REVISITING PUNK: John Varvatos is teaming with art publisher Phaidon and Artspace.com, an online marketplace for contemporary art, to mark the publication of “Oh So Pretty: Punk in Print.”
The book, by British designer and punk historian Toby Mott, aims to portray the “uncompromising nature” of punk by looking back at a collection of rarely seen fanzines, flyers, original artwork or gig posters by bands such as The Clash, the Ramones and The Jam.
Varvatos, who is known for blending elements from music and subculture into his designs, will help mark the launch with an exhibition at his Conduit Street store in London that will coincide with the Frieze Art Fair in the British capital.
“The John Varvatos brand is firmly rooted in rock ‘n’ roll and the punk subculture really shaped my own love of music and creative direction,” said the designer. “I’m so happy to help launch this book that speaks to a time in music history that really inspired me. The book not only chronicles the movement from a visual standpoint, but allows the reader to immerse themselves into this incredible period in music history.”
The exhibition, which will run from Oct. 5 to 17, will feature an installation with exclusive images from the book, including a photograph of Queen Elizabeth covered in punk artist Jamie Reid’s typography, extracts from fanzines such as Sniffin’ Glue by Mark Perry and Ripped & Torn by Tony Drayton from the late Seventies, as well as Reid’s images for the Sex Pistols.
“The Mott collection illustrates the energy, boredom, dynamism and diverse social and class issues that were all part of punk. I’m happy working with both John Varvatos and Phaidon, where we all share and recognize the creative spirit and vitality of punk,” Mott said of the images and artwork he selected from his personal collection for the exhibit and his book.
Varvatos will also offer an edit of punk-inspired clothing and accessories from his current collection to accompany the exhibition in store, while 100 copies of the new book, signed by Mott, will also be available for purchase in the boutique ahead of its official publication date on Oct. 10.
Earlier this month, the designer celebrated another moment in music and fashion, which has had an ongoing creative influence: David Bowie’s glam rock era. He hosted a conversation with friend and collaborator Mick Rock in his London store to mark the launch of Rock’s new book “The Rise of David Bowie: 1972-73.”
“For me, the fashion part of the music when I was growing up was probably almost as important as the music, because when you added that whole other element of style to the show it takes it to another level, it connects people with the artist in an even stronger way,” added Varvatos.