Fashion and popular culture have always gone hand in hand and while designers set the trends, it’s icons of the time, in this case rock stars, who take those trends to the masses
Not only did David Bowie have a defining influence on fashion but he, along with a few others, defined the genre of Glam Rock in music. Many fans post-hippie era copied his style, mainly his famous lightning bolt face make-up and his red mullet hair. He has been a major source of inspiration for designers all over the world and even today you can see hints of Bowie in anything funky. David Bowie’s glittering influence created the glam rock movement and this was the first time regular use of make-up by men was popularized. This influence inspired more musicians which further led to the creation of sub genres of glam music and glam fashion. Givenchy, Balmain, Emilio Pucci and Jean-Paul Gaultier all had references to Bowie’s style on their fashion show runway these past couple of years, the most recent one being Robert Gellar’s 2014 fall collection for men. Lady Gaga is known for her David Bowie inspired look and she claims that he is her influence.
Elvis got immensely popular not only for his music but his unique style as well. He was one of those musicians who managed to make even an army uniform look sexy. Elvis looked good in practically anything but it was the elaborate jumpsuit that became his signature. The jumpsuit inspired countless other musicians and became a huge part of ’70s fashion for both men and women. The embellishments on his jumpsuits made him even more of a centre of attention. What started off as plain collared jumpsuits eventually evolved into those OTT rhinestones and tasseled types. Eventually bands and musicians like Mick Jagger, ABBA, Freddie Mercury and more recently Katy Perry and Lady Gaga all started wearing jumpsuits. While the jumpsuit has become very generic now, we’d like to credit it to Elvis Presley!
Fun fact: The reason why Elvis started wearing jumpsuits was because when he performed in his two-piece suits, his moves on stage would cause his pants to rip! Jumpsuits enabled him to breathe better and move freely on stage.
Who can forget the madness caused by Beatle-mania all over the world? It wasn’t just the fainting girls who were losing their minds over this band. Their popularity also gave birth to a new trend in men’s fashion – the mop top. It became such a huge deal that companies thought of it as a great business idea to start selling Beatles’ wigs. In the ’60s, you would be able to purchase a wig shaped like the mop-top haircut of your favourite member from the Beatles. This hairstyle became a fashion statement in the ’60s and it had such a deep impact that we can see variations of it even today. This hairstyle gained popularity again in recent years through Justin Bieber because of his shaggy Beatle-like hair in the early days of his career. These days, you will find many hipsters and celebrities sporting a sleeker version of the Beatles mop-top, including Rihanna.
Nirvana’s front-man Kurt Cobain unknowingly caused the introduction of a whole new genre of fashion, especially after he died. The ’90s in America saw a spike in grunge gaining popularity and it arguably became one of the most significant genres in music history. Many fans in the ’90s started copying what Kurt Cobain used to wear and that turned into a new fashion trend. The famous flannel plaid shirts and baggy jeans that are associated with the grunge scene and seemingly never went out of fashion (plaid shirts always make a comeback one way or another). This grunge, thrift-store/working class look was in complete contrast to the shiny and funky look of the ’80s. Through his style, Kurt Cobain made fans feel that it’s cool to look rough and disheveled and designers like Marc Jacobs, along with many other designers, started incorporating this trend in his clothing lines.
Another majorly significant fashion icon, Madonna redefined fashion in the ’80s with her lace and grunge signature style. Women also started copying her attitude, which went hand in hand with the kind of outfits she wore back in the day. Her eccentric sense of fashion liberated women to openly express themselves and fashion became a form of self expression. The rubber bracelets and chunky necklaces along with her ‘punk-inspired’ look gave rise to young girls following her trends. Her influence changed the way women dressed so significantly, she even collaborated with fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier to help make her outfits even more iconic. Be it a sari, a victorian-era dress or a ballroom gown, you name it, Madonna’s worn it and successfully pulled it off. Madonna’s style has been made relevant in today’s time by artists such as Pink and Katy Perry, who have made Madonna’s fashion trend eternal.