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For Rolling Stone’s second annual Most Stylish Musicians list, we selected a panel of voters from throughout the worlds of fashion, music, and culture. They were asked to pick and rank 20 musicians, with the definition of “stylish” being up to each individual voter. Have any disagreements with our picks? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to air your grievances.
Alastair Mckimm editor-in-chief, i-D; Albert Ayal founder and creative director, Up Next Designer; Amanda Charchian photographer; Arianne Phillips costume designer; B. Akerlund fashion activist and costume designer; Brigitte Chartrand vice president of womenswear buying, Ssense; Cliqua film directors; Colm Dillane creative director, Kidsuper; David Josef Tamargo CEO, Alligator Jesus; Dion Lee creative director, Dion Lee; Doni Nahmias creative director and founder, Nahmias; Edvin Thompson designer and creative director, Theophilio; Eric Johnson photographer; Federico Barassi vice president of menswear buying, Ssense; Francesco Risso creative director, Marni; Hannah Lux Davis video director; Ludovic de Saint Sernin creative director, Ludovic de Saint Sernin and Ann Demeulemeester; Manu Rios actor; Marcus Correa creative director and stylist; Mei Pang makeup artist; Nicola Formichetti creative director and fashion director; Odunayo (Ayo) Ojo fashion critic and journalist; Patti Wilson fashion stylist and consultant; Raisa Flowers makeup artist; Silvia Prada artist and image director, Playgirl Magazine; Stavros Karelis founder and buying director, Machine-A; Stuart Vevers creative director, Coach; Tetsuya Akiyama artist and owner, Grillz Jewelz; Willa Bennett editor-in-chief, Highsnobiety; Willy Chavarria founder and creative director, Willy Chavarria
Her tight silhouettes have become a reliable — some might say a predictable — staple for the singer. But when it’s that easy to look that good, who can complain? If anything, Dua Lipa’s ability to look effortlessly flawless in a skintight bodysuit, like the black, crystal-embroidered piece designed by Casey Cadwallader of Mugler for her Future Nostalgia tour, is enough to keep her on our list for years to come. “The Mugler woman can be pretty much anything,” Cadwallader explains. “I think she’s a pretty bold and outgoing person. She’s not afraid to express herself, but comes in many different incarnations.” Lipa not only exemplifies the high standards set by Cadwallader, but her ability to display his looks, both subdued and ostentatious, have become unmatched in recent years. When she walked in Balenciaga for its second couture show under creative director Demna Gvasalia, she kept it poised in a room populated by some of the hardest-to-please folks in the game, gliding past rows of skeptical glances, unfazed and instantly chic. And in her flurry of eye-grabbing looks, from biker babe in Courrèges and Acne leather to moon walker in Diesel, she’s become a role model and guide for the next generation of musicians, taking Caroline Polachek on tour with her and making her feel like a musical and fashion equal.
Cardi has always specialized in bringing Bronx fire to the world of high fashion, being down-to-earth, clever, fun, and elegant at the same time. Her 2022 wasn’t as huge as other years, showcasing moments here and there in Alaïa jumpsuits and Paco Rabanne sets. But as any civilized style maven knows, sometimes quality matters more than quantity, and her looks last year always hit the mark. Cardi’s Met Gala dress, designed and accompanied by Donatella Versace herself, was a master class in subtle grandeur. “I usually go big,” she said at the time. “This time I wanted clean-cut but never simple because Versace’s never simple.” Inspired by the “more is more” attitude of New York and hip-hop in the Nineties, the simplicity of the silhouette was oppositional to cascading layers of jewelry, a second skin of curb and Figaro chains, complete with Versace emblem coins decorated throughout. “This is a fucking competition, and we are going number one,” she declared moments before stepping onto the carpet. Cardi also understands the ways in which historical resonance can also be an effective way to turn heads; she showed that by dipping into the couture archive of fashion house Mugler for pieces shown in her summer single, “Hot Shit.” “Mr. Mugler was one of the first designers to take a major chance on me,” she opened up on Instagram after the designer’s passing. She might not be in complete regalia every week, but as she raps on the single, “Either way you slice it, bottom line, I’m the top bitch.”
