18 JANELLE MONÁE
“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 told Rolling Stone in 2018. Monáe’s feminist sci-fi R&B helped redefine what was possible in pop during the 2010s. 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. “One thing [Janelle] 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 (and roller skates!), 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 of Glass Onion that 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.