Joan Jett On The Runaways' Gritty Style: "Nobody Told Us What To Wear"

Illustration for article titled Joan Jett On emThe Runaways/em Gritty Style: Nobody Told Us What To Wear

We shouldn't expect gloss or polish from The Runaways when the movie hits theaters on Friday. As Sia Michel puts it in the NY Times, the flick is "properly scuzzy."

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These days, female singers have carefully crafted looks. The ladies (or their labels) spend money to make sure their hair is perfect, their makeup is flawless and their clothes are hot. But true to the story — and the era — The Runaways is all about grit.

According to the LA Times, in an opening scene, Cherie (played by Dakota Fanning) is trying to cut her hair to look like David Bowie on the cover of Aladdin Sane.

"It looks really terrible," says her twin sister, Marie, watching in horror.
"Good," answers Cherie.
And then the title credits roll.

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Director Floria Sigismondi "was intent on letting the rough edges show" in the flick; she told makeup artists not to cover pimples and dressed the stars in actual vintage clothing.

But what's interesting is the idea that The Runaways made their own look, and it wasn't about "pretty." Sexy, sure, but not a classically feminine beauty. Would that happen in a Beyoncé/Rihanna/Taylor Swift world?

Joan Jett herself tells the LA Times:

"People think that our images were dictated to us by men, and that's not the case," she says. "It's not like [our producer] Kim Fowley sat down and said, ‘Cherie, you're gonna wear a corset. And Lita, you're gonna wear shorts onstage.' We would have laughed! Nobody told us what to wear. People like to think that that's the case because if teenage girls are being sexual" - her voice drips with sarcasm - "obviously men have something to do with it."

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The Girls Who Kicked in Rock's Door [NY Times]
Keeping ‘The Runaways' rRaw And Real [LA Times]

Related, sorta: Bitches Ain't Necessary [The Awl]
Neon Angel: A Memoir Of A Runaway [Your It List]

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[Image of Dakota Fanning & Kristen Stewart via RunawaysMovie.com]

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DISCUSSION

hortense-smith-old
Hortense Smith

The fact that I have to do a double take with all Runaways-related pictures lately to try to figure out if I'm looking at Cherie and Joan or Dakota and Kristen makes me very excited for this movie. I'm so glad they didn't go the super glossy route.