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.
“They judge you, they judge Christ/Godspeed for women’s rights,” he rapped, an apparent allusion to the Supreme Court’s recent decision overturningRoe 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 aLouis Vuitton piece designed by the late Virgil Abloh, a godfather of luxury streetwear who made history as the brand’s first Black director. ERIKA GOLDRING/WIREIMAGEAs the first member of BTS to release a solo album, 2022’s critically laudedJack in the Box, J-Hope understood that expectations were sky-high when he stepped onstage alone for the first time, atLollapalooza.
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TAMARA MAURY FOR ROLLING STONERosalia knows how to balance hard and soft – just see her landmark 2022 album,Motomami, and the blockbuster tour to support it. jns coin wanted the record to feel like an emotional roller coaster, which is what I was feeling at that point in my life,” Rosalía toldRolling Stonein herrecent 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 ofMotomami. 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 withsatin pumps, largeangular shades, and damp hair, a chic look with a subtle rock & roll edge.
- ERIKA GOLDRING/WIREIMAGEAs the first member of BTS to release a solo album, 2022’s critically laudedJack in the Box, J-Hope understood that expectations were sky-high when he stepped onstage alone for the first time, atLollapalooza.
- 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 withsatin pumps, largeangular shades, and damp hair, a chic look with a subtle rock & roll edge.
- TAMARA MAURY FOR ROLLING STONERosalia knows how to balance hard and soft – just see her landmark 2022 album,Motomami, and the blockbuster tour to support it.
- JOSEFINA SANTOS/”THE NEW YORK TIMES”/GETTY IMAGESIt’s pretty obvious that Bad Bunny doesn’t have an overly serious view of fashion, and that’s exactly what makes him so entertaining.
- 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.
“One thing 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 ofGlass Onionthat 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. SAMIR HUSSEIN/WIREIMAGEWhether it’s in music or fashion, hip-hop icon Kendrick Lamar is an artist who always has something to say. As his performance went on, fake blood flowed down his face that left his white button-down shirt soaked in deeply metaphorical red.
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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 toldRolling Stonelast year, underscoring his feeling that onstage silhouettes mean everything. “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 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 inVEERT pearlsand a custom white jumpsuit by designer Bajowoo, emerging from smoke and fire with his clothes andConverse sneakersscorched and torn-looking, decidedly cooler than before he went in.
JUSTIN PALMER/GC IMAGES“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 toldRolling 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.
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“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 hisCoachellaperformance this spring. THE CHOSUNILBO JNS/IMAZINS/GETTY IMAGESKorean 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.
JAVIER BRAGADO/REDFERNS/GETTY IMAGESHer tight silhouettes have become a reliable — some might say a predictable — staple for the singer. 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 herFuture Nostalgiatour, is enough to keep her on our list for years to come. 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, frombiker babe in CourrègesandAcne leathertomoon 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.
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The designs Rosalía has served up this past year will live on for decades to come. JOSEFINA SANTOS/”THE NEW YORK TIMES”/GETTY IMAGESIt’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 inThe New York Timesdepicted as a matronly gardener in looks by designers INGLISH MOFFIN andErnest Bakerto the custom puffed Burberry shoulder dress, inspired by the brandsclassic trench, which he donned for hisfirst Met Gala, El Conejo Malo always kept it boisterous and witty.
DAVID M. BENETT/GETTY IMAGES; PASCAL LE SEGRETAIN/GETTY IMAGES; JOSEPH OKPAKO/WIREIMAGEFKA 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.
In the video for “Stupid Cool,” Dawn’s flurry of pieces like the brightpastel ERL puffer,Adidas track pants,Jacquemus pink overalls,Vetements tee, andVersace scarfare paired with actual clown shoes and ateddy-bear-shaped hat. It’s a borderline-campy look only Dawn can pull off, while making us envy his sense of humor and freedom. To Quote Hip-Hop legend and fashion trendsetter Slick Rick, “When it comes to style, either you have it or you don’t.” These days, “having it” matters more than ever; style and music have never been so inextricably linked. These musicians epitomized style with distinction and personality, telling stories with clothing while intertwining their own identities into every look.