Top 10 Most Iconic Freddie Mercury Looks
First in BAZAAR
Ruffles, corsets, high collars, and lacy embellishments have been all over the runways of late, butBazaarwas there when Victoriana fever was all the rage the first time around. From the magazine's debut issue, dated November 2, 1867 (it was then a weekly broadsheet), through the turn of the 20th century,Bazaarcharted the emergence of new forms of feminine dressing that reflected the more modern lives that a lot of American women were beginning to live. Most of the images inBazaarback then were illustrations, but even those took on a revolutionary air, with women depicted on their own, riding bicycles, in swim attire, and enjoying a newfound sense of freedom. The one at left, from the premiere edition, also showcasesBazaar's use of color imagery as fashion began to embrace the brave new world that was unfurling.
A color illustration from the November 2, 1867, debut issue of Bazaar.
Timelessly elegant, universally flattering, and exceedingly versatile, the Little Black Dress is about much more than style—it's one of fashion's essential building blocks, a set of instructions passed along and reinterpreted from one generation to the next but never selected out or forgotten. Nowadays, LBDs of every shape, size, and silhouette abound, but Coco Chanel's version, first introduced in the 1920s, was the gust of wind that blew the hinges off the door. Officially, the birth year of Chanel's LBD is pegged as 1926, when she unveiled the dress, a long-sleeved design with a raised hem cut in black crepe de chine. It was immediately anointed the fashion equivalent of the Ford car company's wildly popular Model T: the dress that everyone could, should, and would be wearing, and that came to be known as "Chanel's Ford." Four years earlier, though, an illustration by the artist Drian from a story inBazaar's August 1922 issue featured a dress from one of Chanel's earlier collections that eerily hinted at many of the hallmarks of the soon-to-be-created LBD—the neckline more open, the sleeves a touch wider—accessorized with hat and necklace just like its future progeny. Call it intuition, or history in the making.
A rendering of a look designed by Coco Chanel that was a precursor to her Little Black Dress, from the August 1922 issue.
We're in the midst of another trousers moment right now, as pants—particularly tailored ones, wide-legged, with a little flare—have once again cycled to the front of the fashion class. Which makes it that much harder to fathom a time when the sight of a woman wearing pants might have been deemed sensational. But in the early 1930s, actress Katharine Hepburn was the subject of such intense scrutiny over her propensity to wear trousers that photographers are said to have scaled the fences of studio lots just to get a picture of her in them. Hepburn's approach to fashion was specific and exacting; as the costume designer Edith Head noted, "One does not design for Miss Hepburn. One designswithher." Women like Hepburn and Marlene Dietrich made pants fashionable—as much for the pants they wore as for how they wore them—and by the mid-'30s, menswear-inspired trousers entered the vernacular of women's clothing. Martin Munkacsi's image of Hepburn, striking an aviatrix pose next to a biplane inBazaar's February 1935 issue, helped mark their resounding takeoff.
Actress Katharine Hepburn, in her signature trousers, photographed by Martin Munkacsi for the February 1935 issue.
To say that denim has evolved since its days as a wardrobe go-to for hard laborers at the height of the California Gold Rush is like saying that Madonna has come a long way since "Lucky Star." A material once lauded for its durability has become a medium that designers of every stripe continue to voraciously explore for its endless possibilities. The chicly frayed hems of Vetements notwith standing, we are in a denim golden age, as the heavy-handed pocket decorations and implausible "authentic" washes of the early 2000s have given way to a breed of couture-esque reimaginations of the fabric, cementing its place in the realm of high fashion. ButBazaarfirst plugged into this transformation early on. In 1943, the American sportswear designer Claire McCardell, struggling to procure material from abroad due to the escalation of World War II, turned to denim in creating one of her collections.Bazaarfeatured a playsuit from that collection on the magazine's May cover, and the denim flag was officially flown, as she went on to help define what came to be known as "the American Look." The piece was no novelty; McCardell also used denim to make trousers, jackets, and beachwear, as well as her famous "Pop Over" dress—and two stars were born.
