Adam Lambert – Dashing Warrior
Sadly, too many people have such limited memories, they can only recall the past few minutes, months or a single decade, hence the few comparisons I have read for Adam’s visual presentation of costume, make-up and hair for Wango Tango are not especially accurate, do not reflect his style sense or respond to his own words.
Adam has much more sophisticated tastes and with his creative latitude he is an original each time. “Yep, only Adam Lambert could take the signature fashion looks of fallen pop-rappers and make them look glam” Can’t see it. Is their cultural experience so narrow that the only time they have seen this style is on a single performer a decade ago?
Don’t Touch This
I would never have considered the inspiration for Adam’s Wango Tango costume was M.C. Hammer, until I saw last week’s episode of Glee where a group performs Hammer’s “Can’t Touch This” in the library, the dancers in colourful satin Hammer pants with exceedingly padded bolero jackets and quite authentic. “Glee” must have been the inspiration for the concert critics – it was on last week and falls within a short term memory span.
And “parachute pants” anyone? If writers are going to reference fashion, they should do a tiny bit of research. “Parachute” referred to the light-weight fabric of which parachutes are made and the style did not look like a parachute. The drop-crotch trousers reminded me of the jodhpurs worn by WWI soldiers, wider at the crotch and thighs, tapering into a knee-high boot. From now on, they have been dubbed “jodhpurs”.
Juneau and many others saw a genie – mystical, powerful and magical, based on the “harem” style trousers and such an appropriate identity for Adam. One of Adam’s style gods is David Bowie who from head to toe, was an ethereal silvery shimmering genie in the video “Blue Jean”. Adam’s genie is in boots rather than luxuriant slippers and genies usually wear bolero vests rather than jackets. However Adam’s embroidered shirt works well with the exotic genie look. Did you make three wishes? What do we rub to make them come true? Looking to the desert is inspiring.
Xena’s Fantasy Life
My response is so totally different. Long forgotten dreams of romance, doomed or heroic arise from somewhere in a dimmly lit room of my imagination. Dashing, loyal male heroes, saving their beautiful loves to my joy and relief, or the tears well-up for the two hanky tragic deathbed scenes when he arrives too late, she dies in his arms – a Romeo and Juliet theme.
My mind’s light flickers in black and white, imperfect sound, potato chips crunching; asleep upstairs are the neighbours’ children I am babysitting. Cary Grant, Gary Cooper, Robert Taylor, Clark Gable, Errol Flynn, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. were some of my first Friday night dates, whether in costume dramas, comedies or war movies.
The jodhpurs and the wide, draped trousers are worn for horseback riding, whether as cavalry or the mysterious desert rider, come to save Scheherazade on one of those Arabian Nights – to carry the exotic beauty to his tent of delicious delights.
Admittedly, I can hardly place their leading ladies as I have been transported to the Purple Rose of Cairo to die in their arms as the stoic nurse, the shrouded princess whisked up onto their powerful stallions or kidnapped by a rogue pirate to live among the boys, taking up arms along side. Usually swords and daggers appear during the action. Could Adam have secreted a hardened rapier among the folds?
Adam, do you have anything to say?
In an interview conducted shortly before his performance and dressed in his new “jodhpurs” he referred to his current look as “military chic”. We have seen this thread running through some of his presentations during the past year, from the FYE video in neoprene commando gear and accessories with a totally masculine, domineering statement in look and choreography, his Russian soldier on the Tonight Show to the Wango Tango stage and an exotic, romantic military style.
Adam’s feathered headress hair and warrior tattoos sharpen the more sublime soldier in his tame uniform.
While Adam referred to Military Chic in his interview, this must be distinguished from “combat” or other contemporary outfits fraught with camouflage patterns, speaking of which, is there anything less attractive than this Rorschach test pattern, whatever the palette?
Gaze at the photos long enough and Adam comes to life in a number of romantic, masculine vignettes. This night, our dream weaver, tattoo markings over his eye and hair a feathered headdress, has fused several warrior symbols and costumes in a single, full-bodied presentation.
As invoked in his Sleepwalker on the Tonight Show, aristocratic Russian Count Vronsky in Tolstoy’s tragic Anna Karenina is in a version of a dress uniform, with a contemporary edge. Buttoned up, standing simply at the mic Adam expressed his anguish with his face and that soaring voice.
Love a man in uniform – Cary Grant cuts an especially dashing figure.
On Wango Tango, the Vronsky Officer’s coat is re-employed, unbuttoned in a more casual demeanor, allowing for plenty of dance movement this time. Elaborately embroidered with silver, highlighted with crystals, the collar draws our eye to his face and cuffs to his gloved hands.
Another from Imperialist Russia – the Cossack – a more rugged character but one who exemplifies the dance talents of the Russian soldier, combining elements of ballet with exhibitions of strength and power. There is room to move in the wide, draped trousers, tucked into boots, embroidered shirt, waist encircled with colourful sashes. Way to work those thighs!
French soldiers of WWI included the draped trouser in their uniform kit, particularly the French Foreign Legion, serving in harsh desert climes where only the most hardy dare to fight. Often a refuge for scoundrels, the Legion was populated by the “bad boys” of society.
Valentino – Sheik and Seductive
Perhaps one of the most powerfully seductive male figures of all time is the Arabian Sheik as portrayed by Valentino. At once dangerous, passionate and romantic, seductive eyes rimmed in kohl, elaborate ensemble including the draped trouser and exotic surroundings. Xena must have visited the Sheik’s luxurious tent before decorating her den where that infamous game of Scrabble unfolds. The game requires strong thighs.
Now, let’s dance the sexiest of all the Latin styles – the Tango. Valentino’s Tango smolders, leading his partner while costumed as an Argentine Gaucho. He is the South American cowboy in his traditional wide trousers, folded into his spurred boots, romancing a lady after vigorously riding the Pampas.
Hmmm………Adam in the Tango? Argentine Tango – a favourite on our wish list. In one of his D&G immaculately fitted suits and slim soled Italian leather shoes. Sorry…. mind wandered a bit picturing this one. Why did they call this Wango a “Tango” anyway? Who did a Tango? Ke$ha with Bieber?
Such joy in imagery and narrative – a beautiful, supremely talented entertainer with a desire to please, is an enthusiastic fashionisto as well! No sloppy, unkempt looks. Even at his most casual Adam requires good jeans, good boots and attractive t-shirts, with ball cap for anonymity or “haven’t done my hair” toque. We saw Adam at New York Fashion Week. When asked about favourite designers and labels – they are trendsetters and given Adam’s familiarity with them, he easily chats about his preferences.
I naively raised the topic of Adam’s style with someone who said “do people have nothing else to think about?”. Easy to reply – absolutely every aspect of himself that Adam reveals is like nectar to hummingbirds – keeps us flying.