Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren’s fetish boutique
by KOD Staff
In the seventies, a 4ft rubber sign screamed ‘SEX’ into the streets of West London. The pink letters marked 430 Kings Road; the site of Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren’s punk London boutique. The shop was a dressing room for true revolutionaries; 'You couldn't imagine the Punk Rock thing without the clothing', Westwood said.
The store’s walls were scrawled with graffiti from the SCUM Manifesto – the radical feminist writings of Valerie Solanas. Sales assistants included The Sex Pistols’ Sid Vicious and Chrissie Hyde, however it was employee Jordan who became the face of the store. In her rubber clothes and theatrical make-up, British rail put her in first class during her daily commute – they said, for her own protection.
Before becoming SEX in 1974, the shop was called ‘Let it Rock’ and then ‘Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die’. Rising to the era’s sexual taboos, SEX sold T shirts designed with the Cambridge Racist, bare breasts and pornographic text. Known for its fetish and bondage, the store also sold pieces designed by McLaren and Westwood. Its clientèle was eccentric and eclectic, ranging from prostitutes to the Chelsea elite.
In ’76 McLaren renamed the store ‘Seditionaries - Clothes for Heroes’, decorating the space with holes in the ceiling and a live rat. By 1980, Westwood had become disenchanted with punk as it was absorbed by the mainstream. The building was rebranded as The World’s End and today, it remains part of Westwood’s fashion empire.