Style Icon Michael Hutchence Really was a New Sensation


He's lumped in with the a period of music and fashion that was not nearly as monumental as Michael Hutchence was. In revisiting INXS' live performances and music videos from the 80s and 90s, you can see his ability to communicate far beyond his music, in his range of movements and in his style. His authenticity was what set him apart.

INXS has been a longstanding favorite in their era of music by many. But upon watching their performances, its clear they are even more enchanting watching live then listening to without the visual. Almost entirely because Michael Hutchence's body language is hypnotizing to watch while listening to their music. He never stops moving or communicating physically. It's almost like hearing a different song by watching him perform as opposed to just listening because of his expressiveness. He is 100% present in that moment as if it is his last.

Fashion is an expression as well, and you see his style change and evolve as he did over a period of time with the band. It's clear Michael was influenced by Jim Morrison, Mick Jagger, and Bob Dylan and other 60's styles yet he makes his choices his own. He has a sense of style that communicates his influences while reflecting the current day fashions of that era. That is not so easy and really take a strong sense of self.  Just feeling confident enough to communicate it and say to the world, this is me, take it or leave it.

New Sensation (Live At Wembley Stadium, 1991) when an entire audience pulsated as one. The energy level is jumping off the screen. Watch the first minute and see his fashion choice of the long leather jacket which had reemerged in popularity but he plays on the popular plastic look of the 80s. His pants are part 60's mod and part 80's. Black boots and a large black onyx ring. But his hand gestures and the space he takes up on stage while hugging band members says it all.


On the Never Tear Us Apart video, a beautiful time piece video where we see everyone dresses in what looks like costuming for the video except Michael who has really come into his own as a mature well dressed man with the long coat and the leather gloves. Michael's hand gestures and in the way he walks expresses depth and emotion. His expressions are deliberate and completely changes tenor as to conjure the courage to recall the moment. The song really stand above everything else of the time and when the sax comes in half way through, what a sexy feel it took.


What a performance of Stay Young when Hutchence and INXS really were quite young. He is using the uniform style that has came and gone many times in fashion history since WWI. He is channeling Mick Jagger and the Mod 60s in this time of New age. This early performance demonstrates this was his true persona. 


In Mystify, we see him at the studio in a vest and Doc Marten boots which were so popular at the time. The vest without a shirt, an effortless look, that expresses his sexuality but not overtly. He also has many performances without a shirt on and moves very much like Jim Morrison. Here we see his hand with rings and the movement of his hands to further express a word or a line within a song. Then in concert his hair is in a scrunchie and matching suit with those big arm gestures and showing love to his band mates.


 Mediate conjures up Dylan's Subterranean Homesick Blues while his style is 1960's fringe jacket meets 1990's ripped jeans.  


One Last Look at a few of Michael Hutchence's styles over the years.