Saturday, October 1, 2011

'Basics of Fashion Design-Menswear' by John Hopkins.

Left to right: Dennis Sheldrick, Nick Woodhead, Keanan Duffty.

Here's a nice book for all you aspiring designers: 'Basics of Fashion Design-Menswear'. The books is a well researched overview of men's fashion featuring chapters that cover; 'Menswear Through The Ages', 'Sartorial Traditions', 'The Sportswear Revolution' & 'Menswear by Design'. It's published by AVA Academic's Basics Fashion Design Series.

There's also a charming photo of my New Romantic band 'Wonder Stories' (See above). The photo was taken in February 1981 at Steve Strange's St Valentine's Day Ball at the Rainbow Theatre is Finsbury Park, North London. Nice bit of red velvet schmatte, if I do say so myself.

In 2003, Dave Rimmer's book' New Romantics-The Look' was published by Omnibus press. Wonder Stories were featured on the cover of this publication along with designer John Flett, in the middle on the right side. 'New Romantics-The Look' documents of one of the most interesting youth culture movements of the late 20th Century.

Wonder Stories, were a New Romantic group formed in 1980 by Keanan Duffty (Vocals/Guitar) and Ashley Woodhams (Synthesizer/Bass) in the Northern town of Doncaster, UK.

Wonder Stories took their name from a pulp sci-fi comic book and their futuristic sounds were influenced by Joy Division, Cabaret Voltaire, 'Low' era David Bowie and Roxy Music. Their first live performance on 22nd October 1980, supporting the local punk group Social Sekurity, was reviewed in 'Sounds' music paper by journalist Peter Scott. Scott described their sound as a cross between 'Bauhaus and an Electrolux Vacuum cleaner'.
Indeed vocalist Keanan Duffty acknowledged that his voice sounded similar to Pete Murphy, the Bauhaus front man. In the audience at that first gig was Nick Woodhead, who would approach Duffty and Woodhams and become the third member of Wonder Stories-initially acting as the drum machine operator and then moving on to KORG MS 10 synthesizer. Woodhead introduced the band to Yvonne Taylor, who was to become the group's manager and a major influence on Keanan Duffty's subsequent fashion career.
Wonder Stories Flyers Designed by Dennis Sheldrick.

In February 1981, as the 'New Romantic' scene led by Spandau Ballet and Visage was dominating the media Wonder Stories began a short residency at the 'New Outlook' club in their home town of Doncaster. After their first show they were approached by Dennis Sheldrick (Vocals/Synthesizer), who would soon replace Ashley Woodhams place in the group. Wonder Stories line up was now complete.

With a set list that included:' Changeling Cabaret', 'A Jamais', ' The Spartan' and 'Brigadoon' the trio began a series of live shows in and around the North of England. Wonder Stories also began to put in appearances at fashionable parties in London including the St Valentines event at the Rainbow Theatre in London where they were photographed extensively by the media.
Wonder Stories played a number of gigs during 1980 and 1981 that gained good reviews and support from BBC Radio 1 DJ Peter Powell. Wonder Stories had befriended Soft Cell's singer Marc Almond at Primo's nightclub in Leeds and were subsequently proposed as a support act to Soft Cell- who's 'Tainted Love' single was fast becoming a hit in the UK. However by 1982 Wonder Stories meteoric rise came to a halt and the group split. Rather than the usual 'musical differences' it was simply a case of the three members moving on to other things.

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