Friday, July 3, 2009

Elvis Costello-'Geek Chic'

The looks and style of outsiders, musicians artists, rebels and the subcultures on the cutting edge of the visual arts have been the greatest influence on me as a fashion designer. In my book 'Rebel Rebel Anti Style' I have name checked many great style rebels-from Bowie to Pete Dougherty, Amy Winehouse to Soo Catwoman. Beyond the references in the book there are other style icons to consider......

 "Less Than Zero," Costello's first single on Stiff records, was released on 25 March 1977. In May, his debut album, My Aim Is True (1977), was released with Costello appearing on the cover in what became his trademark oversize glasses, bearing a striking resemblance to a menacing Buddy Holly. The 'geek chic' that became Costello's classic look was revolutionary as it provided a departure from the stereotype 'punk' look that had rapidly taken hold in the UK. Elvis rebelled against the rebels.

Costello's look reflected his working life-most famously at a make up factory — immortalized in the lyrics of "I'm Not Angry" as the "vanity factory" — where he worked as a data entry clerk. He also worked for a short period as a computer operator.

 Therefore Costello was categorized as having the look of a ' angry computer programmer'. Not very rock & roll and therefore totally appropriate for the New Wave's understated cool.

Ben Sherman’s recent men’s wear look book contain a number of pictures that showed models in an Elvis Costello look- Complete with geek glasses, Costello hair, trilby hats and drainpipe trousers. Recently Elvis has begun to sport polka dots shirts that are certainly a nod to his roots in 1977.  

Last Fall I interviewed Elvis about his new TV show 'Spectacle'.

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