With news of legendary musician Prince passing away today, the world is mourning the loss of an icon. Fans of his know that Prince Rogers Nelson was about more than just the music, he was a true artist whose prevalence went beyond what we listened to over the airwaves. He crossed boundaries that helped to define the very essence of style with an influence that has spanned generations.
The artist first broke onto the scene in the late ‘70s. By the age of 19 he had already made his mark as the youngest producer ever to come out of Warner Bros. Records.
From that moment on, the multifaceted Prince began to set trends and alter the way the public perceived him as merely a performer. He was a true trailblazer who had a distinct style that was, like his music, completely all his own.
From the music to movies to rising young talent, Prince had a way of discovering treasures before they emerged into the spotlight. His incredible fashion sense was no different from the magic he tapped into in every other aspect of his artistry.
Prince’s eclectic taste in fashion, led him to embrace looks that turned him into a character that seemed to be larger than life itself. From Los Angeles and beyond, others have tried to emulate his style but because the artist himself was so versatile, it was a feat that couldn’t be done.
Some of his classic looks will forever be etched in our minds as moments that seemed to break through all barriers and stereotypes. This never dull, always inspired talent appeared to let each era innovate his wardrobe while at the same time elevating every style he chose with his own personal touch.
In the ‘80s, his high-collared ruffled shirts, embellished jackets and skin tight pants were in effect mirrored in the lyrics that he sang. But the artist did not stop there. As he evolved so did his fashion. The provocative era of Prince carried with it some skin-baring performances that stunned audiences everywhere. He then began to incorporate polka dots and stripes into more of a tailored look as he was refining his style as a musician. In the early ‘90s he took on bright colors like yellows, blues and greens, and just as he shocked fans with his songwriting at that time, he did so once again with fashion – who could ever forget the gold number Prince donned at the 1991 MTV Video Music Awards when he gave the crowd a bit of ass-istance with his performance?
As the artist progressed so did a character that unequivocally tied together his music with his fashion. In the ‘90s we saw a more distinguished Prince, with shorter hair, bigger coats and more accessories. From shades to canes it was apparent Prince was making personal statements through the accents he chose – that became even more evident in 1993 when he adopted a symbol in place of his name.
Through the next couple of decades Prince took on asymmetrical looks that met somewhere in between a futuristic, hippie, dapper place that spawned trends in eccentricities that could never be duplicated.
One thing is for sure, whether we’re talking fashion or music with Prince, he was one pioneer who was truly out of this world.
With the news of Prince’s protégé Vanity passing away recently, to Maurice White the founder of Earth, Wind & Fire, to the one and only David Bowie, it’s important to remember that these vanguards in the industry leave behind a legacy for us to carry on.
All of these artists teach us to keep discovering and expanding on who we are and are prime examples on how to express that vision honestly through fashion.