For this year’s fashion issue, themed The Theater of it All, we have a broad range of tracks looking at some of the most iconic characters and fashionable songs out there.
1. Frank Ocean: “Chanel”
A standout pop track from Ocean, who usually dabbles in more neo R&B, but used the brand’s distinct logo as a metaphor for his sexuality for a beautiful, catchy, and thought-provoking performance.
2. Kanye West: “Wolves”
This song’s music video was released as a collaboration with Balmain, and features West, Kim Kardashian, and cadres of impossibly beautiful people sporting the brand’s opulent threads. The song’s soaring vocals and melancholy tone play down the clothes’ potential gaudiness for a tasteful combination that maintains Balmain’s indulgent image.
3. Kreayshawn: “Gucci Gucci”
One of 2011’s most infectious hits, Kreayshawn brought shameless self-promotion and opulence to new heights, paving the way for other songs to use a laundry list of brand names for a hook.
4. A$AP Rocky, Quavo, Lil Uzi Vert, Playboi Carti, and Frank Ocean: “RAF”
With a features list almost as long as the tails on Rocky’s Raf Simmons jacket, “RAF” encompasses both the braggadocio of rap and the fashion-conscious trend that Rocky pioneered. Rappers have always flaunted their style, but the movement towards fit-conscious, streetwear-focused, and wildly expensive clothes is due in large part to Pretty Flacko himself.
5. Prince: “Purple Rain”
Not technically about fashion, but “Purple Rain” is one of the most iconic songs from one of the most iconic stars of the genre, with one of the most iconic senses of fashion of all time. Not simply a musician or singer, Prince transcended definition—truly a man of theater and spectacle. He will be missed.
6. Johnny Cash: “Man in Black”
One of rock’s most influential songwriters, Cash proudly displays his blue-collar roots, explaining his affinity for the beaten-down, lonely, and left behind members of society. If this song doesn’t leave you wanting to wear more black, nothing will.
7. Weezer: “The Sweater Song (Undone)”
From the band’s exceptional debut album, “The Sweater Song” talks less about fashion than the act of taking it apart; but discusses it in such a genuine and original way, we can’t even fault them. Check out Mac Demarco’s awesome cover as well.
8. Charles Mingus: “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat”
Bidding adieu to the previous generation’s staple accessory, Mingus pulls out all the stops with a slow-burning, sensual, and unforgettable jazz classic. When the saxophone steps in around the two-minute mark, you can just about smell the wax dripping off the candles in that dimly-lit restaurant where you went on that special third date.
9. Lana Del Rey: “Blue Jeans”
Careful bass notes and an infectious hook mark this song as one of Rey’s greatest. She puts the most American piece of clothing ever at the fore of the song, allowing for reflection on the staple’s iconic ease, versatility, and timelessness.
10. Madonna: “Vogue”
No discussion of fashion is complete without mention of Madonna, and her 2006 classic brought high fashion and popular culture together, and started the relentlessly entertaining trend of “voguing.”