The marriage made in hell: rock music and the movies - Stylorouge are on board to document the proceedings: Mainline Pictures secure the UK distribution of what would prove to be the seminal 'mockumentary', This Is Spinal Tap. The small-talk DVD bible for all touring bands, Spinal Tap was Stylorouge's third poster campaign for Mainline, and this year saw the company's output spread way beyond 12 inches of black plastic. Book design projects, for Music Sales among others, included monographs of The Cure and Billy Idol. The best of the crop this year was a well-written slim volume documenting the rise of The Smiths for Omnibus Press
Graphic Design for Music is honoured by the City of Edinburgh Museum and Stylorouge takes part alongside work by Peter Saville Associates, John Warwicker, Roger Dean and the much missed Barney Bubbles. This was something of a retrospective look at the purple patch of record sleeve design; with the new fangled compact disc now becoming firmly entrenched as the new medium of choice, the portents of doom painted a bleak picture... however:
A spate of work for the newly regenerated Arista label results in packaging projects for acts as diverse as Meatloaf and Shriekback, the single sleeve for the under-rated release Fish Beneath The Ice being judged Best Single Sleeve at the Music Week Awards. Arista also put Stylorouge in touch with '70's heart-throb David Cassidy, and his comeback single The Last Kiss, which was produced by George Michael, was packaged by Stylorouge. Palace Pictures and Virgin Vision continued to commission movie campaigns, and among a motley selection of releases was a highly under-rated European thriller Parker, which undeservedly went commercially AWOL in just one week, and Dramatist David Hare's film debut Wetherby starring Vanessa Redgrave and Tim McInnerny, the poster for which underwent a variety of visual possibilities before settling on an image involving a Flying Fortress, which
had little to do with the main crux of the story, but presumably fulfilled the distributor's desire to appeal to a male audience.
The first collaboration with long term friend of Stylorouge, Mia Matson resulted in a campaign for the Comic Strip's first feature length production, The Supergrass. Mia would lodge at Stylorouge for several years before taking the role of creative director at Creative Partnership. Other movie campaigns in '85 included the The Official Version, John Sayles' Brother From Another Planet and German thriller Out Of Order.
Patrick Moraz and Bill Bruford bluffed their way through a Gered Mankowitz shoot that portrayed them as martial arts exponents, and the sleeve for Paul Young's Secret Of Association took a retro turn, casting him as R'n'B matinee idol.
Level 42 released a live double album, A Physical Presence, Danse Society - a rare single, and a Don Henley-inspired rock duo, Rio self-produced an album for the Music For Nations label. Stylist on the second two of these was a certain Yasmin, who would re-emerge a year or two later as an artist in her own right, and for the re-named Yazz, the only way was up.
A new album sleeve is produced for Killing Joke; Night Time included the mid-eighties anthem A Love Like Blood. Classic rock/pop act Free had a Best Of album released with a Stylorouge sleeve, and new South London Reggae star Maxi Priest embarked on an internationally successful recording career this year, releasing his first singles and debut album You're Safe, all with Stylorouge sleeves.
Likewise, UK soul duo Total Contrast produced a couple of successful singles to earn them an album contract with the currently hot London Records. Orange Juice were still promoting the album THE Orange Juice, when drummer Zeke Manyika went solo briefly, and Island Records put together a comprehensive three album set of the best of Sandy Denny.
Adam Ant was still releasing records, as were fashion victims King whose album Bitter Sweet featured a quick turnaround album sleeve courtesy of Stylorouge and photographer Simon Fowler. Events organisers, Banks Sadler were introduced to Stylorouge, and a series of projects requiring design ensued; European study tours, wine trips and Fashion seminars kept the company busy for a while. This was also the year that put Stylorouge together with Squeeze,
a relationship that would last for several years and seven albums. Always suckers for a play on words, the London band chose the title Cosi Fan Tutti Frutti, which inspired a raft of visual proposals, the second favourite being adapted instead the following year for the sleeve of the single King George Street. (The tour, by the way, went under the banner Cosi Fan Tutti Frutti En Routti).