Shimura Curves

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Matchy Matchy

vs.
OK, these are some random thoughts about band image. They are MY THOUGHTS alone, and not necessarily indicative of the rest of the band. Also, they are MY OPINION and not intended as a dis on anyone else's aesthetic or opinion.

Phew, now that's out of the way...

So we're going to be doing a photoshoot for the upcoming single. Some things have kind of been bothering me, so I want to work out what, exactly.

It was suggested that we pick three different looks/costume changes and try them all out. Immediately, the red/black look of our last gig was suggested. Also, the Cocktail Dresses and Suit look of our i-D shoot. Then I suggested "Hey, remember that gig at Cargo, where we all turned up to soundcheck, by coincidence, wearing these sort of rock chick outfits of jeans, big boots and black t-shirts? That looks really cool."

Now, almost immediately, AMP started complaining saying "But that's SO not my aesthetic" and Anna started trying to substitute a denim miniskirt for jeans, when I protested "Hey, you know, I have to compromise and go onstage wearing things that are SOOO not *my* aesthetic, so why can't you work with this?"

I don't know why, but it irked.

I mean, I just have to get this off my chest. I hate matchy matchy outfits. I just hear that song "We are the Nowtones, we play Top 40, We wear matching outfits, we look real sporty!" in my head. I went to a prep school, I wore a uniform and hated it - it I wanted to wear a uniform as an adult, I'd join the army.

To me, it's much cooler when a band have an *aesthetic*, but don't necessarily wear the same thing. This is why, in the 60s, the Rolling Stones always *looked* cooler than the Beatles. Think the Velvet Underground, The Ramones, The Jesus and Mary Chain.

I guess we're pretty much agreed on that, but the problem is that the other three pretty much share - or at least have an overlapping - aesthetic. That looks like shit on me. I can't stand the colour red. There, I said it. I don't mind burgundy, or dark pinks, but that bright routemaster/pillarbox red is just SOOO not me. And I can't do those 50s style dresses. I look like a man in drag, I feel so uncomfortable. It looks brilliant on them, but I'm just not really sure how I feel about it.

All of the women that are in this band, I asked to be in this band because not just were they musically aware, talented, and dead cool - but also because they had such distinctive and personal looks. Everyone had this very individual and personal style. And now I'm seeing that individuality subsumed in this matchy matchy hell because other people (often men, I notice) seem to be telling us that's what looks good (which I interpret as that's what they like in a girl band.) But, you know, I don't know that *I* like it.

When it comes down to it, I'd rather the diverse individuality of the early Spice Girls to the bland identikit outfits of Girls Aloud. I can remember, back in the late 90s, The Lollies played with an all girl rock band that had a bit of a buzz on, and when they walked in the club they were all wearing jeans and t-shirts, like cool teenage girls, and they looked fantastic. By the time they played, their manager had made them put on these matchy matchy "sexy" outfits that just made them look like Topshop Tramps, and it was just... "Why?!"

I dunno. Maybe this goes along with my own lack of self confidence about my own looks. To be honest, I'd really rather just not do photo shoots, like I don't do interviews. But that would leave me with even less of a say in our visual presentation. Though really, to be honest, I think it's an aesthetics/content issue more than a "oh god, I'm so hideous, why can't we wear things that are flattering to me" issue.

I want us to have a visual impact, I want us to be one of those bands that makes more effort with our presentation, rather than just shuffling on in the same clothes we were wearing on the street, but I guess our point is, we are individuals, why not play up on that, rather than sacrificing it to some aesthetic that's not really *us* (*me*?) anyway?

12 Comments:

At 2:03 PM GMT, Blogger AMP said...

well, i liked my outfit a lot, so cheers.

 
At 2:15 PM GMT, Blogger Miss Daiquiri said...

I thought my denim skirt was more rock chick-esque than my jeans...

 
At 2:30 PM GMT, Blogger Masonic Boom said...

What part of OK, these are some random thoughts about band image. They are MY THOUGHTS alone, and not necessarily indicative of the rest of the band. Also, they are MY OPINION and not intended as a dis on anyone else's aesthetic or opinion. did you guys not read?

