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Monday, November 1, 2010

The fashion police — both online and offline — are mighty agitated over 17-year-old Gossip Girl actress/singer Taylor Momsen’s punk/Goth look.

Photo of Taylor Momsen from Just Jared

WTF! If she’s not your kid, why are you so upset? Personally, I’m not alarmed by a style that first épater‘d la bourgeoisie over three decades ago. I just see it as a great vintage-inspired look. Here are a few of my favorite bad girls/punk style icons from the ’70s — I’m sticking to the women because you already know how much I adore their sex-ay male contemporary, Adam Ant. All of these gals have a Vivienne Westwood/Sex Pistols/Malcolm McLaren connection (those peeps created quite the scene). Like Taylor, most of these gals adopted their outrageous, parent-distressing looks when they were in their teens. Click the photos for more information, video clips and photo sources.

Siouxsie Sioux

Siouxsie came to attention as a member of the Bromley Contingent, a group of teens that followed the Sex Pistols. She first performed at a punk festival organized by Pistols manager McLaren.

19-year-old Siouxsie accompanied the Sex Pistols to the Bill Grundy show in 1976.

Siouxsie in Vivienne Westwood's tits t-shirt.

Siouxsie topless, in fetish-wear and a swastika. Click for my previous post on Nazi symbols and '70s punk.

Topless dancer.

Annabella Lwin of Bow Wow Wow

Annabella was discovered at age 14 by McLaren or one of his employees at the dry cleaner where she worked.

15-year-old Annabella Lwin caused a scandal by posing nude for Bow Wow Wow's 1981 album cover.

Annabella loved to go topless ...

...when she wasn't going bottomless. I've always wanted this t-shirt from the I Want Candy video.

Mohawk beauty.

Baby-faced pirate.


Pamela Rooke changed her name to Jordan at age 14. By 18, she was working at Westwood and McLaren’s boutique, called Sex, and inspiring the Pistols with her safety-pinned t-shirts.

Jordan with Adam Ant.

Jordan outside the store.

Siouxsie with Jordan.

From left: Chrissie Hynde, Westwood, Jordan.


Ari Up

Ari Up formed her band The Slits in 1976 when she was just 14.  Three years later, she and her bandmates posed in loincloths and mud for the cover of their album Cut.

The Slits go topless.

Johnny Rotten (aka John Lydon) became Ari’s stepfather when he married her mother Nora in 1979. Here’s an interview she did about Siouxsie and the punk scene. Tragically, Ari died this October 20 at age 48 from cancer.

Soo Catwoman

Soo is my latest obsession. She was part of the Pistols scene, though not a member of the Bromley Contingent.  She was a mature 21 at the time she shared a flat with Pistols bass player Sid Vicious. She had her signature haircut created at a barber shop under her guidance.

Photo by Ray Stevenson, courtesy Soo's official website.

Sex Pistol Sid Vicious gets close to Soo in 1976. Photo by Ian Dickson, from Soo's website.

Soo in 1978, from her Facebook fan page.

Nowadays, Soo’s son, Shem, and daughter, Dion, have a band called Good Weather Girl. They should invite Taylor’s band, The Pretty Reckless, to play with them. But first, Taylor needs to step up her hair game and get rid of those Hollywood-style extensions. Time for a Mohawk, girl!

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33 Responses to “Let Taylor Momsen Be Bad!”

  1. Lenya Jones says:

    Your fashion rock knowledge is amazing. I always learn something new and fascinating by reading your blog. You rock Ms Wendy B

  2. Cameron says:

    Love my anti-spam word: Time flies when you’re rocking the free world.

    Anyway, Mlle Momsen is actually on the cover of this month’s Revolver, which has an article featuring a lot of women in metal, rock and punk. It’s a yearly feature, but just go to the music section of the newsrack and check it out!

  3. Mary says:

    I am so glad to hear that someone else thinks Taylor M is rocking a look that is perfectly fine and somewhat awesome (sans extensions, what the fuck is it with extensions? Yuck).Great post Wendy, I love those gals.

  4. Denise says:

    What an informative and enriching post! I love Siouxsie and spent probably two hours on youtube rewatching live performances just the other day–what an icon.

  5. sharon rose says:

    Hi there-what a fantastic post, love these looks and the sex photo is just fabulous!! These gals are true icons of their era, original and best xx

  6. It is the extensions – when will this hideous look go away. Love a bit of punk nostalgia xx

  7. Ha! I wrote about poor Taylor on my old blog. I think she\’s awesome – execpt when she opens her mouth to speak (not to sing though, her singing is pretty damn good!)

  8. Christine says:

    Seriously, if the worst thing your kid does is something they wear, how they do their hair and makeup, nothing’s wrong. She’s 17, not 12.

    I draw the line at Nazi symbols though. Anything hate related is not going on my son’s body or clothing. Creativity is one thing; that’s something completely different.

    But I try not to censor; education and explanation starting young is key.

