Paul Gorman is…

Toyah Willcox and Midge Ure worked in Sex… Nostalgia Of Mud sold bondage trousers… Philip Hoare’s review spoiled by as many howlers as contained in the Vivienne Westwood book

Oct 25th, 2014
hoare1

//Errors pile up in Philip Hoare’s review of Vivienne Westwood in the Telegraph//

It will be frustrating for publisher Picador and their authors Ian Kelly and Vivienne Westwood that the five-star review of the memoir Vivienne Westwood by novelist Philip Hoare in the Daily Telegraph is rendered unreliable by, pro rata, as many inaccuracies as contained in the book itself.

On the basis that phrases such as “fetishistically brilliant” amount to a thumbs-up, Hoare’s review arrives in the wake the media coverage of my claim against the publisher and the authors over substantial plagiarisation of my book The Look in Vivienne Westwood.

Since I have publicly charged the book with being “sloppy”, this well-placed positive review by a relatively well-known literary figure may be framed in the context of a push to restore credibility to the troubled project (as well as the plagiarisation and a huge amount of factual errors, the book is held to contain at least one serious libel and fails to provide proper credit for a number of photographers).

Hoare – who has post-punk associations, having worked in west London record shop Rough Trade and managed the indie group the Pale Fountains – bravely inserts himself into the piece with personal memories of Westwood’s design business with Malcolm McLaren in the 70s and 80s.

According to Hoare – and these are his additions to the errors already piled high by the 458-page tome – the shop assistants at 430 Kings Road in its incarnation as Sex included not only musician Midge Ure but also actress/performer Toyah Willcox.

Of course neither was employed there. Hoare has simply confused each person’s tangential relationships to the McLaren/Westwood coterie: it is well known that Ure was once approached as a possible singer for the Sex Pistols during their formative stage, while Willcox appeared in Derek Jarman’s punk move 1978 Jubilee (the subject of a salty attack printed onto a t-shirt by Westwood).

669120

//Midge Ure, kneeling, with his Slik bandmates on the cover of their 1976 LP//

ttl78cc

//Toyah Willcox in 70s TV production The Corn Is Green (from www.toyah.net)//

During the period Hoare is discussing, Ure had already hit the number one spot with Scottish teen-pop band Slik while Willcox was making her acting bones in Birmingham Old Rep. A simple check in one of the reliable published sources – of course I recommend The Look – would have put him right.

Against these howlers, we can attribute to Hoare’s fallacious memory shop manager Jordan’s “Kandinsky make-up” (it was avowedly based on the work of Mondrian and introduced in 1977 during the later Seditionaries phase) and the “scaffolding rails” in Sex (they were made of curved chrome and expertly-turned wooden gym bar racks courtesy of the trained wheelwright Vic Mead) and instead study Hoare’s claims to own a pair of bondage trousers bought at Nostalgia Of Mud, McLaren and Westwood’s store in St Christopher’s Place in London’s West End.

hoare2

//Nostalgia Of Mud – opened to promote the clothing in the companion catwalk collection (also known as Buffalo) – did not sell bondage trousers nor any other punk designs//

Bondage trousers were not sold at NoM, which opened in spring 1982. By this time McLaren and Westwood had strongly and publicly rejected these and other design works produced at the height of punk six years earlier.

In fact so vehement was their abandonment of the punk-era garments that Westwood licensed all the designs, include the patterns for the bondage trousers, to King’s Road store Boy, which was knocking them out in inferior copies by the hundred by spring 1982.

hoare3

//Hoare cites the plagiarised passage in his review//

Hoare – who is a fan of Kelly’s work and has given glowing reviews to his books previously – compounds the mistakes in his review by quoting one of the plagiarised passages from my book: “Sex,” Westwood tells Kelly,”translated into fashion becomes fetish…the very embodiment of youth’s assumption to mortality.”

The-Look-MM-intro-copy

//From McLaren’s intro to The Look, which he supplied to me exclusively in the spring of 2000//

As pointed out here last week, and as my lawyers have communicated to Westwood, Kelly and Picador, this is one of 40 passages in Vivienne Westwood which bear close resemblance to text in my book, in this case from the introduction written by McLaren nearly a decade-and-a-half ago: “Sex translated into fashion becomes fetish, and fetishism is the very embodiment of youth. Youth has to behave irreverently – it has to take drugs because of its fundamental belief in its own immortality.”

Read Hoare’s review here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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

Photography books: Punk Rockers! by Alain Dister

Oct 9th, 2014
P1150842

//Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren, Paris, November 1973. (c) Alain Dister//

A photograph of Vivienne Westwood – credited to the fashion designer’s archive in the new Westwood book with Ian Kelly – put me in mind of an image I have in one of my many books in storage.

At first I couldn’t put my finger on the particular tome. Then bingo! Bought eight years ago on publication, the France-only publication Punk Rockers! is a compendium of the photography of the late Alain Dister from the early 70s to the mid-00s.

P1150843

//Johnny Thunders, David JoHansen, Sylvain Sylvain, Paris, November 1973. (c) Alain Dister//

P1150841

//Left: Westwood and McLaren. Right: Seditionaries frontage 1978. (c) Alain Dister//

P1150837

//Book jacket photo of unidentified female punk rocker taken in Seattle, 1996. (c) Alain Dister//

Among the photographs Dister discusses in the brief foreword is one of Westwood with Malcolm McLaren when they journeyed to Paris to witness a gig by the New York Dolls at the Olympia Theatre in November 1973. This is clearly one of a sequence taken by Dister and featured in Westwood’s book.

As Dister writes, McLaren was “habillé en Teddy Boy années 50″. In photographs taken at the French capital’s Belle Epoque brasserie La Coupole – where we were happily ensconced with the Dolls’ confrère Marc Zermati only last year – the American proto-punk group is shown in all their glory, with guitarist Sylvain Sylvain resplendent in a zippered wool/mohair Let It Rock creation.

