Glam! The Performance of Style

Preview by Charlotte Geoghegan | 04 Apr 2013

When you think of 'glam', you probably think of glam rock: of Bowie as his androgynous alter ego Ziggy Stardust; of Elton John’s platform boots and ridiculous eyewear; of outrageous fashion and a lot of glitter. Glam! The Performance of Style at Tate Liverpool is the first exhibition that attempts to bring together the memorabilia, art and iconography of this era. It asks us to think about what all that glitter represented.

In 1967, homosexuality was legalised in the UK, and people began challenging gender stereotypes in a big way. It was a time where experimentation was encouraged as well as accepted – something that can be seen throughout this exhibition. From 1971-75, glam rockers like Bowie led the way in Britain while Andy Warhol and his famous Factory were flying the glam flag in the States.

Glam focused on theatrics and performance: the fashion, hairstyles and makeup of the era were outrageous, from the eclectic ‘retro-fashions' – which included 1930s Hollywood glamour and the Teddy Boy suits of the 40s and 50s – to trashy and flashy futuristic looks, channelling sci-fi and mixing it with glitter (think satin jumpsuits and shiny, metallic lipsticks). The Tate show includes both a British and American ‘Glamscape’, pooling together various vinyl sleeves, magazines, posters, artwork, some short vidoes, and a few interesting outfit choices (Alkasura's Cherry and Ladybird Jacket from around 1972 being a personal favourite).

For those of you who love music, fashion and performance, and are looking to learn a little more about the era, Glam! are hosting a free event – including performances from unsigned bands – on 11 April at Liverpool's Camp and Furnace in homage to Andy Warhol’s Factory. You might want to dust off that jumpsuit... [Charlotte Geoghegan]


Tate Liverpool, Until 12 May, 10am-5pm, £8 (concession and family tickets available)

Glam! 21st Century Factory, Camp and Furnace, Liverpool, 11 Apr, 7-10pm, Free