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Rock and pop costume

  • Date:

    1981 (made)
    1981 (made)
    1981 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Ant, Adam, born 1954 (designer)
    Whiteing, Charles David (costumier)
    Swinden, Yvonne (designer)
    Lewis, David (maker)
    Wig Specialities (makers)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    [Theatre costume] Wool, satin, furnishing fabric, gold braid and metal buttons
    [Theatre costume] Cotton and lurex with metal studs

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Stuart Leslie Goddard (Adam Ant)

  • Museum number:

    S.140&A to O-1983

  • Gallery location:

    Theatre & Performance, room 106b, case 6, shelf B

  • Image in copyright

After starting his career in a punk rock band in the late 1970s, and acting in Derek Jarman's punk film Jubilee, Ant's musical and artistic direction changed after hiring Malcolm McLaren in 1980. McLaren's assistance in redefining their image resulted in the piratical theme that became a hallmark of Adam and the Ants, despite McLaren subsequently persuading the rest of the Ants to leave and form a separate band, Bow Wow Wow. After regrouping with a new backing band, Adam and the Ants became one of the most successful British acts of the early 1980s; their image and style of music was at the forefront of the burgeoning New Romantic movement.

Ant advised in the design of all his own costumes, indebted to historical, military and tribal dress, working with stylists and costumiers. This one is perhaps the most widely known of all, having been used for the publicity photographs and promotional video for the single, Prince Charming, and later on tour. There are two shirts, two pairs of breeches, two wigs and two scarves, not identical but in similar styles, all worn in different combinations on tour. The gold and black striped shirt and the dark silver leather breeches were worn for the publicity photographs and in the video.

Physical description

[Theatre costume] Double-breasted military tail coat of navy blue wool lined in scarlet satin, the lining of the tails trimmed with three rows of gold braid, the outer rows wide, the central narrow, the lower edges of the tails turned back to show the lining and secured with a gold metal button. To the front two rows of similar buttons, four to each side. The lapels with panels of machine-woven tapestry furnishing fabric with a pattern of red and pink flowers within a green lattice. The collar and turned back cuffs in crimson velvet trimmed with three rows of braid, as the coat tails, the cuffs lined in red satin. To centre back of coat two gold metal buttons.
[Theatre costume] Shirt with horizonal stripes in black cotton and gold lurex, the front and cuffs ruffled, the front fastened by metal studs.
[Theatre costume] Black cotton shirt with horizonal gold lurex pinstripes, the front and cuffs ruffled, the front fastened by metal studs with 'pearl' inlay, some inlay missing
[Theatre costume] Knee breeches of dark silver leather with flap front and buckles at knees, with a red, white and blue stripe down side seams and a thin blue ribbon edge to seams at seat of trousers.
[Theatre costume] Knee breeches of silver leather with flap front and buckles at knees, with a red, white and blue stripe down side seams and a thin blue ribbon edge to seams at seat of trousers.
[Theatre costume] White cotton cravat, with velcro fastening at neck
[Theatre costume] Belt of blue leather with large rectangular buckle covered in similar leather
[Theatre costume] Cummerbund striped red, white and blue, knotted at each end
[Theatre costume] Right knee boot in black patent leather with gold leather lining and silver buckle
[Theatre costume] Left knee boot in black patent leather with gold leather lining and silver buckle
[Theatre costume] Fan-shaped shoe decoration of pleated red, white and blue satin ribbon, a long red ribbon tie with a velcro fastening attached to the base, part missing. From the lower centre two tails of blue ribbon and two tails of narrower red ribbon
[Theatre costume] Fan-shaped shoe decoration of pleated red, white and blue satin ribbon, a long red ribbon tie with a velcro fastening attached to the base. From the lower centre two tails of blue ribbon and two tails of narrower red ribbon
[Theatre costume] Wig of black hair with top-knot held by bands of artificial pearl and gold beads and gold thread. To back a long ponytail bound at base by gold thread and to left three thin plaited braids bound at base with gold thread, each end bound with gold thread, thin red ribbon and a thin brown leather lace. To left a line of simulated tear-drop shaped pearls woven into hair.
[Theatre costume] Wig of black hair with long top-knot held by bands of round and tear-drop artificial pearls. To back a long ponytail bound at base by a black leather lace and red, green and yellow threads and to left three thin plaited braids, the first unbound, the second bound down half the length by red thread and a black leather lace, the third bound down half its length by yellow thread and a black leather lace. To left a line of simulated tear-drop shaped pearls woven into hair.
[Theatre costume] Narrow scarf of black cotton woven across the width with stripes in electric blue, red, yellow, purple, turquoise and oyster, at each end two long tails of navy and red diagonally striped ribbon with a third ribbon knotted at the end of the scarf.
[Theatre costume] Narrow scarf of black cotton with vertical stripes of satin ribbon in yellow, red, blue, pink, and turquoise, at one end a long tail of navy and red diagonally striped ribbon and a shorter knotted ribbon of the same, at the other a short similiar ribbon, knotted to form two tails, the edge of the scarf frayed where a second ribbon has been removed.

