We sighed when Britney Spears considered a clothing line for Ed Hardy, but we weren’t exactly surprised. We were confused when Avril Lavigne forced her love of ties and “punk rock” skull imagery upon us with her line, Abbey Dawn, but it was quickly relegated to the sales rack at Kohl’s. Amy Winehouse’s line for PPQ, thankfully, never even got off the ground. This, however, is just too much: Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz has launched Clandestine Industries, a “fashion line” that appears to consist of Louis Vuitton knockoff hoodies and T-shirts adorned with bulbous anime characters. Oh, and a haute couture straight jacket and Jason mask worn by the designer himself at a recent runway presentation.
After reflecting on that for a moment, we decided that it’s time to pay tribute to the musical artists whose real flair for fashion in everyday life would actually be sure to create some kick-ass couture.
JD Samson, best known as a former member of Le Tigre and half of electronic dance duo MEN (with former Le Tigre bandmate Joanna Fateman), rocks a distinctive style that’s two-thirds wise-ass teenager and one-third dapper gentleman. JD’s clothing line would have an array of sweet Day-Glo kicks, blocky-patterned sideways baseball caps, colorful graphic T-shirts with feminist and radical themes, signature horn-rimmed glasses, and some elegant three-piece suits tailored for the female frame. Think of Kanye West with a better sense of humor and social responsibility.
The music of Baltimore-based shoegaze duo Beach House evokes fairytale wistfulness and visions of a breathlessly hot summer day in a vast field, so it’s only natural that their usual attire seems perfect for such a setting. Beach House’s clothing line would feature flowing skirts and cutout sleeves in muted pastel and earth tones for the Victoria Legrands, and neutral-colored bootcut pants and square-shouldered jackets for the Alex Scallys. Ideally, their clothing line would be the manifestation of Lux Lisbon‘s wildest dreams.
There are many things Joan Jett deserves, including a dang Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nomination, and she’s got almost 30 years of fashion badassery to pull from to make a clothing line. True to her roots, Jett’s line would probably feature studs, zippers, and more studs and zippers, plus a ton of faux leather (she’s a vegan!), with black being the color of the day. Shit-kicking pointy-heeled boots and burnished silver jewelry would be the fanciest Jett would get, as she’s known to live in a good pair of jeans, so we’ll throw in some distressed boot-leg denim, a faux-leather headband, and poof: Jett’s taking over the John Varvatos store’s lease.
Beck would surely be a welcome fashion ambassador for the smaller men of the world; the Drugstore Cowboy established himself early on as a long-haired, cowboy hat and vest-wearing loner amid the flannel sea, so it seems only natural that he’d have a clothing line. He’s since gained an affinity for lounge lizard attire, so we envision a line of embellished suits, oversized fedoras, embroidered vests, and a big mess o’ wildly patterned ties and manscarves. The complete L. Ron Hubbard library might not fly as an accessory, but it’s his fashion line, not ours.
Natasha Khan, a.k.a. British singer/songwriter/harpist/guitarist Bat for Lashes already has one of the more creative arrays of T-shirt designs on her website, ranging from a bear holding its fowl prey to a coyote regarding a cyclone. Seems only natural that an artist with an album entitled Fur and Gold should know her way around a dressform, right? Gold would play a starring role in the Bat For Lashes line, whether it be headbands, bangles, or thread woven into sheer linen sleeveless dresses, accented with peacock feather earrings and capes, as well as heavy bronze pendants for good measure. Just imagine Khan’s clothing line as the wardrobe for an indie pop Cleopatra.
French electronic musicians Daft Punk would do a great service to all the folks out there dying to wear flashy helmets and metallic bodysuits. The possibilities are endless, if you think about it… metal gloves fitted to your specific hand size, platform moon boots, jetpacks for every occasion, and for nights out on the town, high-collared, solid brightly-colored suits with matching, streamlined helmets. Doing the Robot will never look unnatural again. Just don’t shoot yourself in the leg with your spacegun at the club.
Freak-folk princess Joanna Newsom sounds like an otherworldly creature, sometimes to a fault, but in the fashion world, the farther you are from this earth, the better. The House of Joanna Newsom Style would consist mainly of gossamer skirts, ribbon sashes, angel-winged sleeves, and giant headdresses of fur and feathers. Deep v-necked tunics and asymmetrical headbands would completely eradicate the need for pants, as foreign woodland nymphs certainly wouldn’t be caught dead in denim. Hand-knitted tights with interwoven flowers? That’s more like it.
Piano man, opera composer, and Judy Garland impersonator Rufus Wainwright has been known to don everything from a Wicked Witch of the West costume to lederhosen. However, a clothing line that truly emanated the essence of Sir Rufus would contain an abundance of fitted waistcoats and vests, simple collared shirts rolled up at the sleeve, and a little extra snazzy something, like a striped dinner jacket adorned with a rose or a dress pants with a line of sequins up the leg. Wearers of the Rufus Wainwright clothing line would have the benefit of both his classical training and the sparkling diva within.
Our first instinct for a clothing line by of Montreal frontman and master of flamboyance and excess Kevin Barnes mainly consisted of various shades of body paint and Mylar hot pants. While this is probably the most accurate portrayal of Barnes’ personal fashion, especially on stage, we do have to give a nod to practicality, yes? In that case, we predict complete and utter psychedelia in clothing form, channeling the Beatles’ original “All You Need is Love” live television broadcast. Brocade jackets, scarves knotted at the throat, cloth leis, and a patterned corset for good measure. As Barnes never turns up his nose at a hot frock, ladies alike would be pleased with the Kevin Barnes clothing line, which would include more practical reproductions of the fish-scaled and pink-ruffled 15-foot dress. Ahh, sweet decadence.
Now for the most eligible of them all: the one and only David Bowie, a fashion icon ever since he owned the stage in a pair of platform boots and a leotard as Ziggy Stardust. While Bowie has inspired clothing lines (even one at Target, of all places), the world is long overdue for a new wardrobe guided by his expert and fastidious hand. The man who reinvented himself one era at a time could grace us with a line for each incarnation: Ziggy Stardust’s skintight one-piece bodysuits and rainbow wedge platforms; the Thin White Duke’s immaculate pinstripe suits, vests and ties; the Berlin era’s wide-legged flood pants and square-shouldered jackets; the loud ’80s pantsuits with shirt open at the chest; the ’90s Wall Street suits and collared sweaters. Plus, he has the best secret weapon… none other than the critical and expert eye of supermodel wife Iman, CEO of her own clothing line, IMAN Global Chic.
These are, at best, humble suggestions, but we’d be lying if we said we wouldn’t be stoked should one of these artists take our cue. Until then, we hope we’ve banished the image of Pete Wentz being “subversive” in a straitjacket at his fashion show from your mind for at least a few moments. Perhaps his next fashion show involves a pair of handcuffs and some disgruntled bodyguards.