We’ve been reminiscing about the time when MTV was king, boy bands sat down on stools to sing, and dance routines were acceptable. Here’s our ode to the music videos that changed the way we dressed.
Wicked Game, Chris Isaak
Chris Isaak and Helena Christensen, both equally topless, on a beach, in Hawaii, shot in black and white, by Herb Ritts. Need we say more? Helena was a vision in white briefs, so naturally, we all rushed out to buy Calvin Klein tanks and matching undies. Frankly, the video may as well have been an unofficial CK underwear motion picture. All hail the Christensen.
Robert Palmer, Addicted To Love
The video for Addicted to Love is a power dressing 101. It was 1986, after all. Directed by Terence Donovan, the inspiration for Palmer’s glam backing band came from Patrick Nagel paintings (think the 1980s answer to Lichtenstein and you’re there), hence the pop art colours and showroom mannequin moves. The feast of polo necks, opaques and a scarlet lippy is almost enough to distract us from the fact that the models’ moves are totally out of sync.
It’s 1990 and the video for Vogue is released. Cherubic ringlets, blood red lips, a beauty spot Marilyn would have been envious of and eyebrows Cara would kill for. Madonna’s Vogue video firmly pinned her, and her signature look of masculine tailoring, on the fashion map. Jean Paul Gaultier corsets and a lotta lace are on full, perfect, display in fashion’s favourite pop video, ever.
George Michael, Freedom!
Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista and Naomi Campbell star in the video for George Michael’s 1990 hit Freedom! Ok, it’s quite easy not to focus on the clothes, but have a second look. We’re digging Linda’s white toe nail polish and punk earrings, kudos to Naomi for the strong pearls and mesh body suit combo and, let’s face it, Evangelina wears the hell out of that bed sheet.
Nirvana, Smells Like Teen Spirit
Never has a such a straggly hair ‘do inspired such a coiffure cult as Kurt Cobain’s mane did in the 1991 video for Smells Like Teen Spirit. The video spawned a whole generation of slip dress devotees and charity shop junkies, who looked a little like they’d been dragged backwards through a hedge. But, hey, it was grunge! The more pre-owned your look was, the more you were owning the look. It’s totally back for 2014 and this is giving us amazing festival-inspo.
No Doubt, I’m Just A Girl
What came first, Gwen Stefani, or the crop top? Perfect cat-eyes, a killer bleach bob and washboard abs: that was 1995, but Gwen hasn’t changed much over the years and we think that’s the sure sign of a style icon. I’m Just a Girl made us want to buy combats, cut all our tops in half and slip on a barrette (FYI, barrettes are big this season).
Britney Spears, Hit Me Baby
No one wears pigtails like Britney, and who could forget this Clueless-inspired video that had you totally re-thinking the sartorial possibilities your school uniform presented (much to our parents’ horror). We’re blaming Hit Me Baby for our life-long love affair with a good kilt. However, we have a sneaking suspicion some things are better left in 1999.
Beyoncé, Crazy In Love
This video is eleven years old, if you can believe it, and it was Beyoncé’s first ever solo video. Like a phoenix rising from Destiny’s Child shaped ashes (sob), Queen Bey burst onto the scene. Fur coat? Check. OTT pyrotechnics? Of course. World-famous rapper boyfriend? Hell, yes. This was Beyoncé in full goddess mode and the first time we realised we wanted to be her. The white tank, denim hot pants and red stilettos look is one of the most simple and yet most iconic of Bey’s career. She also manages to nail sport luxe, colour blocking, and tribal chic in the course of a four-minute long video. Love.
Lady Gaga and Beyoncé, Telephone
Riled up inmate chicks, rocking heavy eyeliner (and not a lot else), swinging from their prison cell bars: why, it’s the video for Telephone, of course. Yes, a second nod to Beyoncé for her 2009 collab with Lady Gaga. This Tarantino-esque short (it’s 9-minutes long) might be the most fashion vid we’ve ever seen. From Gaga’s smoking cigarette sunglasses and pepsi can hair rollers, to Beyoncé’s yellow latex dress with matching cowboy hat and gold studded underwear, it was the ultimate coming together of two very different fashion icons.