Wornstar Clothing: Rock Gods Uniform

First of all I must confess, when I first saw the current collection of Wornstar my jaw dropped. Because… Have you ever wanted to be a rock star? Have you ever played in some local metal bands dreaming to make it big some day? Well if so, I think you wanted your stagewear to look like this! It’s so ultimately pure rock’n’roll for anybody who’s been raised on 80’s and 90’s metal! And what’s even more special, it’s not usual merchandise for music fans, it’s rather some kind of musicians’ uniform, apparel the rock stars would use to do their job… and looking tremendously hot is an obvious part of it 🙂

Wornstar Clothing was created in 2009 by stylist and designer Sylvia Jensen and art director, designer and photographer Stephen Jensen, though the brand’s general idea has been developing since at least 2002. Both founders have a long and successful life spent in the very heart of rock’n’roll. Stephen was quite successful as a designer and photographer with his studio named “F3 Studios” where he was mainly focused on album design, including all the packaging. Stephen’s second big passion was guitar design and this section of his portfolio is really who is who of rock music! He designed guitars for Dimebag Darrell, Dave Mustaine, Michael Schenker, Leslie West, Zakk Wylde, Kerry King, Jerry Cantrell, Zoltan Bathory, George Lynch, Trent Reznor, Rik Emmett, Corey Beaulieu, Matt Heafy, Rudolf Schenker, Michael Angelo Batio and many many others. How cool is that?! His wife Sylvia Jensen, whose passion was clothing design, actually worked with Stephen at “F3 Studios”. Her responsibilities included wardrobe styling for the photo shoots and she ended up making quite unique stagewear for many of musicians they’ve done photo shoots and album design for.

The brand sells a lot of t-shirt designs and they all are pretty cool, but I think it’s safe to say the stagewear attracts way more attention than anything else 🙂 No wonder so many rock stars don’t go farther and completely trust Wornstar with their stage wardrobe. Watching their website I couldn’t get away from a feeling I’ve already seen it somewhere… and I was totally right: Tom Keifer (remember the band Cinderella?) always hits the stage dressed in Wornstar clothes! That’s where I saw it, such a relief my memory doesn’t play tricks on me and I’m not crazy. By the way, there’s a special page on Wornstar website where you can see all the famous rock guys who collaborate with the brand and the list looks ve-e-e-ery impressive.

Worth to mention Wornstar isn’t sexist and produces apparel (including the stagewear) for women too. Everything in the best rock’n’roll style, of course.

Have to admit everything by Wornstar costs money and I’ve see some complaints about it online. Letting along the stage apparel, a t-shirt would cost about $50 and the price would fly much higher if you want to buy it in Europe, but… hey, special can’t be cheap, that’s why it’s special. In my personal opinion it’s better to buy a great quality something for $50 and let it serve you long than spend hard-earned money on cheap crap to throw it away in a month. Any way when I see what Wornstar creates, I do understand it’s great, it’s unique and it’s expensive. There’s no problem in this sequence whatsoever. The attitude is everything and here’s the clothes that have a lot of it!

When Rock And Roll Looks Cool

I was always obsessed with how musicians looked, probably because I always felt music should be deeply connected with the general visual presentation, and if musicians didn’t care about some special concert outfits and their show then in many cases I couldn’t care less about their music (you can imagine what a torture 90’s were to me). Some would say “Hey, if you wanna see clowns, just go to a circus”, but there would be a huge point missed. Foremost I’d say for my money I would always want to get a massive bang and not just four guys in jeans staring at their sneakers. A lot of musicians don’t need anything special or they’re way to shy to try something, but luckily there are quite a few bands nowadays attempting to express themselves both musically and visually.

At the same time it would be quite interesting and inspiring to take a close look into the stream of history and find a couple of examples of the bands who didn’t just look special, but also asserted some huge influence on other bands in terms of stage clothing. You know, it can be quite a lot of sweet show acts, but there must be someone who started it all. How about some kind of a “best of the best” article? Let’s go and give some credit to those who deserve it!

