Diana Crawshaw – who designed for such boutiques as Mr Freedom and Paradise Garage – has contacted me about an appearance she made in an early pop promo clip: Piers Bedford’s short for the 1968 single Long Haired Boy by American singer-songwriter Tim Rose.
Lucky for some. Photographer, raconteur, wit and self-confessed exhibitionist Joe Stevens will be talking about and presenting a selection of his 70s Brit/Punk photos at Sonny’s Tavern in Dover, New Hampshire, on September 13.
“Attendees are encouraged to affect their snarliest behaviour,” says Stevens.
More details here.
This is from the January 8 show at Randy’s:
The response to this week’s Malcolm McLaren exhibition Let It Rock has been very encouraging; here are some images which hopefully give an idea of the show’s impact.
Running for four days at Copenhagen’s Bella Center as part of the Danish city’s international fashion fair CIFF, the show – curated by me and Young Kim of the MM Estate – focused on the late cultural iconoclast’s engagement with fashion with Vivienne Westwood in the 70s and 80s.
We have received favourable press, with particular praise from the FT’s Charlie Porter, who wrote that the hang of the garments was “exceptional”. Meanwhile style blogger Susie Bubble described the exhibition – full title Let It Rock: The Look Of Music The Sound Of Fashion – as “incredibly detailed and well put together”.
We designed the show centrepiece: an imposing black corrugated iron-clad 12-metre long tunnel installation celebrating McLaren’s first shop, Let It Rock. Among the exhibits inside were previously unpublished photographs of the shop interior taken by the late David Parkinson and an original shop price list owned by McLaren. A bespoke soundtrack blared music as featured on the jukebox at 430 King’s Road as well as personal favourites of McLaren’s, from Burundi Black by the Drummers Of Burundi to Cast Iron Arm by Peanuts Wilson and Hallelujah I’m A Bum by Harry “Mac” McLintock.
The show was subdivided into six areas each dedicated to a manifestation of the outlets McLaren operated with Westwood. These were signposted by 60 x 40″ photographic blow-ups of the exteriors we commissioned to be printed on canvas to add dimension and presence.
With text panels explaining exhibits in McLaren’s own words, each section also featured photographic mobiles suspended from the ceiling and Perspex-topped vitrines containing original garments, photography, notebooks, sketches and ephemera.
One area of the show was dedicated to 10 outfits reflecting the span of the designs from Let It Rock to Nostalgia Of Mud. Our solution to the ticklish problem of how clothes are presented in exhibitions was to fly these from the ceiling between sheets of Perspex, and we made a selection from the Estate archive as well as contributions by the likes of Louis Vuitton’s style director Kim Jones and guitarist/songwriter Marco Pirroni.
In the projection room visitors viewed moving images associated with McLaren, from rare film of the catwalk shows he conducted with Westwood in the early 80s to video clips for his hits such as Buffalo Gals and Soweto.
Many visitors told us they were bowled over by the show; now we are working on another McLaren exhibition as part of Art In Pop at Le Magasin in Grenoble, France, this autumn. This will encompass McLaren’s creative output from his art-school days through his careers in fashion, music and film to his final works as a visual artist. I’ll keep you informed; it runs from October to January next year.
Follow these links for media coverage of Let It Rock:
Style Bubble – Let It Rock: The Look Of Music The Sound Of Fashion
Thanks go to CIFF fashion/design director Kristian Andersen and creative directors Pierre Tzenkoff + Arnaud Vanraet for their foresight in commissioning this show, and also to the exhibition architect, the talented Jean-Christophe Aumas and his excellent team of builders, particularly Annette, Henning + Stefan.
Yet another example of Malcolm McLaren’s astounding design talent is examined across a number of exhibits at the Let It Rock show, which opens at Copenhagen’s Bella Center on Sunday (August 3).
In 1972 McLaren expanded his investigations into 50s pop design culture by producing a series of t-shirt designs celebrating the great American rock & roll stars performing on the bill of the one-day festival at London’s Wembley Stadium that August.
McLaren continued to followed the path dictated by his formidable art education by creating new artworks out of the juxtaposition of found objects. The release of a Little Richard compilation that year provided the main image for the shirt dedicated to The Georgia Peach; 1972 also witnessed a revival of interest in the pompadoured Richard Penniman after Let It Rock customer Charles (now Lord) Saatchi featured a Little Richard song in a 50s-styled TV advert for Libro jeans.
McLaren flipped the image, reversed it out and positioned the exuberant figure with the joyous title lettering from a rock & roll movie poster he stocked in Let It Rock. Vive Le Rock! was, in fact, the French title of the 1958 US production Let’s Rock, so tied indirectly with the name McLaren had chosen for his own venture. In Britain the film was marketed under the tamer name Keep It Cool.
