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Cooper, Leonie. Joe Corré, Son of Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood, On Why He’s Burning His £5 Million Punk Collection
2016, NME, 18th March 2016
Added by: Quentin Pharr and Clotilde Torregrossa
This week [18th March 2016], Joe Corré, son of punk provocateurs Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood proved that rebellion runs in the family. In response to the ongoing Punk London year of events, gigs, films, talks, exhibits, celebrating 40 years of punk – which Joe claims has been endorsed by the Queen – has announced his plans to burn his £5 million collection of punk memorabilia this November 26, on the 40th anniversary of the release of the Sex Pistols’ ‘Anarchy In The UK’. NME visited Joe at his London HQ to find out more.

Comment (from this Blueprint): This news item is an interview with Joe Corré, son of British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren, former manager of the Sex Pistols. In response to the 2016 events celebrating '40 years of Punk' in London, Corré announced he would burn his collection of punk artefacts, estimated to be worth £5 million (he did end up burning it on a barge on the Thames). In this interview, Corré discusses how the punk aesthetic has been appropriated by the very people and institutions that the punk movement was against - the establishment. For Corré, his collection is only worth £5 million because of the mainstream appropriation that punk has undergone - for him these items are worthless, they barely even have sentimental value. But equally, Corré, a very wealthy man himself (he co-founded the lingerie brand Agent Provocateur and sold it to private equity for £60 million), has come under fire for his decision to burn the items rather than give them to charity. As such, this piece is an interesting case study that illustrates the mechanics of class appropriation of fashion as discussed by Crane. But it can also be discussed in reference to the People's History Museum virtual exhibition from week 6, as perhaps Corré's judgement that these items are not worthy of preservation and display is itself clouded by class privilege.

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