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

By EW Staff
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.