The cover of the May 1943 issue, featuring a denim playsuit by sportswear designer Claire McCardell, photographed by George Hoyningen-Huene.
By 1947, Christian Dior had already established a foothold in fashion, having designed for both Robert Piguet and Lucien Lelong. But Dior decided to strike out on his own. On the morning of February 12, at his atelier at 30 Avenue Montaigne, in Paris, Dior premiered his first collection under the Christian Dior banner, which featured 90 looks and a silhouette punctuated by a nipped-in waist and a full skirt that finished mid-calf.Bazaar's then editor in chief, Carmel Snow, was on hand for the presentation, and afterward, within earshot of a reporter from the Reuters news service, exclaimed: "It's quite a revolution, Christian. Your dresses have such a new look." The intrepid scribe quickly took notes and filed his copy, and the following day, reports of Dior's "New Look" were all over the American papers. (The newspapers in France were unceremoniously scooped; they weren't publishing at the time due to a strike.) An illustration of Dior's New Look "Bar" suit ran inBazaar's May 1947 issue, marking the collection's first appearance in a major fashion magazine.
An illustration of Dior's New Look in the May 1947 issue.
The British designer Mary Quant and Parisian space-age couturier André Courregès are alternately credited with first raising hemlines above the knee in the early 1960s, as the British youthquake rocked London and cries for liberation gathered momentum in Paris. But the miniskirt—short, bold, and radical—was fast becoming a new trope for designers who felt the tremors of a seismic cultural shift afoot. Photographer Bill Silano vividly captured the mood of the hour in a fashion story in the May 1967 issue, with the caption "The Leg Is the Look."
Miniskirts from a May 1967 story by Bill Silano.
Women's tailoring took a sharp turn in the late 1970s, as the all-business "power" suit emerged and became the de facto uniform for a generation of independent, career-minded women. The shoulders were wide, the fabrics were soft, and the cuts were precise. The touch points of this new approach to suiting were strength, ambition, and mobility; women who wore power suits understood fashion, just as they understood the historically male-dominated fields and spheres of work they were now entering in greater numbers, and they refused to be enslaved by either. Though often pegged as the cornerstone of so-called power dressing, the power suit was also about trail-blazing. As the '80s wore on, the shoulders got wider, the fabrics more luxurious, and the cuts more graphic, as designers like Ralph Lauren, Giorgio Armani, and Donna Karan (for Anne Klein) offered their own fashionable interpretations. An iteration by Bill Blass, photographed by Bill King forBazaar's August 1979 issue in a story on the go-go new "New York Look," reflected the spirit of this rising woman of the era, for whom substancewasstyle.
The old adage that it's what's underneath that counts had a special resonance in the minimalist mid-1990s, when the slip, traditionally considered a form of underpinning, went solo. But the advent of the slipdress wasn't just an underwear-as-outerwear move; it was a clear statement about the very nature of style. A diverse range of slipdress wearers, like Kate Moss, Courtney Love, and Princess Diana, put their own distinct spins on the garment, while designers such as Calvin Klein, John Galliano, and Narciso Rodriguez did subtly magical things with it—dressing it up, dressing it down, and adding unexpected accessories and details. It could be elegant. It could be grungy. It could be regal. It could be anything you willed it to be. With its dialed-back design, the slipdress also easily took on the physicality and the personality of its wearer, which remains a large part of its appeal, and it has undeniably expanded the boundaries of chic. Peter Lindbergh's image of Naomi Campbell wearing a version by Richard Tyler in the February 1997 issue is the embodiment of that ethos: a woman of the moment, in the dress of the moment, making the moment her own.
Naomi Campbell makes her move in a Richard Tyler slipdress, photographed by Peter Lindbergh for the February 1997 issue.
Video: Top 10 Freddie Mercury Moments
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