The ubiquity of the American Apparel-driven skin-tight wet-look “Vegas” pants prompts THE LOOK to feature this exclusive memory-jolt from Anna Chen – writer, broadcaster, performer (as Madam Miaow), all-round Wonder Woman – about the time she ordered of a PVC catsuit with matching thigh-high boots and armpit-length gloves from Sex at 430 Kings Road .
//Moss (with former paramour Pete Doherty) in PVC leggings by Les Chiffoniers at Glastonbury//
Last year Kate Moss sealed the arrival of the 80s leggings when she wore a pair at Glastonbury by Leena Similu of Les Chiffoniers, who also works with Juliette Lewis for stage outfits for her hard-workin’ performances with band The Licks.
//Lewis in her’s PVC Vegas pants with K. Osborne//
But in the mid-70s skintight PVC was brought into fashion from the fetish world by Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood, as Anna recalls:
“I was also one of the kiddies who slunk around Sex lusting after the clobber and clearly remember Vivienne sitting in the shop in pink latex stockings and fluffy mohair jumper. I also remember little Joe Corre in his uniform after a hard day at school – now look at him!
“With earnings from a Saturday job I finally saved up and got Vivienne to measure me up and have her team make the suit. I was still at school; it came to more than £100, including the boots which you could not get anywhere else.
“I used to wear it to go shopping, not just special occasions. When I wore it in St Ives, people thought I was, ahem, eccentric – until punk exploded all over the nation and they realised something was happening up in The Big Smoke.
“What was great about Vivienne was that she took pride in her creations. She’d step back and admire. She was so much more than just a shopkeeper even then. Kind but also scary, if you know what I mean.
//Westwood in rare shot from photo-session in Sex, wearing her “condom catsuit” – in flesh-colored rubber, not PVC//
“She said she wanted to enter me in the Alternative Miss World but I declined due to impending exams. What a plonkerette!”
Anna still has the suit, though apparently it’s in a state of semi-disintegration. Her friend, the late photographer Bob Carlos Clarke, shot her in it for an album cover, Vicious But Fair by long forgotten 70s band Streetwalkers.
//Anna in her Sex creation photographed by BCC//
“That pic was our joke,” says Anna. “Bob said it was a portrait of me outside my council flats being screamed at by my mother!”
We like Juliette & The Licks
Bob Carlos Clarke died in 2006 – a tribute exhibition was organised by Marco Pierre White.