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It’s officially “bedtime for democracy” (excuse the pun,) mind control is no more and the nostalgia of youth culture domination has overwhelmed the world! The Stellar Boutique loves punk and in merriment of the Met Museums up and coming punk exhibition, Punk: Chaos to Couture, we have seen the art of punk celebrated through an array of exhibitions such as Southbank’s Someday All The Adults Will Die: Punk Graphics 1971-1984 and most prominent, the University of the Arts London’s LCC campus’ accolade to the iconic punk graphics style in The Art of Punk in order to celebrate the unveiling of their significantly influential graphic design lecturer, Russell Bestley’s new book of the same title. Offering an assortment of punk designs and illustrated art from album art covers to ephemera, the reserve represents an interesting indication of, in the words of the author, “an ugly and brutal side that can’t be appropriated,” from artists like Jamie Reid and Peter Saville expressive of bands of The Sex Pistols and The Damned. Combining this with the rebellion of anarchy we saw on the Autumn Winter catwalks from Versace’s “vunk” collection of safety pinned understatement (no sarcasm…,) it’s no wonder we have seen the likes of luxury fashion retailer Moda Operandi prospectively launch a collection deliberated by renowned designers from Balmain to Vivienne Westwood and Givenchy to Moschino paying homage to punk with exclusive pieces as a means of providing women with the opportunity to encapsulate the spirit of punk through a combination of high fashion and rebellion.
Where did it come from? The most revolutionary event of the 1970’s was the notable youth movement that happened presently late in the decade. A state of mind, punk was built in on Kings Road by The Sex Pistols manager, Malcolm McLaren (1946-2010) and one of the most influential designers to date, Vivienne Westwood with their ability to transform youths into extremists and anarchists, just by the way in which they wore and styled their clothes. Much to the public’s dismay, the profligate identity of the Punk movement referred to that of political and sexual bad taste and down-right filth with the deployment of anything set to irritate those worth rebelling against – t-shirts were sold audaciously at Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren’s shop displaying distasteful phrases, like “Paedophilia” and “Cambridge Rapist” as well as indecent displays of exhibitionists, of which they were arrested for. We can only imagine such manifesto led to a larger number of congresses, in a time where rebellion against politics and the undertaking of “anarchy in the UK” was the way forward!
Punk style created imagery of lost adolescence and the anguish and pain of losing their childhood, through destructive, asexual clothing centring on self-mutilation. Au natural was demolished, making way shocking deployment of decorative elements and attire. Political bad taste was addressed and teenagers ran free wearing Swastikas’ teamed with cheap taste bin bags and safety pins and filthy lavatory chains seen this season by the likes of Givenchy and Moschino. The metamorphic “Queen of Punk” became revolutionised by her creation of aggressive, pornographic looking accessories and everyday attire for hers and Malcolm McLaren’s band The Sex Pistols. Her unconventional readiness to take risks and fascination for different cultures still assists in her ability to push the boundaries, displaying liveliness and eroticism teamed with elegance and potency in her works, encouraging wearers to be individual and non-conformist, an attitude that has been adopted by designers such as the late Alexander McQueen and Jean Paul Gaultier in more recent years. Phenomenally and most monumental, the “Pirates” collection, inspired by 17th century theatrical and historical dress of Pirates, buccaneers, dandies and highwaymen of which she explained style as “just putting things together that aren’t anything to do with fashion.”
With fashion comes art and with art comes music. Idols of the time saw bands like The Clash and The Sex Pistols rise to fame with bassist Sid Vicious originating the most offensive and inventive punk fashions of that time – he was only in the band for the way he looked and his anarchist insurgence after all. Their 1977 hit record “God Save the Queen” was released at the same time as the Queen’s silver jubilee, with Artist Jamie Reid causing major offence after defacing the original Cecil Beaton royal portrait, and in his ransom notes styled lettering, writing “You too can be a punk.” Loves young dream, Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen became the talk, with teenagers idolising Sid’s dirty and somewhat unkempt look compared with Nancy’s “heroin-chic.” Sadly, living fast and dying young was taken literally, with both dying under tragic circumstances – Sid’s suicide note reading “We made a death pact, and I have to accomplish my part of the deal. Please bury me next to my baby. Please bury me with my leather jacket, jeans and motorcycle boots. Goodbye. With love, Sid.”
Bringing punk back to the future, it’s all about the fabric! Think heavy duty with leather and studded embellishment spikes, dominatrix patent and bondage slashes to reveal flashes of flesh, leaving it all to the imagination. Unassuming is no longer standard with traditional tartans, oversized furs and dishevelled leopard prints. An inconspicuous fall? Chances are “pretty vacant!”
View The Stellar Boutique fashion collection here.