The world went appropriately nuts when Beyoncé announced her upcoming Renaissance tour, and for good reason. From the visuals we’ve seen since her landmark 2022 album dropped, Beyoncé and her stylist Marni Senofonte are going to give us a show for the ages. Beyoncé’s Renaissance-era fashion has been a blazing blend of late-Seventies Studio 54 allure, futuristic drag, and a whole lot of body. Last year, she showcased devilish corsets by Luis De Javier, padded sets by Dolce and Gabbana, La Perla lingerie, a chain garter by Natalia Fedner, pleated gowns from Gucci, Alaïa jumpsuits, and custom pieces from what often feels like every brand under the sun. When your idea of accessorizing means riding a horse into a bar like Bianca Jagger, or carrying a matching silver laser like Jane Fonda in Barbarella, you’ve already left the rest of the pack way behind. “There are so many different versions of her,” her longtime stylist Zerina Akers said recently, alluding to the challenge of finding new ways to collaborate with an artist who has been on top for such a long time. “How can I, as a stylist, find that new version?” Why isn’t Queen Bey a little higher on the list? Only because her 2022 left us so psyched to see what she has in store for 2023. Beyoncé does not know the meaning of arriving quietly, but she does know how to tease a crowd hungry for more.
Decades of musicians have cultivated sequins, feathers, and tailored suiting in their performances, but to a new generation of music fans, Harry Styles’ fashion choices go beyond replicating history to create some of his own — just as the music on his 2022 album, Harry’s House, pulled from a wide array of sounds both obscure and familiar and made them seem new. As Gucci noted in the materials that accompanied one of its many collaborations with the singer, Styles exhibits “masculine vanity without hypocrisy and false scruples dictated by convention,” with a sense of theatricality that “transforms the men’s wardrobe into a platform of freedom.” A huge part of that genius can be seen in his ability to blend the iconography of the rock greats with his own gender-blending flair — like the rainbow paillette jumpsuit and flamingo-pink coat he wore at Coachella last year, which brought to mind Thin White Duke-era David Bowie and disco Mick Jagger, or the custom éliou glasses he wore in the video for “Music for a Sushi Restaurant,” an obvious shout-out to Elton John. Styles even went full Elton in the clip for “As It Was,” in which he appears draped in a vibrant-red Bianca Saunders jacket and Dries Van Noten scarf, a modern oversize silhouette emulating John’s tighter sartorial looks from the 1970s. Styles’ heroes have, of course, taken notice. When you’ve been allowed access to the closet of Stevie Nicks herself, you are clearly doing something right. “She knows what you need,” Styles said. “Advice, a little wisdom, a blouse, a shawl.”
As the first member of BTS to release a solo album, 2022’s critically lauded Jack in the Box, J-Hope understood that expectations were sky-high when he stepped onstage alone for the first time, at Lollapalooza. Unsurprisingly, the singer and rapper delivered, both with his excellent new music and the newfound edge of his look that night. J-Hope literally had fans gasping at his all-black Louis Vuitton garb, drop shoulders, distressed T-shirt, biker-style gloves, and oversize logo-embossed denim. “I realized I wanted to show more dancing, which you can consider as my main foundation,” J-Hope told Rolling Stone last year, underscoring his feeling that onstage silhouettes mean everything. Now performing on his own, his style is bigger, bolder, and louder than ever. “I realized that it could be tough to tell some of these stories through music with the existing image and vibe of J-Hope,” he said. “I wanted people to realize that J-Hope isn’t limited to bright things. He can do these concepts and has a wide spectrum. I wanted to call attention to this ability by challenging myself.” J-Hope’s all-black ensemble made him look tougher than we would’ve expected a few years ago, and it’s clearly part of a larger aesthetic transformation he’s going through as he stakes out solo territory. In the symbolism-heavy video for his recent single, “Arson,” he stumbles through a post-apocalyptic world draped in VEERT pearls and a custom white jumpsuit by designer Bajowoo, emerging from smoke and fire with his clothes and Converse sneakers scorched and torn-looking, decidedly cooler than before he went in. “It has the fire, the passion that I wanted this album to possess,” he said. J-Hope is writing a chapter of his career, and fashion is a huge part of it.
