Monday, April 12, 2010

"It's better to be a flamboyant failure than a benign success"

Top to bottom -  Westwood and McLaren, SEX Kings Road shop, God Save the Queen #1 in 1977, McLaren fifth from left with Sex Pistols 1976. 

Malcolm McLaren lived by motto "It's better to be a flamboyant failure than a benign success". I first read about him in Vivienne Westwood's biography, and like Westwood, I have been fascinated by him ever since. The two of them started the 'SEX' shop on The Kings Road in London and dressed the Sex Pistols in bondage gear which would go on to shape British punk culture. Johnny Rotten is credited in being the first British punk to rip his shirt, and Sex Pistols bassist Sid Viscous as the first to use safety pins. Details about McLaren's career in music are detailed by the BBC here

McLaren passed away last week at the age of 64. I'm looking forward to reading more about his life and legacies and watch his family continue to influence popular culture. McLaren and Westwood's son, Joe Corre, co-founded Agent Provocateur and has recently moved into menswear with a 'Child of the Jago' in Shoreditch, London. I visited the store before I left London and it definitely has a mysterious, unconventional vibe. It hasn't become hugely successful yet, but I'm sure it will take off sooner than later. The family has a knack for trend spotting, creating unconventional businesses with cult followings, and turning them into a commercial success. And they always seem to achieve it in a mischievous, flamboyant manner.  

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