When he was six, Mc Laren's mother married Martin Levi, a rag trade entrepreneur; together they operated women's-wear business Eve Edwards with a factory in London's East End.Mc Laren left home in his teens, and, after trying out a series of jobs (including one as a wine taster), he attended several art colleges, including Goldsmiths, Central Saint Martins, He left education in 1971.Brought up unconventionally by his grandmother after his father Peter Mc Laren left the family home, Mc Laren attended a number of British art colleges and adopted the stance of the social rebel in the style of French revolutionaries the Situationists.
After a spell advising the New York Dolls in the US, Mc Laren managed the Sex Pistols, for which he recruited the nihilistic frontman Johnny Rotten.The issue of a controversial record, "God Save the Queen", satirising the Queen's Jubilee in 1977 was typical of Mc Laren's shock tactics, and he gained publicity by being arrested after a promotional boat trip outside the Houses of Parliament.During his time managing the band Mc Laren was accused by band members (most notably by John Lydon) of mismanaging them and refusing to pay them when they asked him for money.Mc Laren stated that he had planned out the entire path of the Sex Pistols, and in the film The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle he set this plan out.In January 1975, Mc Laren and Westwood designed red patent leather costumes for the New York Dolls and used a Soviet-style hammer and sickle motif for their stage show as a provocative means of promoting them.
This ploy was not successful and the Dolls soon broke up. In mid-1975, Mc Laren advised SEX customers Paul Cook and Steve Jones on their musical aspirations, introducing them to his shop assistant, bassist Glen Matlock and persuading them to eject guitarist/singer Wally Nightingale from rehearsals.
Mc Laren and Westwood gathered custom from Teddy Boys and also designed clothing for theatrical and cinematic productions such as That'll Be The Day.
In 1973, new designs in leather with studding inaugurated a new manifestation at the site with the name Too Fast To Live Too Young To Die; among commissions were costumes for Ken Russell's film Mahler.
In August 1973, Mc Laren and Westwood visited New York to participate in the National Boutique Fair, where they met the New York Dolls and began to supply the group with stage wear.
In October 1974, the store was renamed SEX to reflect a growing preoccupation with fetishwear and provocation.
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