FA2L is for anyone who cares about beautiful things–clothing, shoes, accessories, home furnishings–and the interconnected tribes of those who make, sell, market and desire them. If something speaks to you, buy it now or hold your peace: there are links in each story, so the item you want is just a click away. I'd like to hear from you, too: please view my profile, use the email button and send me your comments.MG

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Malcolm McLaren's Legacy: From Punk to Posh

When Malcolm McLaren died of cancer on April 8, the world lost a force of nature: an impresario-cum-ringmaster, addicted to shocking with impropriety, who squashed the face of 1970s upper-class Britain against its drawing room windows to see the dismal view. Along with his partner, Vivienne Westwood, McLaren ran a shop in King's Road (called Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die, but renamed Sex) catering to rebellious youth. His greatest claim to fame, however, was managing the Sex Pistols, and acting as foster father to British punk rock.

In 1976 (while the Ramones were churning out brilliant noise in Queens, New York) the Pistols' first single, "Anarchy in the UK," made headlines, thanks partly to Jamie Reid's poster of a shredded Union Jack held together with safety pins and clamped-on, torn-paper type.
It was seen as rebellious–almost evil–at the time, but just as The Clash followed hard on the heels of the Sex Pistols (diffusing punk's focus on class warfare by opening it up to other cultural, and musical, influences) and New Wave followed punk, so too the safety pins of the Sex Pistols were copied in couture by the likes of Zandra Rhodes and Gianni Versace. Now, more than 30 years later, the initial shock has long since worn off, but the iconography remains.

In a funny way, it's come full circle, which is why we like this python clutch by Lulu Guinness. Punk imagery has ebbed in and out of fashion over the years (it even rated a sidebar, 'THE PUNK-PREP CONNECTION,' in 1980's Official Preppy Handbook) but by this point raises no eyebrows. The solution? Dress it up: take a large measure of Continental chic, add a dash of British wit and finesse carefully until it's very posh. Then, with tongue firmly in cheek, carry it back into to the drawing room. You may well start a revolution of your own.