Monday, December 31, 2012

Style Maven: Ke$ha and Katy Perry



This being the end of the year also marks a year worth of blogging for me. This month has been about "Designing Yourself", and to represent this theme as this month's Style Maven, I choose not one, but two girls who "stuck" in the entertainment industry because they willed it into being. Ke$ha and Katy Perry are the two girls who came on the scene with that "stick-appeal". In my fashion, one has "stick-appeal" when you see that someone, and you know you won't forget that you seen them. In our minds, their image implies that they are worthwhile, and you are inclined to learn more about them. You remember that person later when they aren't even around. When these two girls introduced themselves to the world, they had a stick-appeal that I could feel would be around for a substantial amount of time. Katy Perry first came out with "I Kissed a Girl" in 2008, and Kesha came out with "Tik Tok" in 2009. Who knew that now, going into 2013, Kesha has eight top-ten hits, and Katy Perry's “Teenage Dream” album is the second after Michael Jackson to have five songs from a single album make it to number one. In my fashion, the main reason they have stick appeal is because of their value system they have developed for themselves. This month I had offered the "10 Rules to Live By" for each of the 16 personality types described on which offered some good tips on how to live with our personality and interact with others. I wanted to share them because I feel that information to know is a good basis for anyone to gain a greater sense of self as to understand how to refine one's style further, especially with us going into a new year. Kesha and Katy Perry have stick appeal because when they make a move in life, they refuse to stray from the core values they have developed for themselves by learning, and paying attention to their experiences. It reminds me of the quote by the ancient Chinese philosopher, Lao Tse: "Watch your thoughts for they become words. Watch your words for they become actions. Watch your actions for they become... habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny!" 

If you recall my Style Watch post in June which featured Katy Perry's song, "Wide Awake", I had raved about how impressed I was of the flow of her album, and her longevity as a dominant entertainment figure for the past two years. As I said in the post, I felt she did a great job keeping in line with the fantasy theme of her album where each single she released parlayed into the next single so fluidly that by the end of her run it all connected to be a cohesive story message for acceptance and female empowerment. It was all so clever, and as I always say, "Clever is always in style." In fact, Perry, in my fashion, is the definition of this phrase. In her Style Watch post, I made a big deal of how much I loved her Paris Fashion Week looks when she debuted a short, vibrant blue hair cut. Her looks that week definitely had stick-appeal! In my fashion, what I have found is that the most clever looks are the one's that are remembered most. I would do good to style people like Katy Perry because she always attempts to adhere to a particular playful theme, incorporating something new for us to gawk at. Her approach to style is very tongue in-cheek and girly, but what I love most about her style is the way she is able to look effervescent by creating a look that carries a story of it own, reminding us of her whimsically themed album. I remember at this past MTV Video Music Awards, she wore a Elie Saab gown with a sheer bottom and leather details. The VMAs occurred around the time "Wide Awake" was released, and this particular song was more Gothic and dark compared to her previous singles, so for her to wear that dress couldn't have been more timely. I felt this dress really worked for her at that moment in time in that she looked like a glamorous woodland witch, sweeping down the red carpet with smiles and jokes for all. Her looks really helped to bring her album more life for as she made public appearances that didn't particularly deal with her album, she was always able to insinuate its bubbly appeal with her bubbly style. I am sure her looks during Teenage Dream helped album sales. 

Kesha's style, in my fashion, is on the other side of the spectrum with a bad girl appeal. I love her sartorial experimentation for she always has some new innovative fashion trend that she wears in a unique ways, as well, but in my fashion, she is more raw in her approach than Katy Perry's prim and proper good girl look. Kesha is the pop version of a rock star. Looking at her photos on Zimbio I noticed how many intriguing ways she wears make-up and accessories. One of my favorite accessories I saw her rock were some studded eye brows. In my fashion, she represents "making it work". She has fantastic staples in her overall look that are very distinctive and symbolic: lightning bolts, glitter, the infamous dollar sign in her name. She said in the interview below with the UK talk show, T4, that she believes glitter makes everything look more beautiful. Take a gander to find out what she had to say to people who believe her symbolism is evil or satanic (at about two minutes and ten seconds in). 

