Björk's Iconic Legacy Through Music and Fashion

Saturday February 5, 2022

Recall when a trail of eggs was found laying on the red carpet during the 73rd Academy Awards. When Björk stepped onto the 2001 Oscars Red Carpet with the iconic swan dress, her presence became known as a fierce force in fashion.

This Oscar appearance is an example of the Avant-Garde hallmark of the Icelandic, multi-dimensional artist who hones many talents as a singer-songwriter, composer, actress, and ‘fashion icon.’ Björk debuted in the entertainment industry at age 11, and since then has been known for her eclectic personality – further illuminated by making intentional decisions of communicating through her craft. What newcomers to the Björk world may not know is that her craft ties back to deeper meanings. Her on-stage performances and fashion advocate for feminism and environmental sustainability.

Those who have enjoyed witnessing Björk know that the show is more of an experience than the average concert. From a fully transformed stage filled with LED lights to sculptural costumes, Björk is what critics call a euphoric experience. Björk is not shy of promoting feminism and environmental sustainability. One prominent occurrence was a call-to-action video message by Greta Thunberg, a young Swedish climate activist, which played at the end of Bjork’s “breathtaking” London concert in 2019.

Björk works to not only incorporate messages to her fans in her performances and song lyrics, but also through her wardrobe – and she is very selective of the stylists and designers that are onboarded in creative projects. During her most recent album tour, Cornucopia, stylist Edda Gudmundsdottir assembled performance costumes by Iris Van Herpen and Balmain. Iris Van Herpen, Olivier Rousteing of Balmain, and stylist Edda Gudmundsdottir are a few of the celebrities that vehemently work to bring her extravagant shows to life.

The themes explored by Björk through her fashion are related to the underlying message that she wishes to convey to the audience. Each talent that she has worked with has a unique story of their own. Whether in the craft of sourcing sustainable materials to create colorful garments, or being known for their out-of-the-box innovation, designers are selected with careful intent when it comes to dressing Björk.

With Björk’s history of using clothes to communicate past her song lyrics and performance, Gudmundsdottir entrusted the creative directors of Balmain, Olivier Rousteing, and James Merry this tour to be the primary designers. Together they create pieces that exaggerate various body parts to illustrate the growth and adaptation into the stage environment. This was a subliminal appeal to Björk’s message on the necessity of being kind to our environment.Gudmundsdottir includes sculptural accents to mimic fairy wings and whimsical elements that blend seamlessly into the set design of the stage. Sculptural styling alongside Gudmundsdottir’s method of storytelling is no surprise, with each outfit worn on-stage sent off to further illuminate Björk’s message of not being afraid to do, wear, and say what you want. The clothes are also often romantic and feminine, draped and layered with gauze-like, semi-translucent fabric, worn to empower femininity. One of the most famous looks being the bespoke gown made by Alessandro Michelle, creative director of Gucci, for “The Gate” during Bjork’s Utopia 2017 album release. (i-d Vice)

Björk’s fashion and performances are few of the many actions she has taken to support women and the environment. She remains an untouchable figure in the industry for being authentic in her voice and using her platform to educate and entertain. Björk’s legacy will live on as the icon who dominates spaces in both music and fashion.

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