July 15, 2001 12:00 PM

Freak Show!

On MTV, some rockers prefer being dressed to the asinines

Vanilla Ice says he wore sequined harem pants for one reason: His record company “paid me a million dollars to do it.” The rest of these Major Taste Violators had no excuses. PEOPLE style editor Steven Cojocaru dishes on two decades of jaw-dropping fashion

“DOWNTOWN” JULIE BROWN AND MC HAMMER, 1990

“Julie is breaking the bad news to Hammer: ‘You look like Marilyn McCoo in the pilot for Solid Gold!’ And Julie, there’s a 12-step program for leggings addiction.”

PAMELA ANDERSON AND TOMMY LEE, 1999

“Animal activist Anderson is giving a home to a wayward ostrich. And Tommy Lee is declaring, ‘You can never go wrong with flasher chic!’ ”

SAMMY HAGAR AND KARI KARTE, 1992

“How clever to make two outfits out of floor tile! And I love what Kari’s outfit is saying: ‘Vomit if you want to—I’m wearing a protective bib.’ ”

MARILYN MANSON AND ROSE MCGOWAN, 1998

“This is the exact moment when fashion died. He’s wearing a sofa, she’s wearing a shower curtain. Outfits courtesy of Pottery Barn.”

LIL’ KIM, 1999

“This was surely purchased at Neiman Martian’s. I don’t want to know where she keeps her cell phone!”

VANILLA ICE, 1991

“I think I’ve come down with shoulder-pad envy! Actually, my mother wore a similar ensemble to my bar mitzvah.”

STEVEN TYLER (WITH JOE PERRY), 1987

“It’s lingerie night at Benihana! I always applaud a geisha-girl-from-the-wrong-side-of-the-tracks look.”

PAULA ABDUL, 1987

“Everything that was wrong with the ’80s can be summed up with this outfit. Warning: Wearing this many sequins causes curvature of the spine.”

Head Cases

For MTV’s scariest dos ever, the prize goes to the guys

In the wild world of rock style, it’s not easy to stand out—but these artists’ over-the-top tresses do the trick. Explains Poison’s C.C. De Ville: “I tried wearing the leather studs and spikes, but I kept hurting myself. So I went for the big-hair thing.”

DEE SNIDER

The singer’s coif (in ’84) shows why his band was called Twisted Sister. Plus, notes celeb hairstylist John Sahag, “he overdosed on the Sun-In.”

WHITESNAKE

In the big-hair ’80s, no band had manes as massive as the Brit glammetalists led by ex-Deep Purple singer David Coverdale (center, in 1987). “Overcurled, oversprayed, overcoiffed,” sniffs Sahag.

C.C. DEVILLE

“Man, my hair defied gravity,” says the pretty-in-pink Poison guitarist (in ’91). “Aquanet did work!”

BILLY CORGAN

Before he shaved his head in 1995, the rocker (in ’94) had “kind of a ’20s flapper thing going,” says Sahag.

JON BON JOVI

“I cringe a little,” says the singer’s then hairdresser, Helena Occhipinti, of his look in ’89. Eventually she persuaded him to lose the shag.

MIKE SCORE

Although Score’s band (on New Year’s Eve, 1982) was called A Flock of Seagulls, to Sahag he evokes a bird of a different species: “Maybe an owl?”

ROBERT SMITH

The lead singer of the Cure (at the 1989 VMAs) could have used a good detangler, notes Sahag. Still, “He was way ahead of his time with the bed-head look.”

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