Look what they started!
How Frankie turned the pop world on to a lush new look
Their image is the biggest jolt to the complacent music biz nervous system since Little Richard put on his lipstick pout.Max Bell writing about Frankie Goes To Hollywood in No. 1, January ‘84
Suddenly every pop star worth his or her salt is flouncing around done up to the nines in silks and satins and tons of fancy jewellery. What’s going on?
An expensive design firm called Crolla is at the bottom of it.
But needless to say, it was those smart boys In Frankie who popularised the look. Just as they did with those big-worded T-shirts that were originally designed by Katharine Hamnett but soon spread all over the streets, in Frankie’s case supplemented by their own advertising slogans.
But Frankie moved on, as successful popstars do.
Every time I see someone in one of those shirts I think… whoa, that’s another 27½ pence in the coffers!Holly Johnson, No. 1, August ‘84
Paul Rutherford’s weekly twirls on Top Of The Pops were given extra zest by his long-tailed shirt, while the rest of the boys branched out into their own form of mutated evening wear.
Holly’s ace tastes in medals, canes, and foppish finery had been apparent for some time. The look climaxed with the explosion of lush colour, over the top props and high-fashion fancy clothes on the sleeve of ‘Welcome To The Pleasuredome’.
A thousand lurid satins popped up in the chain-stores. Fashion decreed evening jackets, long sumptuous silky shirts teamed with brocade and paisley waistcoats and set off with giant pieces of diamante jewellery.
Stage costumes for groups as diverse as The Thompson Twins, Spandau Ballet and Howard Jones went big and loud and shiny.
Holly had been there first. Again…
Underneath it all, we’re just scallies. But we’re hips scallies.Holly Johnson, No. 1, January ’84
Watch out for Holly’s latest sartorial experiment—the cute racoon tail he wore sticking out of his back pocket on The Late Late Breakfast Show. Must be all those animal appetites…
Photos by Peter Ashworth, Steve Rapport, Jamie Long and Mike Prior