Music is Fashion's Muse

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I have an inextinguishable love for fashion and music. The two may carry a different note, but they share the same tune since both are considered art. Music will always be fashion's muse. Countless musicians and bands have set the trend in fashion, decade after decade. Let's discuss:

Teddy Boy: In the early 50s, a lot of young British men sporting the "Teddy Boy" look wore long jackets, thick crepe-soled shoes, winklepickers; high-waisted, slim "drain pipe" trousers, and slim ties. They danced and listened to skiffle and jazz music, but it wasn't until the mid-fifties that they associated themselves with the Rock and Roll scene after the film Blackboard Jungle was released. They started listening to musical artists, such as Bill Haley & His Comets, Eddie Cochran, and Elvis Presley.

Shortly after that, many young men started adopting Presley's look: slicked back hair style, long sideburns, and loose, unbuttoned shirts with their collars upturned. On the other hand, many women were solely inspired by ladies on the silver screen: Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Jayne Mansfield, and Sophia Loren.

British Invasion: Fashion was swinging in many directions during the early and mid-sixties. British rock bands, such as The Kinks, The Hollies, The Animals, The Zombies, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and The Who inspired the mod look. Mary Quant, a British fashion icon and Welsh designer, created the iconic mini skirt. She drew inspiration from the vibrant and youthful attitude that was permeating during this time. You can also give her extra credit for the patterned and colorful tights that she created to accompany the miniskirt.

Hippie Revolution: 1967 (also known as the "Summer of Love") - 1970 was the highlight years of the hippie movement. Men and women were listening to Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Frijid Pink, The Doors, Grateful Dead, to name a few. They adopted a laidback, yet fun-loving, vibrant look that exuded love and peace - tie-dyed shirts, flowing caftans, bell-bottomed jeans, sandals (women loved going barefoot, too), headbands, and work shirts. The Beatles even took a psychedelic turn with their music and fashion sense.

Disco: Donna Summer, Bee Gees, Gloria Gaynor, Abba, KC & the Sunshine Band were the top artists of the disco era. It was all about wearing clothes that were snug, colorful, and shiny. Big hair signified flair and rebellion. Platforms were also the thing - the bigger, the better. And don't forget hot pants! Mini skirts and dresses were more popular than ever, as well as the maxi dress and the jersey wrap dress, which was created by Diane von Fürstenberg in 1972. The jersey dress was easily transitioned from office wear to nightclub wear.

Glam Rock (also known as glitter rock): During 1972–1974, fashion was inspired by wildly flamboyant make-up, clothes, shoes, and hair donned by glam rock stars: David Bowie, T.Rex, Jobriath, Roxy Music, New York Dolls, and Lou Reed. It came to an abrupt end in 1976, but still influenced music and fashion genres: glam metal, punk, gothic, and New Romantics - looks that spontaneously revive every now and then since the 90s.

Punk: By the mid-70s, glam rock and disco were quickly shooed out the door with a vengeance, replaced with The Clash, The Ramones, Sex Pistols, and many others. This was the most hostile and anarchic movement. Clothes were usually bought from thrift shops and were destroyed and refashioned in a "rough" manner that would garner the most attention; torn t-shirts, ripped jeans, and leather jackets that were worn and torn. However, the punk fashion originated in London from esteemed designer Vivienne Westwood and her partner Malcolm McLaren. Her partner is credited with dressing The Sex Pistols.

The creation of MTV took fashion to a different level, yet was just as tacky as the 70s in regards of fashion, not music. Fun, yes, but still tacky. Pop, dance, New Wave music usually dominated the airwaves. Men were more flamboyant with their make-up than they were in the early 70s: Klaus Nomi, Boy George, Robert Smith of The Cure, Philip Oakey of The Human League, and Prince (he started out in the late 70s, but he truly blended in, yet stood out at the same time in the 80s). Michael Jackson set a plethora of trends. It was all about the hair, too, especially with glam metal bands (also known hair metal bands) and musicians: Quiet Riot, Mötley Crüe, Lita Ford, Cinderella, Twisted Sister, Guns N' Roses, and Bon Jovi.

When Madonna came along, music was forever changed by the way it was made and performed, on stage and in the videos. She also changed the attitude and the way society viewed women. She received worldwide recognition (good and bad) when she came out with Like a Virgin in 1984. She sparked even more controversy when she performed the song for the first time at the first MTV Video Music Awards (VMA). She was standing on top of a giant wedding cake, wearing a wedding dress and white gloves. To top it off, she started blatantly rolling on the stage.

Grunge: This movement emerged in Washington (mainly Seattle) in the mid-eighties, but truly didn't reach its peak until the early 90s. It drew inspiration from indie rock, hardcore punk, and heavy metal. Lyrics are ridden with angst and apathy. Grunge musicians were known for their unkempt appearances. The best examples would be Courtney Love (Hole), Kurt Cobain (Nirvana), Mark Lanegan (Screaming Trees), Alice in Chains, Mudhoney, and Pearl Jam.

The duo behind Nina Sky represents two style archetypes; the "New York City Girl" and the menswear-inspired "boy meets girl" look. In honor of ORGNL TV, Stoli asked them to share their music and fashion inspirations:

How do you think music/artists influence fashion trends?

Majorly, people love to listen to music and keep up with their favorite artists, from their latest videos to what they're wearing... So of course it would influence fashion trends. Also, music inspires creativity and fashion designers are artists in their own right. I think the music they listen to ultimately helps set the tone and theme of their collections. - Nina Sky

Listen & Download the exclusive Nina Sky track for ORGNL.TV by Stoli!

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Unknown said...

Great post! It is amazing to see how fashion and music changes over the years! I love the 50's and 60's music and styles, and it amazes me how much everything has changed!

Anonymous said...

Fantastic post! Music has always been my 'thing' and following the fashion of music has been, too. The 80s and 90s were 'my time' so to speak, so I really enjoyed this post!

Thank you!

Ellen Ross | Ask Away Blog said...

music definitely influences fashion because it goes with the environment. Clubby music like House and Electronic music is really big now and I noticed that right around that time, neon colors started getting big again!! And i know that they def wear neon at those music festivals!

MrsAshley said...

Awesome post! Just stopping by from MomDot. I loved to remember how music has changed over the years.