Saturday, 21 January 2012


So I heard Swing Out Sister (who took their name from a 1950s B-movie btw) on the radio today, and it instantly made me think of lead singer Corinne Drewery and her Mowgli-meets-pageboy-meets-Louise Brooks bob, fire engine red lippie and iconic 80s style - which fluctuated from chic LBD's to polo necks adorned with chunky statement bling to androgynous suits with shoulder pads even Hilary Devey would lust over. An alumni of Central Saint Martins, Drewery once owned her own fashion boutique, La Palette, which stocked pieces she and friends had designed and made themselves, selling to larger emporiums of style such as Macy's and Bloomingdales. 
"When I think about some of the pieces now, they were a bit handmade, but perhaps that was part of the charm. It was spontaneous British fashion", Drewery told the Scotsman in 2008.

Back when everyone else in the 80s looked like they had been attacked by a flock of seagulls (think Bananarama hair), while wearing their best dayglo tees with rolled-up sleeves and stonewash denim; Drewery was rocking her own look which was "more like a couture model than a pop star," according to writer Joanna Powell in Glamour.
As Whitney Houston teetered around in heels, leopard print head scarfs and tube dresses, wanting to dance with somebody at the 30th Grammy Awards ceremony in 1988 - Drewery wore a dress she found in a charity shop, and showed that it's not all about designer daaahling

So naturally this is all leading me on to talk about the video for one of SOS's biggest hits, Twilight World, in which Drewery sports an androgynous suit with shoulder pads that rival David Byrne's in the 1984 concert film Stop Making Sense (pic below).

She's also channelling late YSL muse Loulou de la Falaise in a shot taken by Mike Yavel in Elle Style (1982); along with 60s Mary Quant and Grace Jones' shoulder pads on the 1981 Nightclubbing LP cover. Drewery's angular and androgynous body also reminds me of model/muse Wallis Franken, who embodied the 70s zeitgeist and was one of the iconic faces of that era. Franken married French designer Claude Montana, even though he was actually gay - and should have taken note when Montana’s Shar-Pei, China, barked during the wedding ceremony as the priest asked 'does anyone here object'. She later leapt to her death from the kitchen window of her Rue de Lille apartment in 1996 - some say due to the physical and emotional abuse by an often volatile Montana. 
Did you also know that Franken appeared in the video for Madge's Justify My Love - gyrating in a raunch-fest of a leather outfit which looked like something straight out of The Night Porter? Well you do now. 

Loulou De La Falaise 1982  ©  Mike Yavel

Grace Jones 'Nightclubbing' 1981

Wallis Franken & Claude Montana

Franken in Madonna's 1990 Video 'Justify My Love'

Anyhoo, on a happier note, and getting back to Drewery - the video for Twilight World is just full of 80s goodness, and some serious shoulder-shimmying dance moves, which I'm pretty sure I've been guilty of replicating after too much Pinot Grigio Blush.


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