Paul Gorman is…

Hiroshi Fujiwara loaning Anarchy Shirt originally owned by Jon Savage for Malcolm McLaren room at Art In Pop

Sep 6th, 2014
Anarchyshirt-HF copy

//”An inspired collage”. Section of Anarchy Shirt bought by Jon Savage at Seditionaries. Hiroshi Fujiwara Collection//

sav2

//Savage wearing the shirt for an interview on 1983′s “Positive Punk” movement for British TV//

Preparations are well underway for the next phase of the Malcolm McLaren exhibition: a room dedicated to the late cultural iconoclast’s work as a visual artist at group show Art In Pop, which opens next month at France’s National Centre Of Contemporary Art space Magasin in Grenoble.

Art In Pop will also feature rooms dedicated to paintings by the late Don Van Vliet (aka Captain Beefheart) and documentation of the artist John Miller’s exploits in music with the likes of Tony Conrad, Kim Gordon, Mike Kelley, Takuji Kogo and Thurston Moore.

And there will also be artworks by such musicians as the late Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead, Daniel Johnston, Cris Kirkwood of The Meat Puppets, David Thomas of Pere Ubu and Mayo Thompson of The Red Crayola.

downloading

//Life In Hell, Daniel Johnston, 1998. Felt pen and paper, 21.5 x 28cm, courtesy Arts Factory//

//Alix Lambert is featured on this 2008 Buckethead track//

These will be exhibited with pieces by artists who have investigated music, including John Armleder (who will be showing a work created with Genesis Breyer P. Orridge and Alan Vega), David Bowes, Alix Lambert (creator of 90s fictional all-girl punk band Platipussy, described as an “oestregen-powered Spinal Tap), Randy Ludacer, Tony Oursler and Greg Parma Smith.

The Malcolm McLaren element of Art In Pop will include many of the exhibits displayed at Let It Rock in Copenhagen this summer along with some exciting additions which I will be previewing here over the coming weeks.

Among them will be paintings produced by McLaren as an art student in the 60s as well as an original example of one of the most “painterly” works McLaren created with Vivienne Westwood: The Anarchy Shirt.

This is being loaned by fashion guru and musician Hiroshi Fujiwara, who has one of the most important collections of McLaren & Westwood designs in the world.

Anarchyshirt-HF

//”An extraordinary package of compressed content”. Hiroshi Fujiwara Collection//

The shirt is a fine example of the extraordinary design first introduced in September 1976, and was originally owned by writer and cultural commentator Jon Savage.

“I bought it in late 1978 from Seditionaries,” says Savage. “It had a swastika applique which I immediately took off, not wishing to be the bearer of that particular insignia.”

Savage has described the Anarchy shirt as McLaren & Westwood’s “masterpiece… an inspired collage, using second hand clothes, craft and revolutionary slogans – an extraordinary package of compressed content”.

Art In Pop – which is curated by Magasin’s Yves Aupetitallot with John Armleder, me, Young Kim of the Malcolm McLaren Estate and John Miller – is at Magasin from October 11 to January 4 2015.

Details here.

Here is the first part of the 1983 Positive Punk documentary, shown as part of ITV’s South Of Watford strand (Savage appears towards the end of this segment):

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Trouble at the Met: Status of half of the punk collection downgraded but dubious designs continue to toxify Costume Institute collection

Sep 2nd, 2014
CI-Sloppy2006.253.34_F

//Dubious. Photo removed from the Met’s website but this T-shirt – like dozens more questionable garments – remains listed in the Costume Institute collection. The listing has been changed to “Attributed to” McLaren & Westwood; previously it was described as an authentic and original example of one of their designs//

A cop-out?

Or another step towards cleaning house at one of the most prestigious fashion collections in the world?

Only time will tell but the reclassification of the status of more than 30 highly collectable and expensive punk garments in the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute collection signals a decline in confidence in the authenticity of a great deal of clothing which until recently was proudly proclaimed as original examples of the 70s designs of the late Malcolm McLaren and Dame Vivienne Westwood.

