What the Beatles did for long hair and jeans, the Go-Go's have done for short hair and minis.
Or so it seemed last night at Merriweather Post Pavilion, where the capacity crowd of almost 10,000, most of them high-school age, danced and screamed in their mini rah-rah skirts and puffed-sleeve T-shirts, a mass interpretation of the individualistic style of the all-female group.
For the male minority the garb was mostly that of a Labor Day picnic: polo shirts with jeans or running shorts. But many of the female fans turned out in dress obviously meant to imitate the performers' New Wave style.
Karen Purcell, Maureen Berbout and Andrea Brown, each 14 and all students at Falls Church High School, have been wearing minis all summer, but for the Go-Go's concert they made some adjustments. They had taffeta minis made for the occasion, along with ruffled blouses, punk glasses and fishnet hose. And Berbout added red sequined gauntlets, borrowed from a baton-twirler friend who happened not to need them last night.
Others dressed up polka-dot or striped minis by wearing leg warmers or spindle heel shoes. Wrap-around sunglasses, pink-and-green-patched hair, pitch-dyed hair, black lipstick and skinny black ties were obvious punk effects.
The Go-Go's themselves wore a mix of New Wave, thrift shop and boutique chic. They borrow and trade clothing from individual collections of miniskirts, sweat clothes, and designer stuff that travel in steamer trunks with each of the five band members. Lead vocal Belinda Carlisle, for example, was in a designer black tutu etched in sapphire blue. Kathy Valentine wore a thrift-shop beaded top, mini jean skirt and cowboy belt; and drummer Gina Schock was in a blue-and-black striped mini from the Parachute boutique in California.
Marianna Lancaster, 17, a senior at Fort Hunt High School, was wearing black lipstick and a white miniskirt last night to emulate her favorite group. She occasionally wears pedal pushers for dress-up, she says, because the Go-Go's like them also. And what if the Go-Go's switched to ankle length skirts? "I'd probably wear that too," she admitted.