20 Fab Fashion Moments in Beatles History
Aug 09, 2011 - by Jessica Lapidos
The Beatles are number 1 on countless lists counted in the past 50 years, not least FashionIndie's Best Dressed Man Bands of All Time. The band that changed the world had a look that evolved with their music; always the classiest. Their look was no accident, and their intensely interesting photos had purpose behind them. Some for which were just smiling for national press, but others like with their friend and photographer Robert Freeman (who shot the first 5 album covers), they delved into deeper emotional imagery. On the heels of Paul McCartney's 8-city tour (3 hours each night, not 1 sip of water #werq), and The Fest for Beatles Fans this past weekend and Beatles Week coming up in Liverpool, we've got the Fab Four on the mind. With thousands more photos in books, see John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr in looks that shaped the world.
The early Beatles in their most iconic look: cuban heels, near-Nehru Pierre Cardin collarless jackets, mop tops. This might be how you remember them at their earliest.
However, they were not always so clean cut. They began their days in the Cavern Club in Liverpool and touring Hamburg, Germany in head to toe leather, with hair more like Elvis.
In their ever-savvy Savile Row suits, they posed with props and an air of sophistication.
It is likely that they rarely ever walked a city block so calmly altogether, what without the mobs of screaming girls and guys chasing them down. Notice the short squared tie on Harrison and the sweater on Paul. Perfect English gentlemen.
HELP! came with a movie and an album cover so iconic, and totally preceded the YMCA. Take note, the dolman sleeve on John Lennon, the top hat and mac on George Harrison, the high collar on Paul and the red detailing on Ringo's dolman. Seems like they were doing just fine without any help at all.
At Shea Stadium, the boys wore military inspired suits, cut with a sharp edge, beige in color with pocket flaps. Though they wore it at other shows on the tour, these became known as the Shea Stadium Jackets.
Ever cheeky at their press conferences, these were the moments to step out publicly with individual style (unlike their concert attire). Here in '66 they discuss their earth shattering concert at Shea Stadium, each in a different pattern and cut of suit. High lapels on Paul, wide on John, tall buttons on George. Ringo is spot on.
The Boys in their winter suits - tweed and felted wool. Two thumbs up.
Touring down in the American South, Paul picked up a cowboy hat and added it to the repertoire. I'm sure Ringo's poof sleeved shirt, however, came from England.
Look's like George is into the full bodied sleeves as well. This picture is from the lost photo archives of Bob Bonis, who was both The Beatles' and the Rolling Stones' tour manager. He noted that Harrison happened to wear this shirt out the night before, still rocking it poolside the next day. #classy
Back in the studio, touring over and done, they're dressing for no one but themselves. John in silk, both scarf and shirt counterbalances Paul's clean sweater. Judging by George's vest, it must be nearing Christmastime.
By this time they were revolutionizing the concept of a concept album with Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band. They also were bursting into more colorful ways of dress. And they grew the group 'stache.
Did I mention burst of color? For the first international live broadcast ever in the world, the Fab Four brought the psychedelia. It's the cut of Savile Row, as seen through kaleidoscope eyes. John Lennon also penned All You Need Is Love specifically for the occasion.
From there they got on the Magical Mystery Tour. With this trip, their style strayed from the straight and narrow of Savile Row and into a more costumed huzzah. This is from the I Am The Walrus scene, goo goo ga joob.
Paul McCartney and George Harrison take a stroll through the park in '67 dressed to the hilt. A caped Paul over a wide print tie, George comfortably in embroidered shearling, they embodied the magic of the Mystery Tour.
The Beatles took a sojourn after Sgt. Pepper and Magical Mystery tour, to truly get away from everything. They retreated to an Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's ashram in India. It was here they wrote most of the White Album, a move which upset George because they were there to meditate, not to write songs. Be that as it may, they took up the solid white dressing of the yogi way, except for Ringo who clearly wasn't having it. Not one to put down his jacquard and his jewelry, he carried his bag and his flair for accessorizing. Fortunately, Paul Saltzman was there to meditate, and happened to have a camera to capture it all.
Standing in front of the Rolls Royce, The Beatles are (obviously) a class act. Out of their Sgt. Pepper psychedelia, their look had shifted to the folk side.
Hey Jude came about with a photo shoot that displayed their evolved style. Their hair had grown with their sensibilities. And John was looking more and more like an amish Jesus by the day.
Up on the rooftop of Apple Studios, they performed their last public performance altogether - people just gathered beneath when they heard them, until the police came and broke it up. If I may draw attention to the fab fur on John and George...
And in the end, getting ready to cross Abbey Road, it was the last album cover they would ever shoot together. John in white, George in denim, Paul ready to go shoeless, and Ringo with his ruffled front, they would take those famous steps in the road of the studio that garnered the greatest music ever made.