Before the days of stylists and Heat magazine, style was (arguably) better in my opinion. Nowadays everything appears so over thought and staged. Musicians, not generic pop stars, but people in bands/solo artists who write their own songs, aren’t the main stream style icons anymore. They might be for some of us, but the media prefers to fixate itself on reality TV stars and X Factor presenters these days. We care more about what Cheryl Cole might be wearing than her music, but you can guarantee she didn’t pick the dress or write much of the song she’s singing. Everything is over done, with too many people working on something it then becomes trivial and meaningless because really there is no meaning behind it, it is essentially a lie. Everyone is told what to say and do by PR people, so they can relate to the public they want to relate to. Was it really very different back in the days of Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix?
” Keith Richards was Keith Richards, when he was on or offstage — he was exactly the same, the cool, outlaw look.These people didn’t have stylists. They had style. Janis Joplin had style. Patti Smith had no money, so she had to put a look together. Patti loved to talk about clothes. Because she was so, so-called androgynous, or was trying to look like Bob Dylan in his Don’t Look Back phase or Keith Richards, people didn’t realize that Patti was a girl and she knew about Balenciaga and she knew about Yves Saint Laurent and she wanted a mink coat.”
Lisa Robinson, music journalist. http://nymag.com/thecut/2014/04/qa-talking-70s-rock-style-with-lisa-robinson.html
Robert Plant, Lisa Robinson and Patti Smith’s guitarist Lenny Kaye
The fact is, most musicians didn’t have stylists back in the 60’s and 70’s. There was Vivienne Westwood who has been since regarded as the Sex Pistols stylist, but it is not the same in comparison to the media moguls of today. She was doing something different, creating a fashion movement, not tailoring the band to appeal to a mainstream market and make lots of money. I’m sure they wanted to make money, but it wasn’t an identity mask to appeal to anyone, they were being themselves.
I love the way Jimi Hendrix dressed. He is still regarded as a fashion icon, and he was a man that did it all himself. As soon as he was paid when starting out as a musician, he went shopping in vintage clothing stores, hunting for unique pieces such as army uniforms and medallions. Everything he chose and put together was his own idea, he created his image and it was authentic.
Jimi Hendrix in his ‘technicolor dream coat’
Musicians are creative and so naturally many of them would possess style. Why employ somebody to make you dress the same as everybody else?
The vintage thing has become really really popular over the last ten years, so you’re lucky if you can still find vintage clothes at bargain prices. Most vintage retailers and charity shops know they can charge a fair amount for them.
The bands of today should ditch the stylist, but don’t disregard how important image is. It is important. I know fashion is often seen as vain and tedious , but it isn’t if you’re creative with it, it’s just another form of expression. These days I’m not sure who has a stylist and who doesn’t. Musicians like Jack White and Arctic Monkeys may have stylists on some photo shoots but I would hope that they put together their over all image themselves. Or is it just impossible not to have stylist when your a musician these days?
Musicians that I like the look of: