LONDON — Outside, it was all polite gentility, as it should be on a sunny evening in posh Mayfair. But downstairs at Paul Smith No. 9 Albemarle Street, it was a different scene as the chaos and anarchy of the punk movement was having a moment.
Paul Smith and the British Fashion Council celebrated the 40th anniversary of punk with an exhibition of work from photographer Derek Ridgers’ new book, “Punk London 1977,” which will run through Monday.
Debbie Harry was among the faces in the moody black and white images lining the walls in the downstairs gallery, as guests including Caroline Rush, Smith, Ridgers and GQ editor and London Collections: Men chairman Dylan Jones milled about to a soundtrack provided by founder of Radical People magazine, Reba Maybury, who played a mixture of music from the era.
The book, published by Carpet Bombing Culture and launching to coincide with the exhibition, is a frank look at the Seventies punk scene and will be available from No. 9 Albemarle Street for the duration of the show for 14.95 pounds (about $21.30 at current exchange).
There is also a limited edition of 150 T-shirts created in collaboration with Smith and Ridgers featuring an image from the book of a young girl with smoky eyes and her short hair styled into devilish horns. The tees retail for 80 pounds (about $114) at Paulsmith.co.uk and Paul Smith No. 9 Albemarle Street.
Smith said that exhibitions were all part of his grand plan for this shop. “Mayfair is world famous for its galleries. When I opened my shop at No.9 Albemarle Street a few years back, it was really important to me that we had space to showcase artists whose work I admired,” he said.
Punk purists might have raised an eyebrow at the Perrier-Jouët Champagne and faceted cocktail glasses but, then again, this was Mayfair, after all.