Richard Hell epitomizes Virgin Blak’s ‘Street Luxe/ High Fash Trash’ ethos in the title of his autobiography
Both the Huffington Post and Cosmopolitan Magazine have made audacious claims that Courtney Love is where punk style began. Pullease! At Virgin Blak we must disagree. Take a look at Exene Cervenka, Patti Smith, Lydia Lunch, Polly Styrene – and a lot of other sadly anonymous punks from the 70s – all of whom predate Courtney by at least a decade and a half. Love bases a lot of her grunge style on Exene-the original punk rock ragdoll. Not to mention Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McClaren who invented/adapted various now classic tropes of punk style, especially British, and Malcolm McClaren ripped off Richard Hell of the NY Band the Voidoids. At Virgin Blak we’d go so far as to say, Hell singlehandedly created the ripped and safety pinned look.
So we have chosen are own three original fashion icons inspiring our looks this season:
Richard Hell (born Richard Lester Meyers) is a singer, songwriter, bass guitarist, and writer. Richard Hell was an innovator of punk music and fashion. He was one of the first to spike his hair and wear torn, cut and drawn-on shirts, often held together with safety pins. Malcolm McLaren, manager of the Sex Pistols, has credited Hell as a source of inspiration for the Sex Pistols’ look and attitude, as well as the safety-pin and graphics accessorized clothing that McLaren sold in his London shop, Sex.
Patti Smith cemented herself as the “Godmother of Punk” with her 1975 album “Horses,” but she’d become a fixture in the New York City art and music scene far before then, living at the Chelsea Hotel with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe and hanging out regularly at Max’s Kansas City and CBGB. She and Mapplethorpe often shared clothes, and she cultivated an androgynous, menswear-inspired look, opting for collared shirts, loose neckties, and blazers worn with pants and boots. Her distaste for anything feminine or traditionally “pretty” bred its own sense of cool.
Even from the days of his early-’80s goth band The Birthday Party when his trademark ‘psycho-mullet’ first appeared Cave’s long been considered one of the best dressed men in rock ‘n’ roll. And while his songs more frequently than not center around sordid, desperate characters, he’s rarely been spotted looking anything less than perfectly put-together, even when his own lifestyle veered towards the intensely dissolute. His trademark blend of high-end tailoring and gutter-level sleaze has inspired countless scuzzy rockers to put on a suit and comb their hair. A white shirt with a dark suit is about as elemental as men’s fashion gets, and about half the time you see Cave, that’s what he’s wearing. He doesn’t mess with the formula either. You’ll never see him wearing a deconstructed take on the suit, or a suit matched with a graphic tee. It’s just a nicely made suit, paired up with a nicely made shirt — and it looks good every time he wears it.
Skinny Puppy is a Canadian electronic music group, formed in Vancouver, British Columbia,Canada in 1982. The group is widely considered to be one of the founders of the electro-industrial genre. Not only are they the founders of of that particular genre but at Virgin Blak we consider them to be the founders of industrial, cybergoth and futurepop fashion stylings. We’re talking about a band emerging straight out of the still somewhat hippie-esque 70s and taking the gothic stylings of The Cure and Siouxie Sioux to ten shades shadier and more extreme yet getting no credit for it. We also admire their gang mentality in fashion camaraderie where the group dressed in similar guise to reinforce their all for one and one for all ethos.
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