Sometime in the summer of 1975, a young lad sporting a shock of green hair and a home-made T-shirt that said “I hate Pink Floyd” walked into a Chelsea boutique. He didn’t know it then, but that moment would change the history of music, pop culture and fashion. Because the young lad’s name was John Lydon, and the shop he had just entered was SEX, the kinky, transgressive fetish boutique run by raconteurs and art-savants Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood.
Alongside Glen Matlock, Steve Jones and Paul Cook, the trio would create the phenomenon that were the Sex Pistols and kickstart the punk revolution. It’s hard to overestimate the influence of punk rock on contemporary culture – you can credit (or blame) it for everything from Nirvana to Etsy, from Avril Lavigne’s “Sk8er Boi” to Rihanna’s faux hawk. And it all begun in that tiny 450sqft shop that McLaren once called “a cross between a school gym and a padded cell.”
If that’s not enough for you to make the trek over to 430 King’s Road, just remember that since the Eighties, Westwood has used the shop – now called World’s End – as a testing ground for her most outre, forward-thinking fashion. From punk to the “New Romantics”, from bondage outfits to “Climate Revolution” T-shirts, this little Victorian building is as important to modern culture as any museum or gallery.