Rock and Wool

One thing I have discovered about 1982 that has surprised me is how much wool there was.  Not only was wool a heavily promoted product but it was actually worn by pop stars.  For some reason I find this kind of amazing.  I find it hard to imagine Lady Gaga in a nice knitted sweater now, but it was not too out of the ordinary in 1982.  In fact, pretty cool bands could rock a wool look.

If you can tear yourself away from the tassells and hairdo of the dude hogging the limelight in the picture below you may notice the lead singer from the very high cred band Bauhaus in a lovely knit:

The same issue of Smash Hits features the lads from Depeche Mode in some knitted cricket whites.

Frankly there is nothing about these guys that makes them look they are in a pop band.  Their hair styles are cheerfully naff (I call the style on the right the munted poodle), and they seem to quite suit their outfits.  Out of context this really could be a picture of three lads after a good hearty thrashing of leather on willow.

But the band at the really yarny edge of rock and wool was Haircut 100.

And then we have the lead singer who I think single-handedly torpedoed his band’s chances of mainstream success by trying to bring in this look for long socks.

This band made a generation of grandmothers happy.

I have already discussed my own flirtation with high fashion/gender bending jerseys (jumpers/sweaters… whatever).  I have also featured wool ads on this blog in the past.  My personal favourite was this one in which the central model takes the concept of ready to wear to a dangerous new place:

Well, I have a new favourite.  This wool ad is perfect because every part works so well.  Here is the ad as a whole:

And here it is in its different parts.

Yeah, I know there’s a knitted dress to admire, but what really grabbed me were the jerseys with knitted alpine scenes.  I like to think that if the two models stood right next to each other the two scenes would join up to make a tableaux.  Also, I love the sheep in the foreground of the brunette’s top: it’s just so postmodern.

So much going on here.  The cats on top of the brick wall?  I mean, this is just AWESOME, but then my eye was drawn to the fully dodgy guy at the top and I thought “ha ha, he looks like a pimp” and then I saw the massage sign and thought “oh, he is” – which is a pretty odd angle to take in a wool ad but I suppose it works, I mean walking the streets at night must be pretty cold sometimes so a nice wool jumper would be good.

Here’s the payoff though; the text explaining the pictures.

Which fashion capitals are these I wonder?  Ulaan Baatar?  Vladivostok?  Here is my favourite line though: “Style that quietly screams fashion.”  Quietly screams.  Go on, go back and look at the cats on the wall top and tell me what it quietly screams to you.  Style?  Fashion?

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I wrote a book called Kaitiaki o te Pō

6 thoughts on “Rock and Wool”

  1. I know – the Cosby Show. Bill’s sweaters became a feature of the show. At one point we were supposed to feel a surge of national pride because he was wearing some ghastly monstrosity designed by a New Zealander.

  2. Firstly, I’m amazed that ANYONE thought it would be a good idea to have the latest pop sensation dressed in casual knitwear. Can you imagine pitching that to the band and getting them hyped about the photo shoot? “Guys, you’re gonna look so hot ‘n sexy, grannies will want to jump you. What shouts SEX more than cricket knitwear??”

    And yes, the contradictory ad stuck out too… go to town with countrystyle?? WTF?? It reminds me of our local cable company’s slogan (Insight Communications)

    “The future is here, the future is coming.”

    Okay, so which is it??? It it here already or has it yet to arrive?? Someone paid good money for some muppet to come up with that. Give me a napkin, ten bucks and fifteen minutes and I’ll give you something better.

  3. I can’t believe sweaters were ever so hip and fashionable! Especially the patterned relics. And then, sadly, about three years later, Bill Huxtable came onto the scene and f—ed it up for everyone. Sweaters have never been the same since.

    Depeche Mode, I hardly knew ye.

    I cannot wait to see who wins the award for best mail order index card system! This is just comedy at its finest. Had I not remembered the TV commercials for the animal index cards and the recipe index cards, I would think you were lying.

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