Malcolm McLaren’s widow fears Metropolitan Museum of Art will get punk fashion show all wrong
“Ever get the feeling you’ve Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Dresses Uk been cheated?” was Johnny Rotten’s parting shot as he threw down his microphone and the Sex Pistols walked off stage for the last time in San Francisco’s Winterland in 1978.
The words may turn out to be prophetic as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York prepares to unveil Punk: Chaos to Couture, a Costume Institute show due to open in May celebrating punk’s enduring influence on fashion.
Last week the institute previewed a selection of Black Prada Bag With Gold the pieces that will be on display. While fashion critics welcomed the show – and the museum’s director, Thomas Campbell, drew attention to punk’s Dadaist roots – Malcolm McLaren’s widow, Young Kim, was drawing attention to more contentious aspects of punk’s legacy.
McLaren, the architect of punk, was the Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Dresses Uk Sex Pistols’ manager and proprietor of a Kings Road shop, which traded variously as Too Fast to Live, Sex Authentic Prada Handbags Online Australia and Seditionaries, with his partner Vivienne Westwood. He died in 2010. Kim claims there are numerous errors in the institute’s collection of punk clothing. She provided the Observer with a list of items in the Met’s collection which she considers to be misattributed, misdated or questionable.
“My concern is for history to be portrayed correctly,” she said. “I wrote to them to say pretty much everything in there is wrong. They should have engaged Malcolm when he was alive.”
Fashion author Paul Gorman is an expert on punk clothing and memorabilia and worked with McLaren on authenticating his creations. He claims that the Met is not applying the rigour that it would to, say, 17th-century Chinese ceramics, and that McLaren’s contribution is not being fully recognised. “The curators should be applying the same rigorous procedures to establish provenance and authentication to punk as they do to everything else,” he said.
At issue, say Gorman and Kim, is a Seditionaries T-shirt design featuring a rant against Derek Jarman’s Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Book Bags film Jubilee. It is dated 1976 and attributed to McLaren, whereas the T-shirt was Westwood’s design and the film was not released until 1978.
In a second instance, the Met unveiled the famous Naked Cowboys T-shirt, saying that the pop artist Allen Jones had been arrested in 1975 wearing one. Gorman says that it was Alan Jones, a Sex shop assistant, who was detained and charged with indecency.
“If the curators are not applying basic procedures such as dating, then what kind of procedures are they applying to authenticate the objects themselves?” asks Gorman. Bicester Village Prada Store Number “Very few of these clothes were made yet there are thousands and thousands of pieces out there.”
In response to the huge international business of fake punk clothing, McLaren spent the last five years attempting to catalogue his work. He assisted Damien Hirst after the artist had spent tens of thousands of pounds with the punk memorabilia dealer and author Simon Easton on clothing that McLaren subsequently claimed to be fakes. Curators for the Met were acknowledged to have been customers of Easton and displayed items purchased from him for its Anglomania show in 2006. On a trip to visit Easton, Andrew Bolton, now curator at the Costume Institute, remarked: “It’s a bit cloak and daggerish, isn’t it?”
Last week, Bolton hailed the forthcoming show, noting punk’s “incendiary influence on fashion”, while a museum spokesman said that “the provenance of all the punk pieces in our collection and in the upcoming exhibition have been verified”.
However, it is unclear whether the items sourced from Easton for Anglomania have now been excised from the collection.
Kim, who holds McLaren’s copyrights, fights a continuing battle against the commercial exploitation of his name. She recently blocked the sale of a “Malcolm McLaren Tribute Collection” and has also identified what she called an industry of “fraudulence and fakery”.
But, like punk itself, sorting the real from the fake is a difficult task. Institutions, including the Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Online Shopping Met, have Black Prada Bag With Gold Hardware found themselves caught up in controversies by the shadowy aspects of punk’s legacy.
“Punk was a cyclone of very toxic energy, despite its Barberino Factory Outlet Prada creativity and colour, and still emanates a very bad energy – as summed up by the ugly spectacle of McLaren’s funeral,” points out critic Michael Bracewell. “There is an amazing story to be written about punk memorabilia, with a truly astonishing cast of crooks, obsessives, celebrities, fashionistas, academics, general hangers-on, victims, museum directors, auction houses, and so on.”
McLaren himself claimed that “fashion was much more important than the music. Punk was the sound of fashion.” The Met’s show is concerned strictly with punk’s influence on fashion.
The spokesman for the museum pointed out that “there will only be about 10 vintage punk ensembles in the exhibition. The primary focus of the show will be 90 punk-influenced high fashion ensembles from 1977 to today.”
The exhibit will be divided into several rooms and categories: the punk club CBGB’s in New York; Seditionaries; the Clothes for Heroes gallery; as well as four categories on the influence of punk’s inventive, leather-and-glue, DIY ethic: Hardware, with a focus on Sid Vicious; Bricolage, using Debbie Harry dressed in a bin bag; Graffiti and Agitprop, as exemplified by the Clash; and Destroy, which looks at punk’s deconstructionist spirit prada replica bags online, typified by Johnny Rotten.
The Met recruited a cast of UK fashion industry stars – including Sam Gainsbury, the design consultant who created the stage for the museum’s record-setting show Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty two years ago, as well as the set designer Gideon Ponte, photographer Nick Knight and hairdressing superstar Guido Palau.
Diana Vreeland, founder of the Costume Institute, was no stranger to controversy, exaggerating the size of women’s wigs in a show of fashion from the Court of Versailles French Authentic Prada Fairy Bag For Sale fashion for effect. Friends of the Sex Pistols say the issue of provenance is overstated – McLaren’s ethos was, after all, “cash from chaos”, says record producer John Porter, aka Howard Usedtobe. “This is punk. If the clothes were real, you’d feel cheated.”