APRIL 21, 2016 3:24 PM
by MARJON CARLOS
With the heartbreaking news that Prince has passed today at age 57, so goes an unparalleled breadth of style. Challenging and stretching the boundaries of masculinity, sex, race, and rock ’n’ roll with his fantastical and gender-bending onstage costumes, the foppish Minnesota native pulled from a consortium of references that included Victorian peasant blouses, sequins, and a seemingly bottomless pool of purple, to cull a distinct rock god look. The legacy he leaves behind knows no bounds, either: His influence is evident on the runway and on the stage, notably on black male musical eccentrics like Miguel and Kanye West, to this day—and undoubtedly it will endure long after the Purple One himself.
There were those signature flares that flowed about as the musical genius slashed across the strings of his sculptural guitar with expert precision. The clack of his heeled booties kept to the beat of his endless anthology of hits. Shirtless and sheathed in a pair of high-waist narrow trousers, Prince crooned, screeched, and bellowed out his sexy and hypnotic lyrics. Adorned in sequined jumpsuits and twirling about with finesse akin to some of his own heroes, James Brown and Little Richard among them, the seemingly ageless singer outperformed musicians half his age with incomparable flair. There was no fashion risk he was unwilling to make, whether donning a hat with chains covering his face as he took the stage or wearing even full-on fringed pants . . . pre-Balmain, of course. He switched up his trademark perm for the bouncy throwback ’fro he had been sporting just as recently as his appearance at 2015’s Grammy Awards.
Here, we reflect on just a few of Prince’s major style moments and consider the visual expression that accompanied his extraordinary body of music. After all, as the dearly beloved musician famously sang, he was—and still remains—the latest fashion.