Effectively the museum has downgraded its crucial assurance of provenance for the clothes, which represent around half of the McLaren & Westwood punk fashions in the Met archive; for years they were officially recorded as original, authenticated designs but now Met staff have inserted the phrase “attributed to” into dozens of listings in the collection and on its website.

This follows removal of photography of disputed items from the website along with recommendations to start debugging the collection by deleting offending clothing by “de-accessioning” (the process by which a work is removed from the Met’s collection for sale or disposal*).

By taking these actions, the Met is communicating that it can no longer provide absolute guarantees for clothes for which it paid top dollar and featured prominently in such Gala Ball-led extravaganzas as 2006′s Anglomania: Tradition & Transgression In British Fashion and last year’s Punk: Chaos To Couture.

punk3

//Photography of the Parachute Shirt on the left (seen here paired with a John Galliano creation for the press preview of the Met’s 2013 exhibition Punk: Chaos To Couture) has been removed from the Met website with the archival status officially downgraded to “Attributed to” McLaren & Westwood//

The majority of the Met’s punk acquisitions occurred in 2006, when it bought nearly 50 garments purporting to be McLaren & Westwood originals, using funds from three official sources: The Richard Martin Bequest (named for the late historian and CI curator), The Friends Of The Costume Institute Gifts and NAMSB Foundation Inc.

At this time, before a series of alarms over counterfeiting rocked the market for these designs, each would have fetched upwards of £1,000 – £5,000. Many of the problematic items of clothing at the Met stem from this period.

In May 2013 I visited the museum and reviewed the collection of 1972-1980 designs by McLaren & Westwood. In the report I delivered to the Met last summer, I expressed the opinion – and outlined in detail the reasons why I believe – that an embarrassingly large number of the clothes are indeed fake. Several more are at the very least questionable, and at the time of my visit many were misdated and misattributed.

During the review I encountered easily fixed but nevertheless egregious mistakes: the archival listings credited each of the designs solely to Westwood, for example, and inexplicably it is her name alone which remains on the title page for each (the museum does not credit Dolce without Gabbana for example).

There were many howlers. A few examples: Sex and Seditionaries logo t-shirts featuring Westwood’s Red Label (launched 1993) were mistakenly allocated to the partnership in the 70s; a version of Westwood’s t-shirt rant about Derek Jarman’s film Jubilee was dated 1976 (two years before the film was made); and Too Fast To Live To Young To Die clothes were attributed to the late 70s (the store’s incarnation was 1972-74).

2006.253.12_F

//One of two Vivienne Westwood Red label 90s shirts until recently claimed by the Met to be original McLaren/Westwood 70s designs//

57504584-1829211_0x440

//The bondage trousers on the mannequin in the foreground of this tableau from the Met’s 2006 Anglomania exhibition were designated in the show and catalogue to “Seditionaries, McLaren/Westwood, 1977-78″. They are – as the label inside clearly indicates – Westwood Red label (which was launched in 1993). Meanwhile the photography for the You’re Gonna Wake Up t-shirt on the mannequin lying bottom right has been removed from the Met website and the listing is among those which now has the caveat “attributed to” in the description//

Some were dead giveaways: for example an unusual leather jacket with a Worlds End Born In England label was dated 1979, a year before the label was even launched, a strange black version of the 1978 Gimp Mask/Union Jack t-shirt was (and continues to be) dated 1974, and a pair of Westwood Red-labelled black bondage trousers were mistakenly featured as originals, dated 1977-78 in the Met’s 2006 show Anglomania.

As of this week, these trousers are now dated to 1976 (17 years before the label which they bear was created) in the collection and on the Met website. Meanwhile photography of a Seditionaries-labelled Parachute Shirt which features poorly conceived elements migrated from the Anarchy Shirt design and a patch of Josef Stalin (this was never applied by McLaren & Westwood to their work**) has also been pulled from the website though once again the item remains in the collection.

