Today’s Style Icons – is it All About Being Extreme?

When you think about today’s celebrity style icons, the majority of you reading this will probably have three names pop up in your head. Lady Gaga, Rhianna and/or Katy Perry.
But have they really contributed to fashion or do they just come to mind because their fashion sense is just so damn extreme? It is an interesting question. What are the qualities of a style icon? Is it influence, pushing boundaries, or both?

Such pop stars and celebrities have had their names turned into verbs and their faces plastered on almost every prominent fashion publication around the world due to their unique sense of style. If you had one of those mentioned names come up when you first pondered about the question, does it really mean that fashion over the past few years is all about being eccentric? We have all seen the images; the meat dress, the spraying cream bra, florescent red permed hair. These and other ‘out of this world’ outfits could be classed costumes as opposed to fashion statements as I have yet to see a lot of their styles correlate to ready-to-wear fashion. Perhaps the main reason is because they are not practical enough for every day wear in the the first place.

But for all fans of these stars, all hope is not lost yet. Despite their wacky outfits, brands have seen this as a point of difference and seen their style and fame as a selling point for their products. Perfume has always been a popular choice for pop stars over the past decade. Lady Gaga’s fashion fashion sense, even helped her land a position on the cat walk at Paris Fashion Week in 2011, as well as Katy Perry doing her thing for the internationally renowned Victoria’s Secret show.

When we take a look at these famous style icons, it may appear that one has to have extreme taste to be one in this day and age. However this is not necessarily the case. There have been many iconic celebrities who have had their style turned into fashion trends. David Bowie, Madonna, The Beatles, Michael Jackson and (even though he would hate to hear this) Kurt Cobain, have all inspired fashion trends and at times tamed down for ready to wear garments. Does it really mean that a celebrity has to have an eccentric sense of style to be considered a global fashion icon? Not necessarily, because the main importance is individuality. Jennifer Aniston and David Beckham have have been famed for their hair styles and others like Amy Winehouse has also been highly influential over the years, with her unique fashion sense which was not as extreme as the top three and could be adapted to everyday wear.

So although the top three influential style icons have been considered more flamboyant than other stars in the past, with their extreme dress sense during shows and arts ceremonies, their style may not have correlated to ready-to-wear fashion at this point in time. Other stars such as Jenifer Aniston and the Beckhams on the other hand, have managed to maintain their individual style yet have turned popular by the general public. In the end, a celebrity needs a bit of both qualities to become an influential style icon. Although you need to have a sense of individual style, it also needs to be practical so it can be influential to others.

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