A singer, a performer, a mother, all these are true. Tina Turner was also a fashion icon.
The US-Swiss superstar who died Wednesday had many trademarks. Her growling contralto, her bold smile and strong cheekbones, in addition to the muscular quick-stepping legs she did not shy from showing off and her style.
Jacqueline Springer, curator at the Africa & Diaspora: Performance at the Victoria & Albert Museum broke down Turner’s visual identity “I think what’s really interesting about the visual identity of Tina Turner is that it oscillates in accordance to the decade that we’re in.”
“So when we think about the 1960s, we think about those shift dresses, when we think about the 1970s, we think about that Bob Mackie dress that she and Cher and others have subsequently gone on to wear. It’s very figure hugging, unapologetically performative, this flame dress, which is just absolutely – it looks like something you would have expected to have seen before, but you realise you hadn’t. “
Alongside her hits, the style of the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll continued to evolve throughout the span of her decades-long career. She was also a trend-setter in many aspects. Her palette of wigs for example, had a unique story.
“She made her wigs by hand,” Springer reveals. “That tells you she had autonomy over her look, and not even today, not every artist has that autonomy. You can’t change your hair for this rotation, for this promotional angle. You can do this. You’ve got to lose weight…
“So, what we’re looking at here is a woman who had pressures that we will never really fully grasp in different arenas, and she still had to come out looking polished and ready.”
One of the first celebrities to speak about domestic abuse, Tina Turner’s legacy is multifaceted.
With admirers ranging from Mick Jagger to Mariah Carey and Beyoncé with whom she performed at the Grammys in 2008.
The 41-year-old artist published a heartfelt tribute on her official website. Beyoncé called her “[her] beloved queen” and praising he “kindness, beautiful spirit as well as her strength and resilience.”
Rolling Stone UK News Editor Nick Reilly explains: ” […] It’s a testament to how well regarded [Turner] is. In many ways Beyoncé has spoken about how Tina Turner was her idol and think it was at the Kennedy Center, there was a big American event, where she performed ‘Proud Mary’. She met her many times and really saw her as the kind of person inspiring her. And I think she said: “There is two important Tinas in my life she said, Tina Knowles her mother and Tina Turner.”
Tina Turner’s life became the basis for a film, a Broadway musical and A documentary in 2021 that she called her public farewell.
She died in Switzerland at 83 after a long illness.
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