Hadley Freeman on fashion's latest unlikely muse, Eugene Hutz

Hadley Freeman: At the Gucci menswear show in Milan, Eugene Hutz, singer in the Gypsy punk band Gogol Bordello, was cited as the key inspiration for the collection. This translated into dishevelled suits, lots of velvet and heavily patterned shirts

Fashion designers are frequently accused of having a very narrow definition of beauty. And going by the models they hire to wear their wares, who are all Caucasian, under 23 and with a body mass that wouldn't put up much of a fight against a pillowcase, then yes, there might be some merit to the complaint.

But designers also have the most remarkable ability to find intriguing qualities in unlikely individuals. Which brings us to Eugene Hutz. Um, who? Young Eugene is, according to the folk at Gucci no less, the most hep cat on the boardwalk.

For those needing elucidation, Hutz is the singer in the Gypsy punk band Gogol Bordello, shaggy of hair, scruffy of look, whose previously most notable moment on the world stage was when the band collaborated with Madonna at Live Earth. Now, some might feel that the gulf between a Gypsy punk band whose only other contribution to the style world was the penning of a song called Start Wearing Purple (sample lyric: "Start wearing purple for me now/All your sanity and wits, they will all vanish") and a super-sleek Italian fashion brand should be an unbridgeable one.

None the less, at the Gucci menswear show in Milan earlier this week, Hutz was cited as the key inspiration for the collection. This translated into dishevelled suits, lots of velvet and shirts so patterned they are sure to be your boss's look of choice come the next office Christmas party. All of which will cost a lot more than the clothes that originally caught the Gucci designer's eye, and which Hutz probably bought in a charity shop. Such is the irony of fashion inspiration.

The Mitford sisters, Violet the geeky daughter from The Incredibles, homeless people - all have been cited as worthy fashion inspirations by designers recently, and one can only applaud the designers for their vision, not to mention their determination to make customers look as if they are en route to a fancy-dress party. Well, they must be earning those enormous price tags somehow.


Hadley Freeman

The GuardianTramp

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