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It’s very rare that I design anything without first allowing myself some form of muse. Over the years I have gained most of my inspiration not through trends, but through icons of the time. To make my point I will firstly ask you, what do you think of when you think of Madonna? And the answer will most likely be ‘that pointy bra’. This is because musicians are very much instrumental in fashion and in helping drive the norm out of its comfort zone. I would like to look over a few of my inspirations and briefly set out some of their stand out contributions to fashion.
It’s so hard to comprehend that anyone could not see this man as an inspiration, even if it’s not in relation to fashion. His music alone will stand the test of time, but his eccentric wardrobe will forever more be his greatest form of expression. There are the obvious elements such as the white glove and trilby hat, but aside from this Michael did piece together some great outfits. If you look to typical iconography and effortless style, then you have to consider the ‘Thriller’ video. I can’t think of a single person who hasn’t seen it. Looking at over 40 years’ worth of outfits, it’s of no surprise that it seems an impossible task to just pick one. I guess the one I will always remember is the ‘BAD’ outfit. Elements of biker fused with bondage springs to mind. Dancers clad in denim jackets, baggy trousers and oversized shirts were inevitably the inspiration for much of American 80s street fashion. Even after his passing, Jackson still continues to inspire, and his outfits live on. David Boakes (davidboakes.com) a Michael tribute artist, tirelessly ensures that attention to detail is paid when putting together his stage outfits. It’s this element of detail that is needed when emulating such an icon.
Your parents may know him as Ziggy Stardust and some may not even have a clue, but Davie Bowie is the epitome of androgyny and eccentricity. During the 70s he would often sport platform boots (ask your parents) tight fitting trousers and anything embedded with glitter. This was the glam rock era and David Bowie was at the heart of this sub culture. In 1980 he even released a track called ‘Fashion’ from his album Scary Monsters. It’s very much clear that he has no inhibitions when it came to fashion. This was not only recognised by his many adoring fans, but also the V&A museum (vam.ac.uk) in London. In March 2013 an exhibition was put in place to recognise the impact Bowie’s career has had on fashion and to showcase some of his most recognisable outfits and photo stills. One of the most iconic, and for me inspirational shots, is the cover of his Aladdin Sane album by Celia Philo, the mother of Celine’s creative director. On this particular shot he can be seen wearing very heavy make-up and his trademark Mohawk style haircut. This image is used countlessly in today’s society for prints on t-shirts and worn by people, who most likely were not even born when he was in his prime. It’s this that cements the fact he is a true muse to today’s and past generations’ fashion.
I am guessing you read the words ‘Marilyn Manson’ and wondered why he is being featured. When discussing personal icons, the results follow individual passions. He is not only a singer, but also an artist with a few exhibitions under his belt. Fashion, art and music are all so similar at times, as they are an expression of one’s persona and an extension of who we want to be. With this in mind I look back to the mid 90s and distinctly remember an army of fans that would mercilessly follow anything Marilyn wore. He sparked a resurgence in the ‘Goth’ culture in my opinion. Hedi Slimane chose Marilyn as the face of Saint Laurent in April 2013 (formerly known as Yves Saint Laurent). The whole grunge and dark demeanour of Marilyn’s style fitted perfectly within the grunge-led aesthetic of Hedi’s new range.
Looking over all of the above, it seems apparent that all of them have made some kind of impact on the fashion world or simply the personal stylings of some fashion tribes. All three are so diverse in their own ways and inspire me all the same. These days we are so saturated with images of Lady GaGa trying desperately to be different, and mass produced ‘hipsters’, that’s its worth taking the time now and again to focus on the real icons.