If you want to see how closely tied fashion and music are to one another, look no further than the stage at your nearest music festivals, stadium show, or rock concert.
Musicians without clothes, well, they’d be naked, but beyond that they’d be missing a key branding tool—a way to communicate who they are to the public beyond their sound and their sound bites. The best tour costumes can etch a performer into your brain forever, something artists such as David Bowie and Michael Jackson knew intrinsically, and Lady Gaga and Kanye West have considered since the start.
Today, outfitting stars is bigger business for brands than ever before: Calvin Klein was just announced as the official apparel partner of Justin Bieber’s “Purpose” tour, not only providing clothing for the singer and his backup dancers but also airing campaigns, opening pop-up shops, and offering “immersive experiences” at several shows.
This summer, Rihanna will be touring in Giorgio Armani and Manolo Blahnik, with whom she has a new collaboration due out this spring; Adele will be belting out “Hello” in 105 cities in exclusively Burberry; and Florence Welch and Grimes will be making the rounds in the U.S. and Canada in Gucci and Stella McCartney, respectively. Beyoncé is also kicking off her world tour on April 27, and no doubt has had designers working round the clock to clothe her for every leg.
Until then, however, we’re taking a look back at some of the most influential, innovative, and out-there looks to ever hit the stage. Read on to see the best tour costumes of all time.