The design of disco supergroup Abba’s stagewear was not just influenced by the sequined needs of being a dancing queen. The design of their clothes was also a form of tax evasion.
According to a new book by Björn Ulvaeus, as reported by the Guardian, “the band’s style was influenced in part by laws that allowed the cost of outfits to be deducted against tax — so long as the costumes were so outrageous they could not possibly be worn on the street.”
They thus assembled their signature fabulousness not just to be hedonists; it was a deliberate financial strategy, one recognised as such by the Swedish government. This made their boots, collars and bold patterns — the “glittering hotpants, sequined jumpsuits and platform heels”, in the words of the Guardian — into an altogether different kind of money laundering, one that helped to shape the band’s public persona even as it went on to influence how thousands of people around the world dressed for their own long and sultry nights out, a kind of sartorial glitch hidden in the Swedish tax code that propagated throughout the world of fashion. [Guardian]
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