4 Oct 2012

the white and grey gorilla coat

The white and grey gorilla coat was a matted, extremely hairy, '60s zip up number that I picked up in a vintage shop in the '90s. When I say 'vintage shop' I mean a place that had fold up shutters at the front instead of an actual wall and which was stuffed full of smelly junk. For some reason, even though it made me look like the Dulux Dog's flea-ridden hobo cousin I felt like the epitome of glamour when I wore it. I circled my eyes with lots of black eyeliner to complete the look, and I liked to construct a complicated hair-do that involved lots of back-combing, top-knotting and the pulling loose of lots of little stands of hair to create a 'through a hedge backwards' look. 

This was my '60's phase which I mixed with a healthy dose of the '70s and, looking back, I'd like to give myself a pat on the back for daring to look like a complete nutter on a daily basis. 

I went to London for the weekend with my art college class. My friend and I were expecting to be welcomed into the loving arms of the cosmopolitan London folk but instead confused tourists took photos of us, builders laughed at us, loudly singing 'Do the hippy, hippy, shake' and we generally stood out like sore thumbs. I remember it rained one day and my flares got soaked up to the knees with puddle water and my sodden gorilla coat smelt like it had been bought in a damp junk shop with no front wall. Which it had. Nowadays I forget how much flack kids take for daring to look different ('different', 'hilarious' and 'stupid' are interchangeable in the last statement). 

Back home in Wales were everyone was used to our junk shop sixties/seventies look we convinced ourselves that it was just London that didn't get us. In Cardiff we were fricking awesome. 

I had a pair of shiny satin flares that were the brightest red and had falling autumn leaves on them, which piled up, visually, at the bottom, at the most flarey bit. That's just a little indicator how wrong I got it sometimes. 

But on the other hand, sometimes I looked FAB. It was like going out in fancy dress every day, and having a ball. I wish I had half the guts now that I did back then. 

I'm gutted to say I haven't got many photos of me at that time. We didn't have mobile phones to take pics back then, and we were too busy having fun, making art and getting drunk. There are a few Polaroids about somewhere, and pics from disposable cameras... I shall have to hunt them out.


  1. Ah, this post has conjured some great mental images, thank you! I also used to dress like a complete loon, and I do miss the freedom of those times, and the 'f**k you' attitude - I really didn't give a shit what anyone thought, which was really quite fun! I found a photo of myself earlier today, when I had green dreadlocks (heavens to Betsy!) and wearing insane dungarees - not one of my most stylish phases! I still love a bit of eyeliner though. Rachel xx

    1. Green dreadlocks! Love it, Swampy. The desire to douse your hair in a variety of chemical each month fades with age doesn't it? I had pastel blue and pink hair at one stage. I remember going into work (Saturday job) with a beanie on and then whipping it off in front of my male boss who I thought would be horrified but who squealed 'Oooo, I LOVE it!!!' X

  2. Great post! Really fun to read. This reminds me of my purple corduroy flares and bright yellow shirt with bright pink stacked trainer combo that I LOVED when I was about 18. I will have to see if I have any photos!

    1. That sounds like a killer outfit! Obviously you were years ahead of Cheryl Cole (although I think her shirt was orange rather than than yellow, but still, she blatantly copied you). And thanks! X