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Tributes paid after death of Blitz Kids and David Bowie ’80s designer, Stephen Linard: “One of the craziest of eccentrics”

Tributes have been paid following the death of New Romantic icon and fashion designer Stephen Linard, who has died aged 65.

Born in London in 1959, Linard first rose to prominence for his work as part of the Blitz Kids – a group who frequented the club night at Blitz in Covent Garden and are credited with launching the New Romantic movement.

First organised and co-hosted by Steve Strange and Rusty Egan, the exclusive nights enforced a strict dress code, and soon became somewhat of a testbed for student fashion designers including Linard, who took London by storm during the 1980s.

In his fashion, which soon became associated with the New Romantic era, Linard went on to work with some of the biggest names in the decade’s music scene, including the likes of David Bowie, Boy George and more. News of his death broke last night (March 10).

“The Blitz Club may have lasted only a short time, but the Blitz Kids, as we were then, had friends and careers that have lasted a lifetime. When fashion and music met, life was a wonderful life,” wrote Blitz Kids pioneer Rusty Egan on X, while Boy George told fans it was “sad to say goodbye” to the iconic designer.

 

Radio presenter Gary Crowley recalled his fond memories of the “influential” and “beautiful” designer, while artist Mark Wardel described him as “one of the friendliest and funniest faces on the London club scene not to mention a hugely talented fashion designer.”

“The world has lost one of the most creative and truly funny men..he leaves a significant legacy and he will be much missed..one of the finest of bona omi’s,” wrote author Stephen Parker, and DJ and journalist Princess Julia shared a photo of them in 1980, adding: “Flashback & RIP New Romantic designer Stephen Linard who sadly slipped this mortal coil. We never lost contact over the years.”

A blog called Shapers Of The 80s also posted a moving tribute to Linard, stating that he died following a battle with cancer and was “one of the craziest of eccentrics” in the ‘80s scene.

“[It’s] hard to accept that Stephen Linard has now died from the extensive cancer that had caused him so much pain recently. He was one of the craziest of eccentrics who frequently made me laugh out loud. We met at a Steve Strange party in 1980 when he was among the sharpest half-dozen Blitz Kids who changed their looks daily and put the Blitz Club on the map. We hit it off immediately,” it read.

“Pop stars from Pet Shop Boys to U2 and even Bowie readily adopted his strong styles and in 1983 the American fashion press included him among the eight most influential London designers.”

Find more tributes below.

The success of the Blitz Kids paved the way for various iconic pop groups in the era, including Visage (which starred Steve Strange on vocals and Rusty Egan on drums), Spandau Ballet and Culture Club.

The vocalist of the latter, Boy George, also went on to celebrate the Blitz Kids scene in his 2002 musical Taboo, and in 2017 images of members including Linard were displayed in the exhibition Before We Were Men.

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