Monday, March 14, 2016

For the cool trendy blokes

While I've showcased plenty of groovy 60s chicks in this blog, I'm the first to admit that I haven't given the same kind of coverage to Melbourne's stylin' blokes of the era. But stumbling upon this priceless article from a 1968 issue of Go-Set, I figured it was high time to redress this imbalance. 

But first, a few highlights from the article, which boasts 'easy fashion ideas for the swinging blokes in the GO SET'. These ideas are based around a simple suit pattern, and the author encourages any interested chaps to con their sister, mum or girlfriend into making one or more for them.

Calico and satin are suggested as ideal fabrics, and the writer advises extra-wide legs on the trousers so 'they flap around and keep your legs cool. Of course, no socks, just sandals!' 

But the real genius moment is saved for last: adapting the shirt for the beach.

'For the beach, the same shirt; shorter, and minus sleeves. A huge pocket for fags, glasses, bottle opener and all the other things that blokes carry. This is much zappier than a T-shirt, and to be really smart, get some enterprising bird to make you a matching hat.' By Jove, I believe that's the first time I've ever come across the words 'fags', 'zappier' and 'enterprising bird' in the same paragraph!

Alternatively, a go-getting go-setting guy could always have pinched a few ideas from the following local style stars:

Melbourne's real 'cool trendy blokes' (in no particular order)

1) One of my top local fashion faves has got to be Doug Ford. I was originally dazzled by Doug when I saw him with an ad hoc incarnation of the Masters Apprentices back in 2004 - with his pointy wizard's hat, chunky pendant and long scraggly hair, he came across like some kind of defiant single-fingered salute to ageing boringly. So great. (More about that memorable gig here). 

Doug demonstrating how to do sideburns (right)
In his 60s hey day (and before the 70s got their boganoid clutches into him), Doug had the best hair, coolest sideburns and a personal style that was flamboyant without being quite as foppish as his more extroverted bandmate, Jim Keays. And all set off by that cheeky baby face. What's not to love?
Gangster chic at Catcher. Lobby Loyde looks uncharacteristically stylish too!
2) Wit and a sharp intellect will never go out of style, and Barry Humphries is living proof. Just look at him in this photo, taken in Melbourne in 1969, lounging against the lamp post like a model, rocking a killer combo of polka-dot neckerchief, raffishly tilted hat and Philip Marlowesque trench coat. Add to this his casually dangling ciggy and eyes full of knowing amusement, and we've got the embodiment of bohemian cool.

Meanwhile, his alter-ego Dame Edna remains a fashion icon to this day, with her mauve rinse and maximalist approach to all things sparkly. But check her out below, in this rare 60s go-go ensemble! I have no idea what the context is, but it's fab (albeit just a tad bizarre)!
I could do with a pair of boots like that...
3) And speaking of Humphries, I grew up believing that The Loved Ones' Gerry Humphrys was Barry's brother! It was only recently that I discovered it was Gerry himself who spread that rumour. But while there may not be a family connection, both men do share a certain je ne sais quoi... 
Gerry gives a masterclass in style
Calico and satin may be the fabrics of choice for Go-Set's fashion writer, but personally, I think velvet is a groovier choice. While we'll never know what colour the suit was that Gerry's wearing in the photo above, it's pretty obvious he wore it well, teamed with a silky shirt and psychedelic tie. I also think we're safe in assuming his ensemble probably tended towards the brighter end of the spectrum rather than sticking to 'tasteful' standards, especially if the photo below is any indication...
I love how we see the photographer's shadow too.
Wowsers, this is some back-yard happy snap! Candy-cane stripes on top of humbug stripes -- not everyone could pull that combo off, particularly with bare feet into the bargain. Needless to say, Gerry does, looking for all the world like Lord Byron's 60s lovechild. 

4) And here we have Melbourne-born character actor, Frank Thring! Possibly best known for his scene-stealing swords-and-sandals turn as Pontius Pilate in Ben Hur (and unforgettable as creepy Superintendent Cobham in Mad Dog Morgan), Frank turns up the sartorial splendour in this amazing photo. I don't know what I love more: the uber-cool shades, the white polo-neck, the dramatically upturned collar, the villainous moustache...or his theatrical pose. Timeless style.
Frank was no ham
Frank also had a recurring role on iconic 60s Aussie kids' show, Skippy, as the evil Dr Stark. To quote The Standells, "Sometimes good guys don't wear white"...and sometimes bad guys do. Once again, Frank is looking effortlessly sharp in his pristine suit and hat -- but what absolutely nails his look here is that baby koala he's cradling. Just perfect.
Let's face it, koalas improve any photo
5) Tall, blond and magnificently mod, The Purple Hearts' Mick Hadley must've cut a striking figure onstage back in the day -- even before he opened his mouth and that incredible voice came belting out. His striped jeans are less technicoloured than Gerry Humphrys' and more Pop; in fact, he's looking pretty Biff-Bang-Pow all round in the photo below. Some of today's frontmen could learn a thing or two from slick Mick.
Mick Hadley in full flight
Anyone else detect a street-fighting young Roger Daltrey vibe in the below pic? With his sullen expression, close-cropped hair and obligatory red, white and blue sweater, Mick looks ready to nut a greaser with that pick-axe (or whatever it is) he's holding. Lobby Loyde, on the other hand, resembles an amiable teddy bear clutching his tyre iron (or whatever that thing is) he's holding. (And no, tools are not my forte.)

Who gets your vote for Melbourne's sharpest-dressed 60s bloke? Obviously, they can be transplants from other cities -- just as long as there's a Melbourne connection. 

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Melbourne song of the month: 5:10 Man/The Masters Apprentices

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