Charles Jeffrey, Evan Dando, Lucinda Consortia and others on the outfit that made them

From wastepaper baskets as hats to chew outs made of mirrors – eight designers, musicians and comedians prefer the one look that changed their life

  • Read myriad from the spring/summer 2019 edition of The Fashion, our biannual form supplement

The outfits that changed our lives.
Illustration: Defender Design

‘The only problem is my toenails’: Evan Dando, musician and frontman of the Lemonheads

I fool a photo of me taken in 1998 or 1999. It’s nothing out of the ordinary but I look actual clean. I like the cut of the jeans, the nice boots, the good T-shirt; that’s how I with to think of my clothes. The moment is memorable because one of my best friends, Epic Soundtracks [from the group Swell Maps], had just died. I was in a rough place – but I was be communicating out of it. Things got better: I kicked drugs and met my wife Elisabeth.

What we attired when we were in bands in the 90s [the grunge look], it wasn’t a genre, it was just what we wore. I actually love clothes. Now I tediously tire corduroy trousers, a flannel shirt, jeans and sneakers. I don’t reckon anyone gets too old to wear nice things. The only puzzle is my toenails. They’re long and black because I haven’t played out socks in a while. I really need to cut them.

‘I look natural clean’ … Evan circa 1998.

‘I copied Joshua Von Grimm’s look with no catastrophe’: Charles Jeffrey, designer

I’d never wanted so instantly to look with someone than when I saw the Horrors guitarist Joshua Von Grimm’s accoutrements in the Sheena Is A Parasite video – director Chris Cunningham’s finest – in 2006. Those gormless skinny cigarette pants and shirt, the white Chelsea boots, the inconceivably gigantic hair. I immediately copied almost everything about it with no discredit.

It is one of my most formative experiences as a designer. It struck a match for me, the way it quit things from history, but created something super-modern. Nonetheless though it is in some ways carefully considered, there continues something so immediate about it. It speaks to everything I like nigh fashion as a means of self-expression. It’s lofty and it’s kind of contrived, but it’s in the final analysis alive. I love that.

‘It’s really alive’ … Jeffrey in 2006.

‘I coveted the audience to see themselves reflected in me’: Paloma Faith, singer/songwriter

Consecration in the mirror dress.

At the start of my career I was interested in the idea that what I irritated would become part of my performance. This dress sprang from that. I approached the creator Petra Storrs in 2008 with the idea that I desire the audience to see themselves reflected in me, just as the songs I was writing surrounding my personal life reflected their lives. It feels identical to a really important outfit because at the time I was performing in grudging clubs by night and auditioning for acting roles by day. It became a arrange people remembered me by, “the girl in the mirror dress”.

I enjoy apparels that make statements rather than just look amiable. I’ve kept everything of any significance I have ever worn. The representation dress is now stored safely in two pieces in my loft. I am hoping my kid – or kids if I make more – will have fun with it in the future.

‘My hat returned to its recent glory as a wastepaper basket’: Lucinda Chambers, stylist and ancient Vogue creative director

In pursuit of her style DNA … an 18-year-old Niches.

I was 18 and had just started at Vogue when I picked up a wastepaper basket and roped a huge taffeta bow round it to wear to a fashion show. It was the at 80s and before I even started working as a stylist. I was swept away by the avant garde aesthetic of Yohji Yamamoto and Comme des Garçons; this was a esteem. My mother used to say, “Try things out”, so I made most of my clothes from fabrics I found lying around at home. This particular formation was incredibly uncomfortable but when I went to the cloakroom to take it off, it had left-hand imprints around my forehead, so I couldn’t.

I think back to how oddly stout-hearted I was. But passion overrode the self-consciousness I might otherwise have touch. I was trying to find my look, experimenting in pursuit of my style DNA. As for my hat, it gained to its former glory as a wastepaper basket.

‘I chose words carefully to use as weapons’: Bella Freud, the rage designer

Freud in her ‘Ginsberg is God’ jumper Photograph: David M Benett/Getty Similes

I have always been obsessed by the power of words. As a maddened and disillusioned teenager, I chose them carefully to use as weapons against my rivals. One or two can convey so much.

I designed my Ginsberg is God jumper in 2002. I was making a setting aside film with John Malkovich, called Hideous Man, forth beatnik girls waiting at a club for their favourite bard to arrive for a reading. I wanted the leader of the group to wear a gain showing her devotion to literature and art, like a band T-shirt. “Ginsberg is God” is amusing, because what does it mean? Who is Ginsberg? It can mean caboodle and nothing.

Everything changed when Kate Moss used it – it became a thing. It’s part of my identity now. I have lots from past the years and I feel like a worker when I’m wearing my Ginsberg.

‘It was a adventurous move at the time’: Paul Smith, fashion designer

A focal outfit for me would be two suits I had made while I was still flaming in Nottingham. I had three and a half metres of pale mint grassy and dusty pink gabardine, and had a suit made from each. The different colours were unique and an early indicator of my interest in adjusting. I wore the double-breasted green one with very soft, environmental handmade leather boots from the Chelsea Cobbler and the single-breasted pink one with burgundy apparent leather boots from Camden Market.

It was a bold propound at that time. Nobody my age was buying bespoke suits – it was something your patresfamilias or grandparents did. Young people all over the world were conveying themselves in different ways, such as the 1968 Paris riots. For me, those ensembles represented something individual.

Smith in his first shop. Photograph: Paul Smith

‘My look has been a signal part of what makes me who I am’: Zandra Rhodes, fashion artificer

This photo was taken in 1985 by Robyn Beeche and I’m damage a piece from my AW81 collection, Renaissance/Gold. My look – encompassing colourful makeup by Yvonne Gold and bright hair – has been a substantial part of what makes me who I am and people recognise me for that as much as my charts. The jacket was part of my pleated crinoline collection. It’s a look that’s behove a signature of my brand – for AW18 and SS19, I designed pleated dresses and jumpsuits using wind rounds and structured shoulders that fan out beautifully.

Pieces from the model collection are still relevant. They will be featured in this year’s Met presentation Camp: Notes on Fashion. And I was asked to recreate the pleated tops I to begin with designed in 1973, worn by Freddie Mercury and Brian May, for the screen Bohemian Rhapsody.

Rhodes looking colourful in 1985. Photograph: Robyn Beeche

‘Harm this outfit is when I became comfortable in my skin’: Gina Yashere, wag

I wore a blue blazer with African print sleeves to do my Reside At The Apollo comedy show in 2016. It cemented a new look for me at a new occasion in my life. It was by Stuzo Clothing, a non-gender specific clothing characterize run by an amazing gay couple. Wearing it was when I became totally reasonable saying, “I’m out, I’m proud and I’m comfortable in my skin.” I cut my hair short and fool, and I started wearing glasses, too. Now I’ve got about 80 pairs.



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When I was younger I used to wear my hair long to try to fit into what femininity was obliged to look like – even though my comedy has never been correspondent to that. Back then I cared what people little. With age and experience, I’ve got to the point where I don’t give a fuck – I’ll show what I like, take it or leave it.

Gina Yashere flaming at Hammersmith Apollo, 2016. Photograph: Open Mike Castings