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Lou Reed

Hello Ben, With Lou Reed passing last week I thought of something possibly interesting for your blog. There are a few photos of Lou Reed, photographed by Mick Rock around 73 or 74, wearing some great pieces of LET IT ROCK clothing.

I’m not sure if Reed used to come to London back then, or if he possibly met Vivienne and Malcolm through the New York Dolls when they exhibited LET IT ROCK clothing at the National Boutique Show which was held at the McAlpin Hotel (opposite Macy’s) in New York in the early 1970s. Anyway, what I personally love, is that some of the photos of Lou Reed were then used by another photographer called Bobby Grossman who had been commissioned by Kellogg’s to promote their products to the German market by showing the newly emerging New York punk-scene crowd (including David Byrne of Talking Heads, Debbie Harry & David Johansen of the New York Dolls) eating the cereal. And we end up with Andy Warhol holding a packet of Kellogg’s with Lou Reed on the box cover wearing Vivienne and Malcolm’s LET IT ROCK top. I presume it’s the one and only time Vivienne Westwood has ended up on a packet of breakfast cereal?! 😉

Lou Reed & Andy Warhol

FYI: the top is made of a fibre which is sometimes called Eskimo Wool – it’s like a wool for insulating and keeping in heat which you put between the layers of other fabrics. I suspect Vivienne liked the fact that it easily rips and you end up with distressed holes all over it. The collar (and sleeves) is made of leatherette and has tiny round domed silver studs around it. Over time the leatherette also peels away and reveals the cloth underneath.

I’ve attached some photos for you to illustrate the story if you want to run with it.



Thank you to Simon who sent in this e-mail.

P.S. The top that Lou Reed is wearing has a ‘Let it Rock’ label in it but by this time (1972/74) the Kings Road shop was called ‘Too fast to Live, Too Young to Die’ & had a new look experimenting with the leather biker/ Hells Angel look. Even though the shop had changed the label stayed the same until later in 1974 when the shop changed again & went the whole hog into PVC & fetish latex wear for which a new label was created ‘SEX’….