I think it's easy to forget the toll that the AIDS epidemic took on our creative communities from 1980 til the mid-1990's when medical "cocktails" helped turn the fatal disease into a chronic one. Author Lance Richardson reminds us of that toll in his biography of Tommy Nutter, "The House of Nutter: The Rebel Tailor of Savile Row." The bio, which centers on Tommy, also features his older brother, David, who was a noted photographer and management aide to many prominent rock musicians.
The Nutter brothers were born before and during WW2 of lower middle-class British parents. They came of age in the 1950's and 60's and both fastened on to the burgeoning style scene in London. Tommy went to work for a bespoke tailoring shop on Savile Row and soon shook things up with his - for the time - avant garde designs of how the new, the mod man, should look. He opened his own shop, selling his own designs, but Tommy Nutter was more a designer than a businessman. David, meanwhile. was finding his way as a photographer in London and New York. They were both in the mix at fashionable parties and the club scene. Both men were gay and dabbled in drugs.
As the years went by, both men were successful - David as much as he wanted to be - and lived interesting lives. But when Tommy became HIV positive in the early 1990's, his life was cut short. He joined the thousands of creatives who lost their lives. Will we know what designs could have been designed, music been composed, books been written? Lance Richardson, in his book, takes a good look at the Nutter brothers - one dead, the other alive - and written an interesting book about two men who most of us were probably not acquainted with before reading the book.