isn’t it iconic | arcadia

November 22, 2016 in sharp-dressed men, stop look & listen by editor

Duran Duran went goth for Arcadia’s one and only record.

Arcadia in ‘Election Day’

By 1984, Duran Duran had become one of the biggest bands in the world, but after 5 years of non-stop concert tours, recording sessions, and video-making, they decided it was time for a break. But instead of taking a step back from the spotlight for some rest, the band splintered into two new short-lived musical groups — the Power Station and Arcadia. Power Station, with Duran’s John Taylor and Andy Taylor, along with Robert Palmer and Tony Thompson of Chic, was the first out of the gate with a self-titled debut in the spring of ’85. In November of that year, Arcadia, which consisted Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, and Roger Taylor, released So Red the Rose, the band’s one and only album. Power Station departed from Duran Duran, fusing hard rock and funk into radio-friendly hits like ‘Some Like it Hot’. Conversely, Arcadia was more like Duran’s gloomy, arty older brother, featuring a sound that, Le Bon described at the time as ‘looser, less structured and more moody and atmospheric than Duran’s music.’ ‘Election Day’ was the first single released off the album and the band’s biggest hit, reaching the Top Ten in both the US and UK.

About the Look

When Le Bon, Rhodes, and Taylor formed Arcadia, they changed up their look to match their (slightly) darker sound. All three dyed their hair black and they dressed like a fashion magazine version of Robert Smith — black and white, long duster coats and high-button shirts, with touches of Victoriana. (Interestingly, Joel Schumacher has said that Arcadia inspired the costumes in his 1986 film The Lost Boys.) If all this sounds a little strategically arty, it was. Le Bon has since called So Red the Rose ‘the most pretentious album ever made’. But this new look lasted only as long as Arcadia did. Le Bon, Rhodes and Taylor rinsed out the hair dye and put the goth togs in the closet when they returned to the studio for Duran Duran’s Notorious.


coat: Givenchy | blouse: Victoria Victoria Beckham | earrings: Lord & Taylor | pants: Emporio Armani | bracelet: Liz Claiborne
scarf: Violet Del Mar | shoes: Alumnae | brooch: Nadri