Tuesday, May 3

Be a "new" New Romantic for a Day. A guide to live your life by

Its not like I really need to explain that Shoreditch is the new home of art and fashion in London, But a small history lesson will pass a few pleasant minutes and inspire a New Romantic pilgrimage to experience the decadant nightlife, buy authentic New Romantic clothing and absorb the contemporary art of the white cube. Lets all be new New Romantics.

The East End club kids are the new Blitz Kids. Shoreditch is the new Soho.
New Romantic nightspots such as Heaven and KoKo are still around but the electric, artistic and flamboyant mood that they possessed  has transferred to the east end clubs such as Avalon and Dalston superstore.

Or just walk around and see what you find. Shoreditch is full of secrets. There will definitely be some sort of highly illegal high stakes and high drama party somewhere which only the most fabulously dressed can attend. 
So get your glitter on. 

I think we all need to say a small thank you to to Jay Joplin for giving us the White Cube, which came to Hoxton Square in 2000 bringing artists, desgners and  a world of fashion with it. The White Cube only has the best artists so you wont be wasting your time. My favourites have been Tracy Emin, Katharina Fritsch and Gary Hume. Make like a New Romantic artist and obsess over art for an afternoon.

There are about 3 million vintage shops in the area selling many real and fake New Romantic styles, but the obsessors seem to be Blondie  (off  Spitalfilds market )
I think they keep Boy George in a back room and blackmail him for his wardobe pieces. Its the only reasonable explanation. 

Dress Up Like...



Article from The Face, April 1987, narrating the fascinating life of the beautiful Trojan, Artist, Blitz Kid and close friend of Leigh Bowery .
Enviable Life. Except for the part where he OD's

Listen to...

Showstudio is a little treasure. Listen to a rare candid interview of Leigh Bowery from his soho home talking wistfully and nostalgically about the fashion, art, music and life within the New Romantic scene in 1980's london. He is highly amusing... and suprisingly well spoken! He is the best kind of human bean. 

Obsess Over...

             Mr Pustra...
                                                                             Golly, if you could be anything why would you not want to be this

Cabaret artist Mr Pustra is a dark romantic vision of  night-time naughtiness and sinister seduction. The love child of Leigh Bowrey and Sally Bowles has been unleashed upon the world, embodying  the legendary cabarets of Wiemar Berlin and bringing it to the London burlesque and club scenes .  Find Mr Pustra at Torture Gardens, the  dark and renowned fetish night , Burlesque club Volupte and at Circus alongside Jodie Harsh .

 Pustra makes Narcissism an art-form, performing in self adoration and magnetising his audiences with his outfits, a 1930s explosion of German Expressionism.
 Pustra merges New Romanticism with the ominous atmosphere and erotic scenes of pre-war Germany . He is the character I only wish I could be.  

Mr Pustra singing "Missed Me" at Au Camionneur in Strasbourg. Please someone build a time machine so I could be there .

Dance At...

             SHABBA dabba da....
                                                                  "ARTISTS, FAGS, FASHION, GLITTER & YOU"

Every month the New Romantic dregs of London, east end club kids and those to whom glitter is porn head to Avalon for Shabba Dabba Da, a club night without inhibitions and  place where you will forever feel under-dressed . Hosted by the magnetic emperor of  London's   arty club scene, Daniel Lismore,  Shabba is a world where being ostentatious is a requirement and colour is a drug. 
Be prepared for competitive dressing, cross dressing unashamed decadence and a night of shock theatre, for Shabba is a showcase of London's creatives and true fashion leaders. 

 Shabba is what would happen if the Blitz Kids took over studio 54
you 'll definately get your moneys worth. 

Barbies should always have 3 heads

Monday, March 28

Fashion Stories

The Blitz Kids created Stevie Stewart and David Holah
Stevie Stewart and David Holah birthed BodyMap
The Blitz Kids devoured Bodymap

Stewart and Holah were prodigees of the New Romantic movement, reinventing British fashion and turning the establishment on its head by morphing the sillhouette and sexuality of the body with unconventional shapes and subverting the ideals of fashion 

Dress Historian Kevin Almond  illustrates the controversy of BodyMaps designs which , on paper sounds quite vile. 
"Holah's and Stewart's stretch clothes often had pieces of fabric in unexpected places, so that the emphasis was transferred from one place to another. In this case, they have borrowed the skirt-like apron from a pair of Seditionaries bondage trousers in an attempt to both hide and draw attention to a man's crotch." 

The initiatives are intruiging , I adore body mortification so love the idea of altering the emphasis of a garment. The hips (below right) are now nearer to the knees , the torso is stretched and the feet look engorged . It is a hall of mirrors of fashion . 

BodyMap share the New Romantics fascination with sex and sexuality. Shock became fashions adrenaline. Why not create  a crotch orientated masterpiece?

The names of BodyMaps collections display their eccentricity and sense of humour. 
I would Like to write small illustrated books using them as titles. 

Barbie Takes a Trip 
Querelle Meets Olive Oil
The Cat in the Hat Takes a Rumble with the Techno Fish 

I'm dying to know whether these were the concepts of the collections or just names the were christened with .
These collection names could easily have been names of modern day club nights where east end kids try to re-imagine the days of the New Romantics. They are  innovative and intriguing. People aren't intrigued by a collection called "spring/summer 86". However this isn't a case of  style without substance as the artistry behind the garments live up to their psychedelic names. 

