As with every undertaking she's hooked up to, the premiere of Taylor Swift's "Ready For It" music video was preceded by heated anticipation, excited countdowns, and numerous fan theories. The cyborg-showdown depicted within the three and a half-minute clip solely unleashed extra hypothesis regarding the "hidden meanings" she could or might not be folding into the work launched throughout this Status period. (Why is “8919” written on the wall? Who're all of these robots? How many Joe Alwyn references are there, actually?) All of those musings largely return to how Swift presents herself as a result of, on prime of a brand new sound, she's bought a model-new aesthetic to go along with it.
Amid all the motion within the "Prepared For It" video, the implications of her Blade Runner-esque costume could be neglected—in any case, she seemingly appeared nude in all of the teasers for the clip, which clearly diverted the dialog barely. However lo and behold, the futuristic storyline did present some key vogue moments that point out bigger shift in how Swift makes use of clothes (or the shortage thereof) to usher within the newest chapter of her profession—and, in fact, how this all shapes her popularity.
From the beginning, clothes performs a vital half in setting the temper and establishing the premise for "Prepared For It." We see a hooded Taylor Swift, who some followers are calling Evil Taylor in their theories, strutting by way of a darkish alleyway in thigh-grazing black sock boots, a black cape, and a black leotard, embellished with straps and harnesses. She then confronts Bare Taylor (or, semi-nude Taylor), a robotic model of herself who is not sporting any clothes—till the latter bursts freed from her cage. Each are sporting customized items by Jessica Jones Design.
Followers have already interpreted this showdown as a battle between two completely different variations of Taylor's persona, a metaphor Swift has utilized in previous music movies and used vogue to actually drive dwelling. She'll gown her villains in black, her heroines in white—and with the notable exception of Selena Gomez's cameo in "Unhealthy Blood," Swift performs each roles herself. (See: nerdy, white-gown Taylor versus the purple-clad widespread Taylor in "You Belong With Me," and the evolution from doting girlfriend in a Dolce & Gabbana robe to deranged ex with a factor for La Perla lingerie in "Clean Area.")
So if the wardrobe premise has been considerably fixed, what's completely different this time round? Merely put: the creatives behind the garments Swift chooses to put on.
Within the lull between premieres, followers observe down paparazzi photographs of the singer as she data these music movies, usually figuring out the precise items she's sporting on set lengthy earlier than we get look and them. And the New Taylor has a factor for essentially the most zeitgeist-y designers within the trade—ones that, for those who requested is in 2014, we'd by no means have thought to be hanging in her closet. She's worn sequined graphic hoodies and snake boots by Gucci, a blood-purple ball robe by Balmain, a cape by Balenciaga, and thigh-excessive footwear and jackets by Vetements. If studying off the gadgets in Swift’s newest movies seems like a throwback to the refrain of Kreayshawn’s 2011 “Gucci Gucci,” you are not mistaken: Swift is stocking up on designers which have their very own reputations for edgy, boundary-pushing, and considerably over-the-prime attire.
Prior to now yr and a half, Swift has notably retreated from the general public eye (and her well-known squad.) That signifies that the Taylor Swift we see in her music movies (or in associated clips posted on her verified Youtube web page) is the one Taylor Swift we get by way of imagery. It additionally signifies that each time she posts a brand new photograph or video, it opens up the floodgates for hypothesis, fan theories, and over-interpretation of each final element. What she wears in these uncommon moments she opens herself up to the general public carries extra which means, as do the designers she picks. Swift doubtless is aware of this, so the labels she's been choosing really feel very a lot deliberate in getting her new #model throughout.
Take into consideration the labels she's been sporting in all Status-related media. It has been a mixture of luxe manufacturers that carry collectively streetwear, punk, and an IDGAF perspective—like something designed by Demna Gvasalia, Alessandro Michele, and Donatella Versace, of us with venerable histories of pushing the envelope. (Similar goes for her fashion off-digicam, the place she's been sporting Faith Connexion, Valentino, and Unravel.) With these items, Swift sends a message: She’s performed with the harmless, er, popularity she’s constructed up, and is changing it with one thing tougher and extra self-assured. Popping out of a 3-yr hiatus from music, she wants essentially the most recognizably influential designers in her nook—or, on the very least, she wants to show she is aware of what's within the zeitgeist.
We're already seeing Swift's assertively luxurious rebrand at work within the first two Status music movies, although it is particularly obvious in "Look What You Made Me Do." She robs a financial institution, referencing her many lawsuits and maintain-outs towards music trade titans like Apple and Spotify, whereas sporting a sequined Gucci sweatshirt. Sitting on a throne surrounded by snakes, she actually sips tea in a slinky Balmain robe—a model most popular by the Kardashian-Jenner clan. Her biker gang (a second squad?) is outfitted in studded Burberry leather-based jackets. Her dance sequence is carried out in a tall pair of Fendi boots. The previous Taylor cannot come to the cellphone proper now... however in all probability as a result of she's on the lookout for her white clothes.
After all, reinvention would not occur in simply the span of two music movies—not when there are six albums over eleven years to distinction together with her present aesthetic. Slightly over a decade in the past, listeners turned acquainted with the singer by way of the video for "Our Music," which was launched in 2006; in it, she wears a frilly lilac promenade gown for its entirety.