 

In the very end of 60’s the hippie wave was streaming back taking away everything that was usual for the most favorite bands of that time – velvet pants, natural light colors, floral insertions and world peace ideas. The new guys, the rock idols of 70’s were a lot more striking and even brutal in a way, they didn’t care about the planet Earth, but wanted to conquer it making the audience face their darker side. And if Alice Cooper wasn’t the first one who introduced the early 70’s rock scene to some really shocking outfits and gimmicks (Arthur Brown anybody?), he was still the most notable show rocker of that era. His early Alice Cooper Band was one of the most bizarre acts out there, being also one of the most hated (by critics and parents) bands on the planet and Alice did everything to make it be that way. His early image was rather feminine / transsexual and the mix of his brutal, macabre, alcohol-loving behavior and skin-tight rather female clothes was driving the society really mad! Just imagine, in 1972 the band was banned from playing in the entire UK while having a #1 album in the UK charts! That’s how you should irritate people, young bands, watch and learn 🙂 Too bad while destroying the social stereotypes Alice nearly destroyed himself…

He returned to the stage in 1986 as a different man – sober yet way more brutal than ever before! In black leather, metal and laces. In spite of the fact that he never went beyond the limits of classic horror rock fashion ever since, Alice Cooper can be still considered to be the first real inspiration for all the following generation of shock rock heroes.

Nearly at the same time when Cooper was storming the global charts with his first hit singles there was another band, that was taking the image thing quite serious – Sweet from UK. Being an ultimate party rock band at heart Sweet grabbed the hippie fashion and took it to the limit and beyond. Jeans were replaced with literally anything that shined and sparked, the natural colors were gone for silver and gold. The clothes become as skinny, sexy (well, in a way people were seeing it back then) and flamboyant as it only could get. Addition of various fluffy things, magician cloaks and even feather boas gave it some sort of a transsexual appeal (something that the band New York Dolls was trying to do in US). To some extent they influenced a lot of rock bands in 70’s, including our next heroes – KISS.

We already had a separate big article about these masked rock’n’roll heroes, but we see no reason not to give KISS a couple more sentences. While having probably the most talented creative team on Earth behind them and connections with the coolest clothing designers and photographers of their time, these guys have managed to create something so unique and global that it keeps influencing the show business even nowadays. I seriously can’t imagine what somebody could possibly add to the stagewear after KISS! It can sound a bit pretentious, but I think all that’s left for the bands who’d like to look differently is… well, to copy KISS one way or another, because if you come up with a great and fresh idea for a costume – metal, leather, spandex, codpieces, cloaks, spikes, mirror pieces, diamonds, stones, chains, fur, platform boots and so on, and so on, and so on – believe me, KISS have already tried that 🙂

80’s were getting ready to become an era of pink suits and green ties, but then Motley Crue appeared on the horizon. Being a crispy composition of glam metal and punk musically, visually they were rather a thundering mix of the punk culture with a huge dose of KISS legacy. Why are we mentioning them if there was hardly anything new in their looks? Well, because weirdly enough Motley Crue has become a role model for 99% of the 80’s glam scene, including the fashion. Sometimes it seemed all the Sunset Strip bands were waiting for Motley Crue to change their stage costumes to start wearing almost exactly the same drags for their own shows. Even better – there were times when Crue copied KISS, but in the very middle of 80’s KISS started to copy the Crue’s outfits and that was just priceless 🙂 So I think it’s very safe to say that in terms of the 80’s rock stage fashion this band was the one to influence all the others. Kudos!

The band W.A.S.P. has gained much less popularity than Crue, but still built a significant milestone in everything related to the stage fashion. In their early years the band inherited much from the glam scene while never trying to look clean and harmless. The band’s leader Blackie Lawless was a perfect incarnation of a sexually curious maniac in his high leopard boots, some dangerously huge cuts on the backside of his spandex pants and classic rotary saws on his leather bracers. Nothing too special, but still W.A.S.P. became quite an inspiration for a lot of latter theatrical rock acts.

In general 80’s were the fashion paradise for anybody who would care enough to spend time on his stage clothing. The rock’n’roll bands used to trip over one another yearning to become the most outrageous, appealing and sexy, but not always original… Still there’s no reason we shouldn’t mention such bands as Judas Priest for visualising the most “metal” group ever, Manowar for their Conan-like leather-and-metal brutality and epicness, and Twisted Sister for simply pushing it all to the very limit of total absurdity 🙂

 

Judas Priest

Manowar

Twisted Sister

As for the special stage clothing the very beginning of the new century wasn’t very generous with us. Everybody looked more or less the same back then. Probably our world was still hurt by the grunge invention and needed some more time to lick its wounds… And everything would be quite dull if Lordi didn’t come along! With their monstrous, larger-than-life costumes (designed and made by the singer Mr.Lordi himself!) the band practically became the new KISS, especially since the original Lordi members were the big KISS fans. I’m not sure if it’s appropriate to talk about the influence Lordi have on the new generations of rock bands, because frankly nobody can come even close to their unreachably high level of stage fashion. Still I had to mention Lordi in this article, just to remind myself there’s still hope for us all.

