Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Dressed For Success: Fashioning the Beatles, by Deirdre Kelly

The Beatles with Little Richard, 1962 (Photo: Horst Fascher/Redferns)

“Now I'm stepping out of this old brown shoe
Baby, I'm in love with you
I'm so glad you came here, it won't be the same now
I'm telling you.

I may appear to be imperfect
My love is something you can't reject
I'm changing faster than the weather”

– “Old Brown Shoe”, George Harrison, Abbey Road.

Although composed and recorded in the late phase of their stellar career, a humble but lovely gem by the always underrated Mr. Harrison for their last masterpiece Abbey Road during their slow motion breakup, the tune “Old Brown Shoe” still seems to encapsulate some of the supersonic swift living the band survived through during the magnificent eight years of their astronomical rise to fame and fortune. “I’m changing faster than the weather” also seems to echo both the breathtaking musical stylistic shifts they underwent as well as to mirror the under-reported fashion styles they first embraced, then embodied and finally shared with the rest of us lesser mortals. Deirdre Kelly’s masterful and insightful documenting of their dramatic clothing coolness, Fashioning the Beatles: The Looks that Shook the World, now finally addresses their nearly supernatural chic and how it paralleled the shockingly inspiring evolutionary leaps they took in the art of the popular song. It’s a literary gift of the highest order.