Paul Gorman is…

Malcolm McLaren in Witches trenchcoat on the steps of the British Museum 1983

Jun 9th, 2015

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This portrait of Malcolm McLaren was captured among the columns outside the entrance to London’s august British Museum by Andy Rosen in 1983.

In the photograph taken during promotion of the Duck Rock album, which was released at the start of 1983, McLaren sported a rare trenchcoat design from the Witches collection he and Vivienne Westwood debuted on the catwalk that spring.

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‘A booby trap in Pop Art': The tits tee featured in 1972 Frederick’s of Hollywood catalogue

Jun 2nd, 2015

Richard Hambleton + Malcolm McLaren = Witches x The Shadow Man

May 27th, 2015
Malcolm McLaren posing on the streets of NYC. April 1983. © Bob Gruen / www.bobgruen.com Please contact Bob Gruen's studio to purchase a print or license this photo. email: websitemail01@aol.com phone: 212-691-0391

//Malcolm McLaren and Andrea Linz with a Hambleton Shadow Man in the West Village, NYC, April 1983. © Bob Gruen/www.bobgruen.com. Please contact Bob Gruen’s studio to purchase a print or license this photo. Email: websitemail01@aol.com Phone: + 212-691-0391//

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//Witches Shadow Man skirt, 1983. Malcolm McLaren, Vivienne Westwood and Richard Hambleton. This image (c) www.paulgormanis.com//

An under-acknowledged art world connection forged by Malcolm McLaren during his fashion design partnership with Vivienne Westwood was to the godfather of street art, conceptual artist Richard Hambleton.

During his forays in New York in the early 80s, McLaren was struck by Hambleton’s eerie representations of The Shadow Man figure; there was one on a wall in Bethune Street in the West Village, near the studio of McLaren’s photographer friend and ally Bob Gruen.

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‘This country is run by a group of Fascists': When Malcolm McLaren met Sweet Gene Vincent backstage at The Marquee

Apr 27th, 2015

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//Clockwise from top left: Gene Vincent with one of The Houseshakers, Magnet Club, Chelmsford, UK, February 1971. Photo: http://gene.vincent.fanclub.voila.net; Let It Rock assistant in Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps top, Wembley Stadium, August 5, 1972. Photo: Masayoshi Sukita; Vincent’s quote as featured on the Sex t-shirt You’re Gonna Wake Up, 1974//

‘Gene Vincent for me was the embodiment of rock’n’roll’

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On September 22 1971, Gene Vincent was a mid-week booking to play a “rock revival” night at central London club The Marquee.

Times were tough; at just 36, the soft-spoken American rocker was apparently way past his heyday and beset by severe health problems brought on by the combination of alcoholism and addiction to prescription drugs taken to dull the constant pain in his left leg. This was the result of a crippling motorbike accident in his youth and the lingering effects of having been in the 1960 car-crash which killed Eddie Cochran.

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Too little, too late? NY Met finally ‘de-accessions’ two bogus Seditionaries designs from Costume Institute collection

Apr 8th, 2015

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//One of the two bondage suits which have been removed from the Met collection. They were previously granted prominence in the museum’s 2006 exhibition Anglomania. This image is from the frontispiece of the show’s lavish catalogue//

Years after concerns were raised about the authenticity of around half of the punk fashion pieces in the Metropolitan Museum Of Art Costume Institute collection, cleaning house has finally begun at the New York institution with the expulsion of two bondage suits purporting to have been original 70s designs by Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood.

A museum spokesperson has confirmed that the suits have been “formally de-accessioned”. A relatively rare process in international-standard curatorial circles, de-accessioning occurs when information undermining the provenance and authenticity of a museum object comes to light.

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That’ll Be The Day: How Ringo ended up in a Teddy Girl’s drape jacket from Let It Rock

Mar 18th, 2015
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//Starr on location in Let It Rock drape. Note bust darts.  From the front page of Disc & Music Echo, December 16, 1972. Photo: Uncredited//

In the autumn of 1972 the small King’s Road boutique Let It Rock, which had been open for less than a year, received a fillip when the owners Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood were asked to contribute costumes to the production of 50s Britrock movie That’ll Be The Day.

