INDIO, Calif. — An hour before the Scissor Sisters were due to hit the stage to close out the Coachella Music and Arts Festival Sunday night, the band’s trailer vibrated with energy. The designer Zaldy Goco commandeered the front area, helping everyone step into their outfits; lead singer Jake Shears was wedging himself into metallic-gold leather pants and a matching jacket. “The pants have to be really tight and the jacket has to be easy to take off, because I get really hot,” Shears said. “At the end, if I’m not in just my pants, sweating my brains out, then it wasn’t a good show.”
Everybody’s favorite retro glam-rock act was about to preview its collaboration with Zaldy’s Zaldy Goco, and Shears was excited to show off its new look. “In working with designers, it’s really important they understand who you are, your personality, and really get a feel of your soul,” said Shears, who met Goco through the celebrity hairstylist Danilo, a mutual friend.
Though the designer is no stranger to the music scene — he codesigns L.A.M.B. with Gwen Stefani and has created looks for Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Lopez and Britney Spears — working with the Scissor Sisters was still a departure for him. “I’ve never actually done an entire group,” he said. “The challenge was to work all their individual personalities into the clothes and have it all make sense without making them look like the Partridge Family.”
Goco coupled Shears’ glam-rock vision with his own personal affection for each band member. “I love their music and image, and the fact that they are such a fun band, so it was really important for me not to lose that,” he explained. “All the outfits are shiny in some way — blinding and very dramatic.” Guitarist Del Marquis’ sharkskin-like vest-and-pants combo, for example, had a modern rockabilly twist; vocalist Ana Matronic’s liquid gold dress clearly had a disco-influenced flair, and Shear’s head-to-toe gold leather outfit translated into Arthur Fonzarelli-meets-“Velvet Goldmine.”
While Shears’ onstage persona may be an homage to the rock icons of yesteryear, his off-duty look is a mélange all his own. “I recently got stalked on Gawker Stalker and they totally nailed me,” he said. “They said I was dressed like Claire Huxtable from ‘The Cosby Show.’” He was caught wearing a rainbow-colored backpack and a bubble gum pink-and-blue scarf. But after close friends Elton John and David Furnish introduced Shears to Dior men’s wear designer Hedi Slimane, his fashion sense evolved — he is now the proud owner of pink, silver and pinstriped Dior suits. “They’ve turned me into a complete Dior-aholic,” he said.
This story first appeared in the May 4, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
And Shears has become a darling of the fashion world lately. He was at Miuccia Prada’s private dinner after the opening of the “Waist Down” exhibit at the Prada store in New York’s SoHo, and Karl Lagerfeld turned up at the Scissor Sisters’ concert in late April at the Bowery Ballroom.
Zaldy isn’t the only line getting into the Scissor Sisters’ act. Heatherette designers Richie Rich and Traver Rains dressed Shears for appearances on “Saturday Night Live” and “Live 8.” But fashion clearly runs in Shears’ blood. He also wears leather pants from a label called Grouchy Old Man, designed by his 77-year-old father, Abe Sellards. The pants are sexy and rock star-ish enough to make Mick Jagger green with envy.
“I could never get on stage and give what I need to give in jeans and a T-shirt,” Shears said, just before heading out on Coachella’s stage. “Clothes make me come alive; I’m not in the mind-set to perform until the outfit is on.”