I’m saddened by the news of the death last week of the great Australian photographer Robyn Beeche.
From Vive la Commune! in 1881 to Vive le Rock! in 1972: How a Chinese Communist Party pamphlet inspired one of the great Malcolm McLaren designs
//From top left: Chinese Communist Party pamphlet, 1971; McLaren in Let It Rock 1972; Proclamation by Engels and Marx, 1881; Title lettering, Belgian film poster, 1958; Little Richard compilation, 1972; Repro of McLaren’s 1972 t-shirt collage//
A year or so ago I established the source material for one of the first designs generated by Malcolm McLaren in the fashion partnership he conducted with Vivienne Westwood in the 70s and early 80s.
Now I can reveal the inspiration: text contained in an unprepossessing Communist booklet celebrating the short-lived “Paris Commune” government of 19th Century revolutionary France.
Anarchist, Situationist + Yippie texts + an army munitions handbook: Fashion graduate Imogen Hunt unearths the radical roots of Seditionaries’ incendiary Vive le Rock/Punk Rock Disco design
There were T-shirts left over from the Wembley Rock & Roll revival festival in our cupboards in South Clapham; we had to do something with them. Sid Vicious liked them just the way they were and was often photographed in the original Vive Le Rock! design. But I needed to throw a few messages across them and reinvent them. So, I married the slogan and images of Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis with words and drawings from various texts, using the title of The Anarchist Cookbook as well as the famous phrase of the Spanish anarchist Buenaventura Durutti.
Malcolm McLaren 2008
Imogen Hunt is a recent graduate from London College Of Fashion who tells me she was inspired by my work to write her thesis for the college’s history of fashion and culture course.
Part of Hunt’s dissertation – on the importance of the Situationist International and King Mob to the development of punk style – is dedicated to an examination of the influences and source material for the double-sided design Vive Le Rock/Punk Rock Disco, which was printed on the front and back of t-shirts and tops first sold in Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s King’s Road store Seditionaries in 1978.
Steven Meisel’s 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.
I Groaned With Pain: Malcolm McLaren’s own t-shirts to feature in exhibition of status quo-disrupters
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.
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).
The story of the Sex shop leather hood: From harmless fetish attire (as sported by David Bowie?) to theatre of cruelty design totem
//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.
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.
‘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
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.
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.
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.
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.