BLITZ KIDS


Who’s who at the Blitz
➤ The 50 crucial nightclubbers who set the style for a decade

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King and queen of the Blitz: Steve Strange wearing PX and Kim Bowen crowned by Stephen Jones titfer in 1980. Photograph © by Letac / Shapersofthe80s archive

❚ “AN EVENING WITHIN THE ORBIT of London’s Blitz club superstars – and we’re talking about 50 people here – was more than entertaining. You were zapped with a very tangible electric shock — what we’d call today “sensory overload” — as if these exquisite, compulsive posers had revitalised Gilbert & George’s notion from 1969 of processing through the world as living sculptures. The Blitz Kids generated their own crackling versions of hyper-reality that defined the space around them. They included Kim, Julia, Judi, Melissa, Fiona, Jayne, Theresa, Myra, Scarlett, Clare, Michele, Darla, Sade, Kate, Stevie, Naomi, Mandy, Helen, Jo, Perri and Christine . . . the Stephens Linard and Jones, Lee, John, Cerith, Simon, Iain, Andy, George, Marilyn, Wilf, Greg, Jeffrey, Christos, Graham, Neil, Dencil, Robert, the Holahs, the Richards Ostell and Sharah. A fair few other Blitz Kids, like Strange, Egan, Elms, Sullivan, Dagger, Haines, Ure, O’Donnell, Mole, Ball and Lewis, had the motormouth skills of energetic talkers and schemers who were, as we say today, “good in the room”. Above all, the best among them “made things happen” wherever they set foot. That’s why spending time with them was the best kind of fun – stimulating, argumentative and constructive, whether idling at a bar or bounding around the beach on Bournemouth bank holidays . . . ”

➢➢ From the June 3 post, Inspiration for Romantics ancient and Neo

❚ TWENTY FASHIONISTAS among the Blitz Kids shaped the New Romantics silhouette at Covent Garden’s Blitz club — they were Stephen Jones, Kim Bowen, Stephen Linard, Lee Sheldrick, Helen Robinson, Melissa Caplan, Fiona Dealey, Judi Frankland, Michele Clapton, David Holah, Stevie Stewart, Julia Fodor, Dinny Hall, Iain Webb, Simon Withers, Willy Brown, David Holah, Richard Ostell, Rachel Auburn and über-wag Chris Sullivan. Whatever talents Steve Strange and George O’Dowd had for courting publicity, they were entirely dependent on this elite corps of sharp-eyed trendsetters to create the clothes that defined their idiosyncratic and ever-mutating identities.

Blitz Kids, New Romantics,Blitz Club, London, Kim Bowen,Julia Fodor, Jeremy Healy, Jeffrey Hinton, Homer Sykes

New romancing at the Blitz, March 18, 1980: Kim Bowen (elegantly titfered by Stephen Jones) in a clinch with Julia Fodor; skinny Jeremy Healy chats with (soon-to-be deejay) Jeffrey Hinton. Photograph courtesy of http://www.homersykes.com

Blitz Kids, New Romantics,Blitz Club, London, Julia Fodor, Homer Sykes,theblitzkids, Swinging 80s, Swinging London,the blitz,theblitzclub,cult with no name,billy’s, gossips, steve strange, rusty egan, boy george, baby boomers, nightclubs, clubbing, electro-pop, synth-pop, bowie, ashes to ashes, Chant No 1, blue rondo, animal nightlife,visage, duran,depeche mode, midge ure,ultravox, human league, st moritz, club for heroes,le kilt, wag club,rum runner,  beat route, cha cha, i-D,the face,new sounds new styles,batcave,Camden Palace

A whirl at the Blitz, March 18, 1980: Julia before she became a princess and a couple of space cadets. Photograph courtesy of http://www.homersykes.com

The identikit Blitz Kid: drawn and annotated 1983 by © Iain R Webb, ex-St Martin’s, ex-fashion editor of The Times of London

Blitz Kids, No Sacrifice, Chenil gallery,Kim Bowen, Jeremy Healy, Stephen Jones, fashion, London

No Sacrifice was an alternative fashion show in 1980 organised by Iain R Webb and mounted for art-school refusés: outside Chelsea’s Chenil Gallery, Kim Bowen as ever sports a hat by Stephen Jones (right), Jeremy Healy at centre. Photographed © by Mick Hurd

Blitz Kids, New Romantics, George O’Dowd, Stephen Linard, Spandau Ballet, Heaven, Shapersofthe80s

Gods of the Blitz: George O’Dowd and Stephen Linard at the Spandau Ballet concert in Heaven, Dec 29, 1980. Both became international icons, one as popstar, the other as fashion designer, both eagerly devoured in Japan. Photographed © by Shapersofthe80s

Perry Haines, Blitz Kids,Spandau Ballet, Duran Duran, Heaven, New Romantics, i-D

Perry Haines at Spandau’s Heaven show, December 1980. Having studied journalism at St Martin’s, Perry spread the message through the autumn launch issue of i-D magazine: “Style isn’t what you wear but how you wear it.” Some firmly believe the phrase “New Romantics” can be attributed to him. He certainly inspired its insertion into the lyrics for Duran Duran’s first single Planet Earth which was recorded in December when he also styled its video directed by Russell Mulcahy. Photographed © by Shapersofthe80s

