- Sara Antonacci
It is impossible to tell which one is influencing the other more. Over the years, history has shown us that the union between music and fashion is strong, indivisible and powerful. A happy and enduring marriage, we could say. Since the first men decided to cover up their private bits with animal fur, to modern days where, in order to have a more environmentally conscious approach, fake fur was invented, fashion and music have been there to define the different stages of human evolution.
“Fashion and music are the same, because music express its period too.” Karl Lagerfeld.
Singers and artists have always been the first to launch new trends. They dress to stand out on stage, to send political messages to the masses, to be different and recognizable, to identify with a larger sub-cultural group and sometimes just to make a fashion statement. Let’s just think about the greatest period for both music and fashion, the years between the 60s and the 80s. ‘Revolution’ and ‘change’ were at the core of everything happening in those years. The most influential fashion trends and the best music of all times were created, and the most iconic bands were born… somehow they are still present in our modern times. People identified and distanced themselves from the others with clothes, music, beliefs and attitude. And we still do it.
Through the 1970s there was another sub-cultural movement crawling out of a darker, more aggressive corner of society. We’re talking about punk.
“I was a punk before it got its name. I had that hairstyle and purple lipstick.” – Vivienne Westwood
Designer, artist, anarchist, anti-conformist, the mother of punk, Vivienne Westwood is the cool grandma people like me wish they had while growing up. Probably the last real punk left on our planet, she is also one of the minds behind the success of the Sex Pistols, a band that lasted shortly, but that in a few years became the most influential symbolic representation of what “being punk” really means.
Tartan and kilts, leather jackets, studs and safety pins, T-shirts with powerful slogans, a mix of diverse fabrics, theatrical make-up, Union Jack everywhere and militarism. This is not just a list of the elements of Westwood’s collections, but what every punk would have worn at that time. A style that represents the screams of an angry generation, political and opinionated, that walked the streets of London on the notes of fast-paced songs, with typically screamed out-of-tune lyrics, characterized by angry guitar riffs, edgy bass lines and raging drums sequences.
With items from her collections constantly worn by personalities from the music industry such as Debby Harry (Blondie), Madonna, Paloma Faith, Pharrell Williams, Rita Ora, Rihanna, Ellie Goulding, Katy Perry and many more, the grand dame of punk, Westwood, is the most emblematic reincarnation of the bond between fashion and music. Long live the ‘queen’ of punk.