My first indication of what I was in for when I picked up New Club Kids came from the book’s cover. A young woman gazed out from beneath thick, black eyelashes, wearing a white jumpsuit, a blue plastic choker, and what appeared to be a bejewelled chinstrap. I wasn’t sure what sort of party would have bejewelled chinstraps as part of its dress code, but I wanted to be invited.
New Club Kids: London Party Fashion in the Noughties starts by explaining how London’s club scene has evolved over the course of several decades, beginning when youth of the ’70s became bored with the dominant punk fashions and began to search for something a little different. Beginning with David Bowie-inspired nights at clubs, an entire subculture of unlikely party style emerged. These teens became known as the New Romantics, but they also had well-known sub-groups, and many of them—like Princess Julia, who partied with the likes of Marc Almond and Boy George—received attention from the media and gained fame because of their style, or because of their music, or simply because they were there.