In 2021, Billie Eilish did something many thought she’d never do — she put her body on display, appearing in pink and nude-toned lingerie for the cover of British Vogue. Gasp! After years of being camouflaged in oversize attire, Eilish made the mundane act of showing a little skin in Gucci and Mugler feel revolutionary. “It’s all about what makes you feel good,” she said, addressing the haters. Billie wears what she wants, and looks good doing it. At the LACMA Gala in November, she arrived head-to-toe in Gucci nightwear, a blend of her traditional loose-fitting duds with a nod to her early logo-mania days. At the EMA awards a month earlier, she did the same, opting for an oversize sleepwear set that was light-years from the polished get-ups one should present on the red carpet. It was another gutsy move that felt just right. As she preps to perform at the Osheaga Music and Arts Festival this fall, we can anticipate her year stylistically will be filled with the same f*ck you attitude fans love.
Whether it’s in music or fashion, hip-hop icon Kendrick Lamar is an artist who always has something to say. At last summer’s edition of the Glastonbury Festival, one of the U.K.’s biggest concert events, Lamar deftly dramatized the burden that can sometimes come with being rap royalty, taking the stage in a custom-made titanium and pavé-diamond crown by jewelers Tiffany & Co. — the same one he wore on the cover of his latest album, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers. As his performance went on, fake blood flowed down his face that left his white button-down shirt soaked in deeply metaphorical red. “They judge you, they judge Christ/Godspeed for women’s rights,” he rapped, an apparent allusion to the Supreme Court’s recent decision overturning Roe v. Wade. It’s just one potent example of how in Lamar’s world, style is the vessel that serves a larger message. His shirt that night was a Louis Vuitton piece designed by the late Virgil Abloh, a godfather of luxury streetwear who made history as the brand’s first Black director. The crown was made in collaboration with Lamar’s close friend, producer and filmmaker Dave Free, who said it was a “godly representation of hood philosophies told from a digestible youthful lens.” Lamar not only made his point, he also looked cool doing it—Which he’ll more than likely continue into his Gov Ball set this year. The crown may get heavy, but he always wears it well.
“Being a queer Black woman in America, someone who has been in relationships with both men and women – I consider myself to be a free-ass motherfucker,” Janelle Monáe once told Rolling Stone. In terms of fashion, her resolutely free-ass sensibility has made her one of the most innovative musicians around. Her style runs the gamut from suits to gowns, Victorian to futuristic, of this world and ready for the next one. “One thing [Janelle] gonna do is give you all the angles,” said her stylist Alexandra Mandelkorn. Monáe was a little bit off the radar during the pandemic years (we haven’t heard new music from her since her 2018 breakthrough opus, Dirty Computer). But she reentered the chat in full force last year, attending the CFDA Fashion Awards in a Thom Browne gown, showing up at the LACMA Art + Film Gala in vintage Gucci, and rolling through the Met Gala in a Ralph Lauren dress that moved gilded glamour forward. But it was the crimson Christian Siriano gown she wore to the premiere of Glass Onion that truly separated her from the pack, breaking away from her go-to angular black and white to balance her reliably campy persona with a decadent sense of elegance.
When Yves Saint Laurent developed the first pantsuit for women in 1967, he was both celebrated and ridiculed. But he revolutionized womenswear all the same. Last fall, Solange kept his tradition alive by appearing at the New York City Ballet’s Fall Fashion Gala in a Haute Couture suit by Balenciaga that brought to mind Saint Laurent’s iconic classics: nipped at the waist with broad shoulders and wide-leg pants, also found in the Saint Laurent’s modern adaptations by current creative director Anthony Vaccarello. The look’s sense of elegant authority fit the moment; Solange had just become the first Black woman to score a piece for the NYC Ballet, and her outfit that night shows how well she understands that fashion can be political. “Might I suggest you don’t fuck with my sis,” Beyoncé recently notes on the Renaissance single “Cozy.” We wholeheartedly agree.
