Couturesque "Music Week" is a week-long series investigating the reciprocal relationship between fashion and the music industry, looking back on how the two disciplines have influenced one another and thinking about the connection between the modern music and fashion industries.
In a white lace dress, hair laden with daisies, and beaming a toothy grin, the cover of Lana Del Rey's upcoming album "Lust For Life" is a breath of fresh summer air. In the moody black and white trailer for the album, Lana puts her love for witches and magic on full display, introducing fans to her 'alternate universe' where the album resides (fondly nicknamed "Hollyweird"). It is undoubtedly one of the most anticipated albums of the year, and - with tracks titles like "Cherry," "When The World Was At War We Kept Dancing," "Coachella - Woodstock In My Mind," and "God Bless America - And All The Beautiful Women In It" - it's also measuring up to be the most "Lana" record yet. Yes, I used "Lana" as an adjective, but this just speaks to the power of her image as a whole. Dive into a Lana-binge on Pinterest and you'll discover a bevy of looks that are coherently and uniquely her. Her touchstone status is even recognizable in other artists' work - listen to Taylor Swift's "Wildest Dreams" and I dare you not come out of the song thinking, "that's so Lana" too. In 2017, the 32 year old California songstress has cultivated a sound, look, and energy that is 100% distinctively her own.
Lana (born Lizzy Grant) and her personal style are a most intriguing dichotomy. She is both a total throwback to Hollywood's Golden Age and an homage to the 1960/70s, and yet a thoroughly 'modern woman' at the same time. This same dichotomy goes for her music as well; very few artists can pull off an album full of velvety Nancy Sinatra, Shangri-La style tunes featuring artists ranging from Stevie Nicks and Sean Ono Lennon to A$AP Rocky and Playboi Carti with not a single song sounding out of place. In videos, on stage, and on the red carpet, her style inspirations range from Marylin Monroe to Veronica Lake, to Jackie Kennedy, to Joni Mitchell, and more. Sometimes it's very obvious - like at her first Met Gala in 2012, when she channeled a vampy Veronica Lake in silver Altuzarra with a black cape, her signature talon-like nails, and a statement lip, or when she was the Jackie Kennedy to A$AP Rocky's JFK in their "National Anthem" music video. Other times, it's just a wink and a nod; in the "Lust For Life" music video with The Weeknd, Lana serves some early 60s Ronettes vibes complete with lace gloves with a matching cherry red headband and A-line dress. On stage, her style is wider ranging. Some nights she will be in a skirt and hoodie, or a 70s sundress, or she will go full-on with a bouffant, headpiece, and all of the trimmings; whatever the look, a thin elongated cateye is ever present. And yet, when it comes to her street style, Lana's looks are, well, normal. She likes to stick to basics - denim, white t-shirts, and classic prints like gingham and polka dots. Despite the apparent range with which she approaches her fashion choices, Lana, it seems, always ties everything together with an homage to classic Americana (or just plain classic). From a Budweiser jumper, to an American flag bandanna, to a Ferrari racing jacket, she is always drawing from what makes America so culturally iconic.
In fact, Lana herself is something completely all-American. Many, many of America's most iconic women weren't just born - they were made. Carefully crafted - albeit genetically blessed with classic good looks from the onset - these women would change either their look, their name, their backstory, or sometimes all three, on their ascension to fame and pursuit of the American Dream. This kind of evolution was very, very popular during the 1920 to 1960s in Hollywood, an era and setting that has heavily influenced Lana's creativity. Prime example: before Marilyn Monroe was Marilyn, she was just Norma Jean. Call it an alter ego, call it a transformation, but this is how Lizzy Grant became the incomparable Lana Del Rey.
It's not really a surprise either. In her music, her style, and the aesthetic and universe that she's created, the conscious use of classic Americana (along with its most notable icons) is crystal clear and that's what makes Lana Del Rey a modern edition of the American icon.
Lana Del Rey's fifth studio album, "Lust For Life" drops July 21st, 2017.