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Do you "Nomi"

    Klaus Nomi

    I’m feeling in a very German mood since the end of Berlin Fashion Week on Saturday. Music influences and fashion and vice versa.  This is a topic I will discuss frequently on this blog. In 1982, my sister and I snuck downstairs to watch MTV late at night. Remember when MTV actually played music videos? Ah, the good old days. Anyway, they were showing a film called “Urgh! A Music War” which featured some very cutting edge musicians including up and coming bands like The Police, Devo and The Go Go’s. When singer Klaus Nomi took the stage, our jaws hit the ground. We couldn’t help but laugh at his strange appearance, yet we couldn’t stop watching. There was something fabulous about him! And wait until you hear him hit notes that would shatter glass...

    Klaus Nomi - 1981

    Klaus Nomi was born Klaus Sperber in Bavaria, Germany in 1944.  In the late 60's, he started singing in a gay discothèque in Berlin before moving to New York in 1972.  Nomi became very involved in the New York art scene.  He sang in a four night event called "New Wave Vaudeville" where he dressed in a spacesuit with a clear plastic cape.  His performance was so well received that he was invited to play at clubs all over the city.  David Bowie heard about the phenomenal performer and hired Nomi and friend Joey Arias in 1979 to sing backup in an appearance on Saturday Night Live.

    Nomi's spacy outfits

    Although Nomi never enjoyed mainstream success, he was an important part of the punk-rock, avant-garde, visual art scene in the East Village in the early 80's.  Nomi wore his signature black and white plastic tuxedo with spandex pants most of the time, but sometimes he donned a Shakespearean ensemble complete with Elizabethan collar.  It's not hard to see how he has influenced fashion.  Designers such as Gareth Pugh have adopted some of his ideas.

                  Nomi in 1981      Gareth Pugh - Spring 2007

                            Klaus Nomi                      Gareth Pugh - Spring 2009

    In August 1983, Nomi died at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York as a result of an illness complicated by AIDS.  Apparently, his ashes were spread all over the city.  If you're interested in learning more about this talented and outrageous human being, check out Andrew Horn's 2004 documentary titled "The Nomi Song."

    UPDATE: Madeline was kind enough to share a post from her blogWhat a great story!  Thanks Madeline.