Throwing The Gaunlet Down at the Fashion World….
Punk rock empresario and London Sex Shop goddess, Dame Vivienne Westwood has long been a hero of mine. The famous “Anarchy in the U.K.” shirt (among other things) will forever be ingrained in my pre-pubescent brain. When my mom took my siblings and me to London in the late 70s, I was twelve going on thirteen and had long been suffering from too much disco in my life. I couldn’t stomach the sequins and polyester anymore. I needed a new fashion fix. Enter punk rock.
Vivienne started her career by throwing the proverbial middle finger to the peace and love culture with her provocative style and fuck you sensibility. Unbeknownst to me, she had been doing this for years. What was a pre-pubescent teen to do in this kind of predicament? Jump the fuck in, of course! Goodbye Studio 54.
Not surprisingly, my imperturbable mom forbade me to walk into the Kings Road shop, now appropriately named Seditionaries. And she had good reason: a t-shirt with an image of two mens’ non-flaccid wankers reaching out like God and Adam’s erect fingers on the Sistine Chapel dazzled the storefront window. It lured me in like a fat kid to the cake buffet. This was not the impression my mom wanted her twelve year old daughter to take away from her London vacation. But this was all part of my plan to have the world instruct me in all matters pertaining to my sex education. A baptism of fire, if you will. Mick Jagger, Iggy Pop, Ziggy Stardust and my dad’s not-so-secret stash of Penthouse magazines were all part of the village that taught me a thing or two about voyeurism and sex. So, I wasn’t shocked, I was intrigued.
Westwood, with her colorful partner, Malcolm McClaren, had thrown the gauntlet down to the fashion industry yet again. This time, disco was bitch-slapped with their wittingly and politically charged creations of ripped and stained tee shirts. Worn by punk rock pariahs and scorned by the established few, they cornered the market on confrontation and defiance.
This spoke volumes to my middle-class American upbringing. Coincidentally, while we were visiting, the establishment-backed BBC had refused any airplay time to McClaren’s band, The Sex Pistols. Their insubordinate antics were too risky for the conservative kind. This just added fuel to the fire of their counter-culture following.
By the end of my London vacation, the peak of punk rock reached it’s climax; my undying admiration for Westwood as my goddess and guru took a leap of faith; and the beginning of my two year courtship with provocation took hold! Sorry Mom, but you had no chance!
For a mere $38,000 (and I do mean mere because it’s a steal in my opinion), you can own a part of fashion history. Dame Vivienne’s, Sex Shop Venus Shirt, is being offered on 1stdibs.com. It’s a genius piece of iconic art.
Fashion is art! And art always appreciates! So this, my friends, is priceless!