It's not about the music! Real fun of watching Eurovision is the costumes

Fashion Editor Alexander Fury says we watch competition for the fashion insanity

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The Independent Culture

Walking a tightrope between glitter-encrusted market-stall tat, pantomime dame and the three wise men from a school nativity play, the fashion choices of the musical maelstrom that is Eurovision are as consistently inconsistent as the voting decisions. Indeed, the loudest thing about Eurovision is generally the frocks. But luckily, they're seldom as flat as the songs.

I'm an unabashed and (mostly) unashamed fan of Eurovision: it occupies the same "so bad it's good" territory as mid-Eighties Bette Midler movies and the cult Seventies Japanese television drama Monkey. We watch all of them not for the flaky plot lines, but for the fashion insanity. Eurovision, however, trumps them all.

Obviously the greatest Eurovision fashion moment was the Israeli transsexual Dana International, who stormed to victory in 1998 wearing a parrot-plumed bolero by Jean-Paul Gaultier haute couture. But that was a rare moment of good taste – and an even rarer designer name. We may all remember Agnetha Faltskog's snug periwinkle-blue satin bloomers ("knickerbocker glory" is a pun I have to make), but I doubt anyone outside of Bjorn Again would want to don them. Likewise Buck's Fizz's tearaway skirts – more's the pity on that front.

Perhaps we remember those costume choices because the acts ultimately took home the trophy. (The music was sort of memorable too.) But that's to overlook the joy of Eurovision. Because, as the sartorial smorgasbord on offer at Malmo proved last night, it really doesn't matter who wins. Eurovision is all about the losers.


Aliona Moon kind of sounds like the name of a Jetsons character. And said cartoon seems like the inspiration for her automated outfit, a Persil-white, silver-studded number with fin-like projectiles vomiting across one shoulder.


The singer of the German entry, Cascada, applied the aesthetic principles of Towie's favourite pastime – "vajazzling" – to her entire body. Rhinestones were named after the river Rhine, after all. The song is titled "Glorious". The dress was not.


This dress is a nod to The Great Gatsby flapper fringing everyone is going gaga for. Although it's also reminiscent of ZZ Top's beards, Ry Cooder's cowboy capers and Tina Turner rolling down the river, all rolled into one.


Few of us seem to have taken My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding quite so seriously as Finland's Krista Siegfrids. Her song was titled 'Marry Me', which was an excuse for a tsunami of tulle. But there was no excuse for those shoes.


A Romanian Ming the Merciless singing falsetto opera in a crystal-studded, shoulder-padded leather coat in front of a set that resembled a three-bar gas fire. Also the second "magically" elevating outfit of the night. Only at Eurovision.


Ah, our very own Bonnie Tyler. We expected a fashion moment to rival the white dressing-gown from the "Total Eclipse of the Heart" video. Instead, we got polyester-chiffon straight out of the discards pile of a Dolly Parton impersonator. One to forget.