Designer Betsey Johnson and style plates Lenny Kravitz, and Joey Ramone pass judgment on everyone from Rick James to Eddie Vedder, and more

May 28, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT

Everyone, to paraphrase ZZ Top, is crazy ’bout a sharp-dressed man and woman. But how do rock’s trendsetters measure up? Here’s what our panel of experts — designer Betsey Johnson and fashion plates Lenny Kravitz and Joey Ramone — had to say:

1. Rick James
Kravitz: That’s later Rick James. I love the ”Super Freak” era with the big boots, the sequins, the superhero jumpsuits.
Johnson: Ol’ Rick is trying a bit too hard.
Ramone: I don’t know what to make of that outfit. He looks like he came from the Emerald City. He looks a little high, doesn’t he?

2. Mike Score (A Flock of Seagulls)
Ramone: A band that turned my stomach. I realize they created their own style, but it was pretty sickening.
Johnson: It’s like a bad version of Adam Ant. What’s with that Paul Revere bow?
Kravitz: I’m just glad my records didn’t come out in the ’80s so I didn’t get caught in that look.

3. Cyndi Lauper
Kravitz: I guess she was one of the first with that New York downtown thrift-glamour look. It’s not really my thing, but then I don’t wear big red dresses.
Johnson: She totally owns the look of cute, playful, costumed girls who wanna have fun — not trying to be cool and sexy.
Ramone: She looks like a rare tropical bird. She was in a band called Blue Angel that opened for the Ramones a couple of times. I knew she was going places then — maybe to the tropics!

4. Elton John
Johnson: His majesty, the king and the queen. He’s still a risk taker. I love that kind of daring talent.
Kravitz: I think Elton John is amazing. This style went with his music and he had a lot of fun with it.
Ramone: He looks like Carmen Miranda on acid, though the hair and the glasses make him look like a beautiful alien.

5. Eddie Vedder
Johnson: I love Pearl Jam’s music, but their look? This just ain’t my kind of hot, sexy, rock & roll style.
Kravitz: I just never understood how grunge became a fashion. I don’t wanna go to a concert and see guys dressing like that.
Ramone: He really knows how to mix and match. Eddie dresses like he picked [clothes] up from the floor and ran out the door. It’s good to be comfortable!

6. Nikki Sixx (Motley Crue)
Johnson: The way they look matches the way they sound. It’s about excess and flaunting it. They’re just sexy, ripped, raunchy, Kiss-like. It’s perfect.
Ramone: I thought they were fun, decadent, stylish.
Kravitz: I was a Kiss fan and Kiss went all the way with it. I always thought [Motley Crue] was an incomplete Kiss look.

7. Diana Ross (The Supremes)
Johnson: The Supremes are the most glamorous couture ’60s soul sisters. Very high-fashion, very polished, very uptown.
Kravitz: Their look was very elegant and sophisticated but always soulful.
Ramone: It looks like some fungus got attached to the bottom or the dress got caught in the weeds.

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