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BUFFALO :30 years later and still as relevant to fashion today as it was back in the 1980s.

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Buffalo was the collective name of a group of young photographers, stylists and models under the guidance of stylist Ray Petri. They changed the whole approach to the imagery of mens and some women’s fashion in the media. Especially working with 80’s trendy fashion/cultural magazines, The Face, I-D and Arena.

Petri was born in Dundee, Scotland on the 16th September 1948. His parents took him and his family and emigrated to Australia in 1963. Once there Petri found a love of music which led him to sing with and R & B group called ‘The Chelsea Set’. Returning to England in 1968 he had many jobs around the music business, a stall selling antique jewellery in Camden Market in London, before becoming a photographic assistant to a renowned fashion photographer of the time, Roger Charity.

Petri went on to become a fashion stylist who is the person on a fashion shoot who chooses the clothes for the models to wear. Petri was actually more than a stylist, he used clothes to create an atmosphere and an attitude. In so doing he defined a menswear look of the 1980s.

Petri teamed up with young photographer Jamie Morgan and between them set a look for the time. Petri was a cultural phenomenon who was very involved in music, fashion, lifestyle and spirituality. He became the older brother and father to these creative young people.

Petri called his group of collaborators Buffalo after, as he once explained,It’s a Caribbean expression to describe people who are rude boys or rebels. Not necessarily tough, but with style taken from the street ….. a functional and stylish look, non-fashion with a hard attitude”. In part of the group he formed were photographers Jamie Morgan, Marc LeBon, Cameron McVey and singer Neneh Cherry. Cherry at the time released a track called “Buffalo Stance” which you can find on You Tube.

“No money can win my love
It’s sweetness that I’m thinking of
We always hang in a Buffalo stance
We do the dive every time we dance”

Also in the group were Barry and Nick Kamen, brothers and models. Barry Kamen is most famous for the laundrette scene in a Levi’s jean ad. Also involved was the very young stylist Mitzi Lorenz and a 14 year old Naomi Campbell who  modelled for them often.

 

The Buffalo look is easily recognised as a kind of post punk DIY approach to fashion drawing on club influences and a radical approach to sportswear often using non white models.  “It is not the clothes that are the stars of his work it’s the people”  Petri said “the important thing in styling is good casting. Once you have that, everything else falls into place”.

The whole look of Buffalo is the stance and mix of clothes from different cultures. The most iconic look that Petri and Morgan championed is the USAF MA1 flight jacket in black nylon and aviator sunglasses. Every guy had one at the time, either from a designer, from a surplus store or made by the manufacturer Schott. Nearly every fashion aware guy around the world wore a version of this jacket and it still looks relevant today.

The look that Buffalo created still influences fashion pages today and can be seen on the backs of hip young things on the high street.

He was a very respected, kind man and no-one had a bad word to say about him. He always kept a distance from the bitchiness of the fashion world.

Sadly Ray Petri died of AIDS in London, August 15, 1989 surrounded by his friends.

Book : Buffalo - Ray Petri
Published by Schirmer/Mosel 2000.

 

 

GRAHAM FRASER  Queerguru’s Culture, Fashion and Arts Correspondent was once half of the award winning FASHION DESIGNER duo WORKERS FOR FREEDOM. Years spent working in the luxury end of INTERNATIONAL FASHION he now lives with his partner the artist RICHARD NOTT and their two Cavapoos Albert and Raf in a stunning renovated 1950’s house on the edge of the Sussex Downs with distant sea views.



EASTER HEADGEAR BY THE (almost) MAD HATTER

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Easter is upon us. In lockdown time a way to cheer us up is to wear an Easter hat and share the image with your friends.

The craft of hat making has not changed in years although the way a hat is perceived has changed enormously. Post second world war every man wore a hat of some kind and then along came the sixties with an emphasis on hair and everything changed.

Philip Treacy  the milliner said “ I think that while people have heads, there will always be hats” . Treacy and Stephen Jones both based in the UK are two of  the most famous hatters in the world at the moment collaborating with major designers and couturiers. Marc Jacobs, Thom Browne, Vivienne Westwood, John Galliano, Chanel, Dior, Valentino………..

Hats for men makes a long list and for some the look is perennial :- Stovepipe hat,  Sombrero, Straw hat, Boater, Cap, CowBoy hat, Baseball cap, Bowlers, Top hat, Muir cap, Sailing hat, Bucket hat, Fur hat, Beret    etc        

The list is endless, so this Easter is time to try a new look and post on social media for us all to share you . As the saying goes ‘if you want to get ahead get a hat’.

 
 

GRAHAM FRASER Queerguru’s Culture, Fashion and Arts Correspondent was once half of the award winning FASHION DESIGNER duo WORKERS FOR FREEDOM. Years spent working in the luxury end of International fashion he now lives with his partner the artist RICHARD NOTT and their two Cavapoos Albert and Raf in a stunning renovated 1950’s house on the edge of the Sussex Downs with distant sea views.



SWIM : Making a Bigger Splash

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Until we can go back to the beach or sit by a pool, we can think about what swimwear we are going to wear when we can. So here is a fun brief queer guide on the history of men’s swimwear.

One piece bathing suits – When we first started to enter the water for fun and exercise in the early 1900s the one piece suit was worn. It was often made of wool and with nautical themes dominating the styles or prison stripes with button tops attached to long-john bottoms, not a bare chest in sight.

Two-piece suits started to be a trend for men in the mid 20th century still remains decency but an upgrade from the all in one. Robert Redford wore such a style playing Jay Gatsby in the 1974 film the  “Great Gatsby”.

Small trunks (as they were called) became all the rage after the first world war, fairly revealing and still worn today on may European beaches Burt Lancaster in the 1953 film  “From here to Eternity” romped in the sea in a pair of trunks.

Then along came Larger trunks in the late 20th century with a higher waistband and fuller in the leg leading to the board shorts of today, further developing into surfers shorts.

In the 1960’s revolutionary designer Rudi Gernreich showed unisex thong style swimsuits. You can still buy these today from the Tom of Finland store or on Ebay. This was the original thong that inspired the one worn by Sacha Baron Cohen as “Borat”.

In 1997 when Tom Ford was designing for Gucci he sent models down the runway in no back no sides swimwear. Again you can buy originals of these on  Ebay for in excess of $1,399 -$3,99.

Have to mention Speedos as the most famous brand world wide and also a commonly used word for the style.. The company started in 1914 but came to everyone’s attention when they made the small (budgy  smuggler) for Olympic competitive swimmers. This started the Budgy Smuggler brand along with AussieBum down in Australia.

Other famous film scenes with men in swimwear are Elvis Presley, Daniel Craig as James Bond and that famous scene with Jane Russell and the boys in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. So we can’t all wait to dive in.

 

GRAHAM FRASER Queerguru’s Culture, Fashion and Arts Correspondent was once half of the award winning FASHION DESIGNER duo WORKERS FOR FREEDOM. Years spent working in the luxury end of International fashion he now lives with his partner the artist RICHARD NOTT and their two Cavapoos Albert and Raf in a stunning renovated 1950’s house on the edge of the Sussex Downs with distant sea views.



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