Savages 1981 Video

33 years ago now on Thursday 22nd October 1981 at the Pillar Hall in Olympia, London, Vivienne & Malcolm conducted their second ever fashion show, known afterwards as the ‘Savages’ collection.
Just last week I received a video of the show. Neither I, nor anyone else here at the office had known of the existence of such a video (personal video cameras were new technology at the time. Sony had just released the Betacam system in 1981 with its single camera-recorder unit).
The video comes courtesy of Simon at  & definitely goes to show how good he is at sourcing & archiving early Westwood/McLaren memorabilia (Punkature & Buffalo will be posted soon).
Maybe he can help with something else? I was trying to find a copy of the fashion show invite & all I could get was a black & white copy that Murray had of it.
This invite features an infamous photograph of the band Malcolm was managing at the time, Bow Wow Wow.
Bow Wow Wow’s existence coincided with the first ‘Pirate’ collection & the second ‘Savages’ collection & they were always heavily styled in these clothes. However in the photograph used for the invite & the reason for its infamy Annabella, the lead singer is nude.
Not shot for the invite but as the cover for the single ‘See Jungle! See Jungle Go Join Your Gang, Yeah. City All Over! Go Ape Crazy’ in 1981, the photograph was a recreation of the Impressionist French artist Manet’s (also controversial) painting ‘Le dejeuner sur l’herbe’ painted in 1863.
Annabella’s mother had put a stop on the photograph’s use alleging ‘exploitation of a minor for immoral purposes’, & had instigated a Scotland Yard investigation as Annabella was only 15 at the time of the photo’s taking. It was only in 1982 that the photograph was cleared & it was then used as the cover photograph of Bow Wow Wow’s album ‘The Last of the Mohicans’ released in May 1982 …..& for the invite.
(I remember that Malcolm had told me that Annabella’s mother was a real pest. The minute her daughter had a chance of fame she wanted some as well. This had happened with Sid Vicious’s mother too. Anyway, one day when Bow Wow Wow were off on a tour of England Annabella’s mum had invited herself along in the tour bus & was sitting in it. Horrified at the prospect of spending all this time with her & with her interfering, Malcolm & the band suddenly ‘remembered’ something they had forgotten & asked the mum if she could go & get it. She did & while she was gone they quickly drove off leaving her behind).

worlds end picnic invite Vivienne Westwood
Bowwowwow last of the mohicans westwood mclaren


Édouard Manet Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe 1863


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11 thoughts on “Savages 1981 Video

  1. I like time traveling on/wid ur site! Abeseloutely great! Luv de alternative image on the invite… was (guess still is) one of my fav record cover… BigUp 2 Ben & Simon!

  2. How amazing to see all that again … Today it is so hard to understand what an explosion of ideas VW was putting out in each of her collections then … Into a world of really REALLY vacuous bland design … There were a few people that came along soon after … But the fact is all the Galianos and Macqueens ( I’m sorry I’m not interested enough to look up the spelling ) were purely rehashing ideas that she had already introduced years before … And they would base a whole season on 1 or 2 ideas that may have popped up in 1 or 2 garments in a show of hers … She was just hurling ideas out endlessly in those early years … Why have we got no one with that imagination and energy now ? … And why on earth do most of them want to dress like that daft kid that none of us wanted to speak to in school !!!

  3. I really love this Worlds End website. Really takes me back. Ben, is there no way the original Pirates Collection 1981 vide o can be put on this site. Nowhere online is there a copy of this collection and it would be great to see this especially here. It would also be great to the the full Harris Tweed 1987 collection as well.
    Keep up the great work

  4. More great work here Ben. Thanks for another insight, such exciting times! Pirates next please!!! Thankyou x

  5. Thanks Ben for sharing this. It is amazing to see this after such a long time being hidden and thanks to Simon for finding it.

    There is footage of the Pirate show somewhere… there is a very small snippet in this interview with Caryn Franklin, former Fashion Editor and Co-Editor of i-D Magazine, on my Pirate tumble page. It was snipped from a longer programme on New Romantics – can’t quite remember which one but its on Youtube
    Hope this sends you into the right direction to see if you can find it all.

  6. AHH!!! I am so so happy to see this footage. I love watching fashion shows from this time, they are so joyful and it really shows how the clothes move… and i spot Marilyn AKA Peter Robinson at 5:30 !

  7. Hi Ben, thank you for this – I noticed that Vivienn has been interested in great art like Picasso’s guernica and Mattise’s blue nudes too. The models looked so lively and happy!

  8. Hi Ben,
    I have the invite for the Savage show ( it was b&w)
    I was in the first show the Pirates; do u have a copy of that show or off the bbc?
    I have the program & 2 banners from the Pirate show ..