A friend once told me: “the best front men are always remembered for more than just their singing”. I simply cannot disagree with that statement. I remember being a mere toddler staring at the television set, gazing in awe at that singer from Queen, or The Smiths, or that dude who sung about spiders from Mars. I would imitate them, try to find clothes that were half similar (sorry mum), then waddle around thinking I could sing and look just like they did… at least I tried!
Many of us can identify the uniqueness of certain musicians when compared to their half-hearted brothers and sisters. What these gentlemen decided to throw on before a show transformed them into characters whose names will be remembered for years to come. Anybody with a keen interest in music will surely know that to be an excellent front man you need to have first class style.
A front man innately knows that he will require a chic looking jacket to match his iconic voice, or a pair of shoes that can bring swagger to accompany that walk. In our brand new ‘Front Man Fashion’ series on FashionBeans, we are going to take a look at some of the most prolific style icons that have strutted the face of the Earth.
Mormon fashion is quite simple; you should avoid bright colours, jewellery, striking patterns – anything over the top. The typical man would be seen wearing a very, very bland suit. Solo artist and The Killers’ singer, Brandon Flowers, has not always stuck to the traditions of his beliefs.
Unlike the usual Rock’n'Roll front man, who opts for the whole effortless, lazy approach to his wardrobe – of typical skinny jeans, plaid shirt and gritty trainers – Flowers dresses himself up. The flamboyant singer has gone through a number of wardrobe changes over the past years. Live shows have included the peacock-feathered jacket, the glittering pink tuxedo, western bow ties, gold-lame suits and snake-skinned track jackets.
In several interviews Flowers has praised the work of ex designer and founder of Dior Homme, Heidi Slimane, who designed all of the singer’s clothes for live sets and videos. Brandon’s closet is dominated with Dior Homme pieces, and almost all his memorable outfits are Dior. However, Flowers chooses his own clothes, therefore creating his own personal style. No stylist for this man, no sir.
The man from Nirvana grew up in a relatively poor background. The whole spectacular, ‘bling’ style of clothing that he would present during live performances could point to a subconscious need to make an extra effort, perhaps due to his under-privileged background – extra effort not gone unnoticed.
Flowers’ remarkable success in the music business with The Killers and through his solo work has seen him bag three chart topping albums, a solo debut album reaching No. 1 in the UK, as well as being classed as one of the “Artists of the Century”.
In terms of fashion credentials, the singer was named “best dressed” and “sexiest man” by NME magazine, and won the award for “Most stylish Man” at the GQ awards back in 2008. There has been speculation that Flowers has begun to sell his own clothing brand under the name ‘Kmart’. Whether this is mere talk or not, I would certainly take a look at any piece this musician conjures up.
It’s clear Brandon Flowers tries hard with what he wears, and he pulls it off brilliantly. With the illustrious bling in all its colour and shine, he wants to be seen. He’s getting into character. He doesn’t want to be another rock star. He over-indulges, like Bowie, Elvis or Kanye.
With so many shows for the band, the singer is spoilt for choice with his vast number of Dior Homme pieces. During The Killers second tour, Flowers adopted the look of an old American ringmaster. A spaghetti–western inspired outfit comprising of blazer, trousers and waistcoat, boots and an upside down bow tie. The singer’s athletic physique complemented the well-fitted pieces perfectly.
This look below is a modern interpretation with fitted trousers, a silk shawl blazer and brogue boots:
The contrasting red snake print jacket [above right] garnered attention during The Killers 2007 tour. Although outlandish and not suitable for everyday wear, it does showcase a unique way of stamping individuality on a traditional suit. Why not mix a typical three piece trouser and waistcoat combination with a contrasting or complimentary coloured blazer?
A grey or black three piece would anchor nearly every colour extremely well, allowing you to add a statement blazer as your focal point. It takes the idea of ‘separates’ to another level.
Tie it together with a simple white shirt and it is a look that can work at parties or on nights out:
Just how does one manage to stick to their Mormon beliefs when they have the temptation to throw on one of many glistening suits, made by the most prestigious designers?
Pictured wearing quiet, neutral garments for shoots with GQ magazine [above right], at music awards and for the odd live show; simplicity can be as spectacular as the shiny golden jacket when precision and time and effort is thrown into the mix.
While the American is forever renowned for his cutting edge suits, he appears to have a relaxed background just like the rest of us. When not on stage and being all glamorous he performs just as well off the field with his casual attire.
The casual Flowers has a more ranch keeper, Springsteen, toned down approach. Nevertheless, it looks just as brilliant and as effective as the fitted suits he usually sports.
By looking at the images in the main lookbook, you can see that Brandon does not neglect his accessories. In particular, there are two that seem to be sported regularly by our front man; the patterned tie and braces.
Braces are a great addition to any casual outfit and a quirky alternative to wearing a belt (please don’t over accessorise with both). They are still a rare item within men’s fashion, as many males shy away from using an accessory that is bound to draw attention to their look. However, with the rise of ‘Professor Chic’, the quirky English Gent and many current trends harking back to the 60s, braces are definitely on trend, current and could become one of your new trademarks.
Flowers often utilises a patterned tie within his smart-casual outfits. Again, it is another quirky accessory that shows some character and individuality. With prints and patterns becoming THE major trend for spring/summer 2012, there has never been a better time to integrate one into your looks. Why not try a subtle Paisley print tie with a blue chambray shirt and some chinos this spring?
Within the eleven years of The Killers there has been several changes in terms of music for the band and outfits for their front man, Brandon. His debut solo album could be seen as the pinnacle in terms of quality in his choice of outfits – with the slim, tailored clothing he has been seen sporting in recent years giving him a solid standing in the fashion world. Maturity is perhaps the key point to consider when describing both the development of the artist and his own personal style.
Indeed, he breaks boundaries and, like his icons before him, he chooses to push limits in what is and isn’t fashion. I’m not telling you to go out there and find the flashiest suit you can get your mitts on, but why not push yourself out of your comfort zone and try new items you may never had considered before? After all, to dare is to do.
Let us know what you think about Brandon Flowers’ style in the comments section below, and who you would like to see featured in our ‘Front Man Fashion’ series…
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