  9. Sally says:

    Hasn’t Taylor Momsen ALWAYS gone for edgy, punky looks? What’s all the flab about?

  10. Vyque says:

    I’m so obsessed with her, aahahah. And really good points, though with her fan base originally being from Gossip Girl I would worry that she’s a bad influence on all those young impressionable minds. But really, so is Gossip Girl.

    Remember when she rocked a mullet? So much edgier

  11. Back in the day I LOVED Siouxsie . And to a lesser degree I was a Bow-Wow-Wow fan. I somehow missed out on Soo.
    I do have to say that my first thought when seeing Timmons was that she was dressed up for halloween. But I don’t care what she wears. She should wear whatever the heck she wants! Right!?

  12. BeckEye says:

    I don’t care what the girl wears, but she just comes off as a complete poseur. The difference between her and Siouxsie Sioux is that Siouxsie didn’t feel the need to tell everyone how “hardcore” she was every 5 minutes. We all just knew.

    I wonder if Taylor even knows who Siouxsie is…or if she’s another Avril Lavigne? My money’s on the latter.

  13. Live in Paris for eight years… and realize that nothing really shocks you anymore. Taylor’s tights are just fab! Oh la la, les Américains…

  14. patni says:

    I knew a few of those girls back in the day, and they could piss of and rabble rouse like taylor momesen couldn’t believe. Most teens try and tick the older generation off. Give her a break. She looks much better than i did when i dressed to offend.

    • WendyB says:

      Ha! Yes, “dressing to offend” is what it is all about for teenagers, right?

      And then there are the would-be starlets who dress to offend on the red carpet…I think it’s equally ridiculous when people get offended about that. It’s like, “They’re yanking your chain … just move on!”

  15. Alice Olive says:

    Ha! Hilarious! Yes, let Taylor be bad.

    I will admit to seeing Fashion Police on E sometime over the weekend and am getting rather sick of old Kellie Osborne telling us who’s hot and who’s not. Does she have any style credentials? She didn’t like Taylor’s style either. The next time I want the opinion of a young and tacky faux celebrity, I must remember to look up Kellie’s latest advice…

  16. I am right there with you. What is all the fuss. Looks vintage to me too. And very mild at that – very pretty. Lady GaGa pushes this much further and more imaginatively.

  17. You do bring up great points! I think she receives so much flack because of her age– there’s this sentiment that she doesn’t really know what she’s doing. But they are her mistakes, if they can be called mistakes.

    Personally, I don’t disagree with the idea behind the style– I just don’t think she does it well. If you’re trying to go against “taste,” then really make it tacky and add in some attitude. If you’re embracing a “goth style,” there’s a way to do it with a slight refinement. Right now, I see her in the middle: She wants to rebel, but only when she fits in first.

  18. Dear Wendy, great post. I’ve known Siouxsie for many years and I love your taste in music. I think Taylor looks perfect for Halloween! It’s very sad about Arianna dying so young xx

  19. jennine says:

    Oh please, on Halloween all shock bets are off.

  20. ryan says:

    I think she’s cute, she’s only 17, she’s still got plenty of time to figure out her personal style. They should leave her alone

  21. loved poring through this post. . you really do whip up the most fab stuff!

  22. Miss Neira says:

    I agree with you.. though I would not always agree with her choices in fashion, let them be! she does channel the punk look so well

    Miss Neira

  23. I love your rock school posts, I always learn something new about my favorite eras.
    I’ve been wondering for a while why the fashion bloggers are all anti-Taylor. I think when she went from Gossip Girl wannabe to “edgier” they all freaked out. Why anyone is annoyed to see hardcore go mainstream these days is beyond me.

  24. Alicia says:

    You consistently amaze me, dear guru.

  25. Jemina says:

    Soo’s hair is da bomb!!!, and seriously I agree with you, why should people critize Taylor Momsen? she looks demure compared to “these ladies”, great post btw :), LOVE it 🙂


  26. Brie says:

    Have you read “England’s Dreaming: Arnarchy, Sex Pistols, Punk Rock, and Beyond” by Jon Savage?


    I highly recommend it because it is by a person who was around back in that time and thye have photos they took and friends took. The reading is good as well because he interviews people like Jordon. Greta read!

  27. Siácidh says:

    Punk is still a hot, hot HOT look, mostly because they core items to the look cannot be purchased, borrowed or manufactured: utter confidence and a badass attitude.

    Thanks for these awesome images. They look as fresh as the first time we laid eyes on them!

  28. I barely recognized Chrissie Hynde’s hiney! I’m glad you included a caption.

    I like it when people do “shocking” things—like dressing “outlandishly.” we need to be forced out of our catatonic state every once in awhile.

  29. ali says:


    taylor momson is the kind of performance oriented human being that develops into a madonna or a gaga or a cher.

    the experimentation is necessary.

    i hate hipsters.

    taylor momson is so honestly what she is. and there is not ironic quality to it. AND ITS REFRESHING.