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E.O.F. Style Idol: Billy Idol {The ‘Idle’ Teen}

Billy+Idol

“A man is not idle because he is absorbed in thought. There is visible labor and there is an invisible labor. “

-Victor Hugo

New Wave just wouldn’t have been New Wave without this eccentric to pave the way through the 1980’s.  With a penchant for pastels, and bold black and white stripes, we thank this latest E.O.F. Style Idol inductee for being part of a fashion revolution for men, for being fearless, and for using that pelvis for the good of mankind. 

We would like to introduce you to William Michael Albert Broad.  

Having grown up in Stanmore, Middlesex, England, amidst the English countryside with a background in proper Boys Schools, this rebel rocker would boldly defy convention and using peroxide to pave his way, he would come to be know as the one and only Billy Idol.

As a boy, Billy’s family moved to southeastern London, where Idol attended Ravensbourne School for Boys. Billy also attended Worthing High School for Boys in West Sussex.

In October 1975, Idol went to Brighton Polytechnic to pursue an English degree, and lived on campus (East Slope), but left just after Year One. Billy’s academic ambitions would be cut short, as there was definitely a change in the air…

The world was shifting and popular culture was rapidly changing; the squeaky boy bands of the past were begging for a make-over!  Raw unbridled sexuality would be exactly what the doctor would prescribe…

“If your world doesn’t allow you to dream, move to one where you can”

– Billy Idol

The name Billy Idol was inspired by a schoolteacher’s description of the young Broad as “idle” – a bit of a slacker, non-chalant, “too cool for school”, as they say.  But it was his music ambitions and talent for performance that showcased the young man as anything but idle.

The stage name was also a nod to the pop acts that came before him. Billy Idol looked to history, comparing himself to his own idols like Billy Fury and Elvis.

“We were saying the opposite to the Clash and the Pistols. They were singing ‘No Elvis, Beatles or the Rolling Stones’, but we were honest about what we liked. The truth was, we were all building our music on the Beatles and the Stones”

He then went on to join the Bromley Contingent of Sex Pistols fans; a loose gang that traveled into town when the band played.  Billy could see similarities between himself and the motley punk troupe.  He had a hunger for performing, and Billy knew he had to make his mark as an entertainer.

billy idol like flynn

Billy first joined the punk rock band Siouxsie and the Banshees (before the band had decided on that name) in 1976, but soon quit and joined Chelsea in 1977 as a guitarist.

It wasn’t until Billy would step out from the background and take center stage as front man of Generation X that the act from across the pond would make a huge splash in international waters. This quickly ushered in the ‘second wave’ of British invasion acts during the MTV era in the 1980s.

“I love it when someone insults me. It means I don’t have to be nice anymore.”

-Billy Idol.

By 1982, Billy made a splash on the club charts as a solo artist.  The single “Dancing by Myself” hit the pop charts like a comet!  With a string of hits like “Rebel Yell”, “White Wedding”, and “Eyes without a Face”, as well as a hit cover of “Money Money”, Idol Fever hit America in a huge way.

With an electric look consisting of scantily clad chains and leather, with a gyrating pelvis and curling lip, only comparable to the King himself, Idol had the idol sex appeal like no other teenage dream, and successfully ruled the charts for over a decade.

Photo of Billy IdolIn 1990, Idol was involved in a serious motorbike accident that slowed down the shock rocker, and nearly cost him a leg.  He was also hit by a car when he ran a stop sign while riding home from the studio in Hollywood one night, requiring a steel rod to be placed in his leg.  Idol would go on to speak about this accident and credit it for completely changing his life.

Having spent years partying and crediting much time to white weddings, Idol didn’t want to waste anymore time.

billy idol idol

Due to the circumstance of the accident, Billy would have to pass on a movie role tailor made for the Prince of Peroxide.

Film director James Cameron had chosen Idol to play the T-1000 character in Terminator 2: Judgment Day and had drawn storyboards to resemble him.  Unable to perform major stunts, Idol was replaced by Robert Patrick.

joan jett and billy idol black and white

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And did you know?

Don’t You (Forget About Me)“, written by Keith Forsey and Steve Schiff, had originally written it with Billy Idol in mind, but the singer turned it down, leaving the song to Simple Minds, who made it a hit in 1985! The Breakfast Club would have been a very different film if the rebel-hearted singer had left his hand print on the flick.

Influencing youth to revolt to this day, bleaching one’s head peroxide blonde wouldn’t have the same impact if it weren’t for the one and only Billy Idol. And if you browse LOOKBOOK, or any other street style source, you will be finding kids rocking the edge just like Billy.

billy idol ziggy stardust

Wiktor Hansson as Billy Idol for Tush Magazine

Count on finding this rocker’s look mimiced in fashion magazines and on the backs of the style obsessed youth. Billy Idol is what every man fantasizes of being; a sexual being unrestricted by the bounds of society, a creature of vanity, insanity, and completely possessed by the spirit of rock n’ roll. He shows that it’s good to stand out from the crowd, and to be extraordinary.

With a touch of James Dean’s rebel ways, the natural class of Errol Flynn, and a wildly adventurous spirit, Billy keeps himself current to this very day, performing and touring the world over. We love this star  decked head to toe with crucifixes and chains, or wearing nothing at all. One thing is for certain,  he’ll always be our Teen Idol!

