Lance Richardson’s splendidly readable and gossipy account of his life has a trump card to play—namely the relationship between Tommy and his photographer brother, David, who acted as a kind of artistic Boswell to his brother’s sartorial Johnson. Tommy died in 1992 of an AIDS-related illness, but David is still alive, and his cooperation enhances a gripping read that is as much social history as it is biography ... A lesser writer might have made the story of his downfall depressing, but Richardson has an eye for telling and hilarious details ... a fine match of author and subject. He writes with flair and erudition, making extensive use of interviews with David, and bringing something new to the evocation of an era that might seem overfamiliar and cliched to many. In fact, barring the absence of an index, it’s hard to find fault with this thoroughly enjoyable glimpse into high fashion and low life.
Young, gay, handsome and socially effervescent, Nutter de-cobwebbed bespoke tailoring ... The Nutter story intersects not only a steady stream of the rich and famous. It also joins many of the currents of the 20th century: the ebb and flow from wartime privation to excess back to austerity; the progress of gay visibility and the trauma of the AIDS crisis; the shaking off of dress codes and then (to Nutter’s sometime chagrin) the irrevocable casualization of the wardrobe. His professional fortunes rose and fell as tastes changed ... As an act of historical preservation, House of Nutter is worthy, restoring Nutter to the record for future generations; as a scandal sheet of gossip, it is often campy and fun. But despite the parade of stars who pass through it, House of Nutter often wrestles with a sense of anticlimax ... What lingers is the vision of Tommy Nutter as a man slightly too modern for his time, though very much of it, one of the great characters of fashion if not, perhaps, one of the greats.
I planned to speed-read it on an airplane but soon found myself slowing down so I could savor every drop ... With all the ink that’s been spilled on Beatlemania, Studio 54, sixties counterculture, and the rest, it’s remarkable to find a new story to tell, with characters who were there all along, as if waiting for someone to notice.