Sophisti-pop appeared in the mid-’80s, merging pop, jazz and soul. Its sound was smooth, polished and mellow, often with heavy doses of synthesizer. Many of the genre’s contributors were British. Sophisti-pop acts included artists like Basia, Swing Out Sister, Sade, The Blow Monkeys, Bryan Ferry, Spandau Ballet and Curiosity Killed the Cat. While some music from this genre is lumped in with “smooth jazz,” to dismiss it as schmaltz would overlook its ’80s roots and heavy emphasis on style. And Mirror80 just can’t do that…
Swing Out Sister
Let’s start with this track by Swing Out Sister, whose lead singer Corinne Drewery was a fashion designer and model before joining the band. And the video shows it…
The background behind Drewery (first appearing about 30 second into the video) reflects an ’80s trend of fluid markings and free-form images on textiles, as shown on fabrics from the ’80s British design group The Cloth:
Next we visit Swing Out Sister’s “Twilight World,” in which Corinne Drewery sports an androgynous suit with shoulder pads that rival those of David Byrne in the 1984 concert film Stop Making Sense.
Maybe it’s the suit and the bob, but in this video Drewery reminded me of Yves Saint Laurent muse Loulou de la Falaise in this photo from 1982:
And speaking of suits, sophisti-pop singers loved to wear them! Swanky music called for swanky attire. Check out the video for Bryan Ferry’s 1984 hit “Kiss and Tell”:
Yes, certain sophisti-pop videos had a fashion shoot quality that showcased ’80s glamour in all of its sleek, bejeweled glory.
I’ll leave you with this 1984 video for Spandau Ballet’s “Only When You Leave” (note the drama and the sparkle):
Stay tuned for more on sophisti-pop from Mirror80…