Beth Ditto, she came, she conquered. In a world where appearance and size is everything, she broke the music and fashion mold with her fabulously ambivalent attitude to the perception of beauty within society.
Mary Beth Patterson was born on the 19th of February 1981 in Arkansas and had a relatively poor upbringing, telling NME Magazine that during her childhood the family would eat Squirrels.
Beth formed Gossip in 1999 and after 7 years they got their break with ‘Standing in the Way of Control,’ which reached Gold status in the UK. The band closed Glastonbury twice on different stages and moved up the record ladder by signing with the respected Sony Music Group.
The fashion world can be seen to many as a harsh place for people of a plus size, but the southern charm of Beth and dramatic styling brought her the attention of Chanel legend, Karl Largerfeld and was seen seated at his AW 2009 show at Paris Fashion Week.
That same year she took to the runway for House of Blue Eyes at London Fashion Week, the first collection for the flamboyant fashion house. The show also featured Kate Moss, who is a friend of Beth’s.
Beth’s legitimacy in fashion has only increased as time has gone on, more recently working with Jean Paul Gaultier by modelling for his Paris Fashion Week show and launching a makeup collection with MAC Cosmetics utilising her playfulness and avant-garde look with names such as ‘greasepaint’for her signature heavy eyeliner. In 2009, Beth launched her Evans Collection at Sketch in London using her staple bright punk rock colours as inspiration.
Her make-up encompasses what Beth Ditto is about. A mixture of dramatics and simplicity she incorporates Boy George and Marilyn Monroe, who also happen to be inspirations of hers. Her dark heavy eye liner has shadowed Beth spectacularly with the alternative crowd, with teenagers looking up to the plus size beauty queen. Covering Magazines such as the first ever issue of LOVE, milk-skinned, nude showed her as uninhibited and real, a game changer in the world of fashion.
Beth’s style has somewhat evolved over the years however she has always kept a sense of playfulness, choosing to wear body hugging outfits such as lycra in bold colours that contrast her milky white skin and usually striking hair colour. She once said: “Even if the tag says it’s two sizes too small , remember: the tighter the better.” She has a penchant for designers too; wearing a custom made Alexander McQueen dress in 2008 and a Herve Leger bodycon dress at Stella McCartney’s AW 2009 show.
As for her band, in 2009 saw the release of their fourth studio album, ‘Music for Men’ and realised the single, ‘Heavy Cross’, which became popular in Europe and featured in the 2011 Christian Dior, J’Adore Perfume with Charlize Theron, Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly and Marlene Dietrich. Their 5th studio album was realised on the 22nd of May 2012 titled a Joyful Noise.
Beth Ditto, a girl from the Deep South who became a major player in the eyes of a generation. For teenagers, her feminist attitude and nonconformity to the mainstream look of musicians kept her edgy and current without even trying.