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Win A Copy Of New Donnelly Bros Book

Simon Spence pens a bare-all with Manchester's Donnelly brothers

Published on October 29th 2013.


Win A Copy Of New Donnelly Bros Book
 

FOUR TO GIVEAWAY

WITH a deeply personal foreword by Oliver Wilson, son of Factory Records and Hacienda founder Anthony Wilson, and loving contributions from, among many others, Bernard Sumner, Ian Brown, Clint Boon, Peter Hook, Jimi Goodwin, Bez, Shaun Ryder and Mani, Still Breathing: The True Adventures of the Donnelly Bothers is the much-anticipated autobiography of Manchester brothers’ Anthony and Christopher Donnelly.

It was, however, Ecstasy, Acid House, ‘Madchester’ and, ultimately, Gio-Goi that allowed the brothers to begin their remarkable transformation – ‘from organized crime to kings of fashion’

Twenty-five years ago, Anthony & Christopher were the Wythenshawe bad lads who played host to the late-1980s best illegal Acid House parties and were key orchestrators behind the 'Madchester' boom during which their urban Gio-Goi clothing label made them their first fortune. 

They were, as Vivienne Westwood says in Still Breathing ‘ambassadors for a generation’. 

The brothers’ long-rumoured association with Manchester’s infamous Quality Street Gang is candidly explored in Still Breathing. Whispers of ‘gangsters’ has long dogged Anthony and Christopher – even as they became the city’s most successful fashion designers, with Gio-Goi topping The Sunday Times Fast Track 100, and turning over £40 million annually.

It is why the epigraph in Still Breathing, by George Bernard Shaw, reads: ‘If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton you may as well may it dance’. 

Lily Allen for Gio-GoiLily Allen for Gio-Goi

Their shocking early years in Benchill are more shameless than Shameless. Anthony and Christopher also open up about their time as bootleggers and ticket touts. ‘We worked the [U2, 1987] Joshua Tree tour to the point I became quite friendly with The Edge and Bono,’ says Anthony at one point. 

It was, however, Ecstasy, Acid House, ‘Madchester’ and, ultimately, Gio-Goi that allowed the brothers to begin their remarkable transformation from organized crime to kings of fashion.

But it was not all plain sailing. In 1994 a two year police investigation into the brothers and their associates culminated with a dawn raid that saw Anthony and Christopher splashed on the cover of the Manchester Evening News under the headline ‘Style Pair Accused in Drug Raid’. 

A bravura return to fashion in the noughties saw Gio-Goi championed by an incredible list of A-list stars. Pete Doherty – who calls the brothers ‘the Sex Pistols of the fashion industry’ – Rihanna, Amy Winehouse, Plan B and Calvin Harris were just some of those associated with the label. Many more contribute to Anthony and Christopher’s autobiography. ‘Their story,’ says Damien Hirst, is ‘fucking insane’. 

Nor is it over. The shocking crash of Gio-Goi in early 2013 saw the brothers losing millions, but plans to bring the label back are already afoot. Anthony and Chistopher, both now in their mid-40s, are still fizzing with energy and ideas. They are behind Formal Fight Club, are moving into music management and their new fashion label, Your Own [YO], is on the rise.

This is a story of crime, drugs, music, fashion, wealth and loss. This is the Donnellys.

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7 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Claire Cooke shared this on Facebook on October 29th 2013.
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Thank you for your interest, but this competition closed to further entries on November 29th 2013.

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