New Romantics

Adam Ant and Boy George have a lot to answer for... It was because of them that I went out in public wearing a blouse frillier than the frilliest thing in the world, ever. Luckily, I stopped short of the over-the-top make-up favoured by two of history's most famous New Romantics. New Romanticism really had its roots in the 70s punk fashion movement, of which Vivienne Westwood was perhaps the most notable proponent, but instead of taking its cues from the grim council estates and the miserable struggles against social deprivation, the New Romantics celebrated glamour and partying and all things theatrical. Basically the New Romantics were the punks that just liked the dressing up bit and weren’t so keen on all the anarchy. The bold and streaky make-up was a clear throw-back to punk, as were some of the outlandish frilled costumes worn by Adam and his Ants, but things had moved on and become altogether more glamorous. The pirate look designed by Vivienne Westwood for Adam and the Ants is probably the most iconic of the New Romantic outfits with full-sleeved, frilled buccaneer shirts made from expensive fabrics, Victorian-era Hussar’s jacket with gold braiding and high-waisted, baggy trousers tapering at the ankle finished off with a white stripe painted across the bridge of the nose. The New Romantics look wasn't all that town-centre friendly - you were risking a good beating walking out to your local cinema dressed like Spandau Ballet. However, nightclubs often boasted a fair few frilly shirts inspired by the likes of David Bowie, Duran Duran, Ultravox and Culture Club. Fortunately for the more fearful fashion followers of the time, a toned down and more practical version of the New Romantic fashion began to appear, starting with small shirt collars worn unfolded for men, excessive use of eye shadow and blusher for women and quiff hairstyles for either sex.

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Do You Remember New Romantics?

Do You Remember New Romantics?

  • Anonymous user
    I remember this mostly because of Top of the Pops.. I was one that lived on a East London Council Estate, and I frankly could not relate.. at all. The insinuation at androgyny the costume-like clothing, and the highly teased hair.. Frankly would've gotten my ass kicked..real bad galavanting around the E5 postcode with that.. The girls seemed to identify with it, understand it, and embrace it tho.. Good for them. Heck.. I remember Boy George performed the ribbon cutting ceremony at the new Safeway in Stamford Hill I think back in 82 or 83 or was it 84.. Big crowd came out and lots of girls bunked off from school to be there.. It wasnt until a nostalgic lookback at some youtube vids just a couple of years ago that I finally (almost 40-years later) got the first insight into what the New Romantic movement/fashion/culture was. I was young, it was a style and people that I simply didnt identify with.. tho I like to watch top of the Pops just as much as the next guy.. cant say I really saw much of it at all on the street.. Wasnt old enough to go to clubs either and I suspect that's where it largely got to be expressed.