Roxy Music 2001


Stand out in a crowd
Roxy Music were Seventies glam-rockers par excellence. But don't overdress if you're going to their reunion gigs, warns Tony Barrell
The Times 2, 1st June, 2001

It's a tough call. Either you go with the white tux, bow-tie and the slickedback hair or you settle for the animal-print number with the Cuban-heeled tinkle-pickers. Tricky. Music concerts aren't dressy affairs any more. I mean, you went to see Simply Red quite comfortably in jeans and a shirt (not forgetting those nice brogues). And you would have felt silly crooning along to Lifted at the Lighthouse family concert in anything more glam than a tracksuit.

When Roxy Music reunite for a world tour this month, it won't just be a chance to hear all the old songs again: it will be a long-awaited opportunity for their fans, old and new, to relive an unparalleled epoch of style and fashion. The Seventies may have been the decade that taste forgot, but Bryan Ferry and his band showed pop stars and their audiences how they should be dressing in the post-hippy age.

Suddenly it was out with the couldn't-care-less blues-rock uniform of washed-out denim, cheesecloth and Silvikrin hair, and in with such neglected notions as style, elegance, glamour and individualism. In I ()- , 2 Ferry led the way with his blue-black lounge-lizard quiff and his spangly militaristic stage gear. No other band before, or since, has raided the 20thcentury dressing-up box with such artful abandon. Roxy gigs soon became populated by rows of Ferry, Eno and Mackay clones, wearing art-school or flea-market versions of the band's latest togs. "I'd often look out at the audience before the concerts and I'd see all the imitators in the front row," recalls Antony Price, the fashion designer behind the band from the beginning. "Whatever new outfit we'd put Bryan in, by the second week of the tour they'd all got one. The kind of men he seemed to attract were detail obsessed, as men often are."

Women, meanwhile, chose to emulate the glamour models pouting from the band's album sleeves. Or they modelled themselves on the air-hostess look favoured by the backing singers on the Siren tour, in their crisp blue uniforms with cream gloves draped over their shoulders. "They wore corsets underneath which took their waists right in and pushed their breasts out," recalls Price.

Whatever you choose to wear, don't get carried away - there is a danger that you'll upstage the band. Ferry, Mackay and the guitarist Phil Manzanera have a combined age of 159, and by the end of the band's last incarnation in 1983 had already toned down their stage duds. Wearing your best outfit and simply sticking a bright flower in your hair. or putting on a discreet piece of antique costume jewellery, will still get a thumbsup from the taste police.

On the other hand, don't be frightened of standing out in the crowd. "Everybody is absolutely terrified of looking different these days," moans Price. "People should stop worrying about whether or not they look the same as everybody else and start worrying more about not being exciting and different."


  • Men still have a range of classic Ferry looks to choose from. There is the obvious choice, the Bogart-style white tuxedo with bow-tie, circa 1973. A black dinner suit would be a good alternative.
  • You may, however, be more comfortable in a khaki or beige army-style shirt like the one Ferry wore on the Siren tour in 1975; a black tie, tucked in between two of the higher buttons, would be an authentic touch.
  • The other truly snappy dresser in the Roxy ranks was the sax player Andy Mackay, who modelled bright suits, Cuban-heeled winkle-pickers, retro sunglasses, stringy bow-ties and a pomaded DA haircut.


  • Women can still look fantastic by copying the album sleeves, though only the daring will arrive in minimal underwear. A skimpy jungle dress such as Marilyn Cole's on the Stranded cover may be more practical.
  • There is no alternative to high heels. If you want to be clever, try imagining what a Roxy girl would look like now; recent collections by Alexander McQueen and Anna Sui are perfect for a 21st-century Roxette.
  • Pillbox hats, like the one recently worn by Stella McCartney at a Chloe show, were a Seventies audience favourite. 0 Wear mother-of-pearl - a witty reference to the song of that name.

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