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Photography: Inside Seditionaries and down the King’s Road 1977 with Homer Sykes

Dec 17th, 2013
VIVIENNE WESTWOOD 1970S KINGS ROAD CHELSEA

//Vivienne Westwood in felt Inside Out Jacket with assistants Debbie Wilson and Michael Collins in Seditionaries, 1977//

While updating his rich and varied archive, photographer Homer Sykes came across these superb photographs taken inside Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s boutique Seditionaries at 430 King’s Road in the spring of 1977.

The images capture the air of raw uncertainty surrounding the shop and the McLaren/Westwood coterie in this period. McLaren’s charges the Sex Pistols had recently been signed to their third record company in six months – Virgin Records – after being publicly excoriated for their behaviour and bounced out of EMI and A&M. The national media had seized upon punk as a source of sensationalism and the release of the Pistols’ explosive God Save The Queen was a matter of weeks away.

1970s FASHION KINGS ROAD LONDON UK

//Debbie Wilson (aka Debbie Juvenile) sports Hangman Jumper, Seditionaries, 1977. Note the studded Venus Top and leather jacket on the wall behind the counter//

VIVIENNE WESTWOOD 1970S KINGS ROAD CHELSEA

//Westwood expounding against the photographic mural of Dresden after WW2 air-raids, Seditionaries, 1977. Note Collins’ Cambridge Rapist design produced by Westwood’s partner Malcolm McLaren a couple of years earlier//

1970S INTERIOR OF VIVIENNE WESTWOOD BOUTIQUE

//Behind the customer in black bondage jacket is the wall-size inverted photographic mural of Piccadilly Circus, Seditionaries, 1977//

On Saturday August 20 1977 Sykes again took to the King’s Road to document the atmosphere of unrest embodied by the outbreaks of violence caused by marauding Teddy Boys targeting punks and such boutiques as Seditionaries and Boy.

TEENAGERS 1970S KINGS ROAD TEDDY BOY FASHION

//Young Ted bops while another’s jacket mourns Elvis Presley’s recent death, King’s Road, 1977//

TRACY BOYLE  GARY HOLTON KINGS ROAD CHELSEA LONDON 1970S

//Musician/actor Gary Holton and girlfriend Tracy Boyle lead a demonstration against violence between Teds and Punks along the King’s Road. Far left is punk Mick Bladder//

Some of his photographs feature the punk Mick Bladder, whose arrest on that day in August 1977 was featured in Wolfgang Büld’s Punk In London. This documentary  shows how the movement’s initial creative burst swiftly dissipated, while Sykes’ images capture the ways in which a cult movement had entered the mainstream, infiltrating the media, music, fashion and the wider culture.

Sykes’ archive covers the waterfront, from social unrest including the Notting Hill Carnival riot of 1976 and the riots in Toxteth and Brixton in the early 80s, to the on-the-road antics of Paul McCartney & Wings and Sigue Sigue Sputnik, the New Romantic haven the Blitz club, Andrew Logan’s Alternative Miss World and Quentin Crisp . Visit www.homersykes.com.

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‘Because of the economic crisis, people are trying to consume as fast as possible. Ideas are dead; there aren’t any to express the mood. Fashion is irrelevant’: Malcolm McLaren + SEX, November 1975

Aug 13th, 2012

//Sex assistant Jordan, Gallery International, Vol 1, no 4.//

It’s unlikely that cities will shake or nations start to rock under the impact of Malcolm McLaren’s sexual revolution. A few people might die though.

Malcolm McLaren, at 30, is a mixture of entrepreneurial cultist, sexual evangelist, businessman, artist, fetishist and political philosopher; a psychotic visionary in the ephemeral subculture of the fashion world.

David May, Gallery International Vol 1 no 4.

In November 1975 – by which time his charges the Sex Pistols had just embarked on live performances – Malcolm McLaren was interviewed by journalist David May at 430 King’s Road, then in full bloom as radical retail venture SEX.

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