My most memorable job was the styling of Kylie Minogue in 1988. I had no clue who she was when my agent gave me the call. The assignment was to dress her for her first photo session as a solo artist, after Neighbours, the Australian soap opera. Kylie’s record label, PWL, had briefed me that she was sixteen years old. I was to come up with a new image, to help her look like a funky, yet sophisticated twenty-year-old. I believed that I had done an excellent job since the pictures, which included her album cover, went global. My worst fashion nightmare unfolded just a few years later when those same highly acclaimed photographs were publicly panned by the likes of Vogue and Elle fashion directors. They had gotten their Gucci talons into her, so ‘lynch that stylist, whoever she was,’ was shouted round popular Soho private drinking clubs and editorial haunts. Unfortunately, ‘that stylist’ was me! At the time, my pictures reflected her style of music, which was cheaply manufactured, eighties pop. But later, some smart producers created a new, more acceptably evolved, iconic inspiring, mainstream, dance oriented music which looked to draw in the styling elite. From 1991 to 2005, my full name suffered ostracism within the pop/media/clubland circuits, as I was that awful stylist who dared to dress the newly-crowned Queen of Pop in that (sold-out) Pam Hogg, classic red jersey dress and those iconic Red or Dead stack shoes, (which oddly sold over a quarter of a million pairs) thanks to those awful photos. Fast forward to 2005, when Kylie unfortunately, developed breast cancer, revealing she was, in fact, born in 1968. This baffled me, as 1968 was a year after I was born. Going back to that time in the photographic studio, she was a twenty year-old, pretending to be a sixteen-year-old, wanting to look like a funky twenty-year-old. The mind boggles! The upshot was, in various coffee table books, there is a celebration of her successful second and third decade as 87 Queen of Pop. She was crowned the original eighties pop icon, thanks to that stylist back in 1988, namely me, who was not named publicly, until now!
ROCKER BYE BABY Chapter 9 page 89-90.
Kids and teenagers were the target audience for Kylie; Waterman adapted the idea and was fascinated by how teenagers reacted to Minogue's work. It is reflected in the album's artwork, shot by photographer Lawrence Lawry, which shows Minogue grinning and wearing a hat of hair with curls cascading out of the top. Designer David Howells said the artwork shows Minogue in a girlie and carefree way that kids can relate to, instead of "some icon on a pedestal". He was inspired by the way teenagers tear pictures out of magazines and stick them to walls, referring to it as the "magazine approach".
THE ABOVE QUOTE WAS FROM WIKIPEDIA
This gives proof to my story about Kylie actually being a twenty year old who was in fact trying to come across as a sixteen year old at the time. Kylie has since used that same image with the red Pam Hogg t-shirt dress on various live performances and comedy spoofs.
I KNEW I WAS BACK IN VOGUE WHEN I SAW MY ICONIC IMAGE REPLICATED AT GLASTONBURY 2019, SOME THIRTY-ONE YEARS LATER!
AMONGST THE MOON AND THE STARS, THE ORBS SHINE BRIGHT AROUND MY NAME.
THAT IS CLEARLY MOLLY SAYING HELLO.
THANK YOU TRACEY, YOUR KIND WORDS AND INCREDIBLE PHOTO MEAN THE COSMOS TO ME.
Nicky has been such a support since reading Rocker Bye Baby.
We look forward to working some magic together this year.
For Lily and Molly.
Ritchie has kindly written a full Rocker Bye Baby review on Jacemedia here it is in full.
I am honoured to have had my photograph taken by Ray Burmiston, many times over the last thirty years.
He is a true and dear friend whose creativity I admire, along with his down to earth no nonsense honesty.
In 2020 he created the Take A Moment Campaign for the charity Mind UK.
Below is a photo he took of Brian and myself at our wedding.
This photo is my current bookshelf, which speaks volumes about me. I had moved house a million times, I have gone from full to bursting bookshelves in the '80s-90s when there was no internet to charity shopping them all, to downloading those same books back onto KoBo, now I have returned to paperbacks and still not settled anywhere.
1983 Social services report while at Lincoln College.
Paula reading the tarot cards on my wedding day, everything came true!
The spread and chocolate and booze.
About the Author
Claire Mear is a