Mariska Veres/Shocking Blue

"Mariska Veres (1 October 1947 - 2 December 2006) was a Dutch singer who was best known as the lead singer of the rock group Shocking Blue. Her appearance was striking, featuring kohl cosmetic-lined eyes, high cheekbones, and long jet black wig. When she joined Shocking Blue she made it clear to the other band members that romantic relationships were not going to happen.
Mariska Veres died of cancer on 2 December 2006, aged 59. Reminiscing to the Belgian magazine Flair, she remarked about her early fame, "I was just a painted doll (back in those days), nobody could ever reach me. Nowadays, I am more open to people."

While many of her outfits may appear to be those which might only have been acceptable in the 70's and probably won't be made popular again anytime soon (i.e: white patent leather boots, head to toe suede/denim, those weird shirts & pants with the crossed strings) it was something about the WAY she wore them and carried herself, with just the right amount of cool confidence, grace and mysteriousness that exudes in her photos and performances that made her stand out as a style icon & inspiration today.

Slightly overshadowed by some of the other female power vocalists of the time such as Grace Slick, Janis Joplin & Stevie Nicks, Mariska and her band flew under the radar in North America for the most part, their biggest hit being the song "Venus" (later covered, and made more popular by Bananarama;) yet still managed to release 11 incredible full length albums, as well as a ton of singles and gained most of their popularity in the long run from loyal fans back home in the Netherlands. The album "At Home" is probably my favourite of theirs and includes some of their best tracks such as "Send Me a Postcard" "Mighty Joe" "Long and Lonesome Road" and "I'm a Woman" as well as the ever popular "Venus" (which is far from being their best song but if it got people to buy the record then they most definitely got their moneys worth.) In fact, it wasn't until after I saw the official video for Venus on youtube several years ago that I decided to look into their other stuff. Having grown up in the late 80's/early 90's I had only really been exposed to the overhyped & highly commercialized Bananarama version and upon seeing the Shocking Blue video, I grew a whole new appreciation for the lesser heard, and somehow more meaningful original as performed by Veres. "Venus" became my summer jam for a few years before I really began digging into their other stuff and I have yet to come across a song or album that I dislike since then. They've quickly become one of my favourite bands and I still have a growing appreciation for them to this day.

See why I fell in love:

and another original which Nirvana later covered:


60's Bollywood Femme Fatale: "Queen" Helen

Dancer/actress/lip-syncher extroardinaire, "Helen", is best known for her over the top, colourful cabaret-style performances in Bollywood films from the 60's & 70's and is recognized by many as the "Queen of Bollywood Bad Girls" or "Queen of the Nautch Girls."

"Helen was known for wearing very revealing and sexy costumes in her films as well as various wigs and colored contacts. This made her easily standout and combined with her beauty and talent, it was easy for Helen to steal just about any scene she appears in even though she was never a huge Bollywood star in the traditional sense. In many movies Helen was reduced to being the bad girl or "other woman" who was often rejected at the end of the film by the handsome male star for a less interesting good girl that he could bring home to mother. She also plays a bit of a lush in many films who enjoys drowning her sorrows and forgetting her cares with a drink or two."(cinebeats)

To see more of her fabulousness in action check out this short, 30 min. doc "Helen: Queen of the Nautch Girls."