London Recap Pt. 2: Westwood exhibit

Luckily right before I left for London I was researching whether it’d be worth my time to check out World’s End, Vivienne Westwood’s longtime store that once (under different names) was the central spot for punk fashion.

In looking up the details, I stumbled on a small photography exhibition at Maggs Gallery featuring images of Westwood taken in proto-punk attire in ’75 at her and Malcolm McLaren’s ‘SEX’ boutique (‘World’s End’ since ’79). The shots were taken by William English, a photo student at the time and friend of Westwood’s.

Deciding I only had time for one or the other, I gambled to go with viewing the exhibit instead of going to the store, and was so pleased that I did. The images were inspiring and I think my poor abused credit card will be taking the hit as I must have at least one. (I think I can justify it because amazingly we somehow came in under-budget on this trip—in part to constantly eating crappy takeaway in our efforts to rush around town. To be fair, we did have a good meal at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen trattoria, but seriously we did the prepackaged sandwiches and even McDonald’s once as our pace was virtually a sprint).

We greatly enjoyed our trip to the gallery and unfortunately missed Carl Williams, the counterculture curator who put the show together. I’ve been in touch with him since though. Maggs is actually a rare books dealer, with a buzz-in location and then you go through a pretty courtyard into a back studio to view the gallery exhibits. Everyone was lovely on our spontaneous drop in. Hurry if you’re going to go as it only runs through May 20.

Below are some of the images. They are all credited to William English and thanx to Black Rainbow Extraordinaire Magazine for putting them online. Wallpaper displays them as well in a nice slideshow.

Online there is a lot of great discussion of the history of these pieces. My favorite link on the subject is The Look which shows what the exhibit looks like as well as has some background an an interview with English.

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