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The industry went crazy when the news broke that Virgil Abloh would assume the role of creative director at Louis Vuitton. Often hailed as the "Karl Lagerfeld of his generation," Abloh's appointment marked a shift in the world of fashion. He didn't just step into the role; he redefined it, infusing it with hip-hop, skateboard culture, and community. Anticipation soared within the industry for his debut collection at Louis Vuitton, which many believed paid homage to 'The Wizard of Oz,' a film that mirrored Abloh’s boundary-breaking journey.

However, the genesis of Abloh's inspiration traces back to an obscure corner of the early internet: the urban legend known as 'The Dark Side of the Rainbow.'

This phenomenon, which became viral in the digital underground of Usenet groups in the '90s, involved synchronising Pink Floyd's album 'Dark Side of the Moon' with the classic film 'The Wizard of Oz.' The result? A fascinating synchronicity of music and film, sparking fascination among generations of pot smokers, particularly those of the Gen X era.

In 1994, a curious college freshman named Charlie Savage stumbled upon this digital marvel and decided to put the legend to the test. To his astonishment, the elements aligned harmoniously. Charlie, then an intern at the Journal Gazette, wrote an article for a column tailored to Gen X readers. Little did he know, his words would spark a wildfire of fascination, leading him to immortalize the phenomenon through a website that quickly garnered viral status. By 1997, 'The Dark Side of the Rainbow' made its grand debut on the screens of MTV.

Fast forward to 2019, when Virgil Abloh emerged as a disruptor in the world of fashion, breaking barriers as one of the few Black designers to helm a major luxury brand. While the industry believed his debut collection at Louis Vuitton drew inspiration solely from 'The Wizard of Oz,' Abloh's influence ran deeper.

As models walked down a rainbow-colored runway, accompanied by a live performance of Pink Floyd's 'Breathe,' Virgil Abloh's homage to 'The Dark Side of the Rainbow' became unmistakable.

From the prism-like leather handbags echoing the album's artwork to the dark silhouettes of 'The Wizard of Oz,' each detail echoed Abloh's deep immersion in the cosmic fusion of music, film, and early internet culture.

Even this hoodie is an unmistakable reference to the album cover.

This revelation crystallized further in 2020 when Abloh, in a tweet, offered a rare peek into his creative process at Louis Vuitton. Against the backdrop of 'The Wizard of Oz,' the haunting melodies of Pink Floyd emphasized Abloh's profound connection to the phenomenon that captivated his generation.

In essence, Abloh's journey transcends mere fashion; it encapsulates a profound dialogue between art, technology, and culture. By bridging the realms of internet culture and high fashion, Abloh not only pays homage to his inspirations but also shows the enduring influence of the digital age on creative expression. In Virgil Abloh's universe, the echoes of 'The Dark Side of the Rainbow' reverberate, reminding us of the boundless possibilities that await those willing to explore the intersections of culture and imagination.

Punk fashion, an iconic movement that epitomizes rebellion and individuality, holds a complex history that extends beyond a single creator. While Vivienne Westwood is often credited with popularizing punk, it is crucial to acknowledge the diverse influences and contributions that shaped its origins. Let's unravels the intertwined journey of Malcolm McLaren, Vivienne Westwood, and the American punk scene, shedding light on their collective impact on London’s fashion landscape in the late 1970s.

It all began in the early 1970s, when punk music was pulsating through the veins of New York. Manhattan’s CBGB became the epicenter of this rebellious sound, nurturing bands like Television and The Ramones, although punk started way before these bands. The Velvet Underground, The New York Dolls, and The Stooges were the prototypes of punk, laying the foundation for what was to come.

In 1973, Malcolm and Vivienne embarked on a journey to New York City. Their mission? To promote their clothing brand, “Let it Rock.” Little did they know that this trip would become a turning point in their lives. As they immersed themselves in the vibrant punk scene, their perspectives on fashion shifted dramatically. Setting up a stall in the MacAlpin Hotel, their display showcased T-shirts, Teddy Boy apparel, and rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia. It was here that they encountered the influential New York Dolls, who would become their guides through this thrilling new world. They formed friendships, were interviewed by Andy Warhol’s Interview Magazine, and joined in the wild festivities at Max’s Kansas City and CBGB.

During their time in New York, Malcolm and Vivienne encountered a figure who would play a crucial role in shaping punk fashion: Richard Hell. Richard’s distinct style, with his disheveled hair, torn T-shirts, and leather garments, resonated deeply with McLaren and Westwood. It was a fusion of worn-out aesthetics, mod influences, and a touch of danger. Richard Hell embodied the essence of punk fashion.

As the couple returned to London, they carried with them a newfound inspiration. According to Paul Gorman, McLaren came across Jizz Inc’s original Tits tee in a New Orleans novelty shop in the spring of 1975. It was a graphic that perfectly captured the bleak and alienated nature of punk. Together with their friend Jamie Reid, they created the infamous “God Save the Queen” T-shirt, a rebellious statement based on the official Cecil Beaton Jubilee portrait. Meanwhile, Vivienne’s creative genius took flight as she designed trousers unlike anything the world had seen before. Drawing inspiration from bondage-wear straitjackets, she added knee straps and zips that dared to challenge societal norms. These revolutionary trousers, known as “bondage kecks,” became a powerful symbol of liberation, both for the body and the spirit.

Punk fashion was not merely about clothing; it was a subversion of the fashion industry itself. McLaren and Westwood embraced elements of violence, with razor blades as jewelry and chains as adornments. They deliberately distressed fabrics, giving birth to what McLaren called “damage- driven clothes” and Vivienne referred to as “clothes for modern heroes.” This was a fashion revolution built on the streets, in a boutique where the boundaries of style were shattered daily.

While it is true that Vivienne Westwood did not single-handedly invent punk fashion, her pivotal role in bringing the movement from America to the streets of London cannot be overlooked. The inspiration she garnered during her travels and the subsequent transformation of her designs became the catalyst that introduced punk to the UK. With 430 King’s Road as its epicenter, a haven for punks was born, where individuals found solace, expression, and a sense of belonging. Vivienne Westwood’s contributions, alongside the collective creativity and collaboration of the punk movement, forever shaped the course of fashion history, leaving an indelible mark on the world of style and rebellion.

Fendi Spring Summer 1994

In a bold move that left the fashion world shocked, Karl Lagerfeld decided to forgo the traditional runway show for Fendi Spring/Summer 1994 collection. Instead, he opted for a mannequin display at the Barozzi Palace, leaving the audience stunned.

As the crowd filed in, they were met with a row of pale knitted garments lined up on mannequins, resembling a shop window. Opposite, black-and-white suits and dresses commanded attention, while a separate room housed pastel suedes and prints.

Lagerfeld, unfortunately absent due to plane trouble, believed the simplicity of his designs could be better appreciated through this unique presentation.

However, the real shock came in the form of the swimsuit display. In another room, Italian porn star Moana Pozzi and her entourage performed in black-and-white swimsuits and red-and-white striped ones.

This unconventional choice raised eyebrows, and it is even rumored Anna Wintour abruptly left the presentation.

However, Lagerfeld had a simple explanation. According to Kevin Doyle, Lagerfeld used Pozzi since the Fendi sisters wanted something different and they had a problem with the unions and couldn't use the big girls. Lagerfeld added, "I'm very much against shows without the great girls because they have the image and the faces of the time."

While the collection received considerable press at the time, finding images of it now can prove difficult. Lucky us, we were able to find rare footage from this collection.

Lagerfeld's bold move left a lasting impression on the fashion world and will undoubtedly continue to inspire designers for years to come.

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