Sort of in the interview vein, but this one merits a little bit of explanation. It does seem that in late 1985, there was some sort of attempt to use Wendy in promotional articles aimed at teenage girls. For me not a tremendous success, and the attempt didn’t make it much past a couple of fairly taciturn interviews, but there was this remarkable fashion shoot. Mirroring in some way the hand tinted Steve McQueen cover, with monochrome images coloured, bizarrely, yellow, and a sort of overall Haysi Fantayzee vibe. But hats off to Ms Voller, “Ann” and “Basia”. It takes real skill to make Wendy look as strange as this… Click on the graphic at the bottom of the page to see the whole thing.
Wendy Smith is one third of Newcastle band Prefab Sprout. You might remember a hit single curiously called ‘Don’t Sing’ back in February of last year.
Wendy’s only musical experience prior to the Sprouts was a few singing lessons which she took as part of a drama course at college.
Then two of her friends, brothers Paddy and Martin McAloon, asked her to singalonga Prefab, and after releasing a few records on their own label, they signed first to Newcastle independent Kitchenware and then to major label CBS.
They’re hoping for renewed chart success with their latest release ‘When Love Breaks Down’ and in May there’ll be a new album called ‘Steve’ McQueen’.
“Don’t ask me why it’s called that!” chuckles Wendy. “Paddy just announced it over a meal one day and said it’d make a good title.
“Thomas Dolby produced it, which some people thought was a bit of a strange combination, but he’s not a bit like the ‘mad professor’ you’d imagine him to be. We got on really well with him.”
Although there are no tour plans at present, the group are busy flitting backwards and forwards to London for interviews which gives Wendy the chance to catch up on the latest looks that have yet to materialise in the Newcastle shops.
“I like to wear different clothes for different moods,” Wendy told us when we asked her to do some modelling for No. 1. “I usually play safe and buy a lot of black things.
“Either that or I’ll be totally impulsive and buy something mad like a pair of bright orange socks that don’t go with anything.”
The current black and white craze seemed the ideal style for Wendy then, for although it’s simple, it will adapt to any mood or mode.
We dressed her in three totally different ways: in a layered explosion of tops and leggings, an action packed 60s Emma Peel outfit and finally something a little more soft and feminine.
And when it was all over, we asked Wendy what she thought of the experience . . .
“It made such a nice change from being bundled in front of a market stall near a pile of Brussel sprouts – that’s what normally happens.”
“Today’s session has given me lots of ideas. I always try to make the best of my appearance but l don’t like my nose and l think I’m too thin. I have to eat tons of food just to stay at seven stone. I seem to bum it all up in nervous energy.
“I did feel a bit self-conscious about modelling at first, what with everyone watching me. But l soon realised you’ve got to think positively and just do it.
“Ask me again anytime!”
Make up by Jeanette Rivera for Creative Workforce Hair by Ann Styling by Debbi Voller and Basia, Words by Debbi Voller. Photos by Kerstin Rodgers.