Musicians often create fashion history, it can be said that the greatest style look-books have come from popstars. Madonna, Elton John, David Bowie, Janet Jackson, and Prince all paved the way for musicians who wish to explore and experiment with their art through fashion.
Songs were no longer just to be heard and felt, they were a whole visual experience attached to music, especially when world tours became profitable and mainstream. Fashion moments in history haven’t just been created in music videos, they’ve been monumentalised by musicians in performances and public appearances.
Here’s looking back at some of the most celebrated fashion moments by popstars in this decade.
Beyoncé’s Yellow dress by Roberto Cavalli in Hold Up
The formerly ignored lemon emoji seemed to take over twitter in 2016 when Beyoncé dropped Lemonade. While all the songs from her visual album were extremely sought-after, Hold-Up especially hit home for fans. Queen Bey’s yellow Roberto Cavalli dress is one of the most recreated dresses of the decade, making it a worthy contender for the top spot on this list.
Lady Gaga’s Mugler tuxedo in Born This Way
Choosing just one fashion moment from Gaga’s discography is like choosing a favourite Hemsworth brother. But here’s a singular moment anyway. When Thiery Mugler and Lady Gaga come together combine their theatricality, you know it’s going to an unforgettable moment in fashion history. Lady Gaga’s classy tuxedo stood out in the self-love anthem Born This Way that she released in 2011 and her ensemble became one of the most halloween-ed looks that year.
Lizzo’s Marc Jacob’s dress at her 2019 VMAs performance
Say whatever you want about your favourite artist this year, 2019 has been eclipsed by Lizzo and her cultural impact. With Truth Hurts becoming longest-leading No. 1 rap song by a female artist in the history of Billboard Hot 100 and her earth-shattering VMAs live performance that didn’t leave our social media feeds until weeks later, Lizzo’s purple Marc Jacobs dress goes down in posterity for one of the most iconic moments of fashion not only for its immaculate design, but also the fact that it was worn by an artist who represents body positivity in an industry with much-needed inclusivity.
Kanye West’s whole Wolves video with Balmain
The star-studded Wolves music video was certainly the standout video of Kanye’s Life of Pablo album fashion-wise. It’s going to be an undeniable explosion when Yeezy partners with our favourite contemporary French luxury fashion house: Balmain. Shot in black and white and directed by the prolific Steven Klein, the video is a true amalgamation of music and fashion, creating an artform distinctive in its own right. What else do you expect a project with the slogan "When fashion meets music.”?
Taylor Swift’s lacy black Elie Saab in Blank Space
When Taylor Swift’s Blank Space video released in 2014, we didn’t know what to focus on: the stunning couple in frame, the ostentatious house, or the dramatic storytelling corresponding the lyrics of the song. One thing kept our eyeballs consistent though, and that’s Taylor’s iconic wardrobe throughout, the most eye-catching being Elie Saab’s lacy black gown from his 2014 Spring ready-to-wear collection.
Katy Perry’s white Versace dress in Dark Horse
Speaking of Taylor Swift, the songstress she was famously formerly feuding with is next on our list: Katy Perry. While Katy Perry’s Dark Horse, which released in 2013, did meet with backlash on account of cultural appropriation, some of its costumes, hairdos, and overall aesthetic did leave an undeniable imprint in pop history. Perhaps the most memorable of these outfits (and the most duped) is Katy’s white Versace dress.
Jennifer Lopez’s Zuhair Murad catsuit in On The Floor
Artists with Vegas residencies possess a style quotient no one else can compete with really. JLo’s collaboration with Pitbull for On The Floor was news enough, but add in the crystal embellished skin-tight catsuit designed by Zuhair Murad and we have a timeless fashion moment to accompany a timeless party track.
Ariana Grande’s Fendi Fur Coat in 7 Rings
Ariana started 2019 with a bang blessing us with the opulent 7 rings video. With every shred of decadence present, the music video’s purple aesthetic brought us cinematic levels of production value for a mere three-minute music video. Of the many shots of lipgloss and bling, the Fendi fur coat that she wore in the first frame of the video is a vintage piece that has rightfully earned a place on this list.
Rihanna’s Tommy Hilfiger moment in the Work music video
A designer being spammed with requests by raving fans asking for an outfit to become available for purchase? Sounds like the power of RiRi. Our beloved pop icon has been influencing fashion discourse well before her multi-mullion dollar empire Fenty Beauty. Her mesh Tommy Hilfiger dress in the Work music video dress caught the eye of many, and to everyone’s dismay, was unavailable for purchase since it was a special edition piece from the catwalk.
Selena Gomez’s Victoria Secret black satin v-neck dress at the Victoria Secret show in 2015
2015 saw a new, risqué side of the Disney star we all grew to love. Selena Gomez’s sultry v-neck black satin dress was the talk of the town not only because it was one of Victoria’s Secret’s most exquisite creations, but also because it marked an adult reinvention, a rebirth of sorts for Selena. Fashion and style evolution can represent a rite of passage, and this moment symbolises exactly that.