Ok, may be I missed GWAR who were there long before Lordi, but… c’mon, the GWAR’s costumes are not even costumes! The band still looks more like a bunch of people wearing something indescribable made of human and animal parts 🙂 Aaargghhhh!

Marilyn Manson is here, because he was the man who brought the goth fashion from the small underground clubs to the light of day. Of course if you were all into the dark scene before, his 90’s character could seem not too original to you, but for the wide world Manson has become some sort of an Anti-Prometheus who brought us all dirt, ripped tights, goth platform boots and male corsets. Kids loved him and parents hated him – isn’t it a perfect success formula?! However several years later Manson made a smooth transition into way more glamourous character leaving his sado-masochistic drag far behind… Too bad, we’ll miss his Antichrist Superstar. Still the late idea with a stage costume with female breasts was really awesome 🙂

Speaking generally the goth community has given us lots and lots visual styles, usually very striking though not always suggesting something really new. One of very positive examples of taking something old and designing a quite original style on its basis was the American artist Emilie Autumn. Her perfect mix of the goth aesthetics, the classic Victorian fashion and delicately selected steampunk elements gave birth to something really great-looking – so great that later I’ve seen many goth artists trying to implement something similar.

And finally here’s it, something sweet for the grand finale – the visual kei, a whole big musical sub-genre where looking outrageously overwhelming is a big “must”! Many bands from Japan look kind of unusual, but if it’s a visual kei band you can expect something especially swanky, like an act looking like the characters from a Japanese super hero cartoon or a video game. No matter if it’s classic rock Japan X, goth heroes Moi Dix Mois, kawaii death metal band Babymetal or power metal act Versailles – each musician would look perfectly and every detail of every costume will be on its place. Not sure about you, but I’m glad there’s a place in this world where people would rather die than come on stage wearing t-shirts and jeans 🙂

What Is This All About?

First things first – this website is all about alternative clothing and people who create it. “Alternative” doesn’t always mean it’s something incredibly extravagant, it just means that it’s created by an original brand and by highly enthusiastic people with an original vision, that this clothing can speak about a person who wears it more than a hundred words and finally that no casual network stands behind it. It might sound boring, but the idea of this website has come to Albert quite naturally. There was no brainstormings, no sleepless nights and nobody yelled “Heureka!”, He just started thinking about bringing a certain amount of diversity into his own wardrobe and that was the exact moment when his pain began! Albert has spent like three hours online, found nothing and his head was exploding, he just couldn’t concentrate anymore! It was a never-ending miserable and fruitless tour through plenty of websites with thousands of products swarming before his red eyes. It was a plain shop syndrome, when after 10 minutes looking at the shelves you start feeling exhausted and hate everything you see even though there can be many fairly good things. Do you know that? Sure, you do. It happens every damn time you’re not really sure what you want. You just want… something. Something you might like. And sometimes you kind of know what you need, but have no idea where to find it. Holy cow, life is hard, right?

 

That’s why we tried to create a website to make this suffering sort of bearable or even enjoyable! To give you at least a direction to follow and not just surf till the end of times. To introduce you to so many alternative clothing brands you’d probably never know without this website!

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Prince: The Visual Evolution of His Highness

2016 has taken a lot of great musicians from us and Prince was one of them… You know what? Let’s cut the bulls**t and not start this “great this great that” thing, because it won’t tell anything about this person. You could like his music and you could not like it, but lemme tell you Prince was an outstanding musician in the most literal way. Just hit YouTube and take a look at how awesome he was with guitar and bass! Frankly when I watched “Purple Rain” on TV when I was a kid, I had no idea about that. I thought it was another pop boy, just one of many who got famous riding his only hit song. And then at some point I saw Prince playing and that was it, I was desperately hooked. Add intelligence, style, sense of humor, showmanship, ability to make a great song from nothing and you’ll get an ultimate music star of a kind they don’t make any more. By the way about style – Prince really had and I guess nobody has ever seen him in bad shape or dressed in dirty jeans and rumpled t-shirt. This is what this gallery is all about – to capture Prince in all his brilliance and celebrate his undisputable sense of style.

