hospital herself to have a brain tumour removed. Christian was frequently seen accompanying Lee when she attended hospital check-ups in the years that followed, but Lee had by now moved in with her father so that he could take care of her and then went back to the UK with her brother Jason who continues to be a very close companion to her.
Text by Sentimentalist at the Vintage Fashion Guild (http://www.vintagefashionguild.com)
|Lee at her Planet Alice Los Angeles store, modeling her own designs. In some pics she's with Christian Paris and model Bella Black, and in the last one with a group of Latino costumers. Tagged pics are our scans.|
|1991, August 7th - Zak and Lee Starkey at "The Commitments" film premiere while they stayed at Los Angeles. Picture found at the Women of the Beatles blogspot.|
|1991, November 5th - Lee Starkey during Lane Daivs Designs at Roxbury Club in Hollywood, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage).|
|1991, November 11th - Lee Starkey celebrating her 21st birthday bash at the Hard Rock Cafe.|