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430 Kings Road: In the back of Mr Freedom, Paradise Garage + Let It Rock 1969 – 1972

Feb 28th, 2015
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/Left: Andrew Greaves of Electric Colour Company in the back of Paradise Garage, May 1971. Right: Vivienne Westwood in the back of Let It Rock, January 1972. Photos: David Parkinson//

Preparation for my paper at Ben Kelly’s interior design symposium Dead Or Alive has coincided with the refurbishment of the Worlds End shop at 430 King’s Road in Chelsea.

The address is the subject of my talk; I’ll be detailing the history of 430 and how and why it was an important social and cultural locus over a number of decades.

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//Back wall of 430 King’s Road on the opening of Mr Freedom, September 1969. Interior: Electric Colour Company. Photo: David Parkinson//

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Pastiche, parody + plain forgery: How original McLaren/Westwood punk graphics have spawned a weird, twilit sub-strata of bad outsider design

Feb 24th, 2015
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//A US vintage company is unwittingly featuring this forgery as an original t-shirt from Seditionaries on its Instagram feed. The unpleasant item is an example of the accelerating trade in McLaren/Westwood fakes, where previously non-existent designs – often with repellent overtones – are touted as ultra-rare one-offs//

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//Banal content: More examples of previously non-existent designs marketed as McLaren/Westwood originals – complete with Seditionaries-style labels – from a Chinese retailer’s site last year. Note the design at bottom left has a fake label whereas the one at the top of this post does not//

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//Above: A selection of more of the crude new designs touted as original garments on Japanese auction site Seditionaries Shop, which claimed more than 300 sales at prices averaging £150//

Since Malcolm McLaren’s death nearly five years ago there has been a palpable rise in the plundering of the designs – in particular the graphics produced for t-shirts – he created with Vivienne Westwood in the 1970s.

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Jaunty: Barry Plummer’s striking photos of Malcolm McLaren + Vivienne Westwood in the Wild West End spring 1979

Feb 3rd, 2015
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//McLaren specifically requested Plummer photograph him outside 7 Denmark Street, London WC1; Tin Pan Alley Club was one of the centres of Britain’s music business dating back to the 30s: “Some lads came along and Malcolm was pulling up his kilt in good-natured fun.” Photo: © Barry Plummer//

These jaunty photographs were taken by Barry Plummer in the spring of 1979 for a Melody Maker interview with Malcolm McLaren about the just-released soundtrack for the Sex Pistols’ biopic The Great Rock N Roll Swindle (beset by financial and creative difficulties, the film wasn’t released for another year).

McLaren was accompanied by Vivienne Westwood; they made a striking pair in mixed and matched one-off and traditional pieces with a selection of clothing from their King’s Road shop Seditionaries. By now the transition away from punk – left behind when the Sex Pistols split a year earlier – was becoming evident.

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//Westwood and McLaren looking the bomb at the entrance to 98 Shaftesbury Avenue, W1, home to McLaren’s management company Glitterbest. Photo © Barry Plummer//


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Homage to Ben Kelly’s Seditionaries facade in Vuitton’s High Tech A/W 15 show

Jan 22nd, 2015
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//The simulation of the Seditionaries facade in industrial materials provided the entry and exit point for models on the runway today//

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//With rings representing the positions where designer Ben Kelly exposed air conditioning vents to view, Kim Jones replaced the diagonal bar which occupied the central square over the door with the trademark Vuitton ‘V’//

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//Ben Kelly’s portfolio shot of the facade he designed and installed at 430 King’s Road in December 1976//

Amid the references to the late Christopher Nemeth in today’s Paris show of the Louis Vuitton A/W 15 menswear collection (see my last post), artistic director Kim Jones used the staging to pay subtle homage to the two great maverick figures of London street culture – namely Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood and specifically their 70s punk store Seditionaries.

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