Date

1981 (made)
1981 (made)
1981 (made)

Artist/maker

Ant, Adam, born 1954 (designer)
Whiteing, Charles David (costumier)
Swinden, Yvonne (designer)
Lewis, David (maker)
Wig Specialities (makers)

Materials and Techniques

[Theatre costume] Wool, satin, furnishing fabric, gold braid and metal buttons
[Theatre costume] Cotton and lurex with metal studs

Marks and inscriptions

[Theatre costume] 'Wig Specialities'
[Theatre costume] 'ADAM ANT NO. 1'
[Theatre costume] 'Wig Specialities'
[Theatre costume] 'ADAM ANT (2)'

Dimensions

Height: 164 cm approx., Width: 59 cm approx., Depth: 25 cm approx.

Object history note

This multi-part costume was worn in 1981 by Adam Ant for the publicity photographs and promotional video for the single, Prince Charming, and later on tour. There are two shirts, two pairs of breeches, two wigs and two scarfs, not identical but in similar styles, all worn in different combinations on tour. The gold and black striped shirt (S.140A-1983) and the dark silver leather breeches (S.140C-1983) were worn for the publicity photographs and in the video.

Descriptive line

'Prince Charming' costume worn by Adam Ant, 1981

Exhibition History

Theatre and Performance (Victoria and Albert Museum, Galleries 103 -106 01/01/2009-31/12/2009)
Theatre and Performance (Victoria and Albert Museum, Galleries 103 -106 01/01/2009-31/12/2009)
Theatre and Performance (Victoria and Albert Museum, Galleries 103 -106 01/01/2009-31/12/2009)
Theatre and Performance (Victoria and Albert Museum, Galleries 103 -106 01/01/2009-31/12/2009)
Theatre and Performance (Victoria and Albert Museum, Galleries 103 -106 01/01/2009-31/12/2009)
Theatre and Performance (Victoria and Albert Museum, Galleries 103 -106 01/01/2009-31/12/2009)
Theatre and Performance (Victoria and Albert Museum, Galleries 103 -106 01/01/2009-31/12/2009)
Theatre and Performance (Victoria and Albert Museum, Galleries 103 -106 01/01/2009-31/12/2009)
Theatre and Performance (Victoria and Albert Museum, Galleries 103 -106 01/01/2009-31/12/2009)
Theatre and Performance (Victoria and Albert Museum, Galleries 103 -106 01/01/2009-31/12/2009)
Theatre and Performance (Victoria and Albert Museum, Galleries 103 -106 01/01/2009-31/12/2009)
Theatre and Performance (Victoria and Albert Museum, Galleries 103 -106 01/01/2009-31/12/2009)

Labels and date

'Prince Charming' outfit worn by Adam Ant
1981

Adam Ant was the idiosyncratic front man of the British New Wave band Adam and the Ants. He spearheaded its artistic direction and designed all his own costumes. Now iconic, these costumes are indebted to historical, military and tribal dress. The one worn in the video for the 'Prince Charming' single is perhaps the most widely known of all. [60 words]

Wool, satin, furnishing fabric, Lurex, leather and plastic
Jacket made by Dave Whiting

Given by Stuart Leslie Goddard (known as Adam Ant)
Museum no. S.140&A, C, E to K, N, O-1983

Materials

Plastic; Cotton (textile); Metal; Leather; Wool (textile); Satin; Beads; Gold thread; Cotton thread; Ribbon; Hair; Gauze; Gold braid; Lurex; Pearls (imitation); Satin ribbon; Velcro; Patent leather

Techniques

Sewing; Knotting; Shoe-making

Categories

Entertainment & Leisure; Stage costumes; Gender and Sexuality

Collection code

T&P

Qr_O159723
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