FashionEtc Remembers Prince

                                                                                                                                                              Photo: Patrick McMullan

For many of us here at FashionEtc Prince was a major part of our upbringing. Growing up in the 1980’s we fondly remember dancing to the music videos and trying to sneak a peek at the TV as our parents watched Purple Rain.

As we got older the influence Prince held over not only the music world, but the fashion world, jumped to our attention! This was a man not afraid of his creativity and who didn’t hesitate to re-invent himself to create the unexpected.

Prince was a powerhouse when it came to music – putting his hand into every single aspect of every song he released. Writing, singing, and producing his own music, he was the rare musician who actually sings every line and plays every instrument heard in most of his songs.

His song ‘Darling Nikki’ was the popular sexually charged song which led to Tipper Gore and her group, the Parents Music Resource Center, to legislate that warning labels be put on explicit albums.

In an epic battle with his record label in the 1990s, Warner, Prince wasn’t shy about his feelings during this time. Changing his name to a symbol for a brief period, and appearing with the word ‘slave’ written across his face, he spoke out about what he felt were unfair terms to his current contract. He was among the first artists to distribute music online, changing his tune quickly however, claiming exploitation from technology companies. His albums are not available on most streaming music services, and he has taken legal measures against music users online.

There was a phase when the popular artist wouldn’t speak, but still always managed to get his intentions across. "He would just point.” Ray Goodman, owner of Trash and Vaudeville, the vintage East Village shopping destination of choice for Prince and many other popular celebrities, told The Cut during an interview.

Almost as popular in the fashion world as the music world, Prince caught the attention of fashion’s elite when Purple Rain was released, and kept their attention from that moment forward.

“He wore the most incredible opulent fabrics and the boots were always made to match,” Mary Kay Stolz, who worked on the singer’s costumes for the tour of “Purple Rain” told The New York Times, “International Silks and Woolens, the best fabric store in L.A., would stay open late for me because I would fly in late from Minneapolis just to get fabric and turn around.”

Oozing charm, sexuality, and confidence, Prince rode the line of androgyny – the symbol he temporarily used was a mix of the male and female symbols – and this only added to his appeal. Appearing often in high heels, embellished coats, underpants and lace gloves, he certainly wasn’t afraid of feminine styles, and set trends for men and women.

“He made me feel comfortable with how I identify sexually simply by his display of freedom from and irreverence for the archaic idea of gender conformity.” Singer Frank Ocean commented in his tribute to Prince.

Just last year we saw Joseph Altuzarra’s ode to Prince in his Fall 2015 line of ruffled lace blouses, inspired by the singer and fashion icon’s neo-Victorian period in the 1980s. In another nod to Prince and the unapologetic way he strutted through life in heels, Hedi Slimane, Rick Owens and Gareth Pugh (and Hood by Air) all released heels in their menswear collections.

Since his sudden passing last Thursday at age 57, the fans who knew him, as well as fans who didn’t, but were touched by him nonetheless, have flooded the Internet to share memories of his music and fashion styles over his almost 40-year career. In most major cities lights glowed purple to honour the icon, and The New Yorker has already released a sneak peak of their next cover – purple of course.

Prince we love you, may you rest in peace.