17 March 2022
Photo by Mick Rock, 1976
HARMONY IN BRYAN'S STYLE
Other bands wanted to wreck hotel rooms, Roxy Music wanted to redecorate them.
Bryan Ferry's first interview in Melody Maker magazine,
published on August 7, 1971
When his band took the stage with their debut single, Virginia Plain, in August 1972, Bryan Ferry wore a waisted, sequined black jacket and leather pants, and he framed his eyelids with green eye shadow. It didn't look kitsch on him at all. The group's other members—all Winchester School of Art graduates—mixed musical and clothing styles wearing leather shirts, white jackets with oversized lapels, and leopard-print jackets, among other things. Their aesthetic had no limitations. It appeared forward-thinking, avant-garde, and progressive. Therefore, it was evident from their first performance that Roxy Music would not only leave a musical mark on the 1970s but will also influence the fashion of that time.
Bryan Ferry was born in 1945 in County Durham, England. He graduated in Fine Arts in 1968 from Newcastle University, when, as he says, art and music began to rule his life. Even the renowned Tate Gallery displayed several of his pieces in 1970. During this period, Ferry was a member of the bands The Banshees, City Blues and The Gas Board. After graduating, he moved to London to teach art and ceramics at Holland Park School. Still, there he primarily pursued his musical career and only two years later founded Roxy Music.
Bryan Ferry via Pinterest
The initial line-up was guitarist David O'List, saxophone Andy MacKay, keyboardist Brian Eno, bassist Graham Simpson, and drummer Dexter Lloyd. When Roxy Music, their debut record, was published in 1972, it became a breakout hit in the UK. The group subsequently created the groundwork for art-rock, a polished refinement style that contrasts with rock's rebelliousness. After their second album, For Your Pleasure, their music travelled to America. Still, Ferry’s disappointment at the failure in the United States prompted him to pursue a career as a solo artist. The band rarely appeared in the following years until their comeback in the early eighties. Then, however, they presented a much softer musical style; we remember the albums Flash and Blood (1980) and Avalon (1982). The band separated a year after their last album. The members went their separate ways until Roxy Music came back in 2001.
Bryan Ferry via Pinterest
Bands use their image to project a personal brand even though their primary focus is on music. A weaker, lighter visual identity won't make the music any worse... On the other hand, when it is clearly defined and consistent, the band's overall image can only become stronger, and their musical concepts can become more distinct. The frontman of Roxy Music was, of course, Bryan Ferry, who, as a sixteen-year-old, worked in a tailor's workshop where he fell in love with style books and conversations about clothing. He adored fashion illustrations, where he absorbed how the men of his time dressed and drew inspiration for developing his style. At his performances, he was not afraid to wear a daring or unexpected look, and off the stage, he offered a fresh interpretation of classic menswear. He enjoyed experimenting in both situations. Michael Bracewell points out in his book Roxy Music: Bryan Ferry, Brian Eno, Art, Ideas and Fashion that for someone whose appearance is so steeped in the nebulous idea of "good taste", Ferry adores vulgarity and kitsch. According to Bracewall, such an anti-style aesthetic highlights his passion for the attractive and adds another layer of "impeccable taste" to his clothing choices.
Bryan Ferry via Pinterest
Ferry’s voice is elegant and seductive. If we can connect the culture of music creation and clothing solutions, we would describe Ferry as an intelligent and seductive gentleman of British charm. He is elegant because of the suits in which he still walks and seductive because he attractively blends materials, colours, patterns, and cuts, playing with different textures. Ferry intentionally creates discord in an otherwise harmonious ensemble by combining traditional leather trousers and pointed-collar silk shirts with double-breasted suits, tweed jackets, and striped club ties. It can be simple to copy other people's clothing for your own, but attitude makes someone a style icon. Bryan Ferry is a model of sophisticated, self-assured restraint.
Photography: Michael Putland,
Los Angeles, 1976
This outfit from 1976 is the one I would most like to have in my wardrobe. It's fascinating to see how he transitioned from the most traditional to (too) eccentric combinations, in which we could still spot his seductive style, as seen here in a black leather jacket with embroidered cowboy details, a white shirt with a few unbuttoned buttons, a collar underneath the coat, and a watch and black jeans… His distinct stylistic ease of posing creates our idol because it's the attitude that makes the power of someone’s outfits.
Ferry is one of those musicians who leaves an immeasurable trace of the image he created in the treasury of inspiration. A lifelong fascination with clothing as a pop culture uniform gave rise to that imagery. Like his colleague, David Bowie (who calls our style-idol his idol), Ferry influenced numerous generations with his image and music. But, more importantly, Bryan Ferry proves that the spirit of an era lives on and can influence many later generations. Now the party's over; I'm so tired, Then I see you coming, out of nowhere, Much communication, in a notion, Without conversation, or a notion...