Monday, 15 February 2010

Fashioning February: Pop Idol or Stylista?


2009 was most definately the year of Lady Gaga and it was also a year which Rihanna would never forget for personal and career reasons. Both singers sold bucket loads of albums; Gaga had collaborations with Akon, Beyonce and Rihanna dueted with Jay Z and Kanye West. However as successful as these women are I find it hard to warm to them because I do not think they are great vocalists. You see I am a bit of a purist and I believe that people should hone their craft before they kick start their career and to me neither ladies can sing. I don't get any joy listening to Gaga's voice the way I do when I hear Whitney, Mariah or Lauryn Hill and Rihanna's voice frankly just jars me. As far as I am concerned both ladies are all about the image nothing more and nothing less and Lady Gaga and Rihanna's looks have most certainly been their fortune. Take yourself back to 2005 when Rihanna first came on the scene. With her long brown weave and sexy outfits she was dismissed as a poor man's Beyonce. Fast forward to 2007 with a monster hit, Umbrella and she was on everyone's lips. So what happened between those two years? Simple, a stylist. Out went the long brown weave, jeans and cropped tops and in came an edgy asymetric bob that you would die for as well as a funky designer couture which consisted of man suits, netted skirts and shoulder pads. Not many artists deserve to be compared to Madonna but I would say that Lady Gaga does. Her revolving image is rather akin to the Queen of Pop. The mini blonde manages to combine pop, performance art and fashion in the same way that Madonna has been doing for over 20 years. With her own production team called Haus of Gaga, Ms Gaga takes her fashion very seriously, pity she can't hold a note though. We all know that image is everything in the music industry and your success is all about the way you look and the way you brand yourself but somehow I think we have gone a bit too far with Gaga and Rihanna The only people who seem to show any talent from the Rihanna and Lady Gaga camp are Mariel Haenn and Nicola Formichetti who style them respectively. So maybe it should be the stylist going up to pick up all the awards?

I decided to ask two ladies who breathe fashion and music to share their thoughts on Rihanna and Lady Gaga.
Ruki Garuba, stylist and founder of Neon Style by Ruki.
Lysa Cooper is the stylist who introduced Rihanna to the world of European labels and couture. I believe that’s where her true passion for fashion started then Mariel Haenn came on board and helped her grow and develop a look that’s like no one else out there. In addition Mariel is also a designer, so even if what they want isn't in the store, they can have it made. Gone is the tomboy we met in Pon De Replay and the girly girl in SOS. The Rihanna we have now is so hard and so sexy. She is lucky to have been blessed with two amazing stylists, I admire the work both stylists have done with Rihanna as well as their other clients. I think her musical success means that the label give her a bigger buying budget for appearances and promo, therefore it’s slightly easier to get creative. Her musical success and model like proportions also mean that brands will be more open to working with her because they know that their pieces will be look amazing on her and they'll get international exposure. Lady Gaga definitely has people talking again and excited about seeing life shows. She’s a brilliant entertainer and very talented, plus no one else looks like her right now. She’s like a modern Madonna. I know that Gaga is very hands on when it comes to her wardrobe selection and also how she wants to look. In the beginning she was going out and buying pieces herself and customising them herself too. So now it must be easier for her to have a stylist that gets her vision and evolve it for her – which means she can focus on the music and performance side, which is how it should be.
Janice Spence, founder and editor of Mad News. 
Rihanna doesn't have a very good voice. I have heard her sing live and her backing band were playing their instruments extra loud, which kept on drowning out her vocals. I'm guessing that this was done deliberately. Lady GaGa on the other hand can sing. I am not a big fan of her music but the woman always delivers with her live vocals. I think that Lady GaGa has made a huge impact on the industry because to many she's original and brings the fun and wierdness back in to pop music. She creates a buzz. As for Rihanna, I don't think she's made much of an impact musically. I think the situation with former boyfriend Chris Brown has made more of an impact. In today's music industry I would say that it is more about image than singing talent. All you need is a pretty face, a nice figure and a top class stylist, make-up artist and hairdresser. When Island Def Jam signed Rihanna they were only interested in her looks and figure. They knew she couldn't sing a lick but that didn't matter. They used "studio magic" to make her vocals sound half way decent and brought in the best production teams and song writers to create the illusion of talent. The same can also be said for Ciara, Ashanti, Christina Milian and even Keri Hilson.
What do you think? Are Rihanna and Lady Gaga great music artists or just brilliant clothes horses?

8 cool comments:

Anonymous said...

ummm its rihanna not rhianna

Ondo Lady said...

Ooops Ooops!! I stand corrected!! Thanks for the heads up.

London said...

I absolutely love this post! You are mos definitely right when it comes to these ladies it's purely about the fashion that excites everyone NOT the music. Which is a shame because I thought they were in this industry to make music and not be America's Next Top Singer Model

Sheena said...

I do believe that style is overshadowing talent these days. It's all about the image and what you project to the audience. The outlandish outfits and the crazy production performances is what keeps people coming back for more. It's no longer about how well you can sing or how long you can hold a note.

I've actually begun to enjoy Lady Gaga now. It took awhile for me to warm up to her, but I do think that she does have some singing talent and she is is a good songwriter.

Rihana, on the other hand...well, I've actually seen her in concert both times (she was opening for the headliners I was there to see) and the girl has no stage presence at all and though she tried to sing live the first time, she just couldn't do it. Instead, a once jubilant audience, who loved "SOS-Rescue Me" stood there looking underwhelmed. I do like her fashion style, but that's as far as it goes.

Terence Sambo said...

I'm fascinated by both of em....Rihanna has looks that seem more realistic than Gaga but at the same time u got to love Gaga for her gut :o] They have both certainly made fashion interesting....

Chic Modern Vintage said...

Doesn't matter the spelling of the name, we call know who were talking about. I just think that RiRi is just a clotheshorse, no real real real talent, and Lady Gaga, I think she's talented more so than RiRi, and this is only my opinion. Yet, you're right artist are not honing their craft anymore.

WendyB said...

I wanna get some jewelry on Gaga!

Tiffany said...

I agree, everything is about marketing now a days and an image. And if you have a great image people will pay attention. At the same time I still love both of their styles though.