Thursday, August 25, 2011
"Street but Sweet" Aaliyah Style
But I want to not remember where I was when I heard the terrible and unbelievable news, nor do I want to cry and be sad because her beautiful physical presence isn't here to be the star that she was. I want to talk about her fashion. To me I didn't feel like she had a long enough time in the music industry to make a huge impact, like a Janet or Michael although, she did make somewhat of an impact both musically and in fashion. Since I was young when she came out (10 years old in 94) I knew that she was hot because of the songs and videos she was out. So if she did have a major impact I wasn't aware of it.
I remember when she came out in 1994 I was like shocked. Here was this girl who was 15 wearing a sports bra, baggy jeans undone, underwear showing, and a big jacket and do rag with sunglasses. I was a HUGE Brandy fan so you can see the difference there.
Her style was definitely street but her voice and personality was sweet, and she quickly honed that title "street but sweet".
That same year she did "Are You that Somebody" where at the end of the video she wore a very high split skirt. This Aaliyah who was 18 was becoming a woman. When she did "Try Again" it previewed what new Aaliyah we would see in 2001, dramatic makeup sparkly bustier and very low leather pants, as always the dancing was impeccable (thank Fatima) and the beat was great. She had her first debut role and what's refreshing is she didn't play a pretty girl or a singer, she played a girl who didn't take BS from anybody, and did things her own way, in Rome Must Die. If "Try Again" was a preview of the new Aaliyah, then "Back in One Piece" was epic. BEAUTIFUL makeup which enhanced her natural beautiful, hair which was once sleek and straight, had bouncy curls with color at the end, even the baggy pants had left (okay she wore them for a couple of shots but not the whole video like she did in the past) and were traded for sparkled jeans and tank tops, bra tops, and what's shocking is reptile jacket and pants and red! Up to this point Aaliyah didn't do a lot of color and had worn red only a few times. She rocked it as always looking ever so beautiful, the makeup a touch of 50s glamour with the Marilyn Monroe beauty mark, diamond studs, red lips, and false eyelashes.
In 2000, she won an MTV award for Female Video for "Try Again" and wore yet again another dress! This one was different but she rocked it as always, yellow and black tiger striped dress, with feather trim by Roberto Cavalli. Not one known for designer labels, especially since she bought her Oscar dress from the mall, I was surprised to see her taking a risk, but like I said she rocked it.
Aaliyah's image for this album was full blown, sexy, independent, bold, woman. She wore more dresses, she became more feminine and girly. In her "We Need A Resolution" video, she looked supremely confident in the first few shots of the video. "More Than A Woman" the same thing, beautiful, confidant, feminine even though she rocked a designer jumpsuit, Chanel to be exact, she still stayed true to herself wearing leather pants (fierce I might add) and crop top. I have to say she was the rare few that didn't use fake hair and fake nails, be loaded with diamonds and high heels to be sexy through her whole career. Which I truly admire and respect.
Although, she didn't need it, her makeup was dramatic and more adult then the futuristic "Try Again" look. Photoshoots for the album and magazines, her appearances showed that of a happy woman in love and ready to take on the world. This was the new Aaliyah that was about to make it large.
After that beautiful video she shot for "Rock the Boat" and that final scene of her looking like she was floating to Heaven. It seemed like EVERYONE wanted to be Aaliyah. Ciara, Toya, Tweet, Ashanti, all tried that "Street but Sweet" formula in music and fashion that Aaliyah made her own. The purring voices with hard beats, the dancing, the look, everything that Aaliyah was naturally, it seemed like everyone tried (and failed) to do. Aaliyah looked up to the likes of Stevie Wonder, Michael and Janet, but she didn't try to be them, she mixed her influences in her music and performances and the rest of the 95% was full Aaliyah. The way Selena left a void in Tejano music, is the same void Aaliyah left in R&B. She was here for 7 years (music/movie wise) but those were years to remember.