Paka

Paka: Tennis Can Look And Feel Better

I guess the sportswear is a very special subject we’ve never touched on this website, mainly because there are not so many sportswear brands out there that could be considered as alternative ones. Any kind of sport is like an army or a fire-fighting service, I mean when you become a part of it there’s already a standard outfit waiting for you. Wear it and that’s kind of it. Yet looks like it’s possible to find the alternative fashion sprouts here too.

 

The tennis uniform is pretty simple, it isn’t supposed to involve some large product line, still we could see those well-known tennis t-shirts and shorts can look differently.

Ukrainian brand with the funny name Paka is probably the youngest company we’ve ever had on Out Of Trend, because it was founded in 2017 in Kyiv. Obviously it’s main focus is set on the original professional tennis clothing with a fashion twist. It’s stated on the Paka’s website their main feature is a special COOLMAX technology they use to make their clothing humidity-resistant. Their tissue surface kind of collects the sweat from the player’s body and absorbs it, which is a big deal for the serious players who often feel pretty uncomfortable because of all those sweat and dust covering their clothing during the game. Another Paka’s feature is sun-resistance which helps to avoid some evident unpleasant smells.

The tennis uniform is pretty simple, it isn’t supposed to involve some large product line, still we could see those well-known tennis t-shirts and shorts can look differently. Paka places a premium on bright happy colors with a periodical use of the classic white. And here we’re coming to something I’m not very sure about – the graphic design. You see, the name Paka is already sounds close enough to the famous Pac-Man (one of the most influential computer game characters in the world, made by Japanese company Namco in 1980 in case you have no idea) and if we take a close look at the Paka’s graphic designs we’d see a lot of… Pac-Man or a character that looks almost exactly like it. I’m not really sure if it was done by purpose or by a mistake. Other design elements are very game-influenced too and it’s great, but this Paka who’s obviously a Pac-Man’s long lost Ukrainian twin, leaves a lot of questions without answers. Still let’s not think hard things of the brand and just hope they do some sort of licensed products. And I’d like to add I really liked the overall designs, especially those with the pixel textures that make it look very 80’s, in a good way.

In conclusion I’d like to say all in all Paka can be seen as a good alternative for those passionate tennis players who’d like to look differently. As you can see the brand sells also the complete set combos of clothing + rackets so all the things would suit to each other perfectly. Good idea, the more good style on the court, the better.

Mittelalterlich Phantasie Spectaculum 2017 (Hamburg-Öjendorf, Germany)

If you’re curious why we started paying attention to music festivals, I’d say it’s not exactly that simple. In spite of the fact that music and fashion have always been very close, it’s fashion and not exactly the music what made us interested. Just look around and you’ll find lots and lots events that attract some visually special kind of audience and represent a certain visual and spiritual style. For example, we already mentioned Wave Gotik Treffen once and it’s where you should travel to see the goth people in all their glory and visual diversity. But what about European folk community? What if you’d like to dive deep into the Middle Ages, dance to some real medieval folk music, hang out with knights, troubadours, artisans and wizards and enjoy some very eye-pleasing medieval/fantasy fashion? Well, I could recommend at least several big events for all that, but Mittelalterlich Phantasie Spectaculum would be probably the first to cross my mind.

 

MPS is the biggest folk culture festival in Germany with everything you could expect to see at such an event. Even better – every year it roams across the country and visits (each time for 2 days straight) up to twenty cities since March till the end of September. Actually I was damn lucky to catch it in Hamburg-Öjendorf, because everybody says if you want to see the real MPS you should do it in Hamburg. Great start!

Öjendorfer Park is the traditional place for Mittelalterlich Phantasie Spectaculum in Hamburg and I have to say I haven’t seen a better place for such a festival! You just can’t think of a better place for a folk event than this huge, green area with a large lake, especially if the weather is fine, and on that day it luckily was. Even though the MPS area is gigantic (it takes the space equal to 20 football fields and it actually can take up to half an hour if you’d like to reach a stage located in some other part of the festival ground), it’s just a small spot of the Öjendorfer Park’s map. We found the park quickly, yet still had a long way to go to the festival entrance, but in this case it wasn’t particularly a bad thing, because the park was so beautiful. You don’t get bored along the way, you rather get mesmerized by those never-ending green fields and sparking water of the Öjendorfer lake with some small islands scattered here and there.

