12 posts tagged "Malcolm McLaren"
Among Malcolm McLaren’s many collaborators in his genre-busting career was Sonia Rykiel, who co-wrote and sang on the song “Who the Hell Is Sonia Rykiel?” on McLaren’s 1994 album Paris. “Malcolm was a lovely and wildly creative gentleman…truly his own person. He had the ability to bring you immediately into his exuberant world,” Rykiel wrote to Style.com today. “As a big fan of his, I was very flattered and a bit nervous when he asked me to sing on his record. He suggested I write song lyrics, so I arrived in a studio in Saint-Germain-des-Prés one afternoon. We had so much fun and stayed there all night until the song was finished. What a lovely experience it was! Rest in peace, dear friend.”
The soundtrack that Malcolm McLaren provided for Dries Van Noten’s show in March jammed together Bernard Herrmann’s elegant music for Hitchcock’s Vertigo and a particularly bolshie bit of punk provocation from the Mekons. Herrmann’s romantically surging strings were continually interrupted by a drunken shouty man, and the audio tug ‘o’ war between the two had people shifting uncomfortably in their seats. In other words, a quintessential McLaren moment. Unfortunately, he wasn’t feeling well enough to relish it in person.
McLaren’s death on Thursday—from mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer—means there won’t be any more moments like that. Or, for that matter, any more of his riveting free-associative raids on popular culture. He was a silver-tongued devil, expert at making random connections to create a really big picture, the kind that gets the medieval and the postmodern in the same frame. Even when it made no sense, it was enlightening. Refreshingly perverse—that was Malcolm.
It’s going to be all “Sex Pistols svengali” and “punk impresario” and—God forbid—”Vivienne Westwood’s plus one” for a few weeks, but more than three decades has passed since ’76/’77 and McLaren’s wide-open mind roamed far and wide, teasing, poking, finding gems in dark corners. His ongoing fascination with street culture surely introduced a wider audience to double dutch, hip-hop, sampling, and voguing (a whole year before Madonna). He probably did the same thing for opera with his album Fans. Even the nutty moment when he lived in L.A. (un)developing projects for Columbia (the most mythic, Surf Nazis Must Die, got a big spread in Vanity Fair, which must count as one of McLaren’s minor masterpieces of media manipulation) had a kind of boundary-pushing edge to it. Digitalia, erotica, Japanese girl bands, country music, video art…add them, and so much more, to the list of all the projects that came to fruition—and all those that didn’t—and you’ve got yourself an unsung Renaissance man.
It was much more likely you’d hear him called a charlatan. That was the kind of reaction McLaren seemed to gleefully court. Still, I noticed that he’d been talking about authenticity a lot more. ”Intelligence is definitely creating a new insurgency tactic…Gathering real knowledge has finally become a quest,” he wrote in one e-mail a few years back. ”A new insurgency tactic”? The never-ending promise of provocation suggested there’d be no mellowing for Malcolm.
In an oatmeal-colored pullover, dress slacks, and a tie, Malcolm McLaren—the former manager of the Sex Pistols and partner in crime, business, and love of Vivienne Westwood—looked every bit not the part of the counterinsurgency he helped dress in the seventies. With stores like Let It Rock and Sex, McLaren and Westwood ushered in London’s punk youthquake and made sure there was enough rubber fetish gear for everyone. And while last night’s talk at the New York Public Library between McLaren and Fantom editor Cay Sophie Rabinowitz steered clear of S&M, McLaren managed to slip in a fair share of blue material.
To be fair, Rabinowitz, who served as Art Basel’s artistic director before co-founding Fantom, may have been asking for it. She compared McLaren’s film Shallow to the midtown “lunchboxes” where people would stop by for quick viewings of smut on their lunch breaks. “It was in the back of my mind,” McLaren agreed, “because I was one of the punters that watched those things.” Shallow went on to form the foundation of a larger exhibition in Berlin, Musical Paintings. A pocketbook-sized catalog from the show, copies of which McLaren signed after the talk, strews stills from his film with works he solicited for the show from artists like Damien Hirst and Rodney Graham. “You had to wait an awful long time before you saw a drop of bonking,” McLaren recalled of the films of his youth. “Now it’s non-stop bonking.” Things were more subdued at the after-party at B.east, co-hosted by Fantom contributors Marilyn Minter and Todd Eberle, but we just might have left before someone showed up in bondage pants.
Fashion Group International’s Night of Stars should be bright this year: The organization is honoring French couturier Pierre Cardin (pictured) with its Superstar Award. Cardin’s list of honorifics is plenty long already, but we’re betting he won’t mind tacking on “superstar” as well. [WWD]
And Cardin’s not the only one picking up a new title. Dries Van Noten is adding “juror” to his résumé when he chairs the judging panel at the International Fashion and Photography Festival in Hyères, France, alongside fellow jurors Maria Cornejo and Malcolm McLaren. [WWD]
Sources are reporting that Madonna and Jesus Luz have broken up—and that it’s Jesus who did the breaking. File under: Careers, end to. [Jezebel]
It’s still too early to set the DVR, but Fashion’s Night Out may one day come to a TV screen near you. Talks are apparently under way with network brass at Bravo and CBS. We’re all for it, provided that they rein in a more fashionable host than, say, Jeff Probst. (ALT, we’re looking at you…) [Page Six]
Knockoff Speedy bags are old news. In London a trial date has been set for three people accused of selling counterfeit versions of clothing Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren were selling at their store Sex in the seventies. What’s next? Faux Fortunys? [WWD]
One star sighting that might slip by the Japanese paps at the Bryant Park tents: Oprah’s Dr. Oz Garcia. He’ll be around to hawk his Arizona Rx Energy Fast Shots, a concoction of green tea, vitamins, and minerals. No word on whether he plans to take in a show or two. [WWD]
In other Oprah news, the talk show queen announced Whitney Houston will be the featured guest on the premiere episode of the show’s new season, airing September 14. Bone up on your Houston trivia with our latest Beauty Icon feature. [People]
According to The Wall Street Journal, your wardrobe could play a key role in whether or not you land a new job. The paper advises dressing conservatively. Time to stow the jumpsuits, fashionistas.[WSJ]