In another example I pointed out that a Vive Le Rock!/Punk Rock Disco t-shirt purporting to have been sold at Seditionaries bore a tag for the US manufacturer Hanes. I have since established that this shirt was one of a batch produced in London in 1984, four years after Seditionaries closed and McLaren & Westwood ceased producing the design.

Last autumn and winter others with knowledge of the field were invited to give their views; I was informed these largely coincided with mine. In March this year the museum marked two tartan bondage suits with Seditionaries labels – one of which also featured prominently in the Anglomania show and catalogue – for de-accession.

Six months later, as of today (September 2), these bondage suits remain in the collection.

br.1737

//Jacket of bondage suit marked for de-accession by the Met in March 2014. Photography on website on September 1, 2014 with listing designation changed to “Attributed to”//

br.1107

//Jacket of bondage suit marked for de-accession by the Met in March 2014. Photography on website on September 1, 2014 with listing designation changed to “Attributed to”//

Met-Bondagesuitblue

//The bondage suit marked for de-accession featured in the frontispiece of the catalogue for the Met’s 2006 show Anglomania//

In March 38 garments were classified “pending further review” with the photographs removed from 31 of the listings on the Met website.

Among these are such dubious items as the t-shirt titled “And Sloppy” (see first image of this post) about which I wrote in my report:

“This is not in my opinion a design by McLaren & Westwood. The lack of skill in execution, weak placement, poor juxtaposition and banal content reveal a lesser hand. A smaller version of the pink playing card was used as a repeat print on another design. This appears to be a scan of that blown up and flouro-ed. The text comes from a 1977 article by Charles Shaar Murray in the New Musical Express; such clumsy appropriations are not aligned to the content choices made by McLaren and Westwood. It appears to be an attempt by migrating a familiar element from another work to create a one-off or rarity and thus counter the lack of documentary and anecdotal evidence as to its existence.”

met-sloppy

//”Attributed to…” The amended listing for “And Sloppy” with photography removed//

met-bondage

//1990s VW Red label bondage trousers dated to 1976 on the Met website this week//

In April I wrote to Costume Institute curator Andrew Bolton asking why such items were still featured on the Met website and remained in the collection. I also asked why the tartan bondage suits had not been de-accessioned but continued to be listed with full photography. He responded in May that the decision-making process continued and that the duration of the assessment could not be predicted.

Two weeks ago, I asked again why the Met had not taken steps to de-toxify the collection, since items such as “And Sloppy” and the Hanes shirt remain listed along with the two tartan bondage suits selected for de-accession. I have received confirmation of receipt of my inquiries but no responses to my questions.

It is evident that behind-the-scenes activity has been taking place of late, with the museum hastily altering the listings and inserting “Attributed to…” for the 31 items, which include “And Sloppy”, the Hanes Vive Le Rock! and the tartan bondage suits along with the problematic Parachute Shirt, the Jarman t-shirt, a mohair sweater and two pairs of Seditionaries boots.

But this solution raises more questions than it answers:

• By who are these clothes now attributed to McLaren & Westwood?

• It is reasonable to infer from the insertion of “Attributed to” that there is now a margin of doubt at the Met that these were made by McLaren & Westwood or under their direction; if they were made by others, without McLaren & Westwood’s involvement, how does the museum explain the presence of original-looking labels?

• The presence of this labelling on the clothing further magnifies the difficulties for the Met; either these are original garments designed by McLaren & Westwood or they are not. Which is it, since “Attributed to” is apparently meaningless in this context?

• What of the vendors who sold these as original, authentic items; since they are no longer accepted as such, will the vendors be required to return the payments which they received?

• Since this denotes the museum’s acceptance that 30-odd items of clothing are seriously open to question, why has it opted for this fudge rather than de-accessioning them all?

I have written to the museum again seeking answers and anticipate a response once New York wakes up after the Labor Day holiday.

It is to be hoped that the Met’s move presages a clean-sheet stance to this material with progress to de-accessioning of toxic garments. In this way the museum may regain credibility after what appears to be a series of potentially costly failures in collecting materials for arguably the world’s greatest fashion archive.

