Psychobilly, rockabilly, punk, goth and all things retro generally fall under my department at Fash Ed towers. So you can imagine how my ears pricked up at the first mention of Topshop’s AW11 ‘Psychobilly’ collection – I had serious urges for some of the leather trimmed, skinny trousered, fluffy mohaired outfits at the Arcadia press day, but to see them styled up in the newly released lookbook was just too much excitement to bear. Both the Fash Ed and myself drooled over the be-quiffed models with black pouts and serious attitude; this is not a look for the fainthearted.
Perhaps it’s a reaction to the softly softly, floaty floaty Seventies styles that have been everywhere for the past year, but fashion is definitely starting to toughen up. Topshop, style setters for the nation, are simply leading the way where others will follow, by taking inspiration from subcultures and rock n’roll attitude.
The psychobilly lifestyle has been around long before many Topshopettes were even born, rising from the ashes of the late Seventies as a mixture of punk and rockabilly, with an appreciation of all things horror, sci-fi and sex. New York band The Cramps are generally considered to be the people who kicked off all things psychobilly, after their posters covered with voodoo references for gig nights at CBGBs went up around the city in the 1970s.
One of the band’s founding members, Poison Ivy, describes the music as “crazed, sped-up hillbilly boogie version of country, played super loud.” The fashion is equally extreme, with skewed versions of Teddy Boy styling, neon colours, leopard print and chunky, clunky brothel creepers all playing an integral role. Tattoos – serious tattoos – are also pretty much a prerequisite for entry into the scene. Someone who knows a lot about that is my friend Lady Frankenstein, psychobilly pin up for the masses.
So watch out London – the days of ‘nice’ fashion are over and the punks are coming back to claim this town…
All lookbook images: Topshop AW11
,Lady Frankenstein shot: Stuart Mitchell (Walnut Wax)