Style Icon: Aaliyah

As if her vocals and depth defying falsettos weren’t enough, Aaliyah’s style has proven to be nothing less than timeless–a clear testament to how momentous the extent her indelible influence was and continues to be two decades after she first stepped onto the scene.

The Brooklyn-born bombshell created a style for herself–fashioned after actress Veronica Lake and British soul singer Sade–that continues to resonate with fans and industry darlings alike. From baggy jeans to midriff tops, her signature look drew a flawless and infallible line between subtle and sexy. An effortless side bang surrounded by long tresses and a face hidden behind over-sized shades, characterized by sheer mystery, completed her image. Managing to give a little without giving too much, she left something to be desired. The multi-platinum selling artist left a plethora of women re-creating her look and even established her as Tommy Hilfiger’s fashion muse. “Being true to yourself. You should shine through what you wear,” Aaliyah said  during a circa-2000 interview with VIBE.

Her trendsetting style only elevated to a higher level when her look began to reflect personal maturity and growth in music. From the time she debuted Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number to the release of her eponymous album Aaliyah, she went from rocking boxers and over-sized sunglasses to donning gowns and accessories courtesy of Roberto Cavalli, Prada, Gucci and more. We can only imagine the countless campaigns the star would have posed for today–including the likes of Givenchy, Tom Ford and Cover Girl.

On what would have been the singer’s 34th birthday, we’ve labeled Aaliyah a Style Icon. Flip the pages for artistic interpretations of fashions that she would have graced today, and check out our Style Icon’s Evolution here! –Kamille Cooper

Illustrations for Vibe Vixen: Jerron Couture