Designer: Vivienne Westwood (British, born 1941)

Designer: Malcolm McLaren (British, London 1946–2010 Switzerland)

Retailer: Seditionaries (British, 1976–1980)

Date: 1976–80

Culture: British

Medium: cotton, metal

Credit Line: Purchase, Irene Lewisohn Bequest, 2004

Accession Number: 2004.15a–c


The "Bondage" suit epitomized the maverick creative collaboration between Westwood and McLaren. McLaren brought some standard-issue cotton army trousers back from a trip to the United States, which Vivienne then copied in a shiny black sateen McLaren had seen on the back of British rail clerks' waistcoats and sourced in Manchester. McLaren added the bondage straps between the knees, which were an extension of the sado-masochistic look they promoted at the time for its shock value. Pushing this traumatic aesthetic to its obvious conclusion creates the feel of a straightjacket and plays with all of the implications of the insane. Ultimately, they had created one of the most iconic garments of punk style, one that is still in production to this day.