A Vintage Moment from Robert Palmer's 'Addicted to Love'

Posted by Meghan
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Robert Palmer, the popular English rock singer, is not necessarily a name that immediately comes to mind when you think of fashion, however the video for his signature pop hit “Addicted to Love” has garnered him a special spot in 80s fashion history. The video features Palmer performing on vocals with his band of four statuesque models playing instruments. Unremarkable as this would seem, Palmer and his crew of robotic and unattainable models created a video which would become one of the era’s most iconic. The girls’ looks feature slick, jet-black hair, powdery white faces, glossy red lips, a sleepy smoky eye and matching black dresses by the master of womenswear, Alaïa. The intent of director Terence Donovan was for the girls to look like mannequins as they danced languidly and played their respective instruments. Their blank expressions coupled with their out of sync dancing and unaffected strumming play perfectly into this bored and untouchable look––they’re not vacuous or ditzy, they’re just too cool to care. The choice of Alaïa for their uniforms is perfect in this sense given that no one can flatter a woman like Alaïa. Their simple little black dresses are tailored perfectly, fitted enough in the right places so as to flatter the body while being just relaxed enough to come across as effortless. The matching black dresses in conjunction with their heavily lacquered, sheet-white faces obscured any element of individuality–– they were vague and ambiguous just like a mannequin. In an interview with Marc Tyler Nobleman, model Mak Gilchrist (base player on the righthand side) said, “We didn’t have a come-hither look in our eyes. It was a look but you can’t touch. We were dangerous ornaments. Out of reach and perfect accessories to Mr. Palmer’s bespoke tailored suit.” Their impenetrable gaze screams “too good for you” and maybe even too good for Palmer, but definitely not too good for Alaïa.

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