We’ve seen a sharp rise in the semiserious celebration of the mustache—from finger tattoos, to the charitable monthlong growing contest known as Movember—and all this time we thought it was a relatively new phenomenon...
Until we stumbled upon this cache of photos from the inaugural meeting of the “Handlebar Club” at London’s Windmill Theatre. In 1947. That’s right, a slapstick crew of mustachioed men began a club dedicated to mustaches (beards strictly disallowed) nearly 70 years ago. They even went so far as to print mustaches on their silk ties (somebody write that idea down). Not to mention, it’s a surprisingly handsome lot of hirsute upper lips—which we’ll assume took longer than a month to grow.
Graham Smith was the unofficial house photographer of London’s club scene in the late ’70s and early ’80s, chronicling one of the most flamboyant, lurid and just-plain-awesome periods in grooming history.
For proof, check out the newly released We Can Be Heroes. It’s got hundreds of never-before-seen stills, capturing punk legends like Gary Kemp, the Sex Pistols, Boy George, Iggy Pop, Robert Elms and hundreds more in remarkably—and, at times, eerily—intimate preshow moments.
As Brit style writer Robert Elms explains, the London club scene in the 1970s “wasn’t a place for those who dressed up for the occasion but for those who dressed up as a way of life.”