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{ Demi Moore’s Loft from “St. Elmo’s Fire” (1985) }

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Music Minute: Billy Fury – “A Wondrous Place” (1960 Recording)



This artist we’re bringing to you today has a wondrous sensibility to style and passion, cultivating his own hip pulse alongside Elvis himself.  Rockabilly style sensationalism must be in the air, because we’re tripping off of this pretty-boys badass look.

Born 1940 to the name Ronald William Wycherley in Liverpool, England, where winning a talent show as a kid would lead to a life showcasing the goods he was born with.  Born with an abundance of talent and a weak heart, he was destined to leave behind a big handprint.

Wycherley fronted his own group in 1955, but simultaneously worked full-time on a tugboat and later as a stevedore. By 1958 had started composing his own songs.  When he was signed he was such an immediate success, new management would rename him ‘Billy Fury’.

However, his early sexual and provocative stage performances received censure, and he was forced to tone them down.  But we have to attest, the world was changing in a big way, and sex is exactly what people wanted!

With a whiney twang, and a pouty quality to his style of sound, he is a forgotten idol of the changing pop culture through the 1950s.

BILLY FURY on stage performing

billy fury with the beatles

Having spent decades making career choices based on health, and having to pass on many opportunities and tours, ‘Billy’ would be found on his hotel room floor in 1983.

billy fury bad in black

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{Let’s do the Time-Warp Again} Best of the 80’s in Menswear Spring 2013


The best fashion is timeless, so no surprises here at the Eye of Faith we are always trying to reinvent the classic’s through modern interpretations of the best basics!  We love to pick out different era’s and reference those ‘era-descent’ influences in our current looks.  We are so happy to see the latest runway shows from around the world are straight up our alley!

From London-town, to Paris and Milan, there is an undeniable 80s influences in most of the shows from this coming Spring 2013 Season.

Weather it’s through unconventional Metallics or lace, or acid washed hair, dyed to perfection.  We love when we can see the past turn it’s cheek and rock it’s way into a jagged-edged future.


A wise man once said “Everything’s already been done”, but we hate to think there isn’t room for anything new at all! We aren’t talking about reinventing the wheel here, but we do miss the days of David Bowie’s gender bending orange head of hair, and Billy Idol’s undeniable sexual swagger.

The greatest idols of the 80s are back in a big way, and all their razzle and dazzle is back on display though the Spring 2013 Menswear season (Through you’d swear this might be 1983).

  

Staring with one of our all-time favourites, Burberry Prorsum is always classic at it’s finest, with Christopher Bailey at the helm, we are always captivated by his modern spin on tradition.  Described as an exercise in contrasts, this Spring collection has a bit of everything—matte versus shine, traditional versus tribal, strict versus oversized. Mylar-esque metallic trench coats and shiny silk shirts play off the brand’s fitted wool suiting. Classic outerwear pieces evolve as well, with Bailey interpreting mac jackets in the new fabrications and turning the classic bomber into a cropped cocoon, worn over a business suit. Bailey explores new territory, while keeping one well-burnished foot firmly planted in the house’s heritage.

  

Anne Demeulemeester always kills it for us, with a spin at modernist edgy, and classic vampire fashion.  What’s more nostalgic of the glam decadence of the 80s than gothic-chic suiting, and lush fabrics fit for Royalty.  Running the gamut from solids to stripes to prints, and relaxed silhouettes, Ms. Demeulemeester’s spring collection seethes with a dark-prince edge—indeed.  From Prince to Keith Richards, any rock star, past and present, would rock these looks on stage.

  

Comme des Garçons always has been an absolutely innovative brand season after season, so no surprises here that they would take influence straight from the Laboratory.  So maybe the nod to 90s cartoon Dexters Laboratory isn’t so totally 1980s, but you can’t deny us the bold black and whites and orange coloured hair are straight out of a 80s hair catalogue in the best possible way (Annie Lennox anyone?!).  Every look included matching trouser-and-shirt combos with topcoats: in sterilized white, pinstriped, with toggles, or with doodled print panels, with a slender silhouette billowing down below the waist.  Menswear at it’s finest, Dexter’s Laboratory‘s eponymous kid genius would be proud.

After that, we want to run out to the nearest vintage store, and try to scrounge up some pieces that will elevate us to an 80’s icons level!  If you need us we’ll be Dancing with Ourselves, and watching every season of Jem and the Holograms.

We hope you’ve found inspiration in our recap of the latest show’s, with a touch of the past. Remember even if it’s ‘been done’, we know it can be done better! The 80s wouldn’t of been possible without the emblematic era’s that came before.  Honour the past, present and future!

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Music Minute: Eye’s Without a Face (1983)

From Billy Idol’s album Rebel Yell, this is a complete standout track!  On an album where angst is a major theme, this ballad brings a softer side we don’t often see from the platinum blonde rocker.

Cowritten by guitarist  Steve Stevens, this was actually Idol’s first single to crack Billboards top 10 in the US.   Beautifully recorded with siren-like back up vocals repeating “Les yeux sans visage” in the most alluring and hypnotic way.   The title of the song actually refers to French director Georges Franju‘s movie ‘Les yeux sans visage‘ (1960).

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