Korean rappers have some of the best style going, and Dawn is leading the movement. Last year, the 28-year-old artist switched to a fiery-red hairdo, which fits perfectly with his audacious floral patterns and color combos, the wild and almost unfashionable accessories he favors, and his ability to morph into any persona he chooses through clothing. In the video for “Stupid Cool,” Dawn’s flurry of pieces like the bright pastel ERL puffer, Adidas track pants, Jacquemus pink overalls, Vetements tee, and Versace scarf are paired with actual clown shoes and a teddy-bear-shaped hat. It’s a borderline-campy look only Dawn can pull off, while making us envy his sense of humor and freedom.
A$AP Rocky has held the title of “best dressed man in hip-hop” for years now, and he always keeps finding ways to challenge the expectations that come with such elite status. Case in point: the video for his late-2022 single “Shittin’ Me.” A$AP sits in a busy high-rise office wearing a gray blazer, blue button-up, and red tie, as a staff of underlings buzz around him. Then, the camera pulls back to reveal that he’s rocking wide-leg drop-crotch cargos — the perfect touch to upend the staid setting. This kind of chic rule-breaking has made him a favorite for fashion houses like Dior and Raf Simons. Rocky’s greatest hits last year include a Raf Simons shorts-suit summer combo that he pulled off with ease, and a Comme des Garçon skirt and Martine Rose denim combo, something very few male rappers could get away with wearing. “Some people look at me strange as hell,” he told Rolling Stone. “That’s cool. A lot of things I do, it may not sit well at first, but eventually, they aren’t gonna have a choice but to get on the bandwagon.”
Björk has been an enigmatic fashion icon since she first came out of Iceland fronting the Sugarcubes in the late Eighties, and she’s still taking risks decades later. On the tour for her concert/theatrical project Cornucopia, she wore a 3D-printed couture piece by Iris Van Herpen onstage, and last year, in the visuals that accompanied her most recent album, Fossora, she rocked custom headpieces by James Merry that made her look like an avant-garde alien. “Each album always starts with a feeling that I try to shape into sound,” she wrote on Instagram. “This time around, the feeling was landing on the earth and digging my feet into the ground.” For the album’s several cover images, she is draped in fluorescent green by Burberry’s Riccardo Tisci, surrounded by what looks like flora from an alternate dimension. In another, she’s ruffled and folded in tones of teal by Korean designer Jisoo Baik, an image that suggests the singer is growing organically from a bed of fungi. “I’ve always taken inspiration from Björk’s imagination, creativity, and courage to experiment with music,” said Baik of working with the singer. “So the fact that she chose my clothes meant so much to me.” For Björk, such constant creative rejuvenation has always been her goal. “I just want to keep on going,” she said in an interview. “I get so easily bored, I have to find something new every fucking day.”
“I have embodied the slur ‘Black bitch’ and made a whole archetype out of it,” 24-year-old Florida rapper Doechii told Rolling Stone last year. “I see this Black girl, and she’s super powerful, creative, confident. She knows who she is. She doesn’t carry around weight. She’s just a boss.” That confidence was all over her breakout viral hit, “Yucky Bucky Fruitcake,” and it comes through in her uncompromising looks. Walking the red carpet at the 2022 VMAs in a Patrycja Pagas leather blazer, she showed she knows how to turn heads with low-key accessories, opting for a pair of black grillz by jeweler Alligator Jesus, and a choppy, pitch-black updo by celebrity hairstylist Dhairius Thomas. For her debut Tonight Show performance, she rapped the intro to her single “Persuasive” engulfed in a crocodile-toned gown, with layers of excessive fabric and matching knee-high boots, glamorously serving notice that even though her career is just getting started, she’s already in charge of her own future.
The Indiana-born Mexican American pop star’s style veers toward minimalism, but there’s always power in Omar Apollo’s simplicity. Check out the video for his hit single “Evergreen.” In the clip, Apollo builds a room on an empty stage and watches it fall in around him while wearing a distressed flannel shirt and peeling leather pants from the Balmain collection, featuring the phrase “Do you still buy magazines?” written in the same script as Kurt Cobain’s journals. “The styling for ‘Evergreen’ was relatively modest, which was deliberate,” says stylist Brandon Tan. “The song has a lot to do with vulnerability — the room built by Omar and then deconstructed — so there was definitely a through line of demolition, seen in the distressing details of the R13 flannel.” It’s the mark of a budding genius who knows he doesn’t need to shout to be noticed.
