A Mus­ing

Harper's Bazaar (Singapore) - - CONTENT -


Annabelle Fer­nan­dez looks at the en­dur­ing rel­e­vance of mu­sic videos in the ev­ere­volv­ing world of mu­sic and fash­ion

When Bey­oncé dropped her sur­prise vis­ual al­bum Le­mon­ade last year, I, along with the rest of the world, re­sponded in the same way. On Twit­ter,Tum­blr and all cor­ners of the In­ter­net, every lyric was dis­cussed, dis­sected and an­a­lysed to the nth de­gree, as was every out­fit Bey wore in the vi­gnettes ac­com­pa­ny­ing each track. Re­leased as a 60-minute HBO doc­u­men­tary, Bey­oncé com­bined mu­sic, vi­su­als and a strong nar­ra­tive in a co­her­ent, con­sis­tent way like no other artist had be­fore. But at the same time, she was also fol­low­ing the lead of a long line of hit mak­ers be­fore her.

From The Bea­tles and Queen, who used pro­mo­tional films to bril­liant ef­fect even be­fore the first days of MTV, to Michael Jack­son’s 14-minute-long “Thriller” video— played in heavy ro­ta­tion on the mu­sic chan­nel, and con­sid­ered so iconic that the red leather jacket Jack­son wore in it sold for US$1.8 mil­lion at an auc­tion in 2011—the power of strik­ing im­agery com­bined with mu­sic can­not be over­stated. After all, you might not have been born when the “Thriller” video was re­leased in 1983, but you would def­i­nitely have watched it—and know of said leather jacket. And while the medi­ums on which we view these videos con­tinue to evolve, the im­pact of mu­sic videos on pop­u­lar cul­ture is as strong as ever.

Last year, video host­ing ser­viceVevo re­leased a white pa­per ti­tled “How In­flu­en­tial Are Mu­sicVideos on Beauty & Style?”The key find­ings dis­cussed in the pa­per prove the strong­hold of in­flu­ence that mu­sic videos—and mu­si­cians—wield on mil­len­ni­als and Gen­er­a­tion Z. One of these find­ings was that “View­ers are driven by mu­sic videos to cre­ate looks of their own.” Upon see­ing a mu­sic video, half of Vevo users are likely to share style ideas with their friends—and, of course, to in­cor­po­rate these ideas into their own looks. On a Satur­day night, your av­er­age teen might not don a Tommy Hil­figer cro­cheto­chet maxi dress with Giuseppe Zan­otti san­dals à la Ri­hanna in “Work”, but the video is un­doubt­edly edly a wealth of sar­to­rial and beauty in­spi­ra­tion. From pop stars like RiRi and Bey to in­die dar­lings gs Grimes and Solange Knowles and hip-hop/R&B stal­warts Kanye West and Frank Ocean, the­see mu­si­cians have a strong aes­thetic that ex­tends from their wardrobe to al­bum vi­su­als and mu­sic videos. No won­der, then, that 68 per­cent of Vevo users aged 13 to 34 agreed that mu­si­cians are in con­trol of their own style and the brands they use or wear.

Thanks to this idea of au­then­tic­ity—one of the most im­por­tant mar­ket­ing buzz­words around right now—brands have em­braced the re­la­tion­ship be­tween mu­sic videos and con­sumers, some tak­ing things a step fur­ther by blur­ring the lines be­tween mu­sic videos and fash­ion cam­paigns—so far, in ways that have rung true for both band and brand.As a fan of Raf Si­mons and The xx, I was thrilled to find out that Calvin Klein’s Chief Creative Of­fi­cer had teamed up with the band on the creative con­cept and di­rec­tion for “I Dare You”.This saw a host of Calvin Klein col­lab­o­ra­tors ap­pear­ing in the video, in­clud­ing muses like Mil­lie Bobby Brown and Paris Jack­son, and mod­els Lulu and Ernesto Cer­vantes, who ap­peared in the brand’s fall 2017 run­way show and cam­paign. Sim­i­larly, when Bal­main’s Olivier Rouste­ing col­lab­o­rated with Kanye West on the video for “Wolves”, which also acted as the brand’s fall 2016 cam­paign, it was a move that felt com­pletely nat­u­ral—not least be­cause it starred Kim Kar­dashian West, and mod­els such as Joan Smalls and Alessan­dra Am­bro­sio from the Bal­main Army.

Mu­sic and f ash­ion have long been bed­fel­lows, com­ing to­gether in ways that con­tinue to rev­o­lu­tionise the cul­tural land­scape.The power of a mu­sic video is such that, even as a mu­si­cian moves onto his/her next al­bum, and a brand moves on to its next col­lec­tion, it re­mains; im­mor­tal­is­ing that mo­ment, and union, in time. ■ Send me your com­ments on In­sta­gram: @neon­wa­ter­melon


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