Specially for GentleWoman, Fashion Courier summarizes the most interesting (and authentic) image incarnations in which music stars – from Beyoncé to Harry Styles – have appeared to accompany the launches of their best-selling albums in 2022.

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New era, new me

“If you really want to captivate an audience, you have to look different,” said David Bowie, the legendary music star, in an interview in 1976. These words proved to be prophetic. The artist’s image – both on stage and in everyday life – suddenly became as important as the music he creates. In terms of personal style, Bowie was a walking work of art.

Over the following decades, Madonna, pop’s most influential queen, further intensified the phenomenon. This is evidenced by the array of iconic images she created and which continue to inspire the next generation to this day: the laid-back raver from the release of the “Ray Of Light” album, the cowgirl in a Tom Ford-designed satin shirt during the “Music” era, or the sexy disco style of the “Confessions On A Dancefloor” period. One can list endlessly the incarnations of this icon.

Music stars - fashion icons. Beyoncé
Music stars – fashion icons. Beyoncé

In the age of social media, music stars don’t need to release a new song to announce their new “era.” All they have to do is post a photo shoot on their Instagram profile with a completely new image, or be “accidentally” caught by paparazzi in styling that indicates a fresh artistic direction. A revamped (or updated) image, often the result of collaboration with the world’s top stylists, can easily go “viral,” heralding the commercial success of a new album or tour.

Not surprisingly, for several years now, fashion has become one of the fastest-growing revenue streams in the music industry – whether it’s artists signing deals with established brands or starting their own fashion houses (like Rihanna and her Fenty underwear empire). In 2022, we had the opportunity to listen to a number of distinctive musical comebacks that also turned out to be exciting fashion revelations as a result.

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Time for a renaissance

When Beyoncé began promoting her album “Renaissance,” her Instagram profile was abuzz with promising visual announcements. From the dancehall and R&B influences of the 1980s to the style inspirations of Donna Summer and Diana Ross, Beyoncé’s image in 2022 is a combination of retro club chic and unusual brash charisma. In a press photo shoot, better than many in the pages of Vogue or Harper’s Bazaar, the singer is wearing ultra-feminine creations with labels from Schiaparelli, Mugler and Alaïa. The silver-colored pleated maxi dress is a creation made especially for the occasion by the fashion house Gucci (in such an outfit, Beyoncé would quietly inflict a chic look at the lavish Studio 54 party).

The singer also supports black designers who are conquering the fashion industry: Christopher John Rogers lent the star a phenomenal gown of green tulle, perfectly suited to the cosmic atmosphere of the hit “Alien Superstar” from the new album. For her current look, Beyoncé is working with stylist Marni Senofonte. Together, they manage to efficiently highlight and reflect the dynamic (and wildly danceable) spirit of “Renaissance.” Fans of the star are looking forward to the 2023 tour, which is sure to be stocked with an equally exquisite closet.

Viral style

My favorite music-fashion marriage in 2022 is the style of Rosalia, a Spanish singer who has won as many as two Latin Grammy awards so far for her innovative approach to the flamenco sound. Her new best-selling album, “Motomami,” with a much sharper reggaeton sound and pop music aspect, not only stole the hearts of music critics, but all of TikTok.

Rosalia’s groundbreaking image associated with “Motoms,” as the name implies, is inspired by the style of female motorcyclists and has become the star’s trademark. At her concerts, the singer wears motorcycle helmets and over-size leather ramones from Dion Lee and Acne Studios (of which she is the face), exuding a fiery temperament and sex appeal. The effect of the feisty “Motomami” style is not only seen since the season on the runways of major designers, but also in chain stores. H&M, Zara and Mango are offering women around the world this season a wide assortment of colorful leather jackets created just in time for a motorcycle rally. It’s an aesthetic undoubtedly inspired by the viral, unconventional style of Catalonia, which will surprise more than one in the music world.

Consistent fashion fun

Some music stars don’t radically change their style with the release of a new album, but let it evolve – and have a lot of fun in the process. Harry Styles is redefining men’s fashion with gender-fluid outfits. This is best demonstrated by the playful cover of this year’s album “Harry’s House,” on which the musician poses in a loose tulle blouse and denim bell-bottoms by British designer Molly Goddard.

In expressing himself, he is helped by Alessandro Michele, creative director of Gucci, who for the “Harry’s House” tour created a closet full of sequined jumpsuits, feather boas, corduroy pants and hand-knitted cardigans for the singer. When it comes to offbeat knits, the singer has a weakness for them and wears them even when he’s not in the limelight. In the spring, ahead of the release of his new album, Styles stole the Internet’s heart with a floral patterned vest. This is the work of the young Polish brand Kai Kotto. The second day after the musician’s styling photos were published, every fashion publication in the world wrote about the brand. Ot such is the Styles effect.

Florence Welch, who released this year’s stirring album “Dance Fever” with her band Florence + The Machine, also has a consistent approach to image. Welch has always worn ornate 1970s gowns or embroidered Fleetwood Mac-style sheepskin coats scoured in London’s best vintage boutiques. These are integral to her esoteric, even mystical style. In 2022, whether in videos for new songs or at concerts, the singer opts for the image of a romantic vampire, wearing lacy Rodarte creations or velvet gowns from The Vampire’s Wife. The singer has more than once stressed that her current stage style is heavily influenced by the character of the vampire-possessed Lucy from Francis Ford Coppola’s “Dracula” (1992).

Meanwhile, Taylor Swift, whose album “Midnights” broke a legendary Spotify record (10 songs from the album charted in the “Top 10” at once), is going with the spontaneous nature of the album and opting for a carefree, casual look, Fewer princess-colored sparkles, more loose pinstripe or velour jackets. After so many years of little consistent and inconsistent styling, it finally feels like you can see the star’s true, unadorned style.

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In our backyard

In Poland, too, we’ve had some really intriguing new releases, followed by fashion transformations of domestic musicians. Brodka ‘s “Soot” is so far the darkest album in the singer’s career. It is an experimental field for showing off one of the country’s most innovative artists. Monika Brodka’s style in 2022 reflects the vibe of “Soot” well: see-through grunge knit dresses, minimalist crop-tops and extravagant cosmic-framed glasses go well with the melancholy, rebellious overtones of the album. Besides, you can feel complete freedom and authenticity in this image, rather than dressing up. Dawid Podsiadlo, who has never surprised too much on the fashion side, for the promotion of the album “Twenties Years” chooses shirts in distinctive patterns and retro vests, which fit well with the eclectic, ironic nature of the album.

A fresh approach

Undoubtedly, today’s music industry is all about a fresh approach to image. It should signal the current mood and inspiration of the artist in the context of the new album. Today’s listeners can easily sense an identity crisis (“identity crisis”) in a musician, and this is true even before listening to the album: just look at how he presents himself on the red carpet. It’s also not a good idea to peep too much, let alone copy the style of other artists, because there’s nothing worse than a lack of authenticity to fans. Releasing new albums may take longer than it used to, as artists increasingly feel image pressure before entering their new “era.” The process of building a unique and recognizable style can take time.

But in the case of 2022, we at GentleWoman’s editorial board are sure to remember some fascinating incarnations of favorite musicians. We can’t wait to see what the always inspiring collision of music and fashion will bring us in 2023!


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