Thursday, December 30, 2010

Brandon Flowers' Style Timeline, Part 1: Indie Baby Brandon, Hot Fuss 2004

Pink shirt with green and purple stripes, and black pocket stripe

 intro to a timeline

I've decided to create a comprehensive timeline documenting Brandon Flowers the Killers frontman's many different styles throughout the years. I could be wrong, but I really don't think there's ever been a musician that physically changed as dramatically as Brandon did from album to album.

Yes, David Bowie went extreme with Ziggy Stardust and Lady Gaga changes her persona every day- but they and others have usually held onto the same basic image. If super glam, then it was super glam all the way and they wouldn't be caught dead in a hoodie. And even if they did change drastically- like the Beatles going from Mod to Hindu- they did so gradually. But Brandon really did a 180 flip with every album release, and sometimes even thoughout the same album. He went from gentle, timid indie boy (Hot Fuss 2004) to full-blown metrosexual diva (Hot Fuss 2005), to rough 'n tumble cowboy (Sam's Town 2006-2007), to futuristic alien (Day & Age 2008-2009), and finally to classic dustbowl farmer (Flamingo [solo] 2010-2011).

                                                                         ^on the O.C. playing at the "Bait Shop," fictional music venue
On the set of the first All These Things That I've Done video at London's Brick Lane

The look always went with a matching sound- Day & Age was spacey and Sam's Town western. And, of course, the sound is most important when it comes to a band. But that doesn't mean style should be discounted. As I've shown before, I think style is a huge part of what makes the Killers and Brandon what they are and what they have become - that is, a big fucking deal.

So we're going to dive in and see how Brandon's style has transformed over time. (disclaimer- yes, I do know there are three other members in the band who transformed as well. And I do love them all. But I won't deny that Brandon is the one I have always been fascinated with. Also, this took enough time to compile as is. nuff said.)

2004: it was nice

This first part of the timeline is most special to me, and it's what made me want to start this whole style compilation in the first place. This is what Brandon and the Killers looked like when I first fell in love with them.

...When I used to constantly visit the unofficial (now official) message board TKN (The Killers Network). When boat shoes and indie hair were the style buzz words among TK fans. When everything was new and exciting, and it seemed like TK's momentum was  unstoppable, and everyone who knew about them loved them.

They were considered actually, unequivocally cool. (Even the early 2004 breed of hipsters loved them for a good few months. None of them would admit it today, but it happened, and I'll be here to vouch for it til my dying day lol).

 When they were part of an indie brat pack of awesome new bands like Interpol, Kaiser Chiefs, Franz Ferdinand and Bloc Party- all bands that were actually popular at the time. Like, radio and magazine popular, believe it or not.

It seemed like the reigning pop was finally being taken down by good rock music, not of the crap Nickelback variety, but indie/alternative...

Can you remember the whole obnoxious debate about what "indie" meant? Good times. I hated it at the time (indie was a genre label that shouldn't be taken literally, duh), but what I would do to make that argument relevant again!

This is one of the most nostalgic times in my mind, and I still remember 2004 fondly as pretty much the best year I've ever experienced culture-wise.

OK putting my handkerchief aside now.I've noticed this era is mostly looked over or totally forgotten by contemporary TK fans, not to mention casual fans and people who just like Brandon's style or whatnot. They may have never heard the term "indie hair" (you missed out my friends), they never noticed how actually

stylish these on-first-glance simple outfits are...

Hell, they probably can't tell this is the same Brandon Flowers of feathers and blabbermouth fame- back then still with his baby fat and naiveté intact.

SO, onto the subject at hand- Brandon's "indie style" of the Hot Fuss era, circa 2004. [TK fans  call each album release the beginning of a new Killers "era," because they're all so fucking different.]

indie Bflo

The Hot Fuss indie era was when The Killers were rapidly rising to fame. It officially kicked off in 2003 when the virtually unknown band took their first flight out of the US to London and performed their first British gig, which was reviewed by the NME, and so on and so forth.

