Safety pins in fashion date back to Vivienne Westwood’s 1974 “Sex” shop, created with then boyfriend and Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren. The two were key players in the punk movement pervading UK culture at the time, though American musician Richard Hell is famously attributed for introducing the safety pin as a DIY symbol of anarchy. McLaren and Westwood then adopted and popularized the look with their iconic “God Save the Queen” tees, featuring a pin pierced through Elizabeth’s royal nose.
For Alexander McQueen’s fall 2016 presentation in London this week, Creative Director Sarah Burton revived the rebellious accessory with an array of oversized cheek piercings to juxtapose her lineup of tailored looks. Burton’s safety pins modified the punk standard, adding whimsical bird’s feet, spiders, teeth and a filigree chain that connected to models’ ears. The polarizing effort aligned with McQueen’s trademark subversive undercurrent, countering this season’s jet black, boxy top coats and time-honored sartorial suits. Watch the presentation, below: