• Roxii Hoare-Smith

Fashionable music videos

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)

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