The Gossip’s Beth Ditto has a fashion sense as original and unexpected as her band’s musical style. Ditto’s roots in the tattered jeans, ripped leather and smudged eyeliner of punk music evoke a smoldering rock aesthetic that is right on trend—even if she’s reluctant to admit her trendsetter status. And yet, after an electrifying performance with The Gossip at Fendi’s party, her front row perch at several shows during the recent Paris Fashion week, a stint as the cover girl for Love magazine and her vocal role as a gay rights advocate, Ditto has ascended as a fashion muse and empowering figurehead.
The Gossip is punk music’s biggest supporter of that bass-driven, sequence-covered genre known as disco—the perfect meeting place of musical expression and fashion. While Ditto’s iconic fashionista image was forever cemented after appearing nude on the cover of NME in 2007, a mere glance at one of The Gossip’s frenetic live performances offers an even better insight into Ditto’s influence on the fashion world.
In this 2005 performance of The Gossip at the Knitting Factory in New York, Ditto stomps around the stage in her trademark, gloriously form fitting evening dress and a gold belt tied tight around her waist. She looks like she could be waiting in line at Studio 54 or CBGB’s, or some other relic of music’s past. This intuitive fashion sense exudes the characteristic confidence and savvy that has made her such a welcome icon—and in the past four years she’s matured even more. Most importantly, though, Ditto always looks unmistakably like Ditto, and for that she is truly iconic.