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Icon: Scott Walker (the Musician)

  • Najib Benouar

With all the mudslinging happening in Wisconsin this week, we couldn’t help but think of all the other Scott Walkers out there in the world. Their name being cursed by thousands if not millions of Americans, through no fault of their own.

And one especially stylish and enigmatic Scott Walker came to mind: the Ohioan-turned-Brit singer, bass player and songwriter who was on track to be a superstar before leaving it all behind in the ’60s.

He made waves overseas with his band, the Walker Brothers, and later on, as a solo act, gaining notoriety from the likes of David Bowie just before disappearing entirely from the spotlight. Before walking away, he spent a few dapper years in the limelight. There were scarves indoors, corduroy blazers and almost always a pair of sunglasses. It’s the stuff ’60s rock star legends are made of.

You’ve just been booked on a five-stop tour of Scott Walker’s iconic style.

Here he is with the Walker Brothers. They recorded a few No. 1 hit records, were lauded as the Beatles’ heirs apparent (and even had a larger fan-club following at one point) and ultimately separated two years later due to “artistic differences.” There’s nothing that says boyish naïveté better than a bowl cut and a chunky sweater.

After the fame hit, the sunglasses became a permanent fixture. (Perhaps a telling sign of how uncomfortable he found all the attention—and foreshadowing his decision to ditch the limelight for the life of a recluse.) This is how you work a mod tie.

Here he is at his ’60s rock star finest. He went through an indoor-scarf phase—a move reserved only for dandified musicians and people averse to drafty interiors.

Before disappearing entirely, we saw Scott grow up a little—donning a two-tone corduroy suit, a serious stare and loafers, to match his mid-century modern recliner. All in a time before the world was introduced to Wes Anderson.

And in a more recent picture, here with Jarvis Cocker, he’s still got his eyes obscured from view (this time with a ball cap) but has fully embraced denim in a look that’s pretty on-trend nowadays. Add to that the chucks, and you’re looking at what we could see any rock star today stepping on stage in.

Forget about that clown in Wisconsin, there can only be one 30 Century Man.