Style Icon: Dusty Springfield
When we think of the word 'rebel' Dusty Springfield might be the last person to spring to mind, but believe it or not her personality, music and her look were about as rebellious as it got back in her heyday! She broke the mould with her music and her sexuality by refusing to sit comfortably within the industry's expectations, singing anything from country, jazz and soul in that husky, emotive voice we know so well. With a career spanning from the 1950's to the 1990's, her ongoing legacy and timeless look deems her more than worthy of being our style icon!
Think blonde bouffant hair, panda eyes and a glitzy dress, and you've got Dusty. Her look earned her the prestigious title, 'Queen of Mods'. Rumour has it, after sharing a top billing with Shirley Bassey, she sneaked into Bassey's dressing room to find out who made her outfits! Low and behold it was Eric Plant, founder of 'Darnell of London', and from then on Plant dressed Dusty for her shows. Wearing dresses both floor sweeping and mini, Plant designed colourful and intricately embellished numbers that gave Dusty the iconic look we know her for today.
As for her blonde bouffant, glamour queens of the 1950's such as Brigitte Bardot and Catherine Deneuve played a big part in influencing her image. Known for her wicked sense of humour, it perhaps shouldn't surprise us that Dusty name her wigs after three of her contemporaries - number one was Cilla, number two was named Lulu, and number three, Sandie (not sure what they'd say to that!). Her distinctive heavy mascara and eyeliner which is still emulated today apparently came about simply as a result of being short sighted and having to remove her glasses when applying make-up!
The seventies and eighties brought new fads and trends, so naturally Dusty moved with this. Adopting longer, flicked out hair and head dresses for the seventies, and a permed barnet with embellished suits in the eighties. Despite the change, elements of her classic look still remained, much like the rich and soulful quality of her voice. Debbie Harry, Madonna and Amy Winehouse have all taken inspiration from Dusty's style.
A highly outgoing, charming performer on stage and a troubled introvert off, some have speculated that the shy and retiring Mary O'Brien (her real name) was a far cry from her Dusty Springfield stage persona. Controversy surrounded her private life due to her 'alternative' lifestyle as a lesbian and problems with drugs, alcohol and self harming. Her iconic and bold look that we know and love was perhaps, then, was a reflection of her severe insecurity and the public's rejection of her true self. Or as Dusty herself put it, "To be the star they wanted, I had to hide behind a mask, and I chose mascara."