The Copenhagen show features a Let It Rock installation complete with a series of large prints of previously unseen photographs taken by David Parkinson inside 430 King’s Road in January 1972. Included is a full version of the image at the top of this post, as well as a Vive le Rock! shirt and the Little Richard LP cover.
Let It Rock: The Look Of Music The Sound Of Fashion is at the Crystal Hall in Copenhagen’s Bella Center from August 3-6.
Read more here.
Malcolm McLaren exhibition: The roots of Savages + his copy of Mable Morrow’s folk art book Indian Rawhide
Among the most revealing exhibits at the Malcolm McLaren show Let It Rock is the cultural iconoclast’s copy of a folk art book which proved a rich source of reference when he came to design the Savages collection with Vivienne Westwood in 1982.
McLaren’s consistent approach to creative activity always began with deep research (from the first publicly recognised manifestation, the Teddy Boy outlet Let It Rock, to his final film artworks Shallow 1-21 and Paris: City Of The XXIst Century).
And in the early 80s, McLaren’s copy of Mable Morrow’s Indian Rawhide, published by Oklahoma University Press in 1975, proved inspirational for this lifelong fan of Native American Indian culture.
McLaren’s recasting of this folk art in the sphere of fashion aligns his work in the 70s and 80s with the post-modern practice of appropriation which infused all spheres of artistic endeavour at the time, from literature to film and fine art. It is arguable that he and Westwood were the first and the greatest to incorporate the approach in clothing design.
When Savages debuted in October 1982 at Olympia’s Pillar Hall in west London, the repurposing of Native American tribal prints across a range of fabrics and garments – some overprinted with block capital slogans such as “Breaker” and “Girly” – and meshing with contemporary urban black culture and streetwear proved groundbreaking in fashion terms, as can be seen in this film commissioned for the event by McLaren:
Indian Rawhide and the clothing featured in this post are among the many rare and unique exhibits in Let It Rock: The Look Of Music The Sound Of Fashion, which is at the Crystal Hall in Copenhagen’s Bella Center from August 3-6.
Read more here.
Malcolm McLaren exhibition: Bob Carlos Clarke + David Parkinson images of the ciré Sex mackintosh dress
//Photography: Bob Carlos Clarke 1976 (left) and David Parkinson 1975//
Malcolm designed a very nice women’s mac. A real 50s style, it was made of very thin ciré and looked almost like a dress, with its circular skirt and stand-up collar. It was like something that the B52s might have worn – half a dozen years later.
Glen Matlock on his time as a shop assistant at Sex in his memoir I Was A Teenage Sex Pistol (first published 1990, Omnibus Press)
As well as unique examples of Malcolm McLaren’s fashion designs with Vivienne Westwood, along with exclusive photographic prints of work by such luminaries as Robyn Beeche, Bob Gruen, Sheila Rock and Joe Stevens, the exhibition Let It Rock: The Look Of Music The Sound Of Fashion will present a panoply of ephemera, including many never previously catalogued publications which featured some of the extraordinary clothing emanating from 430 King’s Road in the 70s and 80s.
Among them is the ultra rare 1976 issue of photographer Bob Carlos Clarke’s magazine Vamp, loaned by collector/expert Paul Burgess. Among the garments from Sex in the Flash ‘Em Fashion spread is the delightful rainwear dress designed by McLaren, which was also photographed by David Parkinson for Club International.
In his memoir I Was A Teenage Sex Pistol, Glen Matlcok recounted how this particular design was plundered by the mainstream fashion business: “This woman’s firm totally ripped it off for one of the mid-market youth fashion houses. And made a mint out of it. Without paying a penny to Malcolm and Vivienne – whose idea it was. Well, sort of. They probably ripped it off themselves from a Hollywood still. But that’s not the point really. Their’s was a fully-developed idea and garment.”
Let It Rock: The Look Of Music The Sound Of Fashion runs from August 3-6 at the Crystal Hall in Copenhagen’s Bella Center as part of Coepnhagen Fashion Week.
Read more here.
Malcolm McLaren exhibition: Nostalgia Of Mud + Witches + Folkways ethnological recordings from the 1950s
The idea is to show in clothes and music that, in the post-industrial age, the roots of our culture lie in primitive societies.
Malcolm McLaren on Nostalgia Of Mud and Duck Rock, 1983
Thanks to Hiroshi Fujiwara for tipping the wink over one of the sources of visual inspiration fed by Malcolm McLaren into the concepts unified by his solo album Duck Rock, the central London clothing store Nostalgia Of Mud and the fashion collections he designed with Vivienne Westwood in 1982-3.
