By Suzie Lethbridge
With the premiere of the new Bohemian Rhapsody film looming, let’s take a look back into the life of Queen’s powerhouse lead singer Freddie Mercury, his iconic sense of fashion and the influence he still leaves behind today.
Starring in the biopic is Rami Malek, an American Egyptian actor, known best for his previous work in Papilon and Mr Robot. In an interview with Digital Spy, Rami revealed that he found it incredibly hard to accurately capture the way Freddie moved. He worked with many top choreographers, but it was only thanks to Polly Bennet that Rami managed to work out Freddie’s little mannerism tricks; every eye look, every turn and every flick of the microphone.
“You don’t want to mimic Freddie, you want to be able to understand why he did what he did.” – Rami Malek
The real Freddie Mercury was a British singer, songwriter and record producer. Born in Stone Town, Zanzibar and originally named Freddie Bulsara, he only moved to UK with his family when he was 17 and in order to flee the conflict caused by the Zanzibar Revolution. He went on to study Graphic Design at Ealing Art College and once graduated, decided to form a band with guitarist Brian May, drummer Roger Taylor and bassist John Deacon. Little did they know that their first hit song in the UK charts; Queen II, would be the start of their journey into international success.
Queen developed their unique style into a mix of glam-rock, opera, caberet and hard rock, both in relations to their music and their stage presentation. In particular, Mercury’s onstage presence has been noted as the stuff of legends. He would display a highly theatrical style that often involved a great deal of participation from the crowd. The Spectator described him as “a performer out to tease, shock and ultimately charm his audience with various extravagant versions of himself.” Mercury has also gone down in history for his iconic catsuits, hairy chest and gaudy earrings which have helped him create a flamboyant stage personality and steal the hearts of millions.
“It is not a concert you are seeing, it is a fashion show” – Freddie Mercury
Freddie Mercury’s reputation as one of the original fashion icons still lives on boldly today. Every element of his character, personality or aesthetic is recognised world wide and frequently copied in the fashion world. Some of his most iconic outfits include the satin number for “Bohemian Rhapsody, the monochrome catsuit in “We are the Champions and the tank top, studded arm band look for his live Aid 1985 performance;
Mercury not only continues to influence the ever-changing world of fashion but has also helped to inspire iconic artists such as David Bowie and Kurt Cobain. More recently, he has influenced the emergence of modern artists such as Lady Gaga and Katy Perry into the music industry and will continue inspiring upcoming artists for the foreseeable future.