Swift principally stayed alongside that stylistic straight-and-slim all through the 11 years since: gentle colours, poofy skirts, a number of sparkle, and nothing in any respect risqué. She was partial to the work of KaufmanFranco and J.Mendel, each award present favorites. She made it some extent to not put on excessive-finish designers in her early music movies, in order that her viewers may relate. Ultimately, although, as her music matured, so did her wardrobe, and she or he started calling in Valentino and Dior. Although, in a Glamour cowl story from 2014, she did say she nonetheless wasn't inclined to put on fur, animal print, spiked clothes, or boxy shoulders.
Everybody's kinds evolve as they get older. Swift's is no exception. (And she's talked about it.) The distinction is that her total musical profession has been constructed on sporting her coronary heart on her sleeve and, properly, caring. Her relatability reached audiences by way of her weak lyrics and outfits that, whereas definitely costly, weren't completely couture. (Her aspect-enterprise enterprises included, amongst different issues, an reasonably priced sundress line with Walmart.) Through the years, this strategy has attracted criticism of showing too "calculated,"a phrase she hates in accordance to her GQ cover story from 2015. However she's admitted to utilizing her outfits as a method to preserve that squeaky-clear picture she put forth by way of her music: She as soon as told the Guardian that being perceived as attractive was "probably not on [her] radar."
In her music movies, her costumes strengthened themes in her music, resembling within the climactic second in “You Belong With Me,” when Swift's nerdy protagonist reveals up to the promenade in a stupendous white gown to win over the topic of her affection; or in “Teardrops On My Guitar,” when she lounges at dwelling in a blue night robe whereas musing about unjust heartbreak; or in “Love Story,” when she actually wore a medieval ball robe whereas taking part in the Juliet to an actor's Romeo. Throughout the really extensive spectrum of conditions the singer discovered herself depicted in these movies, Swift illustrated her music's ideas (and portrayed herself) in demure however dreamy clothes as her star started to rise.
At the same time as her sound strayed from its nation roots and into the pop sphere, what she wore in music movies did not completely abandon this basis: Her Communicate Now and Purple days have been outlined by retro separates and breezy frocks. By the point “We Are By no means Ever Getting Again Collectively” and “22” got here round, she was sporting excessive-waisted shorts and graphic tees, inching in direction of a extra trendy look with out present process a full vogue riot—not practically the pivot we're seeing in "Look What You Made Me Do" and "Prepared For It."
1989 marked her biggest fashion shift pre-Status: Instantly, Swift lived in New York and was all about bedazzled bodysuits and revealing minimize-outs. Even together with her new arsenal of sparkly “pop star” costumes, Taylor Swift was nonetheless Taylor Swift—nevertheless, she was on the top of her profession, and she or he had the famous person wardrobe to match it. Have a look at “Clean Area,” “Wildest Desires,” and “Out of the Woods” for proof: All three movies incorporate robes by Elie Saab, Valentino, and Oscar de la Renta. Luxurious—whether or not or not it's in one in all these robes or a star-studded group of pals showing at her concert events—turned an integral a part of her picture alongside the hallmark revealing lyrics of her songs.
There was an outlier, in fact—"Unhealthy Blood. In accordance to Billboard, Swift turned to a literal intercourse store, the Stockroom, to provide $13,000 value of patent harnesses and bra tops to her military of fashions. However not like the Balenciaga cape she wore in "Look What You Made Me Do," these outfits weren't making some extent about her persona at massive. This was a one-off in a group of prime Swift-ian moments, with stellar robes and good-looking main males. She had already insisted during this period that wanting attractive or harmful wasn't a part of her M.O., main us all to imagine that these costumes have been what anybody would select for a superhero squad. Swift remained the hero she had performed in previous movies—simply in latex.
Had she left thigh-excessive Fendi boots and studded Burberry coats at "Look What You Made Me Do," it might have been one other one-off—a cruise down reminiscence lane, one other gadget to transfer ahead the plot in beneath 4 minutes. However there's additionally Cyborg Taylor Swift from "Prepared For It," and the Gucci fight boots and Vetements jacket she was photographed sporting on set for a yet-to-be-launched Status video. These styling parts are constructing in direction of one thing larger: Taylor Swift is critically leaning into vogue to reinvent herself within the public eye.
“Going by way of completely different phases is one in all my favourite issues about vogue," Swift advised Vogue in 2016. "I really like the way it can mark the passage of time. It’s comparable to my songs in that method—all of it helps establish the place I used to be at in numerous factors of my life.”
Put them collectively, and the style of "Look What You Made Me Do" and "Prepared For It" reveals us that the previous Taylor actually is useless—sartorially talking, not less than. If we see a poofy princess robe or sparkly leotard return from the archives, it is extra doubtless a dig at her previous self than a touch that she's up to her previous styling methods. As long as we solely see Taylor Swift by way of her music movies, she's absolutely in charge of her Status picture—and it is going to be a darkish, edgy, IDFWU aesthetic from right here on out. The one fault in her formulated new picture? We won't neglect about her previous ones.