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MALE: FEMALE. Sweatshirt by Armand Basi Sweatshirt by Armand Basi Jacket by Closed ‘| Jeans by Ariatic Jeans by Replay

designers who are creating bright, colourful garments.

‘We‘ve no commitment to any particular designer’ says James Gibson. ‘We look for something fresh. something which will stand out. although we also always want continuity from one season to the next’

Sitting in Drummonds, near the Glasgow Cruise shops, Gibson,

- dressed in an immaculate sharp-cut black jacket ‘one which we sold for £175 and which I’ve worn every day for the last three years‘ and I, clad in rather shabbier togs, are served endless refills of coffee by obsequious young men. Gibson comments on the service. ‘I like my staff to show that kind ofcourtesy, but not to be too pushy there’s nothing worse than a wall of anxious sales assistants.’

The Cruise staff are polite and helpful. Of the same age group and style inclinations as their customers they mill around the shop blending in well. Sales transactions are like fashion pow-wows, with advice and club gossip flowing both ways. Displaying absolute company loyalty - perhaps in deference to Gibson’s anxious presence they dress in expensive Cruise clothes, bought at discount prices and compete in outrageously flattering descriptions; ‘A Young Friendly Company’, ‘Strongest Profile in Glasgow’, ‘Most Exciting High-fashion Range in Edinburgh‘ they dutifully chorus. ‘Probably the Best Shop in the World’, quips Steven.

With only a modicum of humour, the staff, like Gibson take their image very seriously although he insists that he has no time for ‘people who think that fashion is the be all and end all ofeverything.’ The perfectly tailored, shod and coiffeured presentation of his staff tells a different story. Obsession with appearance is perfectly acceptable.

‘Fashion has replaced music as a youth preoccupation,‘ asserts Paul, (24), a student who has worked part-time at Cruise for the past four years. ‘Going to clubs used to be the all-important thing. Now it’s style statement, having your own distinctive look.’

Lee (29) remarks on the cross-section of customers, ‘what’s most surprising is the amount of very young boys who regularly come in and spend a fortune there must be a lot ofaffluent parents out there.‘

Styles in the corner shop on Renfield Street are typically more aggressive and street-orientated with labels such as J. Traventi, Campagnia and Basi the most popular Cruise range.

Kenny, slick and stylish, believes that shops like The Warehouse have become too expensive and theatrical and Cruise has filled the gap. ‘We have a lot of adventurous clothes’, he waves towards a flamboyant pillar-box red Basi jacket, adorned with huge bright yellow stars,’ and a lot of ‘tricky’ stuff”, he gestures at his

own side-zipped trousers. ‘But

Vs: a 2. -v - there’s a lot more sedate gear for guys who don’t want anything too mental.’

The middle shop’s style is more classic, with labels like Paul Smith (recently described as an Eighties icon by The Face and Arena editor, Nick Logan). Gibson reckons the new Edinburgh shop will be like this ‘for the more design sensitive client, the “nicer” merchandise will be there. People are increasingly becoming discerning. They want quality, style and an assurance that the garments won’t be found everywhere else. They know these things are more expensive.’

Susan (21), the assistant-manageress of the female shop notes that the most popular items are in the more affordable range, Sticky Fingers from London - whose tailored suits in unusual colours (such as lime green) cost approximately £150.

Trendy music booms from the shops it’s a gimmick which is everyday now but which was pioneered by Cruise. ‘We did a lot of off-beat things,’ says Gibson, ‘we wanted to create a stylish space, but not one which people were daunted by. We have a very relaxed atmosphere.’

‘Relaxed’ did not seem to characterise the general suspicion, wariness and overall paranoia I encountered when I requested details of the fashion show. ‘It will be a 40 minute slot, choreographed by Ian, from the City Cafe who has a fairly extravagant and off-the-wall brand of presentattion,’ said Gibson, tight-lipped. ‘It will be a punchy, action-packed show.’

‘The music for the show will be a live mix by Martin Yogii who does the Hoochie,’ Steven informed me. ‘There will be 14 models, some professional, some Cruise staff.’

Eleanor, a cheerful, tall, slim 19 year old with short black cropped hair who works in Glasgow will be one of the models, ‘I’ve been modelling for Cruise for years’, she grinned, ‘I love it here.’

A disgruntled browser complained of the prices of the Rotra Kana, Petre Brons and Mathilde labels. ‘It’s far too expensive completely prohibitive and the quality isn’t impressive at all’ she sniffed. Celia (24) a medical representative disagreed: ‘I like the suits here, at least you don‘t see ten other people wearing the same thing.’

Ultimately discerning, dedicated followers of fashion will happily pay for the prestige of a Cruise garmet.

‘People come in asking if they can

buy the Cruise carrier-bag,’ giggled Eleanor.

Do you sell them, I enquired? ‘Oh No!’ she replied. indignant, determined that the name of Cruise

shall not be taken in vain.


Female suit by Emarlo Pakala Mala suit by Calugl a Glannalll Male shirt by Armand Basi

70 The List 29 September 12 October 1989