* According to the Met’s collection principles “the Museum may deaccession but generally does not dispose of works determined to be forgeries. Curatorial departments generally retain these works for study purposes or seek the Director’s permission to destroy the objects, unless it can be determined that disposal can be accomplished in a responsible manner without confusion to a possible buyer. Works incorrectly attributed or dated may be de-accessioned, provided that the new information or attribution is provided”.

** In a New Yorker piece decades later, McLaren wrote about the creation of punk fashions and mistakenly mentioned Stalin instead of Karl Marx, whose image appeared on patches on the partnership’s Anarchy Shirt. He regretted this error when shirts bearing Stalin’s image were  subsequently circulated. 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Short film about the Malcolm McLaren exhibition in Copenhagen

Aug 28th, 2014

ciff25ciff5ciff9 ciff10 ciff14 ciff18 ciff21 ciff23

This short film gives a flavour of Let It Rock, the exhibition about Malcolm McLaren’s engagement with fashion in the 70s and 80s curated by Young Kim and I in Copenhagen earlier this month.

We are interviewed along with Kristian Andersen, Copenhagen International Fashion Fair fashion and design director, and our co-exhibitor, US streetwear designer Virgil Abloh.

Crystal Hall – Malcolm McLaren & Virgil Abloh – August 2014 from CIFF on Vimeo.

Film credits:
Produced by: Goodwind Studio
Editor: Janne Villadsen
Edit by: Mathias Nyholm Schmidt and Simon Weyhe
Music: Stanley Krubix

See also here.

Tags: , , ,

September 13: Joe Stevens at his snarliest

Aug 14th, 2014
sex-pistols-1

//Sid Vicious, Johnny Rotten (in Seditionaries Elliot tartan suit and Anarchy flag/leather mask t-shirt) and Paul Cook of the Sex Pistols relax during a soundcheck before their performance at Randy’s Rodeo, San Atonio, Texas on January 8, 1978. Less than a week later the line-up played its final show together in San Francisco. Photo: Joe Stevens//

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:

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Malcolm McLaren fashion exhibition: “Exceptional…incredibly detailed and well put together”

Aug 8th, 2014
let-it-rock-15.nocrop.w1800.h1330

//Foreground: Mobile featuring portrait of Malcolm McLaren in Central Park, NYC, 1975 by Bob Gruen. In the background the 12m-long Let It Rock installation. Photo: Jean Francois Carly (c) Malcolm McLaren Estate//

let-it-rock-19.nocrop.w1800.h1330

//McLaren’s Buffalo sheepskin with Witches multi-tongued shoes contributed by designer Kim Jones. Photo: Jean Francois Carly (c) Malcolm McLaren Estate //

IMG_0222

//Outfits float in the air, from left: Pirate waistcoat and dress worn by Annabella Lwin of Bow Wow Wow in performance; Let It Rock shawl collared blouse and circle skirt; Nostalgia Of Mud wool toga dress with Folkways print. Malcolm McLaren Estate, Kim Jones Collection, private collection//

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”.

_M2Z0638

//Young Kim in jacquard Keith Haring print Witches two piece and multi-tongued sneakers. All clothes from Kim Jones coillection. Photo: Jean Francois Carly (c) Malcolm McLaren estate//

10544287_460590590745000_1453759409_n

//Fans belt buckles with Fans press statement. Sources: Malcolm McLaren Estate and private collection//

10598451_313078608866220_865409042_n

//Press invite and showcard for the sixth catwalk collection designed by McLaren and Vivienne Westwood: Worlds End 1984, later Hypnos. The partnership was dissolved in March 1984. Malcolm McLaren Archive//

IMG_0392

//ROCK! Marco Pirroni’s Let It Rock ties//

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.

IMG_0395

//Installation exterior//

10483608_1529980200557233_621413686_n

//Installation interior//

IMG_0418

//Let It Rock display cabinet, January 1972. Photo: David Parkinson//

IMG_0396

//McLaren’s framed copy of the LIR price list he designed in 1972. Malcolm McLaren Estate//

IMG_0417

//January 1972. Photo: David Parkinson//

IMG_0412

///Tracklisting for songs played in the insatllation//

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.

