Vivienne Westwood (British, born 1941); Malcolm McLaren (British, born 1941)
Black cotton with metal fittings
Purchase, Irene Lewisohn Bequest, 2003 (2004.15a,b)
"Bondage" pants, late 1970s
Vivienne Westwood (British, born 1941); Malcolm McLaren (British, born 1946)
Black cotton sateen with two-piece matching black wool over-kilt
Purchase, Richard Martin Bequest, 2003 (2003.479a–c)
The "Bondage" suit epitomized the maverick creative collaboration between Westwood and McLaren. McLaren brought some standard-issue cotton army trousers back from a trip to the United States, which Vivienne then copied in a shiny black sateen McLaren had seen on the back of British rail clerks' waistcoats and sourced in Manchester. McLaren added the bondage straps between the knees, which were an extension of the sado-masochistic look they promoted at the time for its shock value. Pushing this traumatic aesthetic to its obvious conclusion creates the feel of a straightjacket and plays with all of the implications of the insane. Ultimately, they had created one of the most iconic garments of punk style, one that is still in production to this day.