I would like to dedicate this post to all the DJ’s in the entire world.
2 versions. Why? Because it matters.
Buffalo Gals ( Original stereo mix featuring DJ Cut ) – Malcolm Mclaren
Buffalo Gals ( Duck Rock Album Version ) – Malcolm Mclaren
Here is the most concise account of Ray Petri and his “Buffalo Style” trend in fashion from the ’80s. It is from a great blog called NIWENDENAPOLIS. Read it later – it’s good so you may get stuck there for a while.
I realize my fashion styling aesthetic owes almost everything to Ray. The pictures Ray styled is where I learned a little thing called “how to.” His looks seem very relevant today. But what do I know about fashion these days? I’m old school…and I love it (eyebrow raise) I think of Ray’s Buffalo Style when I put a suit jacket over a hooded sweatshirt. That’s a good look. Ray made it right to try my souvenir African beaded necklace with my new Prada masterpiece that I found for under 5 on 14th street.
All these years later the end of Ray’s too short reign as a style vanguard remains a rotten and sad thing. I think – “I hate AIDS.”
I wish he was still alive because if he was, whatever he would be doing today would be correct, inspired, inspiring and one hundred percent real (a quality you rarely see in fashion.) Truth be told, I would most likely be doing the same as Ray stylistically because when there is a genius you follow him. That’s called devotion. I honor Ray Petri with every pushed up sleeve, every good hat tilted to the back and every attempt at some new conceptual look that fails miserably and I do so with the grateful knowledge of where the impetus to try for greatness comes from. Ray left us a very high mark to aim at.
Now, stop crying over dead stylists, get out your Doc Martins and LEARN.Ray Petri and The Buffalo Style – From NIWENDENAPOLIS
Buffalo is one of the most influential styles in fashion; the founders were essentially Ray Petri, photographers Jamie Morgan, Cameron McVey and Mark Lebon, and Mitzi Lorens. And later on includes Nick Kamen (of Levi ad fame) and his brother Barry, as well as Neneh Cherry and Naomi Campbell and Ray Petri was the vision leader of the gang. Petri brought street fashion into the mainstream when before it was just all about power dressing. Ray turned his back on designer clothes. He pioneered the DIY post-punk styling. Ray believed that you can re-create all of these looks from thrift shop clothes and stuff that you’ve borrowed from your grandparents. Petri’s look took bits and pieces of Britain’s post-punk ’80s: East Indians, blacks, punk whites, rude boys, mods, ragamuffin Jamaicans, New Romantics and boxers, and tossed them into an exotic whole. His revolutionary ideas spawned a generation of designers.
The Buffalo phenomena infiltrated pretty much everything, from ad campaigns to style magazines, all the way from the street to high fashion.
Photographer Jamie Morgan in one of his interviews on Showstudio said “What Buffalo did was to try to create its own agenda outside the fashion system. We were interested in the images and the attitude. Yes, we loved the style and the fashion but that was just part of it. We would use an Armani jacket because we liked the cut, not because of the label. What Buffalo helped to create was a force outside the establishment.”
Who would forget the image of Nick Kamen in a leather skirt, boys in Doc Martens and their underpants, ring-scarred black boxers in nursery-pink bobble hats, Armani suit jackets, boxing gear, and flags wrapped as sarongs, headlines ripped out and pinned to lapels. It was fashion with an attitude.
Ray Petri pioneered an aesthetic that brought the natural style of men of African descent to the forefront of fashion, adding sensuous androgyny with hardcore urban survival edgy-ness. Petri brought black models into the limelight, discovering Naomi Campbell at 14 and Neneh Cherry before her first recording. In fact using black models and models of other races was something pioneered by Ray, “no one had done it before.” “It was about the face, as they would say, ‘Start with the face and the rest falls into place” said Mitzi Lorenz one of the founder of Buffalo.
Unfortunately Ray Petri died from AIDS in 1989. Fashion may come and go, but style, as Buffalo will show you, lives forever.
Photos by Jamie Morgan
Photos by Viramontes
“the harder they come – the better”
Ray Petri, The Face, March 1985
Here are some of the current photographers that have been greatly influence by Petri’s Buffalo style:
Photos by Carter Smith
Photos by WillyVanderperre
So to end this post I will leave you with 2 videos that I think sums up the Buffalo Style- Nenneh Cherry’s Buffalo Stance and Nick Kamen’s “Each Time You Break My Heart”.
It has come to our attention here at Billy Beyond Dot Com that the entire musical catalog of Malcolm Mclaren deserves a thorough re-listening to. The time is now. Remember when Hip-Hop was fun? Personally I was wopping and cabbage patching to this stuff at sorority dances in Ohio before my relocation to the Capitol of The World ( …sigma, sigma,sigma!.) I imagine Cleveland girls still know what time it is. The World Famous Supreme Team was hours of endless inspiration and my personal fave act in Mclaren’s stable of talent.