THE FILTH & THE FASHION | VIVIENNE WESTWOOD’S ’70s SEX RAG REVOLUTION

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Jordan-- the sassy sado SEX clerk that would accomodate your purchase at the King’s Road Boutique.

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Malcolm McLaren gets a lot of credit for carefully crafting The Sex Pistols’ schtick, sound, and look.  His real-life partner and cohort in concocting, not only the look of The Sex Pistols, but the Punk movement at large was, as we all know– Dame Vivienne Westwood.

Her tartan bondage suits, leather studs, and shocking tees (I won’t get into the naughty bits) were the, eh-hem, uniform for the 1970’s punk movement that lashed-out against hygiene, authority, rules, corporate rock, and mainstream society as a whole.  It was a cultural correction– a necessary reset that would inspire and create great music, art, and fashion to this day.  It was quite a scene back then, with no shortage of characters in the Malcolm/Westwood mix– The Sex Pistols of course, as well as Siouxsie Sioux, and Chrissie Hynde, among others… oh, and of course Jordan.  Oh my.

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(Lt.) Jordan stands seductively in front of the King’s Road SEX boutique.  (Rt.) McLaren & Westwood.

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McLaren & Westwood’s SEX boutique on King’s Road in Chelsea started out in ’71 as a small record shop where McLaren and a friend peddled vinyl, magazines and rock memorabilia.   It soon grew into Let It Rock– a hip “Teddy Boy” shop that sold used, as well as new fashions (designed by Malcolm’s school teacher gal-pal Westwood), that soon became all the rage for their creepers & pegged pants.  It changed fashion direction in ’72 and was renamed Too Fast To Live, Too Young To Die until 1974, when it once again got a facelift.

Christened with 4 ft. tall hot pink foam letters mounted directly to the graffiti-covered storefront spelling-out the new shop’s namesake– SEX carried innovative and provocative fashions designed by Vivienne Westwood, as well as authentic bondage & fetish gear– creating a look called Punk. The list of names that frequented and/or worked at SEX reads like a “who’s who” of early Punk Rock history.  Punk now had a name, a sound, and finally– an official shop, which would soon spawn imitators (BOY) ready to cash-in.

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The infamous SEX boutique of Malcolm McLaren & Vivienne Westwood on King’s Road, Chelsea. via

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Jordan– the sassy sado SEX clerk that would accomodate your purchase at the King’s Road Boutique.

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April 12, 1977, London, — Vivienne Westwood (in plaid). — Image by © Condé Nast Archive/Corbis

1978 — Sex Pistols’ singer Johnny Rotten on stage performing.  — Image by © Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis

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The Punk Rock icon — God Save The Queen

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1978 — Sex Pistols Performing in Concert in Westwood-wear — Image by © Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis

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Anglomania– Vivienne Westwood installation shown at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. via

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The Sex Pistols  –Oslo, 1977

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Siouxsie Sioux in infamous Vivienne Westwood tees.  I spy Billy Idol.

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Punk’s Jacket, 1977 — Image by © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS

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Pic of BOY storefront on King’s Road — a shop that soon popped-up to cash-in on the success of SEX.

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Pic from BOY catalog  (King’s Road) — a shop that soon popped-up to cash-in on the success of SEX.

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Pic from BOY catalog  (King’s Road) — a shop that soon popped-up to cash-in on the success of SEX.

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RELATED TSY POSTS:

VICIOUS WHITE KIDS | THE SEX PISTOLS TAKE ON ROCK ‘N ROLL & THE SOUTH

LEGENDARY CLASH STYLE | FROM PUNK ROCK ROUGH TO SARTORIAL SMOOTH

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10 thoughts on “THE FILTH & THE FASHION | VIVIENNE WESTWOOD’S ’70s SEX RAG REVOLUTION

  1. Pingback: VICIOUS WHITE KIDS | THE SEX PISTOLS TAKE ON ROCK ‘N ROLL & THE SOUTH « The Selvedge Yard

  2. Pingback: LEGENDARY CLASH STYLE | FROM PUNK ROCK ROUGH TO SARTORIAL SMOOTH « The Selvedge Yard

  3. Another top collection of photos. Great taste. I live right off King’s Road. You can stop by where this shop and down the road is “The Chelsea Drugstore” from The Stones, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”. It’s a McDonalds now…go figure.

  4. Great rave-from-the-grave post as always.

    I remember buying a punk red suit (with the 25mm necktie) round the corner from these rad cads (78/79??) and thinking at the time they were such pouty cartoon figures.

    Even more so now, with benefit of hindsight.

    W11

  5. Great pics, is that not Sue Catwoman in the last? & Siouxsie Sioux in the 70s was just so very. Can’t find it now, but the photo of her sitting in a theater seat topless, wearing a swastika armband (worn in wryness I guess, but she still got the shit beat out of her for it!) was life-changing.

  6. Great pix.Used to design for John Krevine who owned Boy and Acme Attractions in late 70s.
    Crazy times..Still have original samples boxed somewhere..will have to get them out!

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