From space-aged indie oracle to crusty Parisian crooner, Archy Marshall’s dress sense has always been as unpredictable and multifaceted as his sound
Today we explore the world of King Krule — from his influence on youth style and uniquely eclectic sound to his mythical south London.
As fluid and ever-changing as his music, Archy Marshall has never been one to settle for a simplistic wardrobe. Much as new album The OOZ flirts with a wild range of styles and genres, his personal style has evolved effortlessly. From the slacks and shirts of south London’s art and skate scenes, through elegant tailoring and functional, military-esque fashion, Marshall’s dress sense is impacted by the city and far, far beyond.
More than just a product of his influences, though, Marshall holds a seismic sway over youth culture and style. Emerging under the Zoo Kid moniker at the turn of the decade, debut single “Out Getting Ribs” was an instant classic, Marshall’s swaggering pub rock vocals dovetailing clanging guitar tones. Its music video was just as iconic — the young, flamed-haired Teddy Boy sing-speaking directly to camera, his eyes flickering with love, vengeance and self-loathing.
Below, we unpick King Krule’s style evolution — from inner-city teen beatnik to cultish phenomenon.
SOUTH LONDON ART STUDENT
Heavily reminiscent of the art school-styles of the Peckham, Camberwell, New Cross triangle which he calls home, Marshall’s striking early style came from clashing the garish prints of London designers like Kit Neale and Sadie Williams with more functional basics.
NEW YORK MOBSTER
Around the time Marshall was breaking free of the UK music scene and tackling America with a youthful abandon, he temporarily downed his streetwear and skate culture threads in favour of a new kind of Brooklyn-boho cool — oversized, earthy suits and kaleidoscopic prints. Appearing on the likes of David Letterman and Conan O’Brien amidst a debut US tour, Marshall and his band adopted the look of a New York mob in a smoky jazz café, their striking image catching the eye of Beyoncé, Frank Ocean and Earl Sweatshirt as Marshall zoomed towards superstardom.
Tightening up on tailoring as he rode a wave of success that debut album 6 Feet Beneath The Moon brought him, Marshall took a fancy to slim-fitting Parisian suiting. Heavily influenced by the look and work of 70s eidolon Serge Gainsbourg, the slick style of the Parisian’s iconic dandyisms took hold of Marshall’s wardrobe as he battled years of writer’s block and creative red herrings in the mid-2010s.
00s SKATER BOY
From boardwear brands like HUF and Palace, to baggy vintage apparel lifted from charity shops, many of Marshall’s looks are indebted to the skate scene and graffiti culture he grew up amongst, and which inspired the artwork for his A New Place 2 Drown project with brother Jack, and newest clothing collab with Babylon AD. “It is an expression in and of itself... you're risking something too, you're risking getting caught,” he told The Fader of the wall-art world back in 2012. “There’s also the expressive side of it to, just putting something on a wall.”
Once he was done dealing in side-projects, re-writes and recording sessions, Marshall reintroduced his King Krule persona to the world in late 2016 with a mind-melting, space-aged new look. Always fascinated by outer space and planetary escape, Krule told Noisey earlier this year that “you physically always look up [at the moon]. But you can't touch it, it’s always there, hanging over you. I guess it used to haunt me.” These childhood obsessions came to the fore as The OOZ took shape — he frequently opted for shirts bearing twisted optical illusions, and paired them with a pair of bright red, bug-eyed sunglasses, whatever the weather.
CHINESE MILITARY COMPLEX
With years-long writer’s block behind him and The OOZ earning worldwide plaudits, Marshall is embracing a military-esque wardrobe in 2017. Inspired by the functional, durable outerwear of the Chinese CCP, Marshall is marching towards winter clad in combat jackets and rigid berets bearing secular iconography — both of which feature in his newly-unveiled merch for The OOZ.