Entering the MPS area is like stepping into a portal to another dimension. 21st century stays behind the fence and you become utterly absorbed in a motley and clamorous variation of a “Middle Age VS sci-fi” world with several big and small concert stages, lots of food and drink stands, dozens of amusements for children and adults and so on. Thousands of people around you walking, chatting, drinking and having lots of fun and high above all this you can see some huge balloons with MPS logos flying (I guess they were intended to help people finding the concert stages). After just 10 minutes here your head starts spinning and you just don’t know where to look first! And the first thing we stumbled upon was the band Cobblestones, an Irish folk act from Berlin. The guys looked like miners with dirty faces and tools hanging down their belts and played some quite good acoustic Irish rock. And all four of them could sing – that’s what you can’t see that often, even on the folk scene.

Somebody else would probably set all his systems on and run to explore every little corner of the area, but I strongly believe in beer being the starting point of every festival. The weather was great, our spirit was flying higher than the sun, so we just stroke into one of the nearest bars. All of them are decorated as pirate taverns or pirate ships and it feels awesome to be there, especially since the beer menu happened to be quite eye-delighting. Being not a big fan of mixing drinks I just stuck to one of my favs – the “Honigbier”, which is a sweet beer with honey. Very recommended! Speaking about food, it’s literally everywhere and for any taste, including vegan, and it’s really delicious. The only minus is obviously too many people: doesn’t matter how many food stands are available – there will be a line of 20 people to any of them 🙂 Still you get use to that very quickly and it becomes tolerable, just forget about rush. You see, those long lines unwittingly serve the general MPS aura and teach you to relax and enjoy the day. Just leave your usual festival “I have to be there and there and there – all at the same time!” race behind and chill. This is what Mittelalterlich Phantasie Spectaculum is all about.

 

The next gig we saw was the UK’s very own Celtic rock band The Dolmen. These guys play at MPS almost every year and every time gather quite a crowd! I’m not a fan and can’t be too specific, but as always The Dolmen played a decent and very honest set and people at the stage enjoyed it very much.

Versengold followed as the next group and these folks surely knew how to rock! To be honest I’m not a fan of this band either, but at least I’ve seen them live two times before, know what to expect and even can sing along “Im Names des Volkes” 🙂 Say anything you want about them, but every time they play like it’s their last gig on the Earth and their drive splashes over the top. Need a band to bring some fabulous cheerful spirit to the neighborhood – call Versengold!

What we saw next was probably one of the coolest things of the day – “Großer Umzug der Heerlager”. Put simply, MPS wouldn’t be MPS if its guests were just simple folk fans. There’s also a very special kind of people who take the medieval culture very seriously. Every year they come (sometimes up 3 or 4 generations together!), put up their tents, set their own family blazon banners high and live pretty much as they would live in 13th century (with some minor differences, of course). And once a day all the families and clans unite for a big march across the whole festival ground! Looks magnificent and sometimes very funny. Some groups look very focused and even professional and some just take it all as a huge carnival.

Sailing closer to the people, usual guests of Mittelalterlich Phantasie Spectaculum with a rampant imagination! Magical fairy tale creatures drew my special attention!

More than enough people came dressed gorgeously and in outstanding style – pirates, wizards, knights, sorceresses, crusaders, elves, highwaymen, Northern warriors, highlanders and I saw even a couple of ancient Rome legionaries and empire troopers from Star Wars! One could guess they felt kind of lost in the middle of this medieval party, but they weren’t at all. I definitely should think about buying a Captain Kirk’s costume for the next MPS 🙂

Celtica Pipes Rock happened to be a very nice surprise for me, I really liked their harder sort of folk with both bagpipes and heavy guitars. And a nice show too! Unfortunately they performed with an incomplete line-up, or I just wasn’t lucky to see the whole band because I could stay only for 10 minutes and then had to run to another stage. Hope to check them closer next time…

Saltatio Mortis is literally annual guest at MPS, there’s no Mittelalterlich Phantasie Spectaculum without them! They are one of the most known and successful folk bands of Germany and usually if you see a huge wild crowd before a stage, you can be sure it’s them. Usually Saltatio Mortis play twice a day, once during the day and once in the evening (with an awesome fire show!), but this time I managed to attend only the first one. As usual the band delivered a classy and highly professional “best of” show and the audience had a time of their lives singing for rasp. “Wir sind wie der Wind, man sperrt uns nicht ein, wild und frei – so wollen wir sein…” (c)

After Saltatio Mortis we felt we could use some rest and just went for lunch. As always, the honey beer was great and I swear I’ve never tasted the barbecue ribs that awesome! We found a rest zone full of hay and finally got some good rest there. What can possibly tune your spirit better than lying on the fresh hay on a beautiful day, listen to some distant bagpipes, absorbing beer and meat and chatting about what we just saw… We still had a lot to see though, so in an hour we continued our trip across the festival ground hoping to see more interesting stuff and nice people.