The blue number: Chris Sullivan, zoot suit and wardrobe in 1981 at his Kentish Town flat. The nearest thing to the Blitz Kids’ own Renaissance man, he shaped music, style and nightclubbing for the next 19 years by fronting Blue Rondo à la Turk then naming and co-hosting Soho’s Wag club in his own image. His dictum for the 80s was: “One look lasts a day.” Photographed © by Shapersofthe80s

Girls night out: fashion designer Melissa Caplan and legendary spike, with Myra in white face. Photographed © by Derek Ridgers

Noir et rouge at Le Kilt, 1981: Stephen Linard in his Endangered Species look and Myra with, well, that hair

Britannia rules, or is it Boudica, the warrior queen? George O’Dowd as one of our national emblems (silver lamé helmet by Stephen Jones) helps dress performance artist Miss Binnie for the reopening of the Embassy Club, Sep 5, 1980

Strange and Egan: posing away at the Blitz for Visage’s video for the Visage single (Polydor)

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Blitz Kids as stars of Bowie’s Ashes to Ashes video: Enhanced with the solarising effects from the then novel Quantel Paintbox, the video cost £250,000 and was the most expensive music video made to that date, directed by David Mallet, July 3, 1980 on the beach at Hastings. A long-standing collaborator, Natasha Korniloff, designed Bowie’s Pierrot costume, but he gave Richard Sharah a free hand to design the make-up. Providing the chorus are, from the left, Steve Strange, Darla Jane Gilroy, Elise and Judi Frankland. Ecclesiastical robes from Judi’s graduation collection, hats by Fiona Dealey and Richard Ostell. Strange wears Judi’s black wedding dress with Stephen Jones head-dress and veil. When they got back to London after filming, they all went clubbing at Hell. Video © 1983 Jones Music / EMI Records Ltd

Waldorf Hotel, Spandau Ballet, Covent Garden, Blitz club, New Romantics, youth culture,youth movement, Blitz Kids , To Cut a Long Story Short, London, UK, singles chart, aged 20, club-hosts, DJs, Herbie Knott

Waldorf Hotel 1980: seated at centre, Spandau Ballet, house band of Covent Garden’s Blitz club, home of the New Romantics movement, plus support team of Blitz Kids who helped put their first single To Cut a Long Story Short into the UK singles chart at No 5, on Dec 6, 1980. Average age 20, everyone had a specific role to play in staging and promoting the band: seven musicians, six designers, three media and management, three club-hosts, two DJs, one crimper and 22 egos. Photographed for the Evening Standard © by Herbie Knott

Blitz Kids, John Maybury,filmin

Unholy cabaret, May 10, 1981: improvising a louche cabaret scene for a John Maybury movie at the Film-Makers Cooperative are Stephen Jones, Jeremy Healy, David Holah and Kim Bowen. Photographed © by Shapersofthe80s

Ex-St Martin’s fashion designer Stephen Linard at the height of his commercial success in 1984, when he worked for three years for Jun Co in Japan. Here pictured by Toscani for i-D magazine’s issue No 15 in “An illustrated guide to detail”. He sports a leather Confederate Army cap $15 bought in transit through Anchorage airport in Alaska. The jacket £250 over giant-collared shirt £120, and trousers £200 are all by Yohji Yamamoto. Waistcoat £180 by Gianni Versace. Artfully placed on his left lapel is a silvered bathroom tap £60 and faucet brooch £40, both from a jewellery collection for Chloe, Paris. He said: “It was worth it for the stir it caused at the Paris collections.”

➢ Click here for more pix of the Kids

Time Out, Jan 1981, New Romantics, Blitz Kids

Time Out, Jan 1981, and the New Romantics are about to reap their first whirlwind of media coverage: “An enclosed world where style is all, and a fashion ends as it begins”

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8 responses to “BLITZ KIDS

  1. This is an amazing site…

  2. This is a great site which brings back some amazing memories.

  3. Thank god. I’ve been waiting for a site just like this, for ages!

  4. this site just gets better and better.

  5. This is fantastic!! Your memories and photographs are a GEM. They have enlightened me about the 80s, a very important decade for me. The 80s influenced so many artist and movements. There are beautiful notes still playing in the fringes of today’s sub-culture, from that decade.

    Thank you – Rachel P. – Miami, Florida (USA)

  6. Listening to Lo-Fiction by Jori Hulkkonen feat Jerry Valuri — it gives the same vibe as so many of the early electro pioneers did back then. Loved electronic then, love it still.

  7. Best time ever. Music today is alive because of us back then!! Mark

  8. Come to hear Iain R Webb talking to Princess Julia about his new book…

    Beautiful Freaks: From Blitz kids to As Seen In BLITZ magazine – Iain R Webb on Wed 17th April at bathinfashion

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