Rockstar Style Marc BolanNovember 8, 2014
Marc Bolan, the star with the prettiest of pouts, was always into fashion, and from the age of about twelve actually stole motorbikes to get the latest trends. I mean, here at Blue 17 we really love our fashion, but that’s dedication from a young age!
Mod Marc Bolan
Marc Bolan’s first style obsession was being the perfect Mod – bumfreezer jackets, slender trousers and button-down shirts. It’s likely that they started out of the highest quality (surely a stolen motorbike must = at least a few good quality shirts) but because he was only little, his suits were always expertly tailored to fit his diminutive stature too. To add to his style nous, Marc was arrogant, confident, and always the leader of the gang.
Here he is, photographed with his mates for a fashion feature at 15 in 1962. (His name was Mark Feld back then – his birth name). Marc Bolan is the one in the foreground in both pictures.
But Marc Bolan moved on from the Modernist look in ‘65, about a year before it was completely passé for everyone else.
In 1967 Marc Bolan became part of the band John’s Children, which had terribly naughty lyrics like “Lift up your skirt and fly”, written by Bolan. They were dressed (by their manager) all in white or sometimes in nothing but strategically placed flowers.
It’s not his finest sartorial moment, let’s be honest. But he was only with them for about 3 months. (By all accounts, it was a happy three months, since the band was encouraged to be madcap and as well as naked photoshoots he got to whip his guitar with a chain, which sounds fun).
Marc Bolan moved on to a hippie style with his next band, Tyrannosaurus Rex, still in 1967.
Here’s a picture of him (left) at a festival in 1968. His curly hair’s growing out nicely.
Marc Bolan and T Rex
Tyrannosaurus Rex performed songs written by Marc Bolan, surreal, poetic, and a bit hard to get into, though massively championed by John Peel. His clothes matched the hippy style at the time– longer hair, flowing garments. Unlike the music itself, nothing that would really strike you as peculiar in those times.
It was 1971 when Bolan, ahead of everyone else, moved into the makeup, glitter, feather boas and platform heels of Glam Rock.
His beautiful nimbus of hair now grown and fully fluffed, Bolan was unafraid to accentuate those soulful eyes with a bit of eyeliner.
Marc Bolan – Glam Rock
Said to have been influenced by the Rocky Horror Picture Show, or perhaps from seeing his idol Jimi Hendrix do likewise, Marc enjoyed a nice feather boa on stage, along with other gender-bending accessories.
Although he wasn’t alone in the glam rock arena, being joined by David Bowie, Gary Glitter and even Mick Jagger for a while, he was, (did we mention?) perhaps the prettiest, which lent a different edge to his feminine frous. However, he wasn’t aiming to crossdress or to look like a woman. Nor was his love of makeup and Anello & Davide girl’s tap shoes any indicator of sexuality, although he was bisexual. He just really enjoyed dressing up and flaunting his new outfits, and performing on stage gave him ample opportunity.
To get that Bolan look: stalk through the streets on platform boots. Fluff your hair, show a bit of man-chest, wear a smoky eye and a well-manicured brow. A pretty shirt, perhaps in a vibrant pink satin, or a leopard print coat will look good. Be outrageous, but with such absolute confidence that passers-by adore you, and record producers fall at your feet.
Bolan’s first appearance in print – an article written by Peter Barnsley and photographed by Don McCullen
A photo from the same 1962 article, which was in Town magazine – Photographer Don McCullen
John’s Children in their white outfits
John’s Children in alternative attire
Marc Bolan at a festival in 1968
Marc Bolan & T Rex File Photos