Once started Mittelalterlich Phantasie Spectaculum never takes a pause – there’s always something going on and if you just travel across the area, you’d definitely find something to warm your heart. Various stores offer anything you might need in this cruel world of leather and steel, some smaller folk bands play here and there filling the air with joyful sounds of reed pipes. In the middle of the festival ground you could see a huge fire-breathing smithy with four real blacksmiths working. Sometimes you could notice typical medieval attractions where anyone could test his strength, agility or archery skills. There was even a very authentic open hot water bath-house and sometimes you could see some laughing bare ass people running both directions from or to it 🙂 Have you ever wanted a hug from an Uruk-hai? It was possible too, since several of them were there for a free hug that could possibly cost you life, but who cares?! We were also lucky to catch the end of a big staged knight tournament. Of course the good nights won, the bad cheating knight failed (that bastard used a magic sword, can you believe it?!) and the people in the audience had some good time watching the whole battle play and cheering the winners.

Probably the most popular attraction for kids was a hay castle filled with plastic yellow balls. They were super light, soft and harmless so everybody was just going crazy with them. In the evening half of the festival area was covered with those yellow balls!

My best discovery of the year was Ye Banished Privateers from Sweden! I happened to watch their latest video “Annabel” and frankly got charmed by how great it turned out! Ye Banished Privateers are called “pirate folk rock”, though I wouldn’t compare them with the most of the pirate bands whose songs are mainly inspired by funny fairy tales and movies about Jack Sparrow (Captain Jack Sparrow!). This band is more serious and dramatic and the guys write really good songs, not just spooky tunes stylized as pirate tales from blockbuster movies. I had a great pleasure and as I know they’re already confirmed for 2018, so I’ll do my best not to miss this band next year.

Our way finally led us to the tents where serious folk people stayed. Nothing special was happening there, everybody was spending the evening chatting, drinking, taking care of their weapons, cooking dinner on fire, you know, usual stuff 🙂

The pagan folk band Cesair from the Netherlands retained in my memory with its mystic tribal music and a very emotional violin player. All in all great performance, though not really my cup of beer.

How could I simply pass when someone on a stage plays with so much heart and soul?! Honestly I didn’t know these guys and had no idea who it was until the end of their show when I got some time to inspect the line-up schedule. Their name is Forgotten North, they’re from Germany and they definitely know how to raise hell on Earth! Their music is some sort of a wild semi-acoustical epic folk with heroic lyrics and even more heroic attitude. They even used pyro on stage and that’s why I hope they will play later next year, just to make their gig even more epic.

Cultus Ferox is a very dear guest of any folk/goth festival and people love them for their loud and minimalistic folk music and rousing show. Even though the guys performed on a very small stage, they managed to gather quite a crowd!

The last band we had a chance to see was one of the headliners Faun, the band I always miss for various reasons at other festivals 🙂 Every time I see Faun in a line-up I can’t come by, as if some sinister curse keeps me away from the stage they perform on! So this time I was very determined to be there. Period! In spite of certain sound problems in the very beginning the band delivered a very nice gig! I’m not really a fan, just like what these guys do, but I think nobody could deny they’re true professionals in mixing medieval folk music with electronics and doing it on the highest level possible. This evening Faun performed a “best of” set with, as far as I could tell, a couple of songs from the latest album “Midgard”.

Unfortunately that was the end of the day for us since we didn’t stay in the camp and had to figure out how to reach our home which was not even in Hamburg. It was a magnificent and relaxed day full of fun and great music, but everything comes to an end. All that’s left to do is waiting for the next year’s MPS which is already looking very promising!

 

We’d like to thank Mittelalterlich Phantasie Spectaculum’s management for our accreditation!

