On the heels of our ’80s Tribal Fashion post, we bring you the video for a track with a tribal sound: Bow Wow Wow’s 1981 single “Chihuahua.” The band is known for its African-influenced percussion. Drummer David Barbarossa, guitarist Matthew Ashman and bassist Leigh Gorman had previously been key members of Adam and the Ants (Bow Wow Wow’s tendency toward New Romantic fashions designed by Vivienne Westwood are reminiscent of the musicians’ Adam and the Ants days). If “tribal, New Wave romanticism” were a style, this band would emanate it!
Created by Malcolm McLaren (manager of the Sex Pistols), Bow Wow Wow began to gel when lead singer Annabella Lwin came on board. With a style and confidence beyond her years–she was fifteen at the time of this video–she performed with the band until 1983.
As for the video, there’s just something about a piece that mixes a bombastic yet melodic track with a hodge podge of visuals that are nothing short of wonderfully bizarre. With its grassland meets jungle setting, there’s definitely a wild quality, but near the end of the video, the pink carpet is rolled out, and we’re thrown into the middle of a full-on musical performance that features band members and dancers in a diverse array of fashion items.
Among the clothing and accessories are white tribal wear pieces with an ’80s twist, ribbon-wrapped strands of hair, over-sized broad-shouldered jackets with fold-down edges in contrasting colors, and what appears to be a shiny rain hat in a colorful faux-woven pattern. My mind is exploding. In a good way. These people need a catwalk, which is maybe why a cascading hot pink carpet was rolled out in the middle of a safari.
Enjoy this primal video, and Happy Friday!