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Vanity Fair boils down a century of pop-star fashion in 2 minutes

(Screenshot: YouTube)

Styles change quickly, especially in the entertainment industry, but they don’t normally change quite this quickly. On its official YouTube channel, Vanity Fair has released a dizzying two-minute video called “103 Years Of Female Pop Stars” that summarizes the bold fashion choices women have made in show business over the previous 10 decades through time-lapse photography and quick costume changes. Style icons imitated here include Billie Holiday, Beyoncé, Britney Spears, Madonna, Janis Joplin, Lena Horne, and others. The same two models are used to play all of these women, suggesting a certain level of universality or connectivity between them. It takes surprisingly little—just the right clothes, hair, and makeup—to render the transformations convincing. Maybe the same two women keep being reincarnated, decade after decade, and put into new outfits to distract the public. Perhaps it’s all been one massive entertainment recycling program.

In any event, Vanity Fair’s retrospective begins with 1910s vaudeville and Broadway star Nora Hayes, whose look can be summarized as “Mary Poppins goes to a funeral.” But soon enough, it’s the 1920s, and it’s time for Josephine Baker and her famous banana dress, which is a little more fun. Each decade gets just one woman as its representative. One might think that the 1950s would be the decade of Marilyn Monroe and that some model would be made to stand over a fake subway grate, but instead it’s sensible Doris Day, “a style icon for the everyday woman,” who represents the era. Madonna is the woman of the ’80s. The ’90s belong to Spears, the ’00s to Beyoncé, and the ’10s to Rihanna. The latter is noted for her “exaggerated proportions and men’s clothes.” Her dour look, at least in this video, makes for a nice bookend to what Hayes was wearing 100 years ago.


[via Laughing Squid]

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