On the Queen singer’s birthday, Another Man remembers his pioneering and fearlessly flamboyant approach to fashion
“I dress to kill, but tastefully.” So said the legendary lead singer of Queen, Freddie Mercury, who, if he was alive today, would be celebrating his 72nd birthday. Though it has been nearly 27 years since his untimely death in 1991, Mercury remains very much a part of the cultural conversation – a film chronicling the years leading up to Queen’s appearance at Live Aid in 1985 will be arriving in UK cinemas this October. And while he’s famed for his four-octave range, incredible lyricism and charismatic stage persona, Mercury is also remembered for his amazing sense of style; his pioneering and fearlessly flamboyant approach to fashion. “I have fun with my clothes onstage,” he famously once said, “it’s not a concert you’re seeing, it’s a fashion show.”
Taking to the stage in a variety of imaginative costumes, the musician would don bicep-bearing vests, glittering leotards and skin-tight leather trousers. He worked closely with the designer Zandra Rhodes, who created many of his most iconic looks, including his pleated ‘winged’ designs which were crafted from heavy white satin. Showing blatant disregard for gender norms, Mercury toyed with the masculine and the feminine: one minute, he would be trussed up in his leather trousers, looking like he had stepped out of a Tom of Finland sketch; another, he would be dolled up like a drag queen, complete with a hot pink wig, leather bodice and matching evening gloves.
Original and provocative, he and his Queen bandmates approached their costumes in a way that was wholly different from their rock contemporaries. “We’re not really like anyone else,” he admitted in one of his first interviews. If anything, we have more in common with Liza Minnelli than Led Zeppelin.” Head to the gallery above to see some of his most seminal looks.
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