With the impossibly glamourous exceptions of Soki Mak and Thinks Burnett, there are very few stylists in Anthony Lycett’s new book, Self-Styled. Hence, the name … Instead, this volume of stunning portraits celebrates characters who have traditionally peopled the outskirts of society but who now, in this twisted new Trump universe, seem to embody core values of individual vision and diversity.
Lycett started shooting for Self-Styled in 2008. From the 7-foot latex clad Pandemonia Panacea to visual artist Jenkin van Zyl, the book features over 200 portraits of dancers and dandies, punks and goths, performers and trannies from London and Paris. Diptychs give the sitters the opportunity to present ‘day’ and ‘night’ personas; the contrasts are fascinating.
Lycett chose only those whose style is intrinsic to their identity. When every cuff you wrap around your neck and every ring you slip on your finger is inspired by personal totems, rather than trends and/or celebrities, detail can be obsessive. The results break all the rules – of dressing to fit in or dressing to impress or dressing to get lucky. Self-Styled is like a long cool drink of water in an ideological desert. We’ve never needed it so badly.
Self-Styled: Dare to be Different, £16.59, by Anthony Lycett. www.Amazon.co.uk