When Kesha first came out she was associated with a "trashy chic" look, and even though fashion critics downed her for her disheveled looking looks on the red carpet and in public, she really stood for a popular market which is the edgy, urban, youth that dresses similar to her on the streets. Her non-nonchalant, sly attitude represents a side of youth that is high on life, and focused on having fun at every moment of their lives, whether you are a wild child or not. If your not about fun, then buzz off! Coupled with her new age techno-rap sound which is so infectious to our ears, Kesha provides feel-good music that captures the essence of the youth of today. As Kesha explained in the above interview, her music stands for remaining young at heart forever and seizing the day. What's most progressive about her music is her "white-girl" rap appeal. As you can see from the photos above, her rapping talent was recently noted by hip-hop magazine, VIBE, and she has became the first white female in the magazine's history to grace their cover. On her remix of the song, "Sleazy", Kesha features rappers, Wiz Khalifa, Andre 3000, T.I. and Lil Wayne, which is quite a high-profile posse for the new "white"-girl-on-the-block. As we can see from the recent interview above, after her going on a "spirit journey" in September of 2011, Kesha has decided to refine her style. Since her release of the song, "Die Young", we have seen Kesha in much more pulled together looks that add to her glamour appeal as a pop star. In her VIBE interview she revealed that her spirit journey brought her to a new respect for animals, so much so that she became the Humane Society’s first-ever Global Ambassador for the animals. “I went swimming with whales in the middle of nowhere, it was like naked boat ladies swimming with baby whales for a week,” she says. “Then I was rehabilitating baby lions who were like pissing in my tent, and I was feeding them with a bottle, because their parents orphaned them and they’re trying to rehabilitate these other lions that were kept in captivity.” She admitted that she is very much a like a hippie, "the kind where you love everybody." Her new album, "Warrior" is, as she says, meant to take a better look at her personality. "I’m not a train wreck, I’m just having fun.” She continues to explain, “The first record, people tore me a new asshole, and were fucking steady on my balls, and tried to make me feel like I was such a piece of shit. I did some soul-searching, and realized nothing I’m doing is negative, it’s actually super positive. You can change peoples’ mood in a three-and-a-half minute song. So why not spread positive energy and be funny? Let [the haters] be miserable. Anyone who wants to have a good time, let’s fucking do this.”

Watching Katy Perry's performance at "Rock in Rio" (shown below), in my fashion, she's found her own unique connection with her audience. She is playful, sexy, and sassy, yet very ladylike. The section of her show, at about forty-three minutes in where she performed her single, "Hot & Cold", where she astonishes her audience by changing her outfit in literally a heartbeat of a second behind a changing screen is absolutely genius! It's the cutesie spectacles like that which keep the crowd excited. It was clever, unexpected, and is a darling concept for the song she was singing depicting men who, in relationships, are fickle about their commitment to a girl, and their mind changes like a girl changes clothes. She's not a dancing type of performer, but the way she interacts with her cleverly chosen props and decor is what makes her performances so appealing, especially when she teeters to the sexy side of the fence. Looking into her eyes when she performs there's a certain whimsy that reveals a certain level of vulnerability that gives off an authentic character for her audience to feed off of, which makes her messages all the more impacting. Her eyes do well at conveying a story, but at the end of the day, it's all just playful fun! When you have a moment of time, look at Katy Perry's performance to see exactly what I mean, especially my favorite part of the show at 43 minutes in.

But, there is a serious business to her fun, because in ELLE Magazine's 2012 September issue, Katy laments about times when she would, be bent over crying before going out on stage, but then would realize, "my problems are my problems. My pain is my pain. And it's not theirs." A scene of her crying before performing is shown in her movie, Part of Me, as reported by the magazine, the directors of the movie compared her emergence to the stage similar to the phoenix rising. She says of her movie: "I think, honestly, the world today has a very skewed perception of what it takes to really make it," she says. "They think it just happens. They think it's a pretty face. The film shows the engine of the operation." She puts her fork down to emphasize the point. "I just feel like transparency is the new mystery. Imperfection is the new perfection. The truth sets you free, isn't that what they say?" As this month has been about the changing tides of the fashion industry on #IMFblog, I couldn't agree more with her statement. Take featured "READing Your Style" model, Casey Legler, for she is one case in point to think about in regards to our perceptions of the "ideal women". Transparency is quite an endearing quality to uphold these days, and with the many digital outlets we have at our disposal, if there has ever been a time when people want the truth, the whole truth, the and nothing but the truth, it is in this generation. Katy Perry goes out of her way to be as transparent as possible to her fans. Perry's transparency in her movie even went behind the scenes of her divorce to #IMFblog July Style Maven, Russel Brand. Her ELLE interview revealed that it was hinted in the movie that Brand may have been pressuring her to become pregnant, and to that, Perry commented saying, “There are a lot of people who have wanted to put me in a box—whether it was my religious upbringing, or a record label or a personal relationship, and I just kind of never allowed that to happen.” While being steadfast on the decisions that direct her life, another value that resonated with me about her was that she says she never makes a decision out of fear. In my fashion, fear is what keeps us away from growth, and in essence our truth. I've come to find that most decisions made out of fear, no matter how much of a good idea it may seem, are debilitating in a way. When we overcome our fears, we learn something new about ourselves—that we are stronger than we thought. One is then able to harness that strength to go further in life than  previously thought. Rather than make decisions out of fear, Katy says, "I love what I do. And when I don't love what I do, I'll make a change." This sort of thinking is what I feel keeps Katy on a upward trajectory, and in the life of fashion, this sort of thinking makes for a strong sense of style when it comes to our sartorial decisions.

We are all aware of Kesha's adventures as an uninvited house guest into the homes of living music legends, Prince and Iggy Pop, and after reading Katy Perry's funny dinner party story in ELLE where she learned to "never put yourself in a position where you are not in control", this philosophy shared by the two of them is, in my fashion, the best advice to live by when it comes to "Designing Yourself". Their unassailable attitudes towards life proves that we all have to take risks and be valiant in the pursuit of what we want out of life. These girls not only spread positivity with their girly attitude, they inspire a strength that women of today can carry with them like women have never done before. Kesha and Katy Perry represent the "good" and "bad" versions of the modern day girl in 2012: the ones who give you want you want when they want to, the ones who go big or go home, the ones who "eat men" and spit them out, and the type of girls who simply want everyone to be treated equal and to enjoy life. 

“It can’t be said enough: be yourself, love each other. I’ve had to deal with scrutiny [in Nashville] that probably isn’t even comparable to the kind of scrutiny people from a place like that face being gay or lesbian. A lot of my fans struggle with that, and it breaks my heart that people haven’t found out how to be nice to each other.” ~ Ke$ha
Being a role model "is a fine line," Perry says. "I have to stay true to who I am as an artist. But of course I do understand who my audience is. I'm not going to be everything to everyone. I can't tell a person when it's time for them to have sex. Or if they should have a cigarette. Or when it's okay for them to try things. Because I don't know what kind of family they grew up in, what kind of support system they have. But I try to live my life with a lot of integrity, and, hopefully, that sends a message." ~ Katy Perry
Spread some glitter in the world this New Years Eve!
Remember: All that matters is the beautiful life...
So what are your plans for tonight? I implore you to include a little Katy or Ke$ha to your night, and  going into 2013, take the example of Kesha and Katy Perry's view on life with you as you continue making decisions in your life. Take the advice of the "10 Rules to Live By" for your personality type from that I shared this month, and trek on into the new year with a iron will to be the designer of your destiny. Be Safe, and Happy New Year!

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