Tuesday, February 8

Fashion - Turn to the left

To discover the origins of the New Romantics, turn to the left and see David Bowie. Appreciate his flamboyant attire and chant the lyrics to "Fashion" like an original 80's Blitz Kid
Now turn to the right and see the punks. Hurl back their anarchic rage, vulgar clothes that wreak of aggression  and a musty, unwashed aroma.

Despite the rebellion against rage and anti-fashion, the New Romantics subconsciously channel some very punk rock attitudes when it comes to dress : theyre exhibitionist, they have a burning impulse to go against the grain, and most importantly they relish in shock. They dress to appal. Actually theyre just well evolved peacocks.

I absolutely J'adore the androgyny and flamboyant narcissism that runs through every stitch of the foppish, dandy ruffles of their regency inspired shirts and perfectly arched eyebrows. There was satire behind the glamour, every outfit was a costume and each night out in Blitz, Camden Palais and Heaven was a character performance. 

Heres a tale to amuse...
in 1982 Steve Strange (in an unrivalled bid for attention and shameless PR for Visage) dragged 6 of the most exciting new British designers, including Anthony Price and Melissa Caplin, to Paris to put on a risque show... 

....a week after the Paris Couture shows closed
to "showcase the superior talent"?
or just to piss them off?

After being heckelled and taunted for being "too flash to show in here" he just did it anyway, 
""It’ll be as much as we can do to give Paris a quick flash and hope we don’t get arrested""
The show was an amazing success and invaluable to the progression of contemporary fashion, Launching the New Romantics further into iconography . 

The gods of New Romantic fashion included Viv westwood and Stevie Stewart who inspired the subculture but were also inspired by them to make iconic designs, such as Westwood's AmAzing pirate collection. I Saw this at her V&A exhibition about a million years ago now the image of it has never left me.  Dandified Regency dress and native american inspiration combine to create amazing exotic flamboyancy and were groundbreaking in sillhouette for the 20th century :
"Pirate trousers had a baggy bum, complete contrast to hippy hipsters and tight arse".. Beautiful words from Dame Westwood there. 

Stevie Stewart's marvellous creations

The fashion led the movement, but the music soon followed...
We owe a lot to synthesisers for New Romantic Music
We also owe a lot, again, to Steve Strange
And The Blitz Club

Iconic bands start with Culture Club, travel through Visage, Spandeau Ballet, Kadjagoogoo, throw a hair flick towards Duran Duran (wild boys!) and end up somewhere around Adam Ant and THAT dance move.
The mood was always  atmospheric and brooding with an amazing mix of progressive
electro and rather primitive rhythms. I think the music shows the depth to New Romanticism, trying to capture the same power and emotion  that the Millais did with their Ophelia, or what Emily Bronte did with Heathcliffe. A lot of the music has a suspicious element of Cheese but, like with their fashion, the music has clearly and unmistakeably defined what we listen to today

Now please excuse me while I perform Karma Chameleon to my webcam

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