Style & Beauty

Malcolm McLaren, Godfather Of Punk Rock And Its Fashion, Dies At 64

Former manager of the Sex Pistols and the New York Dolls Malcolm McLaren died in Switzerland on Thursday at the age of 64, after struggling with cancer.

According to the L.A. Times:

McLaren's ears were attuned to the discontented undercurrents, both in popular music and in British society, that gave rise to punk. During the summer of 1977, Queen Elizabeth II's 25th-anniversary Jubilee year, McLaren procured a boat and had the Sex Pistols cruise the Thames River blasting out "God Save the Queen," their caustic riposte to England's national anthem of the same title. The stunt got McLaren arrested but helped fuel the band's growing fame, or infamy.

McLaren and his then-girlfriend and business partner designer Vivienne Westwood are credited with creating punk fashion, clothing the Sex Pistols in spikes, studs and leather. The look was then marketed to other rockers and anarchists at McLaren and Westwood's London boutique.

In 2007, McLaren explained to Vice Magazine that people loved the punk look because "it was a new look and it was outlaw." He said:

One of our main items were the erotic t-shirts. I used to bring them back from Christopher Street in New York....Some of the kids, by the time they'd walk down the length of Kings Road to Sloane Square, would be arrested. We were raided twice by the police and went to court, but I didn't give a damn. Everything got confiscated but we replaced it and all the kids thought, "This is the coolest place on earth."

McLaren is survived by his girlfriend Young Kim and his and Westwood's son Joseph Corre. His body will be flown back to England and buried in Highgate Cemetery in London.