So many words could be written about the relationship between fashion and music, music and fashion. And it’s a relationship that stretches back more than 100 years. In 1924, Coco Chanel revolutionised dancewear for the stage by dressing the dancers in Le Train Bleu, a Russian ballet based on a scenario by Jean Cocteau. Ever since, fashion has been a constant source of inspiration for generations of singers, sometimes even helping to forge their legend. Here, we shine a spotlight on the artists who were proud of their own distinctives styles.
I DRESS, THEREFORE I AM
It would be extremely naive to think that the aura surrounding an artist is merely the sum of their performances, whether in song or on stage. Some artists also leave an indelible mark in the collective memory through their striking identities. This is with thanks to fashion in particular, which provides a vector for some of them to express their creativity and what makes them so unique. Slash’s iconic top hat; Bowie’s eccentric outfits; Prince’s purple ensembles... These details which may at first seem to be of secondary importance, in actual fact helped forge their identities, to set them apart.
And sartorial style is just as important for the artists themselves as for the fans, becoming a way to affirm their membership of a group, people with whom they shared a common interest. Let’s take the “Bobby-Soxers”, for example. These teenage Americans were fans of crooners like Sinatra back in the 1940s, and began to copy their idols’ dress-sense. Their favourite outfit? Absolutely unmistakable. A voluminous skirt, short, pleated “bobby” socks, and flat shoes. If you look at the musical trends that emerged over the 20th century, you’ll realise that each of them had their own accompanying dress code. The “mod” style (short for “modernist”) inspired by the 60s (The Kinks, The Who, etc.), hippie style, punk, the grunge look, etc. Every decade has its own style of music and accompanying dress-sense.