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Look what they started!

How Frankie turned the pop world on to a lush new look

Their image is the biggest jolt to the complacent music biz nervous system since Little Richard put on his lipstick pout.Max Bell writing about Frankie Goes To Hollywood in No. 1, January ‘84

Suddenly every pop star worth his or her salt is flouncing around done up to the nines in silks and satins and tons of fancy jewellery. Whats going on?

An expensive design firm called Crolla is at the bottom of it.

But needless to say, it was those smart boys In Frankie who popularised the look. Just as they did with those big-worded T-shirts that were originally designed by Katharine Hamnett but soon spread all over the streets, in Frankies case supplemented by their own advertising slogans.

But Frankie moved on, as successful popstars do.

Every time I see someone in one of those shirts I think… whoa, thats another 27½ pence in the coffers!Holly Johnson, No. 1, August ‘84

Paul Rutherfords weekly twirls on Top Of The Pops were given extra zest by his long-tailed shirt, while the rest of the boys branched out into their own form of mutated evening wear.

Hollys ace tastes in medals, canes, and foppish finery had been apparent for some time. The look climaxed with the explosion of lush colour, over the top props and high-fashion fancy clothes on the sleeve of ‘Welcome To The Pleasuredome.

A thousand lurid satins popped up in the chain-stores. Fashion decreed evening jackets, long sumptuous silky shirts teamed with brocade and paisley waistcoats and set off with giant pieces of diamante jewellery.

Stage costumes for groups as diverse as The Thompson Twins, Spandau Ballet and Howard Jones went big and loud and shiny.

Holly had been there first. Again…

Underneath it all, were just scallies. But were hips scallies.Holly Johnson, No. 1, January ‘84

Watch out for Hollys latest sartorial experiment — the cute racoon tail he wore sticking out of his back pocket on The Late Late Breakfast Show. Must be all those animal appetites…

Photos by Peter Ashworth, Steve Rapport, Jamie Long and Mike Prior

  • Left: Creative Workforce stylist Basia styled Frankies album sleeve using expensive designer clothes.
  • Basia proved that the look can be achieved on a budget when No. 1 asked her to do a cut-price styling job with secondhand clothes, using young musicians as models.
  • Tom Bailey talks to No. 1 about fashion: “Ive recently been into silks and satins and brocades. I was inspired by a painting called The Opium Den, a late 19th Century Victorian romantic vision of life in the Middle East with people reclining on velvet couches…”
  • Howard Jones followed suit and unveiled his new image on his recent tour.
  • Reclining all over the floor — Spandau Ballet are recent converts to the Pleasuredome.