Rock stars in make-up are back in style -- Formerly fashion-challenged bands like Green Day and the Killers are trading in grunge for glamour

By Joyce Caruso Corrigan
Updated April 25, 2005 at 04:00 AM EDT

Fashion has always rocked, but never more so than with some of the major labels currently inside rockers’ suits. Neo-punk poster boy Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day favors skinny Dior Homme and bespoke tailoring by Duncan Quinn; the Killers, out of Vegas, look more Milan modeling Miu Miu; while Helmut Lang-loving Interpol take the new rock tailoring further, adding tie clips; and the Hives’ trademark white suits — frequently mentioned by music critics — are instrumental to their success. ”Looking smart in a suit is not new,” says Green Day stylist Dee Anderson. ”It’s more a resurgence of the old-school punk style of bands like the Clash.”

If ever a duet was made in rock/style heaven, it’s Armstrong and Dior Homme’s Hedi Slimane — whose Paris runway is peopled by androgynous men in black eyeliner, snug leather jeans, and lean, mean jackets. (For his spring 2005 show, Slimane commissioned a soundtrack by indie dandy — and fan — Beck.) ”Billie Joe loves one short Dior jacket, which he’ll wear with tight black jeans,” says Anderson. ”We’ll sometimes take vintage jackets and cut them off.” A classic punk gesture! ”Deep inside, rockers like to dress up,” says Alexandre Plokhov, whose Cloak line won runner-up at 2004’s CFDA/Vogue’s Fashion Fund Awards. ”We’re so over grunge and that indie crap of looking like everyone else.” Cloak’s severely tailored, dark-paletted clothes are a good fit for Franz Ferdinand, and Garbage ”have bought some stuff,” says Plokhov. ”But I’m most closely associated with Elephant and the Prosaics. My clothes make the band feel secure and powerful on stage. Presentation is so important.”

As for glam-rocking eyeliner — favored by Armstrong, the Killers, and Dior models — gay men may like it, but it gets girls, too. ”It’s hot seeing guys in makeup,” says Anderson. ”It’s Johnny Depp?who doesn’t love a pirate? With the rockers, it’s the bad-boy, crazy-artist thing.”