Stewart and Holah were print geniuses, using the layering, clashing and combining of prints to re-illustrate the human form and distort the size and proportion of the body. Stretch fabrics and unexpected holes were used to explore parts of the body peviously thought to be unnatractive, unpleasant an innapropriate.
BodyMap revelled in the innappropriate


New Romantic icons such as Boy George,  Leigh Bowrey and  the dancer Michael Clark all walked the BodyMap catwalks and wore their designs. They presented them in outrageous and creative ways turning catwalk shows into celebrations of fashion that was more like performance art. 
The New Romantics had morphed into a huge creative partership where fashion played off performance and music reacted to fashion, there were no divisions or restrictions between each outlet. You can see in the magazine image above that BodyMap designed with performance in mind. The pieces were so directional and expressive that they speak to me as more costume pieces than everyday fashion. The stripes and cutaway shapes exaggerate and celebrate the bodies movement . I am a huge fan of the unitard! It lends itself to theatrical mishaps and memories of Audrey Hepburn's interpretive dance in Funny Face.

punk Body Map rocks "Half World" collection. Catwalk show cut with video. Sublime!

The clothes and music used in this short film are not the only components of the New Romantics montage. The direction of the video is deliberate in its bohemian spirit, expressing the glamorous rebellion of the New Romantics. It is narcissistic but fabulous. The urban street and the catwalk become one setting , metaphorically framing the new origins of fashion as that which is created in the streets and clubs where we live our lives. Even the formality of the catwalk is undermined by the random invasion of models where self expression reigns  over poise. 
Menswear and womenswear are as one in both the show and Bodymap's designs reflecting the freedom of  sexuality and liberation that fashion brought to the new romantics; the wild creatures in the street have been transformed  into fantasies by their extravagant costumes 

Queen of print Belle Sauvage

Morbidity. Melodrama. and a couple of E's
Is this David Bowie? Has this smurf hooded creation been lifted from the head of a BodyMap follower from 25 years before? Infact no its the gravity defiant cheekbones of Leonor Scherrer adorned with a bold and garishly elegant design from Belle Sauvage, a label where layered digital prints, bold cuts and striking silhouettes come together to create a look that is unmistakeably the "new" new romantic. 

Gone are the cliché ruffled fop shirts and Adam Ant jackets - these are now a part of the dressing up drawer under the bed. The contemporary new romantic builds theatrical drama with intelligently married prints and the combination of angular rigidity and cocooning, draping shapes. And of course the energy confidence to challenge even Steve Strange.

Large, sculptural hats were adored by the New Romantics. costume, glamour and shock theatre were the crucial ingredients of their unique fashion. 
In the Belle Sauvage Autumn Winter 11 collection  the same lust for millenrey is mirrored. The gloss of the leather of the hat and the dress suggests fetish and sexuality when worn with lace sheath dress underneath. The design is as flirtatious and dangerous as the subculture was, enhancing the dark, gothic underlay of the new romantics. 

Autumn Winter 11 Show invitation is an image of the signature print of the collection
ive reverted into a childlike state trying to decipher how many individual layers combine to make this print as a whole 
Tres Complex. There's a clear connection between how BodyMap layer a number of prints to morph the shape of the body and the way Belle Sauvage achieve this but in just one print. One Fabric. One design. 
progression through technology .

This jumpsuit is morphing in just one garment rather than 3000 layers. It is clean cut and contemporary without losing any presence. There is incredible movement in it even when the body is still which is created by the variety of sizes of the shapes in the print .  It's all a trick of the eye . A hall of digital mirrors.  
These smothering sillhouettes could have been taken straight from the 1980's

Belle Sauvage Robot Print. It is spectacularly layered in shape and colour but it is so intricate that it is not immediately obvious. The layering creates the illusion of movement, almost like a hologram. It is futuristic but the jewel-like colours and visual effect suggests something about the past. Luxury and electro combine. 

Belle Sauvage Autumn/ Winter 2011 video. London Fashion Week

Belle Sauvage are unmistakedgly channeling all kinds of new romantic references in this superbly garish film despite it being so obviously futuristic , portraying a fantasy world where digital prints morph into backdrops and set design as well as the fashion. 

How is this film a homage to the New Romantics
The hair is overwhelming and seems to live as though independent from the body. A crimper has definitely been involved
Make up is literally painted on. Bold, yet alluring
Wondrous hats
The villain of the piece has the demeanour of a crossdresser . And is definitely channeling boy george and Ali Baba.
The big hair lady is actually a man. Allejandro Gocast

To me it is a film made in 1986 and set in a fantastial version of the future, where the world looks like the crystal maze and the pet shop boys are the soundtrak to everything. The opening of the film is beautifully sombre,  imagining the darker, more romantic side of the subultre. The landscape is a futuristic image of a pre-raphelite landscape, a pathetic fallacy of the disaster that is to come. The fashion mirrors the mood with draped dark prints and icy, gothic jewellry lavishly adorned by the forlorn figures in the snow. 

The digital prints are sublime, precious jewels spliced with reptiles and vile 80's power jewellery. 
They layer, interact and even move in similar ways to that they work on the body, and have enrgy even when static. 
Also, J'adore the embellishment of the hats. Spikes, tassles and jewels have lustre and danger.

                           Stills from the film 

Before John Galliano was a naughty boy he was the New Romantic genius

Galliano brought a rebellion to fashion. Not an aggressive, violent or political rebellion but a rebellion against this punky rebellious image. Flamboyant and fantastical New Romantic designs brought the pleasure back to fashion. 



It seems like Marie Antoinette  endoreses Galliano's perfume.