April 7, 2009
I like all sorts of fashions - from the medieval influences of the Pre-Raphaelites, through the Edwardian fashions prevalent during the Great War to everyone’s favourite icon, Audrey Hepburn.
But I’m not a girly-girl and one of my fashion icons is a man. And a veritable bad boy at that.
I admire the fashion sense of the late guitar god Jimi Hendrix. I’m not too crazy about his fringes and bandanas but I really like the paisley, the frills, the stripes and the polka dots that must have filled his wardrobe.
He bought his iconic military jacket at the boutique I Was Lord Kitchener’s Valet, in London’s mod Carnaby Street. The store specialized in movie costumes and military gear (Hendrix’s jacket - top picture -is from the Royal Hussars.) The designer of the Beatles Sergeant Pepper’s album cover was inspired while walking past the shop.
Hendrix’s style, whether planned or not, seems to borrow heavily from the Sans Culotte, the lower classes in France during the French Revolution at the end of the 18th Century. Sans Culotte literally means without pants, or the knee-britches that were popular with the upper class. The Sans Culotte wore long pants instead, sometimes striped, usually paired with a double-breasted or a skirted coat. Underneath was the ubiquitous puffy shirt topped off with a bandana around the neck.
I see this influence when I look at Hendrix. Jimi Hendrix’s look was cool, bohemian, vintage and oh so bright. Long gone are the days when men were comfortable to dress like peacocks. And most women who try this kind of composition end up looking like rejects from Chico’s or Coldwater Creek.
I’ll just stick to my velvets and velours. Not too much can go wrong with my polka-dot shirts. In the summer I’ll break out my stripey pants. In 2008 Christie’s auction house sold a pair of Hendrix’s multi-striped trousers for £20,000.