When TRL went off the air in 2008 and MTV filled the majority of its roster with reality shows (not that I didn’t love The Hills), I started to fear for the future of music videos, and that they would quickly become a lost art. But, thanks to the power of iTunes, YouTube and artists like Lady Gaga and Janelle Mone, it looks like we don’t have anything to worry about. When looking back on the year in music videos, a handful stand out from the rest in terms of style watching them play out can almost feel like you’re looking at gorgeous photographs or magazine editorials set to a soundtrack. Here are twelve videos that are sartorially smart and feasts for the senses, all worthy of being called the most stylish music video of the year.
Jay-Z On To The Next One
This video premiered on New Years Eve 2009, and it really set the bar for the rest of the clips that came out this year. I can’t think of any other videos that are as visually arresting as On To The Next One, and it doesn’t hurt that Hova is quite a stylish dude. See if you can pick up on the obligatory Louis Vuitton and Rolex mentions in the lyrics.
Mark Ronson & The Business Intl. The Bike Song
Anyone who follows fashion can attest that the French do it best when it comes to style, and this video helps to drive that point home. Mark Ronson always looks sharp as do the members of his band but they were all upstaged by the beautiful French girls who appear near the end of the clip. One of said girls is Josephine de la Baume, an actress and Ronson’s fiance, who is certainly channeling Brigette Bardot as she rides her bike. Retro chic at its finest!
Lady Gaga Alejandro
Lady Gaga got a lot of flak for the Alejandro video, mostly because of the blatant similarities (references?) to Madonna specifically, the black and white dance sequences that recall Vogue, and the Catholic imagery and flames that mirror Like A Prayer. But, you can’t deny that fashion photographer Steven Klein (who has also worked on numerous projects with Madonna over the years) created something so beautiful that it could be straight from the pages of Vogue Paris. Klein has also shot steamy ad campaigns for Calvin Klein, the very designer who provided the underwear that Gaga and her soldiers are writhing around in during the video.
Rihanna Only Girl (In The World)
Rihanna is looking every bit the pop star in this video, from the fire-engine red hair to her barely there miniskirts and crop tops. But it’s the scenery that really caught my attention, since as Vice magazine so astutely pointed out it looks like it was taken from a series of Ryan McGinley photographs. Except that last bit with the illuminated dresses hanging from the tree that’s a total Tim Walker rip-off.
Willow Smith Whip My Hair
Kanye West Runaway
Beyonc Why Don’t You Love Me?
Beyonc does her best Bettie Page rendition in Why Don’t You Love Me? Equal parts 50s pin-up girl and naughty housewife, she sports some seriously sexy Daisy Dukes, high-waisted swimsuits, sky-high stilettos and pearls… With an apron thrown in for good measure. Can you say “bombshell?”
Katy Perry Teenage Dream
While her clip for California Gurls makes a much bigger statement, Katy Perry gets the casual, artsy, LA hipster thing down pat in Teenage Dream. Not only does she look effortlessly cool, it also seems like she rounded up every pretty young thing in the Southern California area to party with her in the video, including male models AJ English and Josh Kloss. Plus, isn’t it a little refreshing to see Katy not wearing some sort of costume?
Janelle Mone Tightrope
No one rocks the pompadour quite like Janelle Mone or perfectly tailored menswear, for that matter. It’s almost impossible to take your eyes off of her feet, not only on account of her mesmerizing dance moves, but also because of the adorable brogues she’s wearing!
The Like He’s Not A Boy
Florence + The Machine Dog Days Are Over
The fashion industry had a collective girl crush on Florence Welch this year, and for good reason. Not only can the girl sing, she has an innate sense of style and isn’t afraid to take risks. Plus, the Brit is a huge supporter of London-based designers, and who doesn’t love a little loyalty?
Lady Gaga feat. Beyonc Telephone
You simply cannot talk about stylish music videos in 2010 without mentioning this masterpiece by Lady Gaga and Beyonc. The outlandish get-ups are a product of Nicola Formichetti‘s styling genius and the limitless creativity of the Haus of Gaga, and even though nine minutes seems quite long for a music video, I was only left wanting more. Some of the fashion highlights include: Sunglasses made from lit cigarettes, Diet Coke can curlers, a custom made crime scene tape bodysuit by Brian Lichtenberg and the girls’ American flag outfits by Haus of Gaga.