I'm uncomfortable with the *idea* of matching outfits, rather than anyone's actual appearance.

 
At 2:54 PM GMT, Blogger AMP said...

Well sometimes saying something and prefacing it with a massive sign saying 'NO OFFENCE, LIKE!!!' doesn't always magically stop offence being caused. It's wierd how that works.

 
At 3:02 PM GMT, Blogger Masonic Boom said...

I really don't understand how you are turning this into an insult to you. Go back and read this again:

I guess we're pretty much agreed on that, but the problem is that the other three pretty much share - or at least have an overlapping - aesthetic. That looks like shit on me. I can't stand the colour red. There, I said it. I don't mind burgundy, or dark pinks, but that bright routemaster/pillarbox red is just SOOO not me. And I can't do those 50s style dresses. I look like a man in drag, I feel so uncomfortable. It looks brilliant on them, but I'm just not really sure how I feel about it.

All of the women that are in this band, I asked to be in this band because not just were they musically aware, talented, and dead cool - but also because they had such distinctive and personal looks. Everyone had this very individual and personal style. And now I'm seeing that individuality subsumed in this matchy matchy hell because other people (often men, I notice) seem to be telling us that's what looks good (which I interpret as that's what they like in a girl band.) But, you know, I don't know that *I* like it.


How is any of this an insult towards you or your outfit? I don't like the colour red, and I look like shit in it. Same as you've said a thousand times about the colour blue, and I don't take that as a personal insult.

I'm trying to make sense of what, exactly, on a concept level, bothers me about matching outfits. I have made it clear from the start that I am in no way insulting or offending anyone else or their taste.

Maybe I'm uncomfortable with the concept of matching outfits as cultural signifier. Maybe I'm uncomfortable with the idea of someone else's aesthetic being force on me (how would you feel if I seriously announced that the next gig, we were all wearing paisley?). I'm still trying to work out which it is.

 
At 3:07 PM GMT, Blogger AMP said...

I'll explain on Saturday, face to face, rather than on the internet where everyone can read.

 
At 3:09 PM GMT, Blogger Masonic Boom said...

Whatevs.

 
At 3:14 PM GMT, Blogger AMP said...

'whatevs'?

are you doing the hand movement as well?

 
At 4:11 PM GMT, Blogger Miss Daiquiri said...

Kate, I didn't read it as you dissing my dress sense (I can't speak for AMP obv.), but I did feel uncomfortable reading that you feel my individuality is being subsumed "into matchy-matchy hell" in order to suit a male gaze.

As your friend I'm familiar with your habit of thinking out loud online - it's how I first got to know you after all - and everything you've said here is pretty much an expansion of what you said in my living room on Saturday. But, I feel that for me, seeing it written down makes it seem a little harsher than you probably intended.

My thoughts: of the three, only one is really matching, and we're not all wearing the same dress. The cocktail dress and suit look is usually pretty varied. Plus, as I said above, my reasoning behind denim skirt was that it actually fitted my understanding of the aesthetic you were after better than my jeans which can be seen on every second girl in Top Shop and have even been sighted on... ulp... Patsy Kensit.

 
At 4:24 PM GMT, Blogger Masonic Boom said...

Well, I *am* worried that *our* individuality is being subsumed "into matchy-matchy hell" in order to suit a male gaze. The idea that that could be happening makes me as uncomfortable as it makes you reading it. Which is why I need to work this out.

I am also PMS-ing and very cranky, so I taking everything the wrong way right now. :-(

 
At 4:30 PM GMT, Blogger Miss Daiquiri said...

Eat some chocolate and get some sun. See you Saturday. I am attempting to make A CAKE.*

(Or I may just cop out and go to Waitrose)

 
At 8:46 AM GMT, Blogger Catty said...

The matchy matchy Pierre Cardin suits were not the Beatles' aesthetic, either.

(I much preferred them in their native leather. And so did Brian Epstein, I'd bet my house on it.)

It was all about the marketing.

...running away now.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home