The 25 most influential style icons in music… ever
We countdown the ladies whose songs we want on our stereo and clothes we want in our closet
25. Shirley Manson
Fifteen years before Florence Welch was decking her mic stand in flowers, Garbage front-woman Shirley was draping hers in hot pink feather boas. The Scot rocker combined tough-girl, rebellious style with feminine and overtly glamorous pieces, often hitting the stage in knee-high biker boots and sequinned mini dresses. Her red hot, red locks and raccoon eyes became the look for the mid-90s’ children of Brit Pop.
24. Taylor Momsen
The Pretty Reckless front-woman rocks micro shorts, raccoon eyes, mile-long legs and Alexander Wang both on and off stage with bags of aplomb, whilst her penchant for stripper shoes and suspenders gives a long-awaited nod to rock legend Cherie Currie. We like.
23. Joan JettWhilst bandmate Cherie was causing a commotion in her suspenders and garter belt combo, The Runaways’ Joan was rocking out in black leathers, homemade ripped tees or, our personal favourite, that Bowie-esque red leather jumpsuit. Combined with her trademark, raven-black mop-top and heavy-kohled eyes, the overall effect is the stuff of rock legend. Put another coin in that jukebox, baby.
Bold, brash and totally unique, hip-hop queen M.I.A’s closet must be a virtual explosion of neon, African print and sporty metallics. The Sri Lankan rap superstar even created her own fashion line in 07 – a loud, vibrant collection of leggings, bomber jackets and oversized tees that mirrored her fast paced, beat-pounding toons.
21. Alison Mosshart
There aren’t many ladies that can claim Kate Moss as envious of their impeccably worn-in wardrobe, but this Florida-born, raven-haired starlet is one of them. As one half of The Kills with Jamie Hince, Kate Moss’ current squeeze, Alison’s glam-grunge style and authentic ‘devil-may-care’ attitude make her low-key look undeniably cool.
20. Jane Birkin
Not many women can boast a handbag named for them, but English songstress Jane is one of them. The starlet made a splash in the swinging 60s with her lengthy locks and lengthier (sometimes thigh-high) boots. In 1984, Jane achieved the highest possible fashion accolade when Hermés designed a handbag for her – the now infamous Birkin.
19. Natasha Khan
The Brighton belle of Bat For Lashes fame boasts a collaboration with Alexander McQueen on his McQ label as just one of her fashion credentials. Natasha’s eclectic, offbeat style and penchant for headbands and explosive, artsy eye makeup has been emulated the world over, even by Lily Allen. The starlet describes her inspiration as “old documentaries or old editions of Vogue or old books with Egyptian pictures or things from the 20s.”
18. Justine FrischmannThe first lady of Brit Pop, Elastica’s Justine rocked androgyny chic dressed in head-to-toe black with a penchant for post-rave, skin-tight track tops and Adidas Gazelles. Thousands of London girls flocked to emulate her trademark cropped, floppy hair back in the mid-90s, and no wonder, considering it was this look that helped her bag two of the era’s hottest men; Blur’s Damon Albarn and Suede’s Brett Anderson.
17. Katy Perry
Part cartoon pin-up, part screen siren; ever the goddess. Katy’s offbeat, quirky style has bagged her not only plenty of column inches, but also Russell Brand. The California Gurls star mixes vintage, charity shop finds with über-desirable designer pieces to create a drool-worthy wardrobe we’d love to raid for our next girls’ night out.
16. Lady Miss Kier
With her covetable, oversized accessories and disco moves to rival John Travolta, this kooky New York club kid took the UK by storm in 1990. The creative vision behind Deee-Lite, Lady Miss Kier – or Kierin Magenta Kirby – also single-handedly made catsuits cool again with her signature 60s style and flamboyant platforms. Her look even caught the eye of designer Thierry Mugler, who invited her to prowl his spring 1991 catwalk. Deee-groovy!
15. Siouxsie SiouxRebellious, goth rocker Siouxsie played with gender-bending fashion; taking aspects of men’s style, such as oversized suit jackets and vests, and teaming them with fishnet gloves and torn stockings. Her groundbreaking look was emulated by edgy women everywhere, and helped breed the Brit subculture of ‘Batcavers’, named after the Batcave club in 70s Soho, London. Couple that with untamed locks and Egyptian-inspired makeup and you’ve got yourself an icon.
14. Lily Allen
Remember when Lily burst onto the music scene in those retro prom dresses, pristine trainers and ghetto gold jewellery? Well, it’s fair to say Lil’s label is more Chanel than Chav these days, but be it prom frocks, vintage finds or 70s-inspired stage outfits, there’s no denying her influential credentials.