P1150840

//London 1978. (c) Alain Dister//

P1150844

//Fans at Sex Pistols reunion concert, Finsbury Park, north London, 1996. (c) Alain Dister//

P1150845

//Left: Berlin 1998. Right: Seattle, 1996//

P1150846

//Left: Yoyogi Park, Tokyo, 2002. Right: Sheena, Tokyo 2002//

Punk Rockers! is a valuable document; Dister cast his unstinting eye as punk mutated from London and New York in the 70s to blossom in such cities as Berlin in the 80s, Seattle in the 90s and Tokyo in the 00s.

Former Melody Maker journalist Chris Charlesworth provides a fascinating snapshot of the Dolls at their debauched peak in Paris here.

Buy copies of Punk Rockers! here.

Dister died in 2008; here is his website.

Vivienne Westwood by Vivienne Westwood and Ian Kelly is reviewed here.

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

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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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: 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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“There’s so much pollution in the world you should use the gear you already have, not buy something because it’s fashionable” – Trevor Myles + Paradise Garage in Jackie magazine December 1971

Jul 3rd, 2014
PGinJackie-TM+frontage

//Trevor Myles in front of his store at 430 King’s Road, autumn 1971. Photographer: Not credited//

P1150683

//pp6-7, Jackie, December 4, 1971//

Well done to vintage collector/dealer Sharon of Sweet Jane’s Pop Boutique blog for spotting this wowser on a Facebook group: a 1971 article in teen fashion and music magazine Jackie about the game-changing fashion outlet Paradise Garage run by Trevor Myles at 430 King’s Road.

P1150689

PGinJackie-TM+BM

//Myles with Bradley Mendelson (in ‘Bradley’ studded top) outside Paradise Garage. Photographer uncredited//

PGinJackie-TM+car

//Myles on his tiger-strip flocked 1966 Ford Mustang Pony car. Photographer uncredited/

Paradise Garage is important because it was the first shop in Britain to import and sell used denim in a meaningful way. Using the astounding environment created by Electric Colour Company, faded and worn denim, sometimes appliqued or patched, was stocked alongside an acutely compiled selection of soon-to-be-familiar dead-stock: Hawaiian shirts, baseball and souvenir jackets, Osh Kosh B’Gosh dungarees, bumper boots, cheongsams and so on.

Myles opened Paradise Garage in May 1971 as a reaction to the Pop Art flash he had engineered at Mr Freedom with his ex-partner Tommy Roberts. In the Jackie article he makes a point about fashion and environmental sustainability of pertinence today:

“There’s so much pollution in the world that we thought you should use the gear you already have – not buy something just because it’s fashionable. By throwing the old lot away you only add to the pollution problem. So that’s why we’re using it all up.”

Also interviewed and photographed is shop manager Bradley Mendelson, the New Yorker whose November 1971 encounter with Malcolm McLaren while Myles was absent overseas resulted in the establishment of Let It Rock at the same address.

The publication date of the issue of Jackie – December 4, 1971 – is poignant; by the time the feature appeared Paradise Garage was gone and McLaren and others, including his art-school student friend Patrick Casey and Vivienne Westwood, had taken over the outlet and were refurbishing it to match Mclaren’s radical British take on 50s retromania.

P1150700

//Mr Freedom designs produced under Myles’ former partner Tommy Roberts appeared elsewhere in the same issue. Here customer Elton John sports an appliqued top//

P1150703

//The female cover model wore a pair of green and white winged boots from Mr Freedom (detail cropped out)//

P1150704

Read the Sweet Jane’s Pop Boutique blog here.

 

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Unbelievable rarity: Undocumented Let It Rock clothing featured on 1972 budget LP + previously unpublished views of stock inside 430 King’s Road

Apr 12th, 2014
lir-rockarchive580

//Front cover, Rock Archive, Various Artists, Windmill Records, 1972//

It is relatively common knowledge among those interested in the careers of Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood and their series of extraordinary shops that they supplied clothes to the 1973 album Golden Hour Of Rock & Roll; Let It Rock at 430 King’s Road was clearly credited on the back of the record sleeve.

Let It Rock-Golden Hour Of Rock & Roll

//Front cover, The Golden Hour Of Rock N Roll, Various Artists, Pye/Golden Hour, 1973//

lir-rockarchiveflipped

//The photograph on the Rock Archive cover was flipped to better accommodate the text. Here it is as originally shot//

But I have fresh information which helps towards a greater understanding of McLaren’s project to investigate the detritus of popular culture’s recent past. During a bout of research recently I came across this earlier and hitherto undocumented use of Let It Rock clothing in a music context: the front cover of Rock Archive, a budget LP compilation released by the specialist British independent label Windmill in 1972.

And I am detailing the clothes on the cover with images taken inside Let It Rock which have never been previously published.

lir-redshirts

//Starke shirts with 50s sports jacket on Let It Rock wall, January 1972. Photograph: David Parkinson//

lir-starke

//Starke label detail//

Each garment worn by the model – whose attempts at rocking out resulted in his giving every appearance of suffering considerable pain – comes from the deadstock of British brands assiduously assembled by Malcolm McLaren and his art-school friend Patrick Casey for the opening of the world’s first avowedly post-modern retail outlet in November 1971.

From the ground up, the Rock Archive cover star wore black suede Denson’s Fine Poynts, ice-blue Lybro jeans with 12in cuffs, a Frederick Starke flyaway collar shirt and a studded and decorated Lewis Leathers early 60s Lightning jacket (which featured a highly collectable 6-5 Special patch).

Read the rest of this entry »

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