2012 Man of Style of the Year
Sam Sparro is a style chameleon. Wearing ’40s-inspired beach and leisurewear harking back to Hollywood’s golden age, this singer is in his element. He’s also GQ’s Man of Style of the Year.
Lying on the white-hot sand, Sam Sparro is vulnerable. Vulnerable to California’s autumn-defying 350C sun, to a probing lens, and with the 2012 release of second album Return to Paradise, to pointed criticism.
After the global success of “Black and Gold”, the Australian’s follow-up was more soulful, more unabashed. And yet Return to Paradise achieved only humble local success and didn’t make a dent in the UK. (That said, Belgium made an unlikely anthem of lead single “Happiness” which spent 21 weeks in the top 50, including seven at number one.)
Plenty of musicians will tell you criticism doesn’t register, dodging it with a flick of foppish hair. Truth is, Sam Sparro — openly gay, boisterous as hell, musically deviant — has always been vulnerable. And, much like a lion napping in the savannah, he can’t be arsed swatting off the few biting mosquitoes. “What other people think of me is none of my business,” he says, with a grin.
Today, on Santa Monica’s main stretch of sand, 30-year-old Sparro’s appearance sits somewhere between Errol Flynn and a nautical Freddie Mercury, with requisite moustache and camp neck tie. Piece by piece, he’s made leap-it-forward luxe his style go-to. He’s blogged from Paris Fashion Week and lingered backstage at designer buddies’ showings (one such buddy: John Galliano).
The other thing about Sparro? There’s no rush, no ADHD twitch. In an industry where success is but a song away, he’s an exception to the rule. “You can’t build a legacy in one or two albums,” he says. “Everybody’s very short-sighted now.”
Throughout the long, lazy afternoon, he’ll yawn. (Even this is charismatic — imagine a tenor warming up in front of the bathroom mirror.) And each time he does, there’s a glimpse of a small tattoo on his wrist
It reads, simply: “Be you. Here’s what that equates to.”