The indie era would come to an end in the very end of 2004, around the time Mr. Brightside was released in the US. In fact the switchover can be pinpointed with surgical precision to the moment Brandon got highlights put in his hair. And then commenced the Hot Fuss glam superstar era. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

The style of this first era is kiiind of a big deal because it's what helped The Killers lure their first fans. Oh you know we're superficial bastards. Also, for basically the first and only time in Killers history, it fit in with the common style among rock bands at the time.

However, even then, TK always stood out a bit because they were more neat and wholesome- not dirty and wild like the other bands (The Strokes, god bless em). 

This era is the most casual and understated of the bunch by a long shot, and it really looks like an anomaly in comparison. It's a product of its time (think the Seth Cohen nerd chic look that was all the rage back then). But even so, some of the ensembles Brandon put together give off such an easy cool vibe.

The attention to details and style risks he would later show are already hinted at in his young indie days. His constant experiments with indie hair dos, the shirts buttoned up all the way to the very top, the little flower pins, the dabbling in eyeliner and pink clothing. He was dipping his feet (into the devil's water if you will) before he jumped in and got all glittered up.


 now let's get to the good stuff

That's enough blabbering, now let's get to the pictures. One of the staple clothing pieces in Brandon's indie era closet was the navy or black short-sleeve polo shirt. In the picture above he was crooning in a faded navy blue polo with a burgundy symbol with one button undone. For this casual performance he paired it simply with barely faded, fitted jeans and the usual red Swatch watch that you will see everywhere in these pictures. His hair was swept sweetly to the side, but not quite in its OFFICIAL indie hair™ glory.

What's that you say? Before we continue the riveting polo shirt discussion, you want to know what this whimsical creature called true indie hair is? Well, I don't blame you! Come hold my hand and I will show you the way through the forest of fairies and unicorns to the land of perfect indie hair...

OMG indie hair OMG

Most important in Brandon's indie era, quite frankly, was his hair. He has never surpassed the indie hair. It was perfect. Flawless. Epic. Godly. The Adonis of hair. And then he highlighted and chopped it off to all of our horror! Sure sometimes the indie hair got a bit long and wild. Sometimes it was too short and wonky. These were all mere relatives of the true indie hair.

Now this is debatable, but to me, and I'm always right in these matters, TRUE indie hair was and always will be when Brandon had a little wave in front that went across his forehead from the top corner of his side part all the way to the other side and then ended with one adorable little curl pointing to his face.

It was perfection. Emo hair's got nothing on this, man, this is how a manbang should be done. I don't think I've ever seen it repeated by anyone before or since, which is plain tragic. Get on it, men! Women (or men or whatever you're into) would be pouncing you in mere seconds. It says, "I am a sensitive guy, but the pointy tip of this curl is as sharp as the blade in my back pocket so don't get too comfortable." Brandon's mysterious brooding look in the two pictures sandwiching this paragraph illustrates that message.

To be fair, the three pictures surrounding this paragraph (all featuring indie hair in its peak, most perfect state) were all taken on the same day for the same early Hot Fuss promotional photoshoot. There was a stylist to touch up any loss of indie hair perfection and very little movement to prevent indie hair corruption. So it's not easy to perfect this look on a day to day basis. But as you see in some of the other pictures in this post (like the first three up in the beginning), a more casual version of perfect indie hair is doable. Just get the right hair cut, put in some styling creme or whatever it is Brandon uses (ask a hair stylist, I'm not that good), and voila. If a guy manages to copy one of these outfits as well and I see him on the street in full indie garb, I will make out with him right there and then, no questions asked. A girl can only resist so much. Moving on.

striped black blazer

^ This picture of the band is a real early classic. As you know by now Brandon's hair is in ideal indie mode, with the sweetest expression ever to accompany it. He is wearing one of his staple outfits of the indie Hot Fuss era- a dark (in this case black) polo buttoned all the way to the top as per usual when he was feeling formal, which was often. He was also wearing his ubiquitous black blazer with thick vertical stripes, of alternating shiny or opaque texture. P.S. pay notice to Dave's olive blazer; you'll know what I mean soon.

