Fashion and music have become
completely entwined. Although music is predominantly an audio form
that relies on listening and hearing, it inevitably became visual
too, thanks to the importance of live performance, dance and the
emergence of the music video.
These visual media help to promote
artists and their work, ensuring that they reach as large an audience
as possible. To be successful, musicians have to set themselves apart
from their peers and this can be achieved by channelling a specific
look or style. Fashion and good styling can not only help an artist
to become famous and popular in their time, but they can also help to
immortalise their image, so that they are remembered and stand the
test of time. As a result, many singers enlist the help of people who
work in the fashion industry, such as designers and photographers, to
help create their music videos. Here are some of our favourite
sartorial moments from classic music videos.
(Robert Palmer. Credit)
This video is simple and pared back,
but that doesn’t prevent it from packing a whole lot of punch.
Palmer enlisted the help of British fashion photographer Terrence
Donovan to direct it, who had been prolific in capturing the
revolutionary cultural mood of the sixties. Inspired by the eighties
artist Patrick Nagel who depicted pale women with sultry stares and
ruby red lips, Donovan had five fashion models wearing identical
LBDs, sheer tights and black court shoes with hair scraped back,
smoky eye makeup and red lips standing around the singing Palmer.
They all don white instruments, side step to the song’s beat and
look deadpan throughout the duration of the song, oozing effortless
style and sophistication. The women in the video have been criticised
for being disinterested and vague; however, maybe the point is that
women don’t have to be smiley and happy all the time. These women
appear aloof, powerful and totally in control. This video went on to
ensure the success of Palmer’s entire album and has been much
replicated in popular culture ever since.
(Lady Gaga. Credit)
This video was
produced for the title track of Gaga’s Fame Monster album.
Famous for her wacky, weird and wonderful aesthetic in her wardrobe,
makeup and her music videos, Bad Romance was no different.
Moving along an alien, Frankenstein’s monster theme, Gaga
experimented with all sorts of looks, including skin tight PVC suits
without eyes, big eyed contact lenses and coloured wigs. One of the
centrepieces of the video is when she strides into the space wearing
head-to-toe Alexander McQueen, including a pair of his famous
Armadillo shoes. The shoes have become iconic thanks to their
presence in his last ever collection before his death, Plato’s
Atlantis, and were meant to express hybridity and evolution of
human beings becoming a part of the sea. They are notoriously
difficult to walk in, formed like a ballerina en pointe and covered
with a curved front, almost looking like a shell. They perfectly
complement the alien aesthetic of the video, and helped to lend some
high fashion edge credibility to the whole piece. The video went on
to win Video of the Year at the MTV Music Awards and the Grammys.
(Spice Girls. Credit)
The Spice Girls literally burst onto
the scene with their debut single and music video, Wannabe which
was set in the St Pancras hotel in London. At this point, we didn’t
know who Posh, Scary, Baby, Sporty and Ginger were and, therefore,
their outfits were a big and important indicator of the personalities
of five of the soon-to-be most famous singers of the nineties.
Victoria Adams (soon to be Beckham) wore her hair in a sleek bob and
a chic LBD to create the inimitable look of Posh Spice; Mel B sported
her naturally curly hair with a bright green tank top and tie-die
combat trousers for her Scary Spice persona (similar
styles available MaryJaneFashion.com) Emma Bunton, as Baby Spice, paired her iconic blonde bunches with a
sweet and simple white shift dress; Mel C wore a crop top and
tracksuit bottoms as Sporty Spice; Geri Halliwell wore a sequined
bodice over sheer tights to create the sultry look of Ginger Spice.
The video, packed with personality, fun and irreverence, proved a
success with girls and women everywhere and The Spice Girls went on
to become one of the best-selling girl bands of all time. After
bursting onto the music scene, their success was compared to that of
Beatlemania in the 1960s.
Written by Elizabeth Harper from MaryJaneFashion.com
(Photo: Lady Gaga performing Bad Romance at the Monster Ball. Credit)