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Friday, Sep 20, 2019

Of music and fashion

Your iPod playlist might reveal a lot about your style quotient. Ameta Bal delves into the music-fashion bonding.

fashion-and-trends Updated: Jun 21, 2007 15:35 IST
Ameta Bal
Ameta Bal
Hindustan Times

Many will find it hard to say what came first punk music or punk fashion. In the surfeit of safety pins, spikes, Mohawks, bondage outfits, leather pants, military boots, leopard prints, tattoos, piercings, inverted crucifixes and swastika T-shirts of the late 1970s and early '80s, the chronology gets a tad muddled.

Down the years, music and fashion developed an easy bonhomie.

Many music movements have spawned subcultures that have come with full-fledged fashion revolutions in tow - punk, grunge, reggae, hip hop and Goth stand out.

Leading by example Fashion too has in part inspired music and music makers to follow its lead (rap stars toting big labels) as well.

The birth of punk fashion took place in a store called SEX in London, owned by a certain Malcolm McLaren and his friend Vivienne Westwood.

McLaren was an ex manager of the punk rock group New York Dolls, before he arrived in London to open the clothing store that specialised in ‘anti-fashion' and sold the slashed T-shirts, drapes, brothel creepers and fetish gear worn by the rockers.

Punk fashion therefore followed in the steps of the music that was trying to inject anger and rebellion into the late '70s rock music scene growing increasingly compacent and smug.

The anti-fashion trend carried on into the early '90s and took the shape of grunge. As the name suggests, it stood for a new attitude in rock, that of social alienation, apa thy and anger in music and of an unkempt aesthetic in fashion.

Colour me drab Grunge fashion caught on after iconic musicians such as Kurt Cobain and Eddie Vedder (frontmen of Nirvana and Pearl Jam respectively) toted shabby flannel shirts over faded T-shirt and tattered jeans and wore a general dishevelled look.

But shabby came and went. What took its place was loud, colourful and oversized.

Hip hop smooth-talked its way into tape decks and wardrobes. Artistes such as LL Cool J and Run DMC wore bright coloured, branded tracksuits, jumpers, baggy pants, leather bomber jackets and sneakers and so did their fans. This gradually attained more sheen and turned into bling.

The gold and diamond pendants became bigger and the designer labels bolder. In contrast to this are the indomitable red, green and yellow striped reggae-loving Rastafarians.

They never let finish what Bob Marley started in '60s. Then are the kohl-eyed, pierced, fish-netted and corseted Goth fashionistas that head bang to bands and artistes such as Slipknot, Moonspell and Marilyn Manson.

Where there were music movements inspiring fashion at one time, it's pop stars of the ilk of Beyonce, Shakira, Avril Lavigne and Justin Timberlake that lay down fashion diktats. Now, it's Shakira's gold-sheathed hips and blonde tresses, and Timberlake's slick pin stripes that draw the line on uber chic.

First Published: Jun 21, 2007 13:08 IST