Lady Gaga’s Fashion Top 100, Part 4

And here’s finally our last (really?) part of our Lady Gaga’s fashion top 100. Wow, that was quite a ride! For the start it was extremely hard to choose only 100 photos, because when it comes to Lady Gaga it quickly becomes tricky to stay focused, you’re just starting to pick every picture you see. But at the end of the day the work’s done and these 100 photos we chose are really the best of the best of her visual art. Let’s wait and see how quick we will get the new pictures to extend Top 100 to Top 125, Top 150, Top 200 and so on 🙂

KISS: Larger Than Life, Larger Than Fashion

Music has always been the engine of the alternative fashion and it has been music that stood behind it from the very start. I guess as soon as the first professional musician in history took his instrument (whatever it was, probably just two sticks and a stone), his second intention was to find a way to look different from anybody else. The elitists could tell you if you’re good you wouldn’t need any special drag, but… hey, it’s showbiz after all, there’s no real reason to improve your music skills and ignore the show aspects. Nobody has ever died from being an awesome-looking musician 😉 Still KISS could be a tough subject to discuss, in the first place because many people would just ignore 100+ million records the band has sold worldwide (21 million RIAA-certified albums among them!) and say the only reason KISS is still there is their show. Such a relief to say we’re not going to speak about KISS music today and just stick with their unbelievably huge, monstrous, tremendous input into the alternative fashion of this planet.

KISS has come from the world of the early glam scene ruled by Alice Cooper, Slade and New York Dolls, but managed to take the whole idea to the limit unreachable even for the most music stars of our time. First of all each of the band’s members chose a character for himself, a character representing him on- and to some extent off-stage too. Gene Simmons became Demon, a hellish blood-spitting and fire-breathing creature with a thunder-like voice. Paul Stanley’s character was named as Starchild, he was a mystic lover with a star around his right eye. The lead guitarist Ace Frehley got the nickname Space Ace and represented an alien from the planet Jendell. And finally the drummer Peter Criss chose the image of the Catman, half-man half-cat. Though it could be inaccurate to say the band created everything all alone: the guys came up with the initial ideas behind their characters, but it was a professional and highly enthusiastic team (mainly their manager Bill Aucoin and often named as “the fifth KISS” Sean Delaney) who helped them a lot to develop their image, come up with their original stage movements and the overall show.

 

As you might guess, the KISS costumes weren’t created overnight, it was always a path of trials and errors, paving the way for others. For example in 1974 the first material choice obviously fell on leather… until everybody recalled KISS were supposed to play and move in those hard and inflexible things 🙂 Still the first couple of band’s costume versions were mainly from leather, even though it was giving a lot of headache to the musicians (first because of lack of ventilation and second because of, oh yeah, stench). Starting from their 1975’s “Alive!” era costumes the band starts using black spandex or lycra more and more. It was a perfect choice since it was very light, easy to wash/clean and and also air-/sweat-permeable. The famous Gene’s dragon boots and the “Destroyer” / “Rock And Roll Over” era armour were crafted from a very special kind of plastic called Kydex (also used for the US police armour) which was convenient due to its lightness and because it could be painted to look like metal, stone or anything else. The same material was probably used for designing other Gene’s costume he was wearing in 1979-1980. The costumes for Paul, Ace and Peter were also designed to express their original features: lycra, jewels and feathers for Starchild, silver fabrics and at some point even a bunch of mirror pieces for Space Ace and fur for Catman. Every new set of KISS costumes looked “larger than life” and was usually delivered with additional 2-3 copies (in case they’d be damaged on the road), being worth thousands of dollars. Later, as you might know, Peter Criss left, Eric Carr took his place behind the drums and Ace Frehley was replaced with Vinnie Vincent. The new members were given their own characters (The Fox and the Egypt Warrior respectively), their own make-up designs and stage costumes, thought their story was pretty short since in 1983 KISS took off their make-up and continued as a very good but ordinary looking rock band… Oh well. The image standards they set are inapproachable to this very day (Lordi came close, right?), but if you look around you’d most definitely see a lot of KISS heritage practically anywhere in music business, at least in anything related to image and looks. Whether you like metal or pop, country or R&B, goth or disco – looking on stage you’ll probably see something that wouldn’t be there without KISS and their hard-working team, it’s a fact.

