I watched a rather peculiar documentary today called Party Monster, The Shockumentary. It’s quite a deliberately bad taste film about the Club Kids in late 80s New York – young people who dressed outlandishly and included fashion designer James St. James– and their party organiser Michael Alig who ended up murdering someone and putting the chopped up body in a trunk. Obviously it got me thinking about fashion. And murder I suppose but that’s no change.
I love art from Francis Bacon to Lempicka to photographers of the unusual like Diane Arbus, but I also love fashion. The outfits at the Bizarre Magazine Ball for example are truly bizarre and great, so here I shall include some of the things that make me weep with joy and perhaps you will find something of interest.
Most people complain that catwalks are full of designs people would never wear in the street, but to be honest that’s the thing I enjoy seeing, mainstream or underground. Regular fashion bores me but anything a bit fantastical, gothic, odd or grunge I love.
First off I have to include my favourite online shop, Joe Brown’s, as its something people will actually be able to afford. There’s some regular stuff but look around, you’ll be very pleasantly surprised.
The fashion pics of artist Man Ray are beautiful – as shown here on author Matthew Revert’s blog. They’re very imaginative of course.
Newish designer Jared Gold’s gothic and historical clothes are great, they have a similar Alice in Wonderland feel to Bill Gibb.
Tokyo is known for its ‘avant garde’ fashion and I’d love to go there. I particularly like the punk and Gothic Lolita styles.
Keeping in the fantastical realm I definitely recommend looking out for alternative models/designers out there such as Ophelia Overdose and Audrey Kitching. Also have a look at Bizarre magazine’s alternative model website Ultra Vixens for more ladies of the odd and artistic variety, or become one of them if you like. Plus Spitalfields market in London is host to the annual Alternative Fashion Week (presented by Alternative Arts), 16-21st April. Exciting! Colourful! Imaginative!
I have a book I love containing alt glamour/pin up pictures (piercings, tattoos etc) taken by Octavio Winkytiki and Lithium Picnic (my favourite). They’re pretty and unusual, but be warned, some of the content on their sites is not for children’s eyes.
My good friend Emma Bailey is a photographer in Brighton and has done a number of burlesque shoots. Burlesque is fun, the women often have normal sized bodies and I love vintage glamour. Fancy Chance is very funny to watch live and Banbury Cross is lovely too.
I like how bananas high fashion can be, including the designs of Alexander Mcqueen and the photos of Tim Walker. Feast your face!
I’m not hugely a fan of Andy Warhol but I love some of the Factory types like the Velvet Underground, and there was something very interesting about his model Edie Sedgwick.
She had a fascinating life, one well worth reading more about.
I’m also drawn to the pictures of a model known as Scar, they’re creative and apparently she makes headresses too, which is nice. Another artistic model is Allison Harvard, who reminds me of a Tim Burton character, and gothic model Apnea is jolly too.
Finally, I know it’s such a cliche that a person who likes Neil Gaiman and alternative models such as the Suicide Girls would also like the outfits in Tim Burton films but I do, so there. I’m not a goth but Alice in Wonderland and the White Queen had me searching for my dark lipstick, as did Lilly Cole in Terry Gilliam’s Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.
Here’s a video of a creepy mechanical doll themed photo shoot by Tim Walker for Vogue Italia 2011
Here’s a video of a Jared Gold fashion show in 2008:
Below is a short ‘documentary’ of Edie Sedgwick:
2 thoughts on “Alt models, weird designers and factory girls: Freaky fashion”
Just to update this story it was the whole 90s, not the eighties! It was happening in nyc and dallas tx! I was there and watched it first hand, i hung out at club one with all the club kids, my best friend was one if them! Yes some may have started in the late eighties.. But i was mainly the 90s! Party on monsters! 🙂