No, i’m not talking about iPads and iPhones, today on 30th July 1968, The Beatles’ clothes shop Apple Boutique ceased trading and closed its doors.
The store initially opened on 7th December 1967, located in a 19th century four-story house on the corner of Baker Street and Paddington Street, near Madame Tussauds in central London.
The concept of setting up a shop was simple, John Lennon recalls a vague memory of the meeting about the Boutique, “Clive Epstein or some other such business freak came up to us, and said ‘We’re thinking of opening a chain of retail clothes,’ or some barmy thing like that.”
The fab-four were told by The Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein, “You got to spend so much money or the tax’ll take it.”
Thus the boutique concept was born, it was a shop where everything was for sale. Paul McCartney described it as “a beautiful place where beautiful people can buy beautiful things”.
According to Lennon, McCartney had another idea of what to kind of store to open, “Paul had a nice idea about opening up white houses where it would sell white china and things like that, everything white because you can never get anything white, which is pretty groovy. It didn’t end up with that, it ended up with Apple, with all this junk and all the stupid clothes and all that,” John said.
One of the most special features of the clothes store was, a multicoloured psychedelic mural that covered the four-story building. The mural was painted by art students, although no-one was ever given permission, but hey in was 1967, nobody cared what the city council thought.
The retail business was pouring money down the drain, the main problem was shoplifting, not only by customers but by the staff as well. Losses eventually totaled up to €250,000, and The Beatles ended up giving away the stores’ remaining items and the shop was closed on 30 July 1968.
“Originally, the shops were intended to be something else, but they just became like all the boutiques in London. They just weren’t our thingy. All that’s happened is that we’ve closed our shop in which we feel we shouldn’t, in the first place, have been involved. Our main business is entertainment, not with frocks. We want to devote all our energies to records. We had to re-focus. We had to zoom in on what we really enjoy, and we enjoy being alive, and we enjoy being Beatles.”
Here’s an insight into swinging London, from the 1968 film ‘Hot Millions’ which provides one of the few rare filmed glimpses inside of the Beatles owned Apple Boutique on Baker Street in London.