Guest post by Larry Baumhor
The owner of the first punk rock boutique in New York, Mariann Marlowe is packing her bags and ending decades of selling and designing clothes in NY city. Her current store Enz’s boutique in the East Village is closing after 14 years. Mariann knows the history of punk and the changing scenes of New York and London.
Mariann Marlowe: “My original store, Ian’s, opened in 1972 at 49 Grove Street in Greenwich Village. My rent was $100.00. I brought back mostly Vivienne Westwood stuff and a few other things. My influence was Vivienne. She would make anything out of anything. The neckline could be two inches off the shoulder. That was my inspiration. Also, living on the streets of London. We were poor and we used to eat beans on toast for ten days in a row. I lived with all artists and we all shared a house in Earl’s Court. I would go to the Sex Pistols rehearsals on Lots Road before Sid was in the band.”
“I made a shirt for Johnny Thunders and it had the word rock on the shirt with chicken bones. My dog Ian didn’t know it was for Johnny Thunders and he ate the chicken bones off the shirt. CBGB was a big part of my life just like the way Rodeo Bar is now. I saw Iggy being carried out on a stretcher. The ambulance used to come and pick up Iggy. Andy Warhol came in with his wolf coat and a bag. He asked me if I wanted an Interview magazine and he gave me a signed copy.”
“Some of my patrons were Cherry Vanilla, the New York Dolls, Lou Reed, Mike Quashie who just passed away and was good friends with Lou Reed, Robert Gordon, and Bruce Springsteen. I used to also have a store on the Upper East Side. It was like Liza Minnelli, Mick Jagger, Scavullo who was Sean Byrnes’ lover, Jerry Hall who still shops in this store.”
“Francesco Scavullo used to come into the store all the time. We have five Cosmo covers from that. But the thing I am most proud of is Willy DeVille. “I made his snakeskin jacket. You know the jacket he made famous?” “I made Pat Benatar’s zebra catsuit, but I’m more impressed with Willy’s snakeskin jacket.”
“There was no cooler place than New York in the ‘70s in those days. The days of Television and the Ramones, New York Dolls, Debbie Harry, Chris Stein, and Richard Hell. Marc Jacobs would come in. Sylvain was my friend from the New York Dolls. People would come from all over the world to check out the store. Maybe groupies would come in the store. That was saved for CBGB and Max’s. In those days before AIDS, at the end of the shows, everybody would go home with somebody. That’s how it was. There was a clique. Everybody’s ego was out of control. People wouldn’t talk to you if you weren’t cool.”
photo via Enz’s Facebook page
And now we must say goodbye to Mariann Marlowe, a living legend, who promises to still be around whether it’s New York or London. We thank you and pay homage to your legendary life.