Blondie ‘Rapture’ sweater by Mary Adams.
I think it’s safe to say that for many people Lou Reed’s 1972 album Transformer was a life changing kind of record.Transformer was very much influenced by Reed’s life changing relationship with Andy Warhol. Warhol even directly inspired one of Transformer‘s best numbers, “Vicious.” According to Reed Andy had requested that he pen a tune about a “vicious” kind of person. When Reed asked Warhol to clarify his request, Andy responded by saying “Oh, you know, like I hit you with a flower.” Reed wrote Andy’s response down verbatim and the lyric “You hit me with a flower” would become part of the song.
When it comes to the influence that Transformer had on Mary Adams, the wildly talented clothing designer and sweater maker whose work is featured in this post, we can look to the iconic cover of the album that features an out-of-focus photograph of Reed taken by Mick Rock. One of the first sweaters Adams ever made was based on Rock’s photograph and her obsession with Reed would lead her to create an entire line of high-end knitwear inspired by the pioneering musician. In fact Adams’ company Small Town Girl took its name from lyrics to a song found on Reed’s much vilified collaboration with Metallica, 2011’s Lulu, “Brandenburg Gate.” Adams got her start working as a seamstress and costume designer for The Royal Canadian Ballet and Opera as well was what was likely another influential experience for her—a dreamy souding gig as the “wardrobe mistress” for the original Rocky Horror Show stage production in Australia in 1975. When she wasn’t busy doing that, she was regularly selling her sweaters at the popular outdoor Paddington Market in Sydney.
Many of Adams’ designs feature pop art images, some of which are derived from famous works by Andy Warhol who is also nicely represented on much of Adams’ knitwear. Other notable wooly famous faces include Reed’s wife Laurie Anderson, Transformer‘s producer David Bowie, Liza Minnelli, the recently departed Leonard Cohen, and Patti Smith. I’m not exactly going out on a limb here by describing Adams’ work as exquisite. She and her collaborators hand loom each sweater using pure Australian wool and then each piece is finished by Adams by hand. So it’s not hard to understand why her wearable works of art will run you anywhere from $45 for a head scarf to $470 for a Blondie “Eat to the Beat”-themed sweater which you can see below. If after checking out the images in this post you are filled with a strong desire to have one of your own, more information on how to do that is available on Adams’ Small Town Girl website.
‘Lou Reed’ sweater coat.
David Bowie ‘Ziggy Stardust’ sweater.
More after the jump…