As Rolling Stone’s Rob Sheffield said in his rave review of her 2022 album, Hold That Girl: “Rina Sawayama is everything you could pray for in a pop provocateur: rude, audacious, unpredictable, hilarious, blunt, with a mean streak and an omnivorous ear.” The same could be said of the Anglo Japanese singer-songwriter’s fashion sense. She effortlessly shape-shifts into whatever she wants you to see. From taking the stage in a polka-dot alien piece by Jean Paul Gaultier for The Tonight Show to looking cowboy chic in Dion Lee, Sawayama has the enviable ability to make anything her own. “When I first started out, I was very much in control of my image,” she said in a conversation with Shania Twain for Rolling Stone’s recent Musicians on Musicians issue. “I didn’t have any pictures from fans that were unflattering. I was trying to make sure that I look hot in everything.” Of course, the thought of a “bad” Sawayama photo is comical — whether she’s wearing Schiaparelli in the front row of Paris Fashion Week or Diesel behind the scenes during tour rehearsals. Even in her most self-consciously outlandish looks —like the archival Vivienne Westwood jumpsuit and feather boa she wore in what stylist Jordan Kelsey called “full homage to one of Elton’s amazing costumes over the years from Bob Mackie” — she always seems completely in her element.
FKA Twigs’ style is a decoction of vulnerability and fearlessness. Last year, she released “Thank You Song,” a ballad in which she sang, “I wanted to die, I’m just being honest/No longer afraid to say it out loud.” For many, the song brought to mind her lawsuit detailing the emotional, physical, and mental abuse she’d suffered during her relationship with actor Shia LaBeouf. In the song’s video, she appears in a soft-pink sweater and uniform-style skirt that is ripped and gashed, with safety pins straddling the plunging neckline, and deep stains on the edges of seams that appear to be pulling apart. Using fashion to make powerful personal statements comes naturally to the U.K. avant-pop artist, whose 2022 mixtape, Caprisongs, was one of the year’s most acclaimed releases. “You’ve got to have so much more about you than the way you look or your clothes,” she said, and she’s lived up to that statement over the past decade. In December, at the Red Carpet Fashion Awards, her charcoal Rick Owens dress and black face paint evoked an embattled hero rising from the ashes, which is a perfect metaphor for her own recent triumph.
Moses Sumney proves you don’t need splashy colors to make an impact. In his case, it’s the very lack of color that’s so striking. “Wearing all black has taught me discipline,” says the North Carolina-based Ghanaian American art-pop musician. Sumney doesn’t stray beyond a palette of onyx, jet, and the occasional charcoal, yet everything he does feels glamorous and theatrical. “It’s thinking about what’s going to move,” he says. “I appreciate that it, as a wearer, forces me to be a bit more disciplined and knowledgeable, but also, for the viewer, it creates a distinction.” Sumney gravitates toward draped looks and cuts that emphasize texture, fabric, and silhouette. Last year, he walked for Riccardo Tisci’s fall 2022 collection at Burberry in a corduroy-collar quilted set, and also attended the prestigious CFDA Awards with designer Willy Chavarria, suited in a piece that augmented (what else?) head-to-toe black with subtle elements of religious iconography (echoing Sumney’s background as the son of two Christian pastors). “Now I know really what it means for something to be silk,” he says, beaming. “I know what it means for something to be waxy and hold a shine, or for something to be more matte.”
It’s pretty obvious that Bad Bunny doesn’t have an overly serious view of fashion, and that’s exactly what makes him so entertaining. His sense of style always comes with a sense of humor, and his choices are just as unpredictable as his relentlessly evolving music. From appearing in The New York Times depicted as a matronly gardener in looks by designers INGLISH MOFFIN and Ernest Baker to the custom puffed Burberry shoulder dress, inspired by the brands classic trench, which he donned for his first Met Gala, El Conejo Malo always kept it boisterous and witty. “I searched for what was going on during the Gilded Age, but in my country, in Puerto Rico,” he said of his Met Gala look. It reminds us that there’s detailed thought behind his every wild decision, which is sure to continue in his Coachella performance this spring.