One of the cues for Duck Rock’s investigations into music from all over the world was the series of recordings by enthnological music archivists Ronnie and Stu Lipner released on Folkways Records in the late 50s under the banner Dances Of The World’s Peoples. And McLaren’s appropriation of the naive cover art by W. Johnson – in particular the striking witchdoctor figure – found new form in design collaborations with Westwood, graphics supremo Nick Egan and artist Keith Haring.
McLaren’s brilliance at fusing disparate elements into culture-defining and dazzling artworks is being celebrated next week with the exhibition Let It Rock: The Look Of Music The Sound Of Fashion at the Crystal Hall in Copenhagen’s Bella Center.
The show – which runs from August 3-6 during Copenhagen Fashion Week – will incorporate hundreds of exhibits, many rare and never previously shown to the public, including clothing and objects featured here such as the Witches top, the show cards and original copies of the Dances Of The World’s Peoples LP and catalogue.
Read more here.
The exhibition Disobedient Objects opens at the V&A tonight; here curator Catherine Flood – who originated the concept for the show – talks me through five exhibits which embody the spirit of contemporary protest.
TEAR GAS MASKS MADE FROM WATER BOTTLES
Disobedient objects are often those which are simply to hand and waiting to be re-purposed. These masks made from water bottles were used during last year’s Gezi Park protests in Istanbul as a response to the unprecedented amounts of teargas used against protestors in Taksim Square, and became symbolic – they were featured in street art and graffiti and there are photographs of whirling dervishes wearing them.
One of the key points of the exhibition is to demonstrate that excellent design can emerge from people with limited resources and not much time but brilliant ideas. These also show that design doesn’t have to be about professional practice or commercial purpose but can still make a wide impact; people also tweeted images from local chemists of the products which could be bought to make up a survival kit when gassed. As an accessible form of design we chose it for one of our “how to” guides because it is a great example of “swarm” design, documented by one group so that others can use them in different contexts.
PLACARDS IN THE DIGITAL AGE
This placard was made for demonstrations against Putin’s re-election in 2012 and marked a different style of protest in Russia: rather than a crowd united under by one slogan, hand-painted placards were produced with personal, sometimes witty messages. There’s nothing especially innovative about hand-rendered placards but this time they were used in conjunction with social media so were a bit like tweets, conveying pithy messages which were photographed and put on Twitter.
This was created by a gay rights activist and says: “We won’t give it to Putin a third time,” apparently quite a crude reference in Russia and playing on his homophobia. The protestor told us that this was the first time the LGBT Rainbow colours were used in public. He has subsequently had to leave the country.
The Berlin-based Eclectic Electric Collective (now called Tools For Action) produce inflatables of protest objects such as cobblestones and hammers. When they’re thrown at police lines they change the dynamic of demonstrations; the police either become distracted by the big shiny thing or they throw it back and the exchange turns into a game, like a surreal version of volleyball.
It’s a really interesting way of occupying public space. This element of unruliness upsets the authorities because the protestors are not abiding by protocol and the accepted rules of engagement. The clever use of props – giant puppets have been used elsewhere – allows the protestors to wrest control.
In the same section of the show we have “bloc books”, painted shields in the form of giant works of literature and philosophy made by students protesting at education cuts. When they demonstrated, the students were effectively being defended by culture, and by striking the shields, the police not only invoked the destruction of books but were also forced into a performance without realising it.
This started off in Italy and was taken up in Britain and America by students who had seen them on social media.
The Eclectic Electric Collective made us a cobblestone for the exhibition. This is an issue with this material, because quite often it is destroyed in the process of protest.
We start in the 70s and the rise of neo-liberalism; among the earliest objects in the show are Chilean appliqued textiles produced by women in workshops during the Pinochet regime. These documented the social realities of the disappearances, the tortures, the economic hardships. These worked on a number of levels.
Made from scraps of material, these were sold, so provided economic support, and in the act of gathering to make them, the women found solidarity and collective strength.
There are accounts of women saying that it was only when they had their eyes down on their sewing that they felt safety in confronting what was going on and were able to document what they were otherwise proscribed against speaking about.
These textiles often left the country, and were seen as innocent by the authorities because of their resemblance to folk art, but carried letters and communicated with the outside world. This technique spread, and we have examples from Colombia in 2010. It was also used in Ireland by women protesting against the use of Shannon Airport in extraordinary rendition.
THE TIKI LOVE TRUCK
This is one of the biggest objects in the exhibition. Made by British ceramic and mosaic artist Carrie Reichardt, The Tiki Love Truck protests against the US death penalty. It’s an incredibly powerful piece, not least because it features the death mask of John Joe “Ash” Amador, who had corresponded with her and asked Carrie to be a witness at his execution.
