Started on the 11th April 2011 - Blogging from a 20 year old Fashion Student

Saturday, 20 August 2011


Fashion Profile: Jimi Hendrix

Even though he died young, Jimi Hendrix is often considered one of the most influential musicians in recent history.

Born: 27th November 1942
Famous for: Being widely considered the greatest electric guitarist in musical history.
Style Characteristics: Hussar jackets, blouses and bandanas.

Early Life
Jimi Hendrix was born in Seattle, the oldest of five children, and grew up in an unstable household (due to his sickly siblings and the death of his mother when he was just fifteen). As a result of such disruption, Hendrix grew up as a shy child.

A young Jimi Hendrix developed his music abilities on a ukelele his father had found and strumming a broomstick in imitation of his idols. After the death of his mother, Hendrix found comfort in  teaching himself to play guitar through listening and repeating records. 

Hendrix was introduced to blues by his father and was heavily influenced by musicians such as Elvis Presley, Muddy Waters and BB King.

Musical Career
Hendrix played formally in bands such as The Velvetones and The Rocking Kings, however, he didn't finish High School. He later got into trouble with the law and so his music career was put on hold as he was given the option of going to prison or joining the army. He chose the latter and enlisted in 1961.

After leaving the army, Hendrix became involved in various bands once more. His first studio recording was in 1964 when he recorded "Testify" with the Isley Brothers. After collaborating with Ike and Tina Turner, Jimi joined an R&B group in 1965, "Curtis Knight and the Squires". 

Many of his recording sessions were advertised as solo albums when Hendrix became famous through the "Jimi Hendrix Experience" with which he released three albums and performed at Woodstock in August 1969.

During his musical career, Hendrix and his friend Eric Clapton popularised the use of the wah-wah pedal in mainstream rock which allowed them to deliver such complex guitar playing.

Hendrix was well known for his uniquely flamboyant dress sense and "Dylan-esque" hairstyle (he was famed for taking a set of hair curlers with him on tour). 

Whilst touring in London, he took the opportunity to scour the fashion capitals' streets in search of boutiques such as "I Was Lord Kitchener's Valet" and "Granny Takes a Trip" - both of which were vintage shops. It was here that Hendrix discovered military fashion and in particular, the iconic hussar jacket (worn by many musicians since).

In his early career, photographs show Hendrix wearing scarves, rings, medallions and badges advertising his support for the hippie movement made popular in the 60s.

In the late 60s, Hendrix favoured a style of hat known as "the Westerner", however, he gave it up in 1968 in favour of bandanas to go with his custom made stage costumes (often including waistcoats and shirts with fringeing along the sleeves).

Allegations of murder were made in relation to the death of Jimi Hendrix, however, it is said that he died of an overdose of sleeping pills. He died on the 18th September 1970 in a flat in London.

His career and death grouped him with Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Brian Jones - known as the 27 club as they all suffered drug-related deaths, aged 27, all within a two year period.



Stevie Nicks became famous in the 1970s when she joined Fleetwood Mac with boyfriend, Lindsey Buckingham. Audiences were captivated by her soft, sultry voice; and so, paired with her floaty style, a true icon was born.

Born: 26th May 1948
Famous for: 1/4 of the 1970s Anglo-American rock band, Fleetwood Mac.
Style Characteristics: Romantic/hippie stagewear.

Early Life
Stevie was born in Phoenix, Arizona, and first learnt to sing with her grandfather (who was a dwindling country singer). She recalls performing duets with him as a young child.

Stevie's gyspy style (in both fashion and music) was heavily influenced by her love of fairy tales - a by-product of her mother's overprotective nature. Instead of going out to play with friends, Stevie would immerse herself in stories. 

Stevie wrote her first song on her sixteenth birthday, it was called "I've Loved and I've Lost, and I'm Sad But Not Blue". With this, she joined her first band, however, later met her future musical and romantic partner at High School, Lindsay Buckingham, leaving "The Changing Times" to join "Fritz".

Fritz became a popular live act, and they soon began to support iconic musicians such as Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin.

Fleetwood Mac
Stevie and Lindsay left Fritz in 1972 to pursue a career in music together, however, Stevie endured many years of waitressing and cleaning before her career with Fleetwood Mac turned her into the 70s icon she is today.

Nicks and Buckingham joined Fleetwood Mac at the end of 1974 (only after Buckingham insisted that he would only join if Stevie be invited into the band too - they insisted they were a "package deal" - something that paid off as Stevie is the most iconic member of the band!).

Stevie Nicks worked with designer Margi Kent to develop her unique onstage look - this often included flowing skits, shawls and platform boots (influenced by the floaty dresses often pictured in fairytales). 

