Are you like me? Do you have certain songs or videos that stick with you, no matter how long ago you saw them? For me it's Addicted to Love by Robert Palmer. The original video was one of the MOST iconic of its era, the 1980's. It's the music of course. But just as much for me it's the look of it.
First the music. It originally was meant to be a duet with Robert Palmer AND Chaka Khan. Now THAT would have been incredible. (I shared my love of funk and a Central Park performance of Rufus and Chaka Khan over here). She couldn't get a release from her record company at the time but still did the vocal arrangements.
Here it is, one of my favourite videos of all time. Take a look and let's discuss, okay?
How about that look? There was NOTHING like it at the time.
The video was directed by legendary British photographer Terence Donovan, part of a trio of photographers who in the early 1960's changed the look of fashion photography. They not only captured swinging London, they helped create it. Terence, along with David Bailey and Brian Duffy set the trend for putting fashion models into gritty, urban environments. They brought their scrappy East End sensibilities to fashion. They were the FIRST celebrity photographers.
Prior to this, fashion models were posed in very prescribed ways. Compare the image on the left with photographer John Cowan's shots of model Jill Kennington on the right. Models represented married women of an indeterminate age wearing cocktail dresses. An upper class life that we were meant to aspire to - that was fashion in the 1950's. Stuffy establishment. Conservative. You were young and then you got married and were your parents, no matter your real age.
The shift by about 1960 was sudden - the models were young and single and the poses were more relaxed and fresh. Rather than a large format camera studio shot held for a minute, you had photographers in the street using 35 mm cameras.
Think Don Draper stymied by the new music and his wife's bohemian friends. He's suddenly old-fashioned and needs his young employees to translate the new culture for him. And those young employees aren't of the old WASP establishment like fellow partner Roger Sterling, they are working class like copywriters Peggy Olsen and Michael Ginsburg.
East Ender Terence Donovan helped bring this shift about.
What about the look? Inspired by the art of Patrick Nagel, Donovan hired similar looking women dressed identically and with a blown out look to the lighting. Ruby red lips. Hair pulled back. A bored look.
I know it's 26 years old and it DOES look a bit dated but I still love watching it. It still draws me in. What about you? What are your iconic videos?