Fashion Forward: Style inspired by sound
Published: Monday, February 20, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, February 21, 2012 01:02
It's been an incredible year in music, especially for major music artists in pop culture. We're in an era with no limitations, and musicians are making bold moves in presenting their personal styles. In the evolutionary world of fashion, artists seem to draw their style inspirations from the past and turn them into their own. Whether it's the work of a soulful singer-songwriter, an epic band of Brits or a Barbadian recording artist, every album has a look that captures the artist's personality and sound. Live performances in particular serve as evidence of the fascinating relationship between music and fashion—and the 54th Grammy Awards last week highlighted the most epic anthems of the year.
We've all heard Rihanna's single "We Found Love" on constant repeat everywhere we go—it's almost exhausting, but not quite. The catchy dance-pop song never seems to get old, and the fashion that accompanies it doesn't either. Rihanna's '90s grunge-inspired look was conceptualized by fashion stylist Mel Ottenberg. Shots of Levi's 501 cut-offs, ripped tights and Doc Martens galore dominate the music video and remind me of an artsy Levi's commercial.
To me, Rihanna's video best showcases the beauty of authentic street style. She carried the laid-back, sexy tomboy feel to her world tour as well as to her performance at the Grammys, rocking leather hot pants and a sheer cropped top during her performance of "We Found Love." She looked stylish throughout her upbeat performance and effortlessly transitioned to a calmer act with alternative-rock band Coldplay.
The members of Coldplay donned their distinct blasé attire along with glowing neon graffiti splattered on the set and their clothes during their performance. The Revolutionary patriots promoted their last album "Viva la Vida" in 19th century-inspired military jackets—and for their latest album, "Mylo Xyloto," the band wore clothing with a modern, urban edge and a bold color palette. The music video for "Every Teardrop is a Waterfall" is a beautiful and vivid representation of their style. When the video was first released last June, critics from Rolling Stone and The New York Post praised it for its vibrant visuals.
The most celebrated singer of the year would have to be 23-year-old Brit Adele, whose soulful songs about love and loss captured hearts all over the world. It's safe to say the most memorable moment of the Grammys was her breathtaking performance of "Song of the Year" winner "Rolling in the Deep." Dressed in a lovely polka-dot dress by Clements Ribeiro, the songstress expressed her style by forgoing flashy gimmicks—à la Katy Perry's space-age outfit and Nicki Minaj's exorcism-themed performance—and focusing solely on her voice.
But don't make the mistake of confusing her dark muted tones and clean lines as dull and unimaginative taste. She channels the elegance of the '60s with classic cuts and sophisticated pieces that are the epitome of chic. Her music video for "Rolling in the Deep" is a phenomenal work of art that renders mystery and passion. In the video, Adele wears a black sequined dress with her hair pulled back in an embellished headband to show off her pretty face. Her sophisticated look keeps her audience enamored with her vocal chords and less distracted by ornate clothes or dramatic visual sets.
While artists like Adele can produce epic songs conveying powerful and deep emotions, what musicians wear is just as important as what they sing. Fashion is a wonderful tool to turn the abstract into something concrete. It can be used as a visual representation of what is felt but can't be touched—whether it accompanies an electro-pop single of destruction, an anthem of hope or a soulful ballad of heartbreak.