Rocketman: Elton John And Mr Freedom’s Winged Boots (1971)

During the production of Elton John biopic Rocketman there were plans for a scene set in London’s groundbreaking pop-art boutique Mr Freedom in the early 70s. This was to set up the central character’s visual transformation during visits to the store under the influence of its charismatic founder and frontman, the late, lamented Tommy Roberts

During the production of Elton John biopic Rocketman there were plans for a scene set in London’s groundbreaking pop-art boutique Mr Freedom in the early 70s. This was to set up the central character’s visual transformation during visits to the store under the influence of its charismatic founder and frontman, the late, lamented Tommy Roberts (6 February 1942 – 10 December 2012).

 

'Aquarius' TV Programme. - 1971 Elton John

Elton John performing for the ‘Aquarius’ TV Programme in 1971 at the Concert Fairfield Halls, Croydon

Elton John Mr Freedom

Above Taron Egerton as Elton John and Jamie Bell as Bernie Taupin meet “Tommy Roberts” in Rocketman. Stills from Kii Arens promo video for Egerton and John’s new single (I’m Gonna) Love Me Again/

Elton John winged boots Mr Freedom

MrFreedomWingedBoots

The pair of Mr Freedom winged boots acquired by Cecil Beaton for the V&A 1971 exhibition: Fashion: An Anthology

Elton John Croydon

John in Jim O’Connor-designed Mr Freedom jumpsuit and winged boots in concert in Croydon, Surrey, summer 1971. Photos: Shutterstock. From Mr Freedom: Tommy Roberts – British Design Hero, Adelita, 2012

Elton John book

On the cover – and inside – of Rolling Stone, June 1971. Photos: Annie Leibowitz. From Mr Freedom: Tommy Roberts – British Design Hero

 

It’s in the nature of film production that projects undergo many changes before the final cut, and Rocketman now presents a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it encounter with a hairy character representing Roberts brandishing a pair of winged boots based on those designed for Mr Freedom by Jim O’Connor.

 

Elton John plane

Taron Egerton as John in Rocketman. Photo: Paramount

 

Elements of the boot design have been altered, while the boutique set contains traces of the interiors for both the first Mr Freedom (at 430 King’s Road and realised by Electric Colour Company) and the second (in Kensington Church Street and designed by Jon Wealleans).

 

Inside Mr Freedom

Interior, Mr Freedom, 430 King’s Road, September 1969 – Dec 1970. Design: Electric Colour Company. Photo: David Parkinson

Mr Freedom - Fashion An Anthology display

Mr Freedom

 

In real life, John acquired around a dozen pair of the winged boots in various colourways, and also wore many other Mr Freedom designs.

 

Elton John in Indiana - 1972

John in a Mr Freedom “numbers jacket” designed by Pamla Motown in a promo film for his 1970 track Holy Moses

 

Mr Freedom - Fashion An Anthology display

The Mr Freedom display at the 1971 V&A exhibition Fashion: An Anthology including the numbers jacket and the winged boots

All of this and more is documented in my 2012 book Mr Freedom: Tommy Roberts – British Design Hero, which is now out of print and fetching eye-watering prices, as you can see here.

And here is Kii Arens’ excellent video for Elton John and Taron Egerton’s single: