Appeared In
Special Issue
WWD 100 issue 11/01/2010

“Punk? It’s only rock ’n’ roll, but you wear it.” That’s the way WWD captured the new fashion phenomenon in December 1977, referring to young rebels’ newfound love for holes, stains, tears, razor blades—and five safety pins through one ear—along with an accompanying attitude that was decidedly antiestablishment. From London’s King’s Road to New York’s Queens Boulevard, girls wore black clothes and purple makeup, while guys spiked their hair into Mohawks. Both shopped at stores like Sex on the Kings Road for the Seditionaries label, which put Vivienne Westwood on the map as punk’s inveterate designer, and, in New York, hung out on the Bowery at CBGB’s, which WWD dubbed the “punk set’s Regine’s.” It wasn’t long before designers Zandra Rhodes and Stephen Sprouse picked up punk for their collections with jersey colored dresses featuring holes, tears, bathtub plug chains, stud-like sequins and beaded safety pins. The look lasted through the decades and every now and then made its way into high fashion, most notably in 1984, when Gianni Versace took punk’s penchant for safety pins and created the va-va-voom dress that made Elizabeth Hurley into an overnight star.

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