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Depeche Mode – Music Fashions

News reaches ELM that veteran designer Vivienne Westwood is to open a shop here in Glasgow. Finally it seems punk is accepted in our fair city – the City Father’s banned all punk gigs in the late 70’s, meaning bands had to drive the few miles down the road to play in our war-torn neighbour Paisley. I for one am looking forward to seeing the local beauties donned in high-quality couture, skin died teak by endless sunbed sessions and hair pulled back in a bunch so tight it pulls their nipples out of their tube tops. This is progress.

It did get me thinking about Ms Westwood’s history, and of course she came to prominence as Malcolm McLaren’s partner, in all senses of the word, in Sex. This was the boutique which launched the Sex Pistols and was responsible for such classics as the bondage trouser and the Finnish Cowboys t-shirt. Indeed, one of the things which marked out the Pistols was their very definitive look. So here ELM present a few other stylish and not so stylish stars. Is it the clothes that make the man?

The Clash – Groovy, urban ‘Warriors’ street garb, which amounted to some boiler suits spreckled with paint in a Jackson Pollock style. They could easily have resembled off-duty painters, but they somehow pulled it off. Less successful was their Sandinista!-era camouflage. Still, they were The Clash. I’d forgive them anything.

The Happy Mondays – Enormous, baggy jeans were the order of the day. Why? Who knows? It looked incredible. For about five minutes, along with Global Hypercolour t-shirts and hats which looked like amputated coat sleeves. The amount of denim used would have seriously tested the world’s reserves. Which possibly explained….

Seattle – Big shorts and plaid shirts. After the denim crisis of 1990, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Mudhoney et al sensibly ditched them and went for cheap garb which could be picked up in any second hand store. Long hair and bad skin offset the look, along with a heroin addiction for the truly committed. I can slag it all I want, I looked like that when I was 14.

Oasis – It were all Paul Smith, Lambretta and Ben Sherman when they were the lads. Short-sleeved shirts and smart jeans. Wasn’t actually that bad. Indeed, the mere sight of a Paul Smith shirt reminds me of cocaine and gin and tonic, such was their ubiquity in the late 90’s.

The Strokes – Skinny trousered suits and Converse, it looked fabulous but was soon apparent you had to be a skeletal New York dandy to pull it off. This was not a look which transferred from band to audience well.

I’ve just seen my fashion life flash before my eyes, and I haven’t even got to the cowboy boots or the AC/DC t-shirts yet. Good Lord, every generation kills the one before, and it’s purely due to how stupid they look in old photographs, I’m sure. As always, ELM throws the floor open to you…….


11 Responses

  1. When I was 14 my love of handbag house was such that I wore an almost permanent uniform of cycling shorts and catsuits with very big high top trainers. Sadly, was this to ever come back into fashion, and I was actually daft enough to wear it, I fear I would look suspiciously like a very badly made sausage.

  2. I feel I have to share this with my fellow ELM-ers ((Elmer Fudds??).
    On friday I was so pished that whilst listening to The Doors I was compelled to get out my Primal Scream/late Creation-look leather trousers and wear them. This, note, was in the house. With my girlfriend.
    They still fitted me, in fact were a tad too big.
    Unfortunately, the burd said the two words guaranteed to waste it. Peter. And Stringfellow.
    What does she know? There definitely coming out of retirement.
    Anyone want to start a punk tribute band?

  3. ……and Good God Man, I’d pay to see pictures of that look!!

  4. there will never be another fashion era to match the dreadfulness of the 80s – I once went to the Savvy (when I was 15 I might add) wearing a red mini, a yellow top, bright yellow tights and red pumps. the bouncer told me I could get pills for it.

    When I was even younget than that, my favourite piece of clothing was a sweatshirt with Southern Comfort on the front – I didn’t even know what Southern Comfort was. But then again I did also have the Vladivar Vodka Party top-of-the-pops stylee not-original-artists compilation LP to dance along to including hits like Kung Fu Fighting

    god I’m old.

  5. I once owned a tie-dye kaftan thing with mirrored beads on it during a era where I took too much acid and listened to Syd Barrett. I wouldn’t recommend it.

    I also didn’t realise how badly dressed some of our readers are/were!

  6. flourescents were my favourite, in the 80s, i once went out and purchased some flourescent pink shoe dye to dye white pump style shoes and wore them with with flourscent yellow slouch socks, combined with batwing oversized t shirt, huge thick loose belt in different colour, and leggings, and as much” razzle dazzle” cheap jewellery as i could adorn myself with, ending the look with electric blue mascara, and cerise eyeshadow and possibly some lace fingerless gloves, i think i wanted to be madonna in her lucky star/borderline days.

  7. Madonna is solely responsible for emotionally scarring a generation of girls whose familes hold the photos of their fingerless-goves-back-combed-hair days as some sort of sadistic punishment.

    Luckily, I wasn’t allowed lace gloves, or to back comb my hair. And I dodged every camera from the age of 14 to 17, so there is no evidence of my teenage fashion crimes.

  8. You see pre-teen girls around town nowadays with that whole fluorescent look. My daughter tells me they’re called Scene Girls. More like obscene imho.

  9. I wouldn’t let them out dressed like that!

  10. Most of the girls I used to fancy have put me off by getting crap hair.

    I still have my same curtains hairdo I’ve had for a bout 8 years so I look like man from 1995 and it appears the feeling is mutual.

    Surely there must be some balance between staying the same and doing something different.

  11. I go through wee spells. But I will never do without my Cons.

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