Get Ripped

“The most fun I had was with Cynthia Plastercaster,” says vintage dealer (and Hint contributor) Cesar Padilla about the making of his new book, Ripped: T-shirts from the Underground (Universe, $30). “I knew her as a friend already for a few years before I acquired her T-shirt archive. In her apartment are plaster columns of various heights and styles, and on each pedestal is a plaster cast of one of her many willing participants. It’s like Ceasar’s Palace or the Parthenon, except instead of statues, it’s rock-star cocks!”

While no images of the penis palace made it into the book, every ironic, sweat-stained, cut-sleeved T-shirt that did—over 200 in all—tells a similar story of lurid chicanery. This was, after all, the heyday of the concert tee. In Ripped, we find the classic Buzzcocks album cover, a Blondie tee that obviously informed one that Marc Jacobs made some 30 years later to commemorate her induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and several jersey specimens immortalizing Lydia Lunch. In her foreword, the legendary punk pioneer (and, in the words of Richard Kern, “the American Johnny Rotten, a one-woman war”) writes, “Cesar has assembled hundreds of classic examples of rare and extremely limited-edition T-shirts. It reminds us of a time when what you actually said and did were more important than the number of idiots you could connive into coming to the show.”

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