Stevie Nicks performs in 1978.
All of a sudden, mid day yesterday, a corner of the Internet exploded. News broke that legendary British-American rock band Fleetwood Mac are planning a reunion in 2013, something diehard fans of the Mac had assumed was impossible due to the famed infighting between the band’s members. Lead singer/tambourine playing sorceress Stevie Nicks announced the reformation on CBS This Morning, and of course, both super-fans and casual admirers alike went nuts. Nicks, who wrote the band’s 1977 Billboard #1 hit “Dreams,” is as much a style icon as a musical muse, with everyone from Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino, America’s sweetheart Taylor Swift, and Florence + The Machine singer Florence Welch counting themselves as acolytes. Even if you don’t know you’re familiar with Stevie Nicks, you probably are. You know the opening of Destiny’s Child’s “Bootylicious,” well, it’s sampled from Nicks’s “Edge of Seventeen,” off of her 1981 solo record, Bella Donna. T.Swift calls Nicks a “childhood idol,” and Bethany Cosentino has Making Rumors: The Inside Story of the Classic Fleetwood Mac Album on her coffee table. There is also a Fleetwood Mac tribute record being released on August 14th, titled Just Tell Me That You Want Me, which includes takes on the band’s tunes by Best Coast, Lykke Li, The Kills and MGMT.
As far as her style goes, Nicks’s outfit from a 1978 performance in East Troy, Wisconsin (pictured above), speaks for itself: a pink cape with cascading black feathers pouring from the shoulders of a matching pink, body-hugging, velvet dress. Yes, cape, feathers, and velvet in one look. Case rested. Not to mention Nicks’s long blond hair, which grew in volume through the decades (although she now favors a sleek, straight style with long blunt bangs), which, in the performance image, is crowned with a cage-like headpiece.
Stevie Nicks in 1975