Stylorouge was born in a two desk office above Capitelli's restaurant in London's Edgware Road.
It was during his third year working in the art department at Polydor Records that Rob O'Connor went solo, adopting a French pseudonym en route, following a flurry of successes in the annual Music Week Awards. During that first long hot summer the workload was as heavy as the traffic pollution that poured through the only window. ATV had just dropped the Muppets, but Margaret Thatcher was still running the country, waging war with the miners and the trade unions. Smokey Robinson topped the UK Singles Chart. The Jam, The Specials and Shakin' Stevens weren't too far behind.
Polydor's roster at the time included Siouxsie & The Banshees, Level 42 and Kirsty MacColl, all of whom were happy to move their sleeve design duties to Stylorouge. New kids in town, The Passions, signed to The Cure's label, Fiction, and had an unexpected hit with the quirky I'm In Love With A German Film Star. They too found Stylorouge's work to their liking - Their debut album Thirty Thousand Feet Over China was named literally after the photograph O'Connor had sourced as a possible sleeve.
Following the departure of frontman Jimmy Pursey, the remainder of Sham 69 found a new vocalist in the guise of the wiry American punk Stiv Bators who had become a favourite with late '70's British audiences touring his band, The Dead Boys, with the Damned among others. The new collaboration was called The Wanderers, fuelled with arcane anarchic polemic as Stiv's main songwriting interests favoured the area of political conspiracy theory. An unlikely move on for the affable Dave Parsons, whose previous lyric-writing collaborator's finest hour featured the refrain "we're going down the pub". Amalgamated Talent was a London-based Fashion Show that highlighted more than 20 young designers during London Fashion Week and in particular launched the career of Helen Storey. Stylorouge created the advertising campaign on a shoestring, with illustration by Rosemary Harrison and photography by Rick Mann. The New Romantic movement was still alive and mincing, although at this point not quite so new... Steve Strange's business partner, Rusty Egan commissioned a sleeve for the soundtrack oddity that was Lili Marleen and introduced Stylorouge to the beautifully French and impressively tall model-turned-singer, Ronny, and The Camden Palace appointed the company to create a new visual identity, as did regulars of Soho's Wag Club, Animal Nightlife, who had signed to the cocky up-and-coming pop label Innervisions, who also introduced Stylorouge to an teenage act known as Wham. (Stylorouge found a spare exclamation mark for them on a sheet of Letraset and the rest is history – !).