Malcolm McLaren was a master of manipulation, and I mean that as a compliment. From Vivienne Westwood, to the Sex Pistols, to Bow Wow Wow, to Duck Rock, Malcolm McLaren’s career was built upon his ability to fabricate “cool” in any capacity. In his early years, this meant working hand in hand with designer (and then girlfriend) Vivienne Westwood to define what post-hippie style would look like. From there, McLaren played a pivotal role in the punk movement by forming the Sex Pistols and developing their signature dress. After crafting the gritty punk look, McLaren moved onto a more graphic-heavy aesthetic throughout the disco era and beyond. Music clearly played a significant role in McLaren’s career, but like all men behind the scenes, he was far more refined than the frontmen he managed. In his plaid suits and exaggerated chapeaus, McLaren embodied the best of Britain’s diverse stylistic landscape. At times he embraced the traditions of Savile Row, favoring rakish silhouettes, natty ties, and tightly knit scarves, while in other years he followed a more gonzo route with heavily embellished jackets, oversized overcoats, and beat up leather jackets. McLaren was the rare contemporary gentleman that successfully did justice to both sides of that descriptor, and his legacy will endure as much, if not stronger, than the acts he brought to life.
A McLaren inspired outfit:
The Hill-Side Linen Indigo Discharge Leaf Print Scarf
Dyer & Jenkins Lot No. 003 Jenkins Jeans
Industry of All Nations Kenyatas Sneakers
Ration Clothing Pikes Peak Plaid Heavy Twill Shirt
Isaora Mac Coat
Jake Gallagher is a New York City based writer with a penchant for backstories and the more pedantic side of men’s style. He has written for A Continuous Lean, GQ, and Esquire, and when he’s not spouting about some obscure Japanese brand, he can be found eating green grapes, or drinking an East Coast IPA. Follow him on Twitter here and Instagram here.