Tyler, The Creator
Fashion scrutinizers and fans love consistency, and Tyler, the Creator’s schoolboy-contemporary-meets-fashion-goblin aesthetic is one of the most dependable looks around. His style doesn’t waiver because he knows exactly who he is, and what works. “The fit I had on yesterday/Uniform necessities, multiples are er’thing,” he raps on the 2022 single “Come On, Let’s Go,” and he underscored that maxim by appearing in the visualizer for the song in one of his signature staple looks: loafers and socks, shorts suit, and an ushanka. Tyler opened his set at last summer’s Roskilde festival in a coffee-toned puffer, pale blue shorts, canary-yellow hat, and loafers, and then dressed in the exact the same outfit (give or take a few colors) for his set at the Made in America fest a few months later. Of course, this is all brilliantly intentional and self-aware. Recently, Tyler released a video that gave us a glimpse into what defines his style, noting his love for colored stones, quirky watches and pins, Louis Vuitton trunks, and how Supreme editorials helped him “understand shape and proportions.” Meanwhile, he has continued to grow his own Golf Wang and Golf Le Fleur lines, taking a hands-on approach so that every piece reflects his vision. “I still edit the look books,” he said in an interview. “I still make sure that the blacks and shadows are right. Like I still give a fuck about all of it.”
How does a band balance streetwear, glamour, and rock & roll all at the same time? When Blackpink dropped their much-anticipated “Pink Venom” video, not only did they prove it was possible, but they also compressed everything that makes them great into three minutes and 13 seconds: conceptual storytelling, distinct personal styles, and well-executed accessorizing. As Lisa raps with strutting self-awareness on their accompanying album, Born Pink, “Masked up, and I’m still in Celine/Designer crimes, or it wouldn’t be me.” It’s truth in advertising: Lisa is, in fact, a brand ambassador for the French fashion house. “Rather than emphasizing how cute or feminine they are,” a fan of the group told Rolling Stone for our 2022 Blackpink cover story, “Blackpink’s confidence seems to stem from certainty about themselves as individuals.” Their styles continue to evolve with the times. As the fashion world cycles back through the 1990s and 2000s, they’ve stayed a step ahead. In the video for “Shut Down,” they embrace trends like cropped jerseys, leather jackets, and low-rise denim overalls, while modernizing classic grunge ideas, like the way Jisoo wears a Givenchy stone-washed skirt set from the label’s fall-winter 2022 show. We can only anticipate what’s to come from Blackpink in the future, but for now, it’s clear that no band on the planet has merged so well with high-end fashion.
Lil Nas X
Lil Nas X had quite the year in 2022. After walking the carpet at the Grammys in custom Balmain, decked out in pearls and with a butterfly insignia stitched on the chest and arms, he took the stage to perform hits from his debut album, Montero, in looks inspired by Michael Jackson. “My whole career has been about breaking down doors,” he said in a video released to inaugurate his relationship with Coach, the high-end leather brand that created a full set of looks for Nas’ “Long Live Montero Tour.” Together, Nas and Coach creative director Stuart Vevers came up with a production that told the story of the rapper’s life and wild ride to fame — complete with a lifelike Coach-embossed horse that galloped onstage during the show. “The looks we created for Lil Nas X explore playful tensions between past, present, and future,” Vevers explained. “They reference our American heritage through the lens of Montero’s playful, expressive vision — combining the timelessness with futuristic.” Getting a luxury brand to create custom looks for a live performance is impressive, especially for an artist who’s been around for just a few years. But it only scratches the surface of what Nas has done through fashion. Few artists are so skilled at mixing simplicity and ostentation — from outlaw cowboy to gilded fabrics to sci-fi armors. And he’s just getting started, set to showcase more of his wicked style at Gov Ball later this year. “Style is a form of self-expression,” he said recently. “I feel like to get further in life, you have to shed skins.”