Although Fleetwood Mac as a band became extremely successful, tensions started to grow between Stevie and Lindsay; Nicks eventually ended the relationship as she felt it was affecting their creativity. Despite this, the band continued to record their  album Rumours

Nicks' most notable contribution to Rumours was "Dreams" which was the band's only No.1 hit single. Regardless of the tensions and affairs within the band, however, they continued recording well into the late 70s.

Stevie Nicks is known for her romantic image, flowing skirts, shawls, lace and long blonde hair have become her most notable style characteristics. Nicks collaborated with designer Margi Kent  in order to perfect her style which she still calls her "uniform".

During the late 70s/early 80s, Nicks adopted the style of Renaissance velvet berets decorated with plume feathers, this was a continuation of her romantic/gypsy style.

Stevie's shawls and capes have great significance within her live performances, for example, she wears red/crimson for "Sara", white for "Edge of Seventeen" and gold for "Gold Dust Woman".

Although they are often associated together, Stevie Nicks admitted to being inspired by Janis Joplin and Grace Slick (from Jefferson Airplane) as her first band "Fritz" began as one of Joplins' supporting acts.

Stevie has commented on her style in interviews, conveying her shock in finding out she was not only appreciated for her music, but also for her "Bella Donna/Witchy" image. Most of her clothing, she says, was for practical reasons. She often wore platforms so as not to feel short in comparison to the rest of the band.

"I'm timeless, I got that Dickensian, London street-urchin look in high school. I'll never be in style, but I'll always be different."
"I've always liked long, flowing clothes,...I used to rummage around in my grandmother's trunks trying to find them. I love the feeling of chiffon and lace."

Monday, 1 August 2011


Fashion Profile: Brigitte Bardot

Brigitte Bardot became a sex symbol during the late 50s - early 60s because of her elegance conveyed through modelling, acting and singing.

Born: 28th September 1934
Famous for: Becoming an international sex symbol.
Style Characteristics: Soft make-up, bouffant hair, elegant clothing.

Early Life
Brigitte Bardot was born in Paris in the early 30s, and was introduced to dance at an early age (by her mother, Anne-Marie). Bardot was extremely focused on ballet in particular, and at the age of thirteen was accepted at the Conservatoire de Paris to pursue her dance career.

Although Brigitte wanted to pursue ballet as a career, she became involved in modelling due to her soft, yet striking features. 

Modelling soon led Bardot to the world of acting; she appeared in her first film after WW2 and so became an icon by breaking through pre-War boundaries. At a time where fashion, music, art and society in general was changing, Bardot inspired others because of her elegance and talent.

Bardot was first noticed by a young film director, Roger Vadim (who was later to become her first of four husbands). Vadim saw Bardot on the cover of ELLE magazine in 1950 - when she was sixteen years old - and was offered a part in a film. 

Although the film was cancelled, Bardot made her film debut in a comedy entitled, "Le Trou Normand" (Crazy for Love). As Brigitte's career began to develop, she gained popularity (and not just in Europe). Bardot's popularity continued to grow as many of her films were dubbed for international release; this made her more accessible as an actress and soon became one of the first European actresses to gain the attention of the media within the United States.

Sex Symbol
Bardot became a sex symbol because she had an extensive media following; her films, singing and modelling flaunted her sex appeal to the public. As she became most widely known during the 50s and 60s, she became part of the generation of people who challenged accepted behaviour. 

Post-war society was changing rapidly, the formation of rock and roll music challenged the strict laws around sexual expression and so other art forms followed this new way of thinking - which is why this era produced so many icons who continue to influence modern society (such as Marilyn Monroe, Mick Jagger, Elvis...).

During her career, Bardot was openly idolised by many other influential people of the time as her body image had a significant impact on fashion trends during the late 50s. She helped make the bikini a popular form of swimwear as well as the "Bardot neckline"  (a wide open neck, exposing both shoulders).

Bardot's contributions to the fashion world are endless, she popularised the choucroute hairstyle (beehive) and by doing so, created her recognisable "sex kitten" image. This image was promoted in her seductive thriller "And God Created Woman" (1956) as Bardot was portrayed as a young woman with a high level of sexual energy - "it pushed the limits of censorship in America and the public loved it".

Animal Welfare
Brigitte Bardot announced her retirement before her 39th birthday, she had appeared in over forty films and recorded several albums. It was in 1973 that Bardot felt it was time to use her fame more effectively and began to promote animal rights (something she is continuing to do, to this day).

Read about other 60s icons here: