The devastating news of the passing of music God, Prince, has left the world reeling in a cataclysm of surprise and grief. His songs have re-entered the top 100 charts as fans all over the globe get back in touch with his greatest hits to soothe their anguish over this monumental loss. But what of Prince’s legacy to the fashion world?
Prince was more than just music. He was an activist. He was avant-garde. He was a style icon. He was the truest of true individuals. He bowed to no one and tipped the balance of a Prince versus a King. His flare is visible in every outfit fearlessly paraded throughout the decades. He didn’t follow trends, but rather set them in motion. FIB recognises and pays tribute to his spectacular influence on the fashion world during his life.
Prince is seen here in his first ever television appearance on NBC’s ‘Midnight Special,’ rocking a revealing zebra print leotard and ‘Farrah Fawcett’ waves, challenging gender conventions for dressing. A risky choice, but merely the dawning of what was set to be a lifetime of rule breaking, fabulous and unforgettable ensembles.
“A strong spirit transcends rules.” – Prince.
His wardrobe smashed perceived gender-based barriers in both the music and fashion worlds, with the relationship between his songs and his style described in an article by The Guardian as spinning “…a web of mystery, a crescendo of coded whispers about gender, sexuality and visual identity.” The New York Times recognised the prevalence of the ‘high-heel’ for his choice of footwear, identifying that historically the heel was “…an expression of power and privilege reserved for male royalty, and only later co-opted by women in the 17th and 18th centuries,” but that Prince was quoted saying he wore them simply because “women like ’em.”
Gaining places in ‘Worst Dressed’ lists all over for the ass-less yellow ensemble worn for his performance at the 1991 MTV music awards, it’s obvious that not all felt that his style was so ground-breaking. Of critics in general, however, Prince said:
“Oh, I love critics. Because they love me. It’s not a joke. They care.”
Nothing that he did was in an effort to gain acceptance or praise. His individuality shone brighter than a sunbeam, or even brighter than that yellow one-piece, (if that’s even possible)!
Having more than just a flair for the fantastic, he also believed in ethical fashion, famously refusing a fan’s offering of a leather jacket at one of his concerts, declaring,
“Please do not kill a cow so I can wear a coat!” Recognised by the organisation PETA for his contribution to animal activism and welfare throughout his career, he supposedly “staunchly refused” to wear animals in a protest against their poor treatment within the fashion industry.
However you feel about the sometimes brazen, always astonishing styles of the late Prince, his unrepentant and unequalled imprint on fashion during his life is something that will carry his memory beyond the realms of just his music. He has woven himself within the fabrics of time through his revolutionary outfits, and we tip our raspberry berets to him for his legacy left to the world.