Paul Gorman is…

Subjective Reality: Steven Meisel’s film for Miu Miu A/W 15 tips a wink to Seditionaries

Jul 26th, 2015

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Steven Meisel’s beguiling campaign clip for Miu Miu’s autumn/winter 2015 collection tips a knowing wink to Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s 70s label Seditionaries, and in particular the design collage Vive Le Rock/Punk Rock Disco.

The video, entitled ‘Subjective Reality’ and styled by Olivier Rizzo, features models Maddison Brown, Hailey Gates, Mia Goth and Stacy Martin wearing the latest Miuccia Prada creations in a series of dream-like New York street tableaux.

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I Groaned With Pain: Malcolm McLaren’s own t-shirts to feature in exhibition of status quo-disrupters

Jul 17th, 2015
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//The t-shirts show the deliberate production of variants within the limited edition designed and written by McLaren and printed on the simple square pattern produced by Vivienne Westwood in 1974. © Malcolm McLaren Estate//

Two of Malcolm McLaren’s t-shirts from the very first production run of I Groaned With Pain – the notorious text design produced with Vivienne Westwood in 1974 – will be featured in Eyes For Blowing Up Bridges, the exhibition I am co-curating with David Thorp at Southampton’s John Hansard Gallery this autumn.

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//T-shirt with central tear on light blue jersey with exterior seaming, labelled, Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood, 1974. 360mm x 375mm. © Malcolm McLaren Estate//

I Groaned With Pain is named after the first four words of the paragraph of text McLaren lifted from beat writer Alexander Trocchi’s erotic novel Helen And Desire (published in 1954 by Olympia Press under the pseudonym Francis Lengel).

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The story of the Sex shop leather hood: From harmless fetish attire (as sported by David Bowie?) to theatre of cruelty design totem

Jul 14th, 2015

Gorman_03.tifDavid Bowie in Sex Gimp Mask 1974 copy
//Left: Detail of photo of model posing in leather Sex hood, autumn 1974. Photo: © David Parkinson. Right: David Bowie in leather hood, summer 1974, Sherry Netherland Hotel, New York. Photo: Dana Gillespie//

My recent post about David Bowie’s visits in 1974 to 430 King’s Road when it was in its Too Fast To Live Too Young To Die incarnation prompted Facebook friend and DJ Graham “Sugarlump” Evans to alert me to Polaroid photographs of David Bowie trying out make-up, hair and styling options in preparation for his Diamond Dogs tour of the US that year.

David Bowie in Sex Gimp Mask 1974

// Polaroid taken by Dana Gillespie in New York in 1974//

In one, as Evans points out, Bowie posed in a leather hood of similar style to the model sold at 430 as it was transformed over a period of six months from TFTL to fetish emporium Sex.

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‘They had the t-shirt off his back': The 40th anniversary of the creation of the notorious Cowboys t-shirt + the obscenity debate it sparked in the pages of The Guardian

Jul 11th, 2015
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//Nicolas de Jongh’s front-page report, The Guardian, August 2, 1975//

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//Sex Original-labelled Cowboys t-shirt courtesy Hiroshi Fujiwara Collection//

This month – specifically July 26 – marks the 40th anniversary of the introduction for sale of Malcolm McLaren’s notorious Cowboys t-shirt in Sex, the revolutionary boutique he operated at 430 King’s Road with Vivienne Westwood.

The shirt’s status as the most provocative of all punk designs is enhanced by the fact that it made waves immediately: the same day the shirt went on sale, the first customer to wear it in public was arrested. Within 24 hours, the store itself was raided for indecency.

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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
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//Detail, Frederick’s catalogue. Photo: Johnny Deluxe//

Congratulations to our pal Johnny Deluxe for this fantastic spot; he happened upon this kitsch sketch of an original tits t-shirt while leafing through an early 70s Frederick’s Of Hollywood catalogue.

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//Catalogue page. Photo: Johnny Deluxe//

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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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