 

In conclusion I’d like to say this article wouldn’t be complete without the names of the people who were creating all these magic costumes and luckily at least some of them are known. For example, a famous designer Larry LeGaspi is rumored to create the “Destroyer” era outfits while the boots were crafted by Pasquale DiFabrizio. The most flamboyant “Dynasty” costumes were designed by Pete Menefee. Still the most famous KISS costumes designer is Maria Contessa who made pretty much all the other band’s outfits used during 1974-1976, 1977-1979 and 1981-1983 tours, of course including the costumes for Eric Carr and Vinnie Vincent. What a legend!

House of Harlot: Latex Beauty Fetish

House of Harlot

Latex… You say this word out loud and get all attention in the world right away 🙂 Have you ever thought about latex being probably the only clothing material with a real statement? I mean “I like jeans” or “I wear velvet” doesn’t tell anything about the person who said it, but if he/she says “I like latex”… alright, we immediately get quite a graphic picture. Though if we take a look at a few previous decades latex has made a long way from being an obscure and disreputable element of the S&M culture to the shining world of the mainstream fashion magazine covers, silver screens and red carpets. It’s still mainly a fetish thing, but when you see Beyoncé, Katy Perry or Miley Cyrus wearing their latex dresses, it becomes quite hard to associate it with any underground, if you know what I mean. No wonder the S&M society hates those celebrities so much for taking their culture away from them! It used to be so dangerous, so mysterious, so forbidden, so sexy and so not-for-everybody, but at some point it suddenly turned into (pardon my manners) “Fifty Shades of Grey” and Kardashians wearing latex just because it’s kinda cool.

Oh well, what is latex nowadays? Love it or hate it, it’s become a solid part of the modern culture and you can meet an office employee wearing a latex dress, jacket or corset. It’s still a huge part of the S&M and goth culture, but the people wearing certain latex garments from time to time in their everyday life are not rare anymore. Designed for domination and having a good time latex makes them feel very special, it gives them a feeling of power and control, which I actually find quite amazing, because to me it’s pretty much like literally waking your alter ego up! Yes, it’s not so easy to wear it since you still have to lubricate your body and it’s not advisable to wear latex daily for more than several hours, but c’mon it has never kept us from trying new things 🙂 Especially since we just found such a great example of a latex clothing brand to tell you about!

House of Harlot doesn’t really need any introduction and you believe you know what to expect from such a brand, but as soon as you load their website you still can’t help feeling like a little kid lost in a huge magician’s shop.

House of Harlot is not only a highly original name for clothing brand (yep), but also a team of designers whose passion is strictly focused on latex. It was 1991 when Robin and Michelle Archer decided to launch the brand, though at first latex wasn’t their main weapon of choice and various rubber-based materials and leather were widely used too. By 1997 House of Harlot has gained so much skills and even legacy, that their next logical step was going wholesale and becoming one of the world’s most remarkable latex clothing brands. Not so long ago in 2016 Robin Archer resigned and the company is headed by Iris Trika now.

Speaking about the garments… oh where should I start… House of Harlot doesn’t really need any introduction and you believe you know what to expect from such a brand, but as soon as you load their website you still can’t help feeling like a little kid lost in a huge magician’s shop. Latex catsuits, corsets, dresses, jackets, tops, lingerie, uniforms, any color and any style – anything you can and can’t imagine is here. Most of these garments have a clear sexual intent, no doubt about that, though some of them can be worn for the certain special life occasions, especially if you like to party 😉 The uniform section is quite remarkable and you could find its true value if you’d like to turn yourself into a steaming sexy nurse, police woman, nun, maid or sailor lady. The latex catsuits category is probably my favorite, because I’ve seen a lot of them before and I can assure you House of Harlot’s fantasy has no boundaries! Some of their catsuits are quiet experimental in a way, some of them look sort of outlandish and look really stunning.

Too bad there’s not so much stuff for men here and what I found was quite conservative for my liking. Still you can see some nice things there like pants, tops, shirts and even a latex coat which looked rather Victorian to me. Anyway if you’re really into it and want to have something really special by House of Harlot, I’m sure you can contact the brand and they would love to design something especially for you because they’re known for their custom-made products too!

I have to admit House of Harlot left a very positive feeling in my heart and I even bookmarked their website because who knows 🙂 I believe if you like it you’d find a way to their clothing, because the brand is big selling to various stores worldwide, including USA, Europe, Australia and Japan. On top of that they work with many top-level fashion brands (like Louis Vuitton, Oscar de la Renta, Marc Jacobs and Christian Dior) and deliver various special latex rubber clothing for the showbiz, including music and cinema world. There’s no way you’d escape from them 🙂