We’ve come to expect one-of-a-kind viral moments from Rihanna, but last year she found her most radical way to turn heads yet. First, there was the announcement of her pregnancy at the end of January, which she did by displaying her baby bump on a stroll through New York dressed in vintage Chanel and Vetements denim. A couple of months later, she appeared on the cover of Vogue fitted in a custom lace jumpsuit and Alaïa heels, another powerful celebration of her changing body that showed the world women can parade their pregnancies while radiating sensuality. The Vogue cover was also clever marketing, reminding consumers that the pop superstar also has her own lingerie brand. Perhaps her biggest fashion coup came at the Dior fall-winter show, where she appeared in nothing but a bra and underwear, with a black lace slip, leather trench and Amina Muaddi boots. Her appearance literally brought the event to a standstill, with attendees openly gazing at her stunning selection. When asked about causing the delay, her response was perfect: “No shit.”
Rosalia knows how to balance hard and soft – just see her landmark 2022 album, Motomami, and the blockbuster tour to support it. “I wanted the record to feel like an emotional roller coaster, which is what I was feeling at that point in my life,” Rosalía told Rolling Stone in her recent cover story. “I wanted that dynamic, that constant sensation of toma y daca, give and take.” At the beginning of each show, she steps out in a custom Dion Lee ensemble, a look that reflects the intensely ambitious and intimate feel of Motomami. The dichotomy between the singer’s broad leather shoulders and revealing silhouette, as well as the sharp contrast of vibrant colors and an otherwise black-and-white set, highlight the sense of personal and musical extremes Rosalía maps out during the set. There is something for everyone to relate to in her approach to fashion, just as there is in her music. Her understanding of harmony was on display on the red carpet at last year’s Latin Grammys, where she stepped out pairing a Miu Miu dress and skintight silhouette with satin pumps, large angular shades, and damp hair, a chic look with a subtle rock & roll edge. The designs Rosalía has served up this past year will live on for decades to come.
Doja Cat recently described her last album, Planet Her, as “controlled chaos,” adding, “I’m crazy about putting different genres into the same album or even into the same song.” That manic sense of clever, purposeful juxtaposition comes through in everything she does. Doja is such a pop-culture fixture at this point that it’s hard to believe that 2022 was her first year attending Paris Fashion Week. “My Fashion Week experience was special because I was able to get the message across to people that I am an explorer of art and fashion,” she said. At designer Thom Browne’s show, Doja was in the front row (nestled between the legendary Janet Jackson and fellow style savant Jaden Smith) sporting a tie-shaped gown. At the first official Paris runway show for the brand A.W.A.K.E. Mode, she was the center of attention in a modified gingham suit and gold body paint. The previous weekend, she appeared at the fall-winter Monôt show caressed in a black cutout dress and full alien face paint. “I love old silent films, weird dark art films and a whole strange melting pot of music,” her stylist, Brett Alan Nelson, told Rolling Stone. “I try very hard to not reference anything anyone will ever intentionally notice – but if I do – there is a reason and a purpose behind it, what that is, is for the viewer to figure out. After our major run in Paris for Couture where her red crystal look for Schiaparelli was plastered across all socials with a mixed reaction I had one thought that I needed everyone to read – have your opinion – say what you want . But … art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.” In any context, she can make the overstated feel natural and the mundane seem extravagant. “I like a performance when it’s not onstage,” she said recently. “I think it’s really fun. Life is too short, having the same hair and the same face all day.”
How does someone go from budding R&B star to full-fledged fashion king? In the case of Steve Lacy, it’s with a daring disregard for the sartorial status quo. The “Bad Habit” singer knows his way around an outfit like he knows his way around a Number One hit, and in 2023, few people exude — and celebrate — style like he does. Lacy effortlessly incorporates fashion into his offstage and onstage persona, which he’ll continue to showcase throughout this year on his tour, treating clothing as an extension of his artistic identity. Consider the way he turned heads last year in spray-painted pants by Mowalola, artisanal boots by R.G.B., sculptured hair by Malcolm Marquez, and wool kilts by Stefan Cooke. It’s the mark of someone who understands shape and proportion and who can balance weirdness with the refinement of a seasoned editor. And to top it all off, he does it all himself. “[I have] a very personal relationship to clothes,” the singer says. All this comes together best via Lacy’s burner Instagram account, dubbed “Fitvomit,” where he lets us view his evolution in real time (the account’s description reads “fitting out, not in”). As he puts it himself, “I don’t like to be a billboard. Y’all can have the cool, wear the most brands and all this stuff. I’m going to go do this.”