The last time we saw Christina Aguilera, she was masquerading as a singing, dancing Vargas girl, a 1940s pinup re-imagined as a 2000s pop princess. Since her last album, well … let’s just say things are a little bit different.
Because when Aguilera unveiled her brand new look at the 2008 Video Music Awards, it was as if that retro queen had been packed into a capsule and rocketed headlong into the future. Gone were the soft curls and pleated skirts, replaced instead with impossibly angular bangs, thigh-high boots and enough pleather to make Catwoman blush.
It was, to coin a term, “future fetish.” And when MTV News sat down with Aguilera last week in Los Angeles to talk about her greatest-hits album, Keeps Getting Better, and her “futuristic” new record, we decided to run our new phrase by her … and, surprise, surprise, she sort of liked it.
“I wanted to give [fans] a little sneak preview of what’s to come [with the VMA performance]. The vein of the new material is a futuristic take on what is inspiring me at the moment … and it’s got a very pop-art feel, visually,” she explained. “[There's a] throwback to Andy Warhol and all the colors and vividness and bright boldness that was in that artwork. I’m a big collector of pop art and graffiti art at this point, too — D*Face and Banksy, also Roy Lichtenstein … and it’s been very fun venturing off into that zone.”
Of course, there are plenty of folks out there who couldn’t help but notice that Xtina’s new look was also slightly influenced by a more, uh, “contemporary” source, electro-pop sensation Lady Gaga, right down to the penchant for patent leather and the raccoon eye makeup (you can judge for yourself over in our Newsroom blog).
But Aguilera just laughs those comparisons off. And though she name-drops artists like Sia and Goldfrapp as big inspirations for her current look and sound, she’s quick to point out that she’s not terribly focused on the current state of music. Rather, she’s styled herself in a manner that pays homage to artists from the past, all while looking towards the future too.
“I was very inspired by the look and feel of that [pop-art] genre, your Jane Birkins, your Blondies, females who have come before who have done this so many times and so well — almost as an homage to them,” she explained. “Also, speaking of Warhol, Nico from the Velvet Underground … so it all kind of ties in to a pop-art feel and twist, with a mod look. But a futuristic taste of what’s to come.”