This detail shot from a live performance showed Brandon in the same getup but this time with a navy polo. I'm not sure if the crinkly texture of the blazer was intentional or the product of bad laundering, but Brandon seemed to like it anyway because...

.... he wore it all. the. fucking. time. On the left during a radio interview; below in a promo photo shoot. Judging by the hair these pictures seem like they were taken around the same time. That's how you can tell time differences in the indie era: just look at the hair.

On the right Brandon wore the usual striped blazer/blueorblack polo combo, but with faded jeans, with what looks like a kind of criss cross texture, and some cool black Allstarish kicks that I can't figure out the brand of. Please enlighten me if you do know.

In both the above and right pictures, notice he was showing an open tooth smile, rare indeed for the indie too-cool-for-smiling era. Despite the cool facade, he looked kind of dorky as hell, and I think he never looked that way again after the indie times. Awkward, yes. Always and forever. But dorky not so much.

Below Brandon again wore the striped black blazer, this time with the fugliest 70's flower shirt known to man kind. Although in this shot and outfit, he actually looks really adorable. I like the extra touches- the lapel pin, the manpurse strap, the blue and white striped belt, the fact his hand is under his blazer a la Napoleon.

Oh, and notice Dave's olive jacket. It appears here again- and no this is not a post about Dave's style, but this blazer is relevant as you will see very soon...

Here is another shot of Brandon's ugly flower shirt, because I know you thought I was overreacting from the previous shot. I mean it's nice that it's retro or whatever but it's just... not okay. Note the flower theme because it shows up again... for the only time in BFlo's career, really. The one time he should have really been ashamed of his moniker- when people were first learning it and he was trying to be indie cool- he decided to flaunt it like nuts.

Here's the striped black blazer again, when Brandon wore it at a music festival (possibly Coachella '04, telling by the palm trees and sweat, but not sure). Here you notice that this blazer is slightly on the longer side, and also how versatile it was. He could wear it with something dressy, or have it dress up a casual outfit for a concert. Brandon once said he would never perform in a t-shirt and jeans, but I guess the only exception was if a blazer topped it all off. And he's not wearing just any t-shirt- that's pure Killers merch right there- the classic dotted band logo tee, but instead of the ubiquitous black, this one is brown (it sells here for only $10 btw). The jeans are Diesel, telling by the left pocket. And I highlighted his hair with a detail shot because I think it was adorable. No it was not Official Indie Hair™, but it was a variation of the indie hair- its shaggier brother. I thought his hair looked adorable in this performance, just as much in 2004 as I do now. Also, is it just me or did he have traces of eyeliner on in these photos?

shiny olive blazer

This is not my favorite of Brandon's blazers at all- maybe because he looked so dorky every time he wore it (um, these two photos). Also, his hair did not help. And the fact that Dave looked much better in it (refer back to the two photos of Dave I emphasized). Brandon looks like an awkward teenager wearing his dad's clothes in comparison. It's just too big on him. And his hair looks silly with the bangs so short.

'the classic' outfit 

I don't know why, but I always think of this as the classic indie era outfit. It's made up of three solid basic colors that seem to fit perfectly together- dark beige, navy, and burgundy. If I think of Brandon's indie era for a moment, this is likely the image that comes up. In a way the outfit is a plain office-y one, yet there's something about it that makes it better than that, and it makes it clear that some thought was out into it.

basic white jacket

Why hello there, Doctor Flowers.

Boat shoes! "I'm trying to bring back the boat shoe" indeed.

identical basic beige jacket

                + boat shoes

blue loafers

striped trench coat


striped polo
red Swatch watch

typical square swatch watch

black rubber bracelets

black rubber bracelets 
pink button-ups 


blue pinstripe shirt, white pinstripe tie

Diesel jeans always have that stripe in the pocket.
blue low tops

black pinstripe vest (or waistcoast for the Brits)

flower pin

white button-up

Oasis army jacket

like Oasis brothers Noel and Liam Gallagher


outfit fails from fail land aka 2003

outfit successes that are too damn small