Pleasures x Joy Division
How a band from Manchester became the most fashionable group of the last 40 years.
Joy Division is a post-punk band formed in England in 1976 by Ian Curtis, Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook and Stephen Morris; the idea of forming the band was born after Sumner and Hook had been to a Sex Pistols concert in Manchester, and had seen how the new style brought by punk was destroying the myth of the pop star, giving the possibility to the creation of new music genres.
Initially the sound proposed by the group was very similar to the one proposed by other punk bands, but, later, they decided to emphasise not on anger and energy but mostly on expression and emotion, definitely helping the rise of melancholy alternative music in the ‘80s.
The group’s iconic sound is also highly recognizable for the use of synthesizers, something very unusual in the world of punk, and for the tortured lyrics of its lead vocalist, Ian Curtis.
Their first real project was published in June 1978 and was called "An Ideal For Living", this project helped them into reaching a new audience and to create the basis for their next project, "Unknown Pleasures".
This album, released in 1979, had great critical success and slight commercial success, remaining for a period of time in the independent charts of the United Kingdom.
Joy Division were starting to become icons, but, Ian Curtis' health was deteriorating rapidly, during the tour and recording of their second LP "Love Will Tear Us Apart" he had had many seizures and it looked that he was getting weaker and weaker, and, after the release of this project, just two days before their flight to start of their first US tour, Curtis was found dead in his home.
Before his death, the group members all decided that if something happened to one of them, Joy Division would cease to exist, but, in the same period after Curtis' death, they finally reached a wider success, releasing their album "Closer", which reached number six on the charts, nevertheless, the following year they decided to form a new group, "New Order", ending Joy Division discography.
Despite just a few years of activity Joy Division are one of the most influential bands of their time, having had the ability to contaminate a new genre such as punk, with details typical of other genres, such as synthesizers, plus the lyrics by Ian Curtis, loaded with emotions, became a new type of writing that was going to inspire many singers in the future; but even greater is the influence that the group had on fashion, their clothing was simple, even casual, but their personality made it counterculture and subversive and the graphics on the covers of their projects became the most representative element of everything the band was.
Over the years, Joy Division has been an inspiration for many designers, in the first place Raf Simons, who, since the beginning of his career, has always used the style of the group as influence (even titling his F / W 2003 collection "Unknown Pleasures"), as can also be seen from his latest collaboration with Fred Perry, where punk aesthetics mix with a more casual style; in the last months, Pleasures has also developed a collection based around the iconic cover of "Unknown Pleasures" designed by Peter Saville, proposing this graphic also on very particular objects such as the iconic Shell Chair of Modernica.