Now I know this picture doesn’t show off Shirley’s complete outfit (she was wearing heeled ankle boots, black shiny leggings and some weird – amazing - red print hot pants) but it’s such a beautiful, powerful image I couldn’t resist.
Indie Queen Shirley Manson
Back in the heady days of Britpop, when my everyday uniform was a Fred Perry tennis dress, Adidas Gazelles and a retro track top, Shirley Manson was one of my heroines (along with Justine Frischmann and, of course, Gwen Stefani). All three were inspiring frontwomen, leading their bands with strength and charisma. Each had their own distinctive style that proved the power of clothing as a form of self-expression.
As she howled her way through Stupid Girl, I’m Only Happy When It Rains and You Look So Fine (anthems of my youth!), Shirley was mesmerizing. A slight figure with fiery red hair and huge eyes that burned through you, she was a force to be reckoned with - the ultimate indie faerie queen.
Garbage were out of the spotlight for a few years and I was surprised and delighted to see Shirley pop up in one of my favourite shows, The Sarah Connor Chronicles as a TERMINATOR! Yes, that’s right, a shape-shifting murderous robot cybernetic organism. But brilliant as she was at playing a cold, calculating T1001, Shirley’s natural habitat is performing with her band. Reviews of the show suggest they are as tight as ever and Shirley is as formidable.
I love her outfit with its translucent top layer allowing her to play with shape and light, creating striking silhouettes. There’s something reminiscent of Kate Bush’s costumes, which had a balletic quality that allowed her to dance and move freely. And Shirley being Shirley, she toughens up the delicate fabric with her trademark smoky eyes, red lips and that famous hair scraped fiercely, almost painfully into a topknot.
Here's the video for my favourite Garbage song, Why Do You Love Me. In the last scene Shirley bears an eerie resemblance to none other than Kate Moss. Enjoy!