Paul Gorman is…

The Look and Vivienne Westwood: A question of attribution

Oct 15th, 2014
VW-p85i

//Vivienne Westwood quoted on p85 of her new book written with Ian Kelly and published by Picador this month. This is also spoken in Westwood’s accent by the actress Paula Wilcox in the audiobook which has been published here and in the US//

The Look-p22 copy

//Westwood’s former partner Malcolm McLaren said this to me during a 1999 interview. Subsequently I quoted him on page 22 of my book The Look: Adventures In Rock & Pop Fashion, first published in 2001, second edition 2006//

Jenni Murray: You’ve said ‘clothes were politics long before fashion’. What did you mean by that?

Vivienne Westwood: I have no idea.

Jenni Murray: Was it something you said to Ian (Kelly) and now you’ve forgotten?

Vivienne Westwood: No…is that what it says in the book?

Jenni Murray: Yes

Vivienne Westwood: Well then, he might have got a misquote from somewhere.

Woman’s Hour, BBC Radio 4, October 14, 2014

P1150910

I respect Dame Vivienne Westwood’s achievements; she has been a significant figure in shaping our collective visual identity.

As someone who is driven to investigate and interpret visual culture, that is important to me. I dedicated a chapter and sections to Westwood’s contribution to fashion with and without Malcolm McLaren in the 2001 and 2006 editions of The Look: Adventures In Rock & Pop Fashion.

But she is ill-served by the sloppy new book Vivienne Westwood, recently published by Picador and written by actor/author Ian Kelly.

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For the first time in 36 years the whole article: Forum June 1976 featuring SEX + Incognito Leather

Oct 25th, 2012

//Photo detail (from left): SEX customers Danielle, Alan Jones + Chrissie Hynde; Vivienne Westwood; assistant Jordan.//

As a follow-up to my recent post about the rarely seen 1975 interview with Malcolm McLaren in soft porn mag Gallery International, here is another exclusive: for the first time since publication in June 1976, the full article featuring McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s shop SEX in British sex guide Forum.

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Memories of SEX in Forum magazine

Jan 31st, 2011

//Steve Jones, Unknown, Alan Jones, Chrissie Hynde, Jordan, Vivienne Westwood. Photo: David Dagley/Rex Features.//

SEX became a magical place.  People spent hours there; no one wanted to leave.  In it, I created a feeling that was both euphoric and hysterical. You felt an enormous range of possibilities – that whatever was happening couldn’t be predicted, but it was a movement toward a place unknown.

Malcolm McLaren, Musical Paintings [JRP Ringier 2008].

One of the most prescient pieces published about 430 King’s Road in its incarnation as SEX appeared, appropriately enough, in sex magazine Forum in the mid-70s.

And, after more than 35 years, I’ve tracked down the writer and the photographer who, for the first time anywhere, recall the revolutionary retail environment and the sexually-charged photo-shoot featuring future Sex Pistol Steve Jones, performer Chrissie Hynde, radical shop assistant Jordan, film-writer Alan Jones and, of course, Vivienne Westwood.

The feature appeared in the June 1976 issue of the magazine and was written by expat American Forum staffer Len Richmond, later to pen hit British sitcom Agony and Three’s Company (the US version of the UK’s Man About The House). The photographer was Chelsea-based freelance David Dagley.

“In 1973 I’d arrived in the UK from San Francisco with 300 bucks in my pocket and found that I could work as a journalist because nobody cared about whether I had a green card,” explains Richmond down the line from Los Angeles.

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