IMG_0393

//Let It Rock exterior with McLaren in foreground, 1972. Photo: Mirrorpix. Printed on canvas 60 x 40″//

IMG_0391

//Too Fast To Live Too Young To Die with McLaren and Gerry Goldstein in foreground, 1973. Photo: Malcolm McLaren Estate. Printed on canvas 60 x 40″//

IMG_0328

//Sex with shop assistant Jordan in foreground, 1976. Photo: Sheila Rock. Printed on canvas 60 x 40″//

IMG_0424

//Seditionaries frontage, 1976. Photo: Ben Kelly. Printed on canvas 60 x 40″//

IMG_0472

//Worlds End frontage, 1981, photo: Sheila Rock. Printed on canvas 60 x 40″. Left: Marco Pirroni’s Let It Rock drape suit//

10522265_1526508097579490_1289240279_n

//Nostalgia Of Mud, 1982. Photo: Sheila Rock. Printed on canvas 40 x 60″//

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.

10584735_448216981985808_1768189236_n

//Customer deposit receipt, Sex, 1976. Signed by shop assistant Michael Collins. Paul Burgess Collection//

IMG_4744

//Pages from McLaren’s 1976 notebook. Paul Burgess Collection//

IMG_4687

//McLaren’s handwritten Nostalgia Of Mud press release for Vivienne Westwood; her version in her own handwriting. Photo: Jean Francois Carly (c) Malcolm McLaren Estate//

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.

IMG_0437

//Nylon top, Sex, 1976. Peg trousers, Let It Rock, 1974. Kim Jones Collection//

IMG_0436

//God Save The Queen Muslin top, Seditionaries, 1977. McLaren’s bondage trousers, Sex, 1976. Malcolm McLaren Estate/private collection//

IMG_0438

//Witches jacquard two piece and scarf with Haring print. Kim Jones Collection//

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.

IMG_0456

//Marco Pirroni’s print pirate boots, Worlds End, 1981. Top worn by Annabella Lwin of Bow Wow Wow in performance and subsequently dyed. Private collection//

IMG_0463

//Savages Navajo print dress with McLaren’s annotated copy of Indian Rawhide. Both private collection//

IMG_0473

//Invitation to Witches collection show, Folkways top, Dances Of The World’s People. Malcolm McLaren Estate/private collection//

IMG_0474

//Two rubber bracelets deisgned by Tom Binns for Worlds End S/S 1984 with Hobo-Punkature top and Worlds End 1984 invite. Malcolm McLaren Estate/private collection//

IMG_4648

//Document confirming the dissolution of the design partnership between McLaren and Westwood, March 1984. It is important to note that McLaren did not relinquish authorship over the works they produced together//

IMG_0476

//The final exhibit: Buffalo hat and McLaren’s Chico hat. Kim Jones Collection/Malcolm McLaren Estate.//

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:

Charlie Porter – At the Malcolm McLaren show in Copenhagen, the hang of the garments is exceptional

W Magazine – Celebrating the fashionable life of the late punk pioneer

Style Bubble – Let It Rock: The Look Of Music The Sound Of Fashion

GQ – Four ways Malcolm McLaren revolutionised the style scene

The Cut – The Man Who’s Partly Responsible For The Pharrell Hat

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.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Malcolm McLaren exhibition: Let It Rock x Let’s Rock x Little Richard = Vive Le Rock!

Jul 30th, 2014
011 copy

//Malcolm McLaren in front of French 50s rock n roll movie posters inside Let It Rock, at 430 King’s Road,  January 1972. Note Vive le Rock! poster top left. Photo: David Parkinson//

P1150732

//Front cover, You Can’t Keep A Good Man Down, Little Richard, Union Pacific, 1972. Designer: Unknown//

P1150734

//As shown on this repro, McLaren’s design for the Little Richard shirt sold at the London Rock N Roll Festival held at Wembley Stadium in August 1972//

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.

