When we think of pride, we immediately think of the glorious month of June, and how cities around the world are captured by the various shades of the rainbow. Often in this celebration, we forget to think of the artists from the 70s who have served as inspiration for the current generation. Let’s take a moment on the 52nd anniversary of the Stonewall riot to appreciate these 5 legendary LGBTQ+ fashion icons who have paved the path for us, to freely express ourselves!
First on our list, is the amazing Sir Elton John, known for sporting a series of over-the-top flamboyant costumes on stage; Sir Elton has gone onto inspire the likes of Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga & Harry Styles (who can forget Styles’ 2018 Halloween costume); just to name a few. Definitely known for his gender-bending fashion trends and fully encompasses the phrase “Go big or go home”; & thanks to the likes of Bob Mackie, Alessandro Michele (creative director of Gucci) & Yohji Yamamoto, John’s well-known style from the 70s is still just as big today withing the LGBTQ+ community
To this day, Sir Elton John can be seen turning heads in colorful suits and his never-ending glasses collection. He is definitely considered one of the greatest icons to come out of the UK, and personally, we would love to have a conversation with him about his sunglasses!
The glorious world of Ziggy Stardust, how could we ever forget David Bowie’s alter persona! With an onslaught of colorful on-stage outfits, bright hair, and the iconic lightning bolt on his face, he was accepted into the LGBTQ+ community when he came out as bisexual in the 1970s. Bowie’s style was one that was ever-changing during his life in the spotlight; with his firm belief that clothing had as much to play in performance as the performance itself. Always known for pushing the boundaries with androgyny, Bowie even wore a dress on the UK cover of his third album ‘The Man Who Sold The World’ which was something that Bowie was challenged on at that time by record execs in America; leading to a different album cover being released.
When not dressed in his alter ego, his elegant silhouette with double-breasted jackets and pleated trousers made headlines and continues to inspire the new generation of musicians; such as once again Harry Styles & Miley Cyrus to name a few.
Freddie Mercury, lead singer of Queen and one never to shy away from fashion choices; Mercury was constantly reinventing his look; something all trendsetters can relate to. Although the opulent style Mercury favored was sometimes questionable, you can’t deny that it was unforgettable and screamed pure glam rock ‘n’ roll of that era.
With his girlfriend Mary being a salesgirl at ‘Biba’ known as the temple of fashion in the 70s (basically Topshop of that era); Mercury took inspiration in his fashion choices from Mary as she was not only his music for his music but fashion choices also. Like Bowie, Mercury also really played into an androgynous look with ease not many in the mainstream media had then. This paved the way for colourful jackets, fancy hats and even heels making their way into men’s wardrobes and inspired many within the LGBTQ+ community to embrace who they are.
There’s no denying that Mercury’s style was as epic as ‘thunderbolt & lightning’, from the infamous ‘I Want To Break Free’ cross-dressing look to his plunge neck checkerboard jumpsuit. Mercury knew that each performance was more than just a performance but a fashion statement also.
An ally within the LGBTQ+ community, how could we not include Cher on this list. From the 60s to now, Cher knows how to make a statement with her style. Known mostly for her skin-baring, glittery ensembles that leave a trail of sequins on every red carpet she steps on; Cher has been a driving force in what has become the norm on red carpets today.
It’s argued her most famous recreated look is her 1974 Met Gala look, created by Bob Mackie. The straight jet black hair and once again sequins all over the nude bodysuit; it certainly gave everyone something to talk about. This is what Cher and Mackie always wanted with her red carpet and stage looks, to create a buzz and get people mentioning Cher’s name. It’s easy to see why the likes of Katy Perry state Cher as one of their fashion influences.
Closing off this list with the face of 80s British Pop music, Boy George! The lead singer of “Culture Club” was often considered to be an active member of the New Romantic Movement with his dreadlocks, makeup and big coats to boot! His fierce makeup looks and feminine clothing allowed him to never conform to traditional gender roles and established him as an icon in the 80s.
With the likes of fashion house Dior even making Boy George the face of their Summer/Spring 17 collection, his style as something that styles gets people talking now.
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