Her friend Nick Reynolds went with her and cast the mask, which was woven into the truck and driven in the Art Car Parade in Manchester 10 days after the execution.
Disobedient Objects runs until February 1, 2015. More info here.
In the shop’s various incarnations I made clothes that looked like ruins. I created something new by destroying the old. This wasn’t fashion as a commodity; this was fashion as an idea.
From his foreword to The Look: Adventures In Rock & Pop Fashion, Malcolm McLaren, 2001
The first exhibition to examine the late cultural iconoclast Malcolm McLaren’s engagement with fashion in the 70s and early 80s is to be held next month in Copenhagen.
Let It Rock: The Look Of Music The Sound Of Fashion – curated by Young Kim of the Malcolm McLaren Estate and me – is being staged from August 3-6 as part of the Copenhagen International Fashion Fair; creative directors Pierre Tzenkoff and Arnaud Vanraet have commissioned the show in conjunction with an exhibition entitled Industrial by Nature by streetwear guru Virgil Abloh.
Let It Rock will investigate McLaren’s deep roots in fashion (his mother + stepfather operated the womenswear brand Eve Edwards in the 50s and 60s and his grandfather was a master tailor’s cutter) and will also demonstrate how he drew on his art-school investigations into environments to become the progenitor of the pop up shop concept.
Let It Rock revolves around an installation dedicated to the shop from which it takes its title, complete with a recreation of the frontage in black corrugated iron and pink rock&roll signage McLaren designed when he opened the premises with Vivienne Westwood in 1971.
The exhibition is divided into six sections each dedicated to the manifestations at 430 King’s Road as well as Nostalgia Of Mud, the outlet operated by McLaren and Westwood at 5 St Christopher’s Place in London’s West End from 1982 to 1984.
These sections will all feature rarely-seen and never previously publicly-exhibited clothing designs, photography, sketches, notes, magazine spreads and even pages from McLaren’s notebooks.
Among the exhibits is McLaren’s own ‘I Groaned…” t-shirt from Sex, the Chico hat and grey Crombie coat he wore in the famous portrait for the Witches collection taken by Steven Meisel for Vogue in 1983, the short sheepskin jacket worn through the Buffalo Girls and Duck Rock period and a Let It Rock drape suit fitted personally by McLaren for guitarist songwriter Marco Pirroni.
Ben Kelly – who realised the design for the exterior of Seditionaries in 1976 and is now professor of interiors & spatial design at University Of The Arts London – is contributing photographs taken of his work at the time for his portfolio and there is a very special leather t-shirt bearing a Let It Rock label during the transition in 1974 to the incarnation as Sex.
Contributors also include photographers Robyn Beeche, Bob Gruen, the David Parkinson Estate and Sheila Rock as well as others close to McLaren during his game-changing adventures in the fashion world.
Find out more about the show on the CIFF site here.
“There’s so much pollution in the world you should use the gear you already have, not buy something because it’s fashionable” – Trevor Myles + Paradise Garage in Jackie magazine December 1971
Well done to vintage collector/dealer Sharon of Sweet Jane’s Pop Boutique blog for spotting this wowser on a Facebook group: a 1971 article in teen fashion and music magazine Jackie about the game-changing fashion outlet Paradise Garage run by Trevor Myles at 430 King’s Road.
Paradise Garage is important because it was the first shop in Britain to import and sell used denim in a meaningful way. Using the astounding environment created by Electric Colour Company, faded and worn denim, sometimes appliqued or patched, was stocked alongside an acutely compiled selection of soon-to-be-familiar dead-stock: Hawaiian shirts, baseball and souvenir jackets, Osh Kosh B’Gosh dungarees, bumper boots, cheongsams and so on.
Myles opened Paradise Garage in May 1971 as a reaction to the Pop Art flash he had engineered at Mr Freedom with his ex-partner Tommy Roberts. In the Jackie article he makes a point about fashion and environmental sustainability of pertinence today:
“There’s so much pollution in the world that we thought you should use the gear you already have – not buy something just because it’s fashionable. By throwing the old lot away you only add to the pollution problem. So that’s why we’re using it all up.”
Also interviewed and photographed is shop manager Bradley Mendelson, the New Yorker whose November 1971 encounter with Malcolm McLaren while Myles was absent overseas resulted in the establishment of Let It Rock at the same address.
The publication date of the issue of Jackie – December 4, 1971 – is poignant; by the time the feature appeared Paradise Garage was gone and McLaren and others, including his art-school student friend Patrick Casey and Vivienne Westwood, had taken over the outlet and were refurbishing it to match Mclaren’s radical British take on 50s retromania.
Read the Sweet Jane’s Pop Boutique blog here.