I wanted to take a moment to pay respects to Malcolm McLaren. I was deeply sad to hear of his death last month and wanted to express how much he meant to me and the incredible influence he had on the art world.
He was one of the true artistic visionaries of our time. He encompassed music, fashion and art. A few quick points: He was the first person to bring Hip Hop to mainstream America with his song “Buffalo Gals” in 1983, he was a pioneer in the Punk Rock Movement and managed The Sex Pistols and Bow Wow Wow, he worked religiously with Vivienne Westwood who was also his girlfriend at one time.
A pioneer in straddling the artistic excitement of punk rock and managing it as a business, he took The Sex Pistols to relative mainstream and became the Godfather of punk music. In addition, he saw the excitement of Hip Hop and was smart enough and individual enough to encapsulate it in his own way. It was striking how he adapted music. He didn’t copy or imitate, he put his take on it.
The first time I saw the Buffalo Gals video I was 13 at The Ritz (the club, not the hotel, now known as Webster Hall) with model Ariane Koizumi. That video was so shocking at the time. He took it to a place that was out of a dream, the way he conceptualized it- the girls are wearing peasant dresses and the guys are dressed relatively normal and Hip Hop-esque. Malcolm understood fashion and pushed boundaries, he gave you the unexpected. It wasn’t formulated at all. Watch the video and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
I’m thrilled he was alive because for people in the music and fashion world he stood as an independent thinker. Below are two other videos- Madame Butterfly and Double Dutch.