13. Florence WelchLike a cross between an ethereal urchin and a pre-Raphaelite goddess, Florence of Florence And The Machine fame is music’s fastest-rising style star. By mixing vintage finds with quirky costume drama, Flo’s fashion doesn’t distract from her music, it enhances it.
Music’s quintessential Good Girl Gone Bad, Rihanna transformed from a sweet, Barbadian beach babe to a fierce member of fashion’s elite in 2008 when she swapped flirty teen-esque minis for futuristic shapes and spikes á la Jean Paul Gaultier, Louis Vuitton and D&G. RiRi also single-handedly pioneered the femme buzzcut – not for the fainthearted.
11. Gwen Stefani
Hip and unpredictable, pop’s very own Tank Girl mixes attitude and glamour to create two very different star personas; tough girl, skater punk by stage, retro screen siren by red carpet. The rocker’s wardrobe is full of Eastern promise, nods to days-gone-by and whimsical wonders that would No Doubt, have us green with envy.
10. Diana Ross
The very epitome of ‘glamour’ – disco queen Diana became an instant style icon in the Motown era with her to-die-for Bambi lashes and perfectly coiffed bob, defining 70s chic with sequined minis, lavish gowns and OTT feather boas.
Full of surprises with shapes as fierce as her songs, B isn’t afraid to think outside the style box. Whether she’s hitting the red carpet in dreamy Elie Saab or rocking the stage in avant-garde Gareth Pugh, Mrs Jay-Z sure knows how to flaunt her curves to their best advantage. And FYI – she’s got a collection of Louboutins to die for.
8. Stevie Nicks
Fleetwood Mac’s songstress epitomised fashion’s obsession with ‘gothic romance’ in the late 70s/early 80s. Her undeniably sensual combination of flowing chiffon, platform boots, luxe gypsy accessories, handkerchief hem skirts and wild, untamed hair gained her style kudos the world over. In the words of Stevie herself: “I’ll be very, very sexy under 18 pounds of chiffon and lace and velvet.”
7. Courtney Love
The first lady of grunge pioneered the self-proclaimed “Kinder-whore look” in the early 90s. As well as adorning her platinum locks and black roots with plastic, child-like hair clips, Hole front-woman Courtney’s vintage silk nightgowns, dirty babydoll dresses and ripped stockings defined a generation.
6. Kylie Minogue
Whether she’s proving effortlessly glamorous on the red carpet or dazzling in showgirl-esque sequins on stage, Kylie has never been short of fashion-fabulous. So much so, in fact, that her evolving image became the focus of a hugely popular London exhibition in 07, where infamous items, such as those gold, lamé, micro hotpants (which cost just 50p from a charity shop) and that white hooded jumpsuit, went on display.
5. Cherie Currie
Decades before Taylor Momsen stepped on stage in suspenders or Madonna donned her infamous cone-bra, original wild child The Runaways star Cherie was rocking out in top-to-toe lingerie – even though she was only 15 at the time. Tick, tick, tick…Cherry Bomb!
4. Grace JonesThe Bond girl and disco queen both defined and terrified a generation with her mile-high shoulder pads and ballsy attitude. Grace paved the way for future androgyny chic with her angular suits and flat-top hair ‘do, whilst her penchant for revealing, cutaway, hooded dresses came two decades before Kylie or Cheryl ever dared to don a jumpsuit.
3. Lady Gaga
Fashion’s newest pioneer of ‘weird’. The hair-bow. The telephone hat. The lobster mask. The lampshade! Her style statements are mind-boggling, yes, but that doesn’t make them any less fabulous. Not since the music icons of the 80s has a popstar dared to go so ‘out there’…We can only hope others will follow in Gaga’s fashion-forward footsteps and make pop wonderfully whimsical and theatrical once again. Walk, walk, fashion, baby!
2. Deborah Harry
Debbie – or her platinum alter-ego Blondie – became the darling of the New York punk scene in the 70s thanks to her blend of cool sexuality and streetwise sass. A maven of cool; an entire generation grew up either wanted to be her or be with her and, even 30 years later, we still lap up snaps of her in that digital print dress (Heart Of Glass vid) or rocking the double-denim on-stage.
1. MadonnaThe original Material Girl and style chameleon, Madonna has undergone a transformation rivalled by no other since her music inception four decades ago. Whether she’s pioneering pop-punk, flaunting the JPG cone-bra or coming over all disco diva with sequinned leotards and 70s flicks, the Queen of Pop has cued a thousand copycats. Legend.