VLRatLIR

//The title lettering on the poster was isolated//

P1150733

//The main image from the LP cover was flipped vertically//

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.

Let's_Rock_FilmPoster

//Poster for the American release of the movie, 1958//

Seditionaries-ViveLeRocktshirtfront

//McLaren later incorporated the Vive Le Rock! elements into a fresh composite for sale in 430 King’s Road when it was Seditionaries in 1979. This also featured Situationist slogans, a quote from the early 20th century Spanish anarcho-syndicalist Buenaventura Durruti and “recipes” from William Powell’s The Anarchist’s Cookbook, first published in 1971//

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.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Malcolm McLaren exhibition: The roots of Savages + his copy of Mable Morrow’s folk art book Indian Rawhide

Jul 30th, 2014
P1150778

//Malcolm McLaren’s copy of Mable Morrow’s Indian Rawhide: An American Folk Art, published by Oklahoma University Press as part of the Civilization Of American Indian series in 1975//

P1150739

//Annotated page showing design for a parfleche (painted hide) of the Dakota//

P1150723

//Savages dress in thick jersey and cotton with overprinted lettering. Design: Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood for Worlds End, 1982. Private collection//

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.

P1150741

//Assiniboin parfleche design collected on the Fort Belknap Reservation, Montana//

P1150730

//Savages soft jersey top with contrasting armpit inserts and neck yolk. Designed by Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood for Worlds End, 1982. Private collection.//

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.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Malcolm McLaren exhibition: Bob Carlos Clarke + David Parkinson images of the ciré Sex mackintosh dress

Jul 29th, 2014

Ciff-sexmacdress copy Sex - Raincoat dress copy

//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.

Ciff-sexmacdress copy

//From Vamp, 1976. Paul Burgess Collection//

Sex - Raincoat dress copy

//Female model in the Sex mac/dress, male in a raincoat from Kenny MacDonald’s Marx, The Common Market, King’s Road. David Parkinson for Club International, 1975//

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.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Malcolm McLaren exhibition: Nostalgia Of Mud + Witches + Folkways ethnological recordings from the 1950s

Jul 28th, 2014
P1150743

//Front cover, Dances Of The World’s Peoples, Vol 3, Folkways Records, 1958. Design: W. Johnson, printed on paper glued to cardboard sleeve.//

Ciff-folkwayscatalogue

//Front of four-page song and information sheet utilising W.Johnson’s design, paper, 1958//

MMArchive-NostalgiaOfMudshowcardfront copy

//Invitation card to Paris show of McLaren and Westwood’s Nostalgia Of Mud collection, March 1982. Design: Nick Egan. Courtesy Malcolm McLaren Estate//

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.

Ciff-folkwayscatalogue copy

//Witchdoctor figure from W. Johnson’s design//

Witches-Folkwaystop

//Figure recast by McLaren and Westwood with Keith Haring adornments on cotton top from Witches collection, 1983. From private collection//

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.

MMArchive-NostalgiaOfMudpatternshowcard83

//Nostalgia Of Mud pattern show card, 1982. Courtesy Malcolm McLaren Estate//

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.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Let It Rock – Malcolm McLaren exhibition in Copenhagen next month

Jul 9th, 2014
LetItRockMMMirrorpix copy

//Malcolm McLaren outside 430 King’s Road, March 1972. Photo: Mirrorpix//

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.

ciff-crystalhall-insta

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.

10499032_1529441457276731_818336005_n

//McLaren modelling Witches in the Chico hat and Crombie coat with Talisa Soto and Vivienne Westwood by Steven Miesel, US Vogue, June 1983//

10520320_1417879591834130_1369448111_n

//Button, pocket and cuff detail of Marco Pirroni’s drape jacket fitted by McLaren and made by Sid Green, 1974//

927370_742091582499120_522480816_n

//Leather t-shirt with Let It Rock label from 430 King’s Road in summer 1974 during the transition from Too Fast To Live Too Young To Die to Sex//

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.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,