Top 10 of 2012: Fashion Musicians

Top 10 of 2012: Fashion Musicians

As TheVine hurtles towards 2013 and the holiday season, we've asked our critics to give us their Top 10 best music "things" from over the past year -- whatever the hell they may be and in whatever haphazard fashion they so declare.

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Being a Fashion Musician is very different from being a normal musician, in that it takes less critical acclaim and more critical collarbones to succeed (see: Allison Mosshart).

At the moment, the ultimate accolade for a Fashion Musician is working with Chanel. Landing this honour typically means that in addition to being beloved by the fashionista set, you’re also actually quite good at making music. Unlike their native industry, which sells an intangible product that's easy to illegally download, the fashion industry is not at all poor at the moment. So being a Fashion Musician can also be quite lucrative, what with all the corporate gigs, endorsement deals and free sunglasses you can sell on eBay.

Although she took out a CFDA style icon award in 2011, Lady Gaga has been deposed from her throne as queen of the fashion pack, perhaps because immediately after winning, she called Anna Wintour a bitch. Anyway, all the stylists and editrixes are sick of her now. Additionally Rihanna, who was able to command excellent fashion pull at the beginning of the year, has subsequently and repeatedly disgraced herself.  Indeed, the whole outlandishly costumed thing has largely fallen out of favour. Instead, the musicians that are scoring the most lucrative luxury gigs have something else entirely: legitimate personal style. 

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10. Theophilus London

He appeared in Chanel’s Little Black Jacket book, and even played the launch party in Australia. He played alongside Janelle Monae at the amFARs and he’s ridiculously, impeccably chic. He’s collaborated with multiple luxury and street brands, without ever having to sell a tonne of records.  If he were a woman he’d be up there at the top of this list. 

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9. Victoria Beckham

Technically now Posh is all Fashion no Musician but she did wince her way through a few performances this year, which is enough to land her on the list.

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8. Adele

Every year, there needs to be at least one plus-sized woman for Vogue to fawn over. Every year from now on, her name will be Adele.

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7. Janelle Monae

Monae hasn’t been picked up and idolised by luxury brands just yet, but she has the kind of fearless sharpness of vision that means that even if she never finds her name slapped on a Mulberry handbag, in 15 years time, every second fashion designer will be referencing her style in their collections. This year, she also played at amFAR and scored herself a Covergirl campaign. Fashion may not know it yet, but unlike the rest of the women on this list, Monae has the potential to become a true icon.

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6. Taylor Swift

Is her style boring? Yes. Oh, so painfully boring. But you know who else is boring? The literally millions of privileged sorority girls that make up the vast majority of American young contemporary luxury consumers. Last year Vogue named her an icon of American style, and this year her album was so thoroughly owned by Covergirl Cosmetics she called it Red. Unlike Lady Gaga or Nicki Minaj, Taylor Swift can actually make money for brands.

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5. Florence Welch

Turning up at the Met Ball dressed as a McQueen jellyfish was basically Florence’s way of declaring herself untouchable, From her January Vogue UK cover to her work with Gucci, Welch could never release another album and she’d still find a home in fashion.

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4. Kanye West

Yeezy has been a fashion devotee since forever, but this year he’s accomplished a seemingly impossible task. He has convinced Kim Kardashian to start dressing style consciously. While the haute-list may be turning up their noses at this turn of events, you can bet Balenciaga’s marketing department are secretly high-fiving every time the walking billboard steps out in a new season style. Actually lining the pockets of other houses almost makes up for his own line’s faults.

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3. Lana Del Rey

Now that the fights over her authenticity have mostly diffused, Lana can be used for exactly her intended purpose: selling expensive cars to men, and cheap jumpers to women. The sultry songstress has just the kind of distinct style that makes her perfect for hocking on the high street, and if you doubt it for a second, just rewatch Ride. Sure, she may have landed a couple of Vogue covers, but that’s largely because Prada released a car themed collection. Vroom.

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2. Beyonce

Beyonce has the timeless allure of a total control freak, and that, combined with her serious Givenchy habit and ability to casually product-place for Topshop via Tumblr, means that she has more fashion pulling power than ever.

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1. Azealia Banks

As a tiny, outlandish babe, Azealia Banks has basically every quality it takes to make it in fashion. Her provocative Dazed and Confused cover and her gig at Chanel in March would be enough to land her on this list alone, but the fact that ‘212’ was absolutely ubiquitous on the runway and fashion’s love of novelty is what has placed her at the very top. Banks is just dangerous enough to feel deeply cool and she doesn’t mind dealing with luxury brands.


Local Heroes: Kimbra has been championing student and emerging designers all year, and while that’s wonderful for the chosen few she wears, her tendency towards costume reduces her industry-use value. On the other hand Megan Washington, with her strong sense of personal style, spots in the front row, VFNO gig and judicious choice of labels, has managed something no other Australian musician is doing, she’s dressing like a clued-in actress. If you’re not sure what I mean by that, just compare Katy Perry and Diane Kruger in your head for a moment.  Jessica Mauboy is almost there too, except after The Sapphires I’m pretty sure she basically counts as an actress now. 

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