Bondage and lace, mesh and codpieces: The fashion of Martin Gore in the mid-80s

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Bondage and BDSM gear, fishnet and leather, lingerie of all sorts: this was the aesthetic of Depeche Mode’s Martin Gore in the mid-80s. It was, at most times, very feminine with a strand of pearls and floral lace but fused with the roughness of straps, chains and buckles. In 1984, around the time Some Great Reward came out, Martin had graduated beyond his school boy look (though he had gradually been adding more black, leather and mesh to his ensembles before then) and into a full-blown purveyor of risqué and kinky womenswear. Up til Music for the Masses in 1987, Martin unabashedly wore his bondage with confidence. After the mid-80s, most of the BDSM and lingerie were worn less even though he retained his fashion sense with leather shorts and porkpie hats, entire silver glitter outfits with matching Dr. Martens, badass MC jackets and dark sunglasses. Just… thank you Martin Gore.

Given the tragic (just terrible!) task to scrounge through thousands of Martin Gore photos for this photo collection, I realized that Martin Gore was well beyond his years in terms of his fashion sense.

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Martin was the master of layering. You know what they say, it’s all about the accessorizing! Sure, the white mesh is an interesting choice but chances must be taken!

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Speaking of layers: bondage (and a belt!) over jeans with a dominatrix shirt (that he wore quite often during this time) and a vest.

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As you can see, Martin layered his outfits quite often – honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this outfit in a nightclub nowadays. Actually, I’d wear it in a heartbeat.

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With or without a shirt, his gear looks great.

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And one more example. His shirt selections are on point.

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Sorry. Just had to sneak this one in.

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Fashion can have utility as well! Note: handcuffs.

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I am all about this upper thigh harness/codpiece with riding boots.

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The codpiece makes a second appearance. This time with a pseudo croptop.

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So very feminine and wonderful… garter, pearls and a slip with a slit to the waist? OK.

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There are not enough words to describe the perfection of this outfit. Leather, handcuffs, lingerie top, spikes, HAMMERS…

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Another iteration of the off-shoulder lace top and leather skirt. MG, can we please be friends and go shopping together?

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A red garter belt and thigh highs are honestly the most perfect thing I can think of… I’m being serious here.

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Don’t ever stop being you, Martin. xx

About The Author

Andi Harriman is the author of Some Wear Leather, Some Wear Lace: The Worldwide Compendium of Postpunk and Goth in the 1980s. She resides in Brooklyn, New York where she writes, DJs and lectures on all things dark and gloomy.