Manic Street Preachers are one of my favourite bands. I just recently understood them and their lyrics mean so much to me. Culture, alienation, boredom and despair – that’s how you could describe theme of their poems. Not only was Richey a modern Rimbaud, he also, along other members of the band, expressed himself through fashion. This is my tribute to them.
Though Richey and Nicky or ‘Glamorous twins’, as they were called, were more flamboyant than James and Sean, all four of them dressed up unlike everybody else at the time. Richey’s and Nicky’s iconic look included tight white jeans, t-shirt with provocative quotes, sunglasses, messy hairdo and black eyeliner. As I said, Richey and Nicky were more glamorous so they often wore leopard printed blouses, black lace and Nicky even wore dresses. Richey expressed himself trough words as well as clothing and he claimed that the British music scene was death. According to Richey, the country was in need of a rock band wearing tight white trousers. The country was in need of – Manic Street Preachers.
”We’re a mess of eyeliner and spray paint…” (Stay Beautiful, Generation Terrorists) as Richey says himself, could easily be used to describe the bands fashion style. Their iconic look in the early years (1990.-1992.) includes sweaters and T-shirts with spray painted slogans and lyrics of their songs. For example, Richey’s shirt says ”death sentence heritage”; a verse from the song Repeat from their first album. Key word is DIY, they didn’t hesitate to decorate their clothes and express their rebellion, alienation and boredom through clothing. In my opinion, fashion is just another way of expressing ourselves.
Manic Street Preachers dressed up quite glamorously which I like; music and fashion go together hand by hand. Grunge music is amazing (Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Alice in Chains) but I must confess I’m not fond of grunge as a fashion style. But I’m totally open for glam style worn by the Manics!
Faux fur leopard printed coats, tight white trousers, black sunglasses and lots of bracelets are essential to this style. While Richey preferred wearing interesting t-shirts on concerts, James Dean preferred being topless and having a guitar as an only accessorize (which I don’t mind at all).
Talking about interesting T-shirts, take a look at the Marylin Monroe one in Warhol style above! He is also seen wearing all different kinds of feminine blouses but also some more gothic/glam styled as seen below. Kerchief is a great option to complete the look; tight around neck is the best way to wear it.
Iconic Richey/Nicky look includes an amazing messy black hair. Who wouldn’t dream of Richey’s hair; big, fluffy, messy, black….. As the years went by, he fell into melancholia and deep sadness, and his fashion style started to express his inner state; he started wearing darker colours, less flamboyant outfits, less eyeliner and he cut his hair shorter.
Talking about eyeliner?! Black eyeliner is essential to glam look; it gives the eyes dramatic and mysterious look. Richey once said about makeup ”Cover your skin as much as you can. I don’t think people wear makeup to shield themselves from the world, they wear makeup to shield themselves from their own reflection in the mirror because they can’t stand it. Even if you do wear makeup you still look pretty bad…”
On the photo below you can see Richey wearing outfit quite different from his previous style. He’s wearing a beret, black jeans and a leather jacket. His hair is shorter and differently styled. Music video for the song From despair to where (album: Gold against the soul) features all the band members dressed more sophisticated than in the previous music videos.