Malcolm McLaren, the controversial godfather of punk and former partner of designer Vivienne Westwood, died last week aged 64 following a battle with cancer.
McLaren, who was true to the slogan of a famous T-shirt he once wore, made ‘cash from chaos’ by building a sub-culture and a fashion movement on his way to notoriety in the 1970s. He turned his hand to retail and fashion design, setting up the infamous King’s Road boutique Let it Rock in west London in the early 1970s with Westwood, selling then-unfashionable teddy boy and 1950s clothing.
He renamed the shop Sex in the mid-1970s, selling fetish and bondage gear, plastic jeans and pornographic T-shirts to a new wave of anarchic S&M-obsessed teenagers whose fashion kudos hinged upon taboo and controversy.
In the late 1980s, McLaren and Westwood opened the World’s End store, from where the design duo launched a series of fashion collections.
McLaren expressed the symbiotic relationship between music and fashion, carving out a successful career as music manager of bands including The Sex Pistols, and was latterly known as a cultural theorist.
Westwood paid tribute to McLaren, the father of her son Joe Corré. She said: “When we were young and I fell in love with Malcolm, I thought he was beautiful and I still do. I thought he was a very charismatic, special and talented person. The thought of him dead is really something very sad. We hadn’t been in touch for a long time. Ben and Joe were with him when he died.”
Corré, also the founder of lingerie retailer Agent Provocateur and owner of fashion brand and London independent A Child of the Jago, said: “He was the original punk rocker and revolutionised the world. He’s somebody I’m incredibly proud of. He’s a real beacon of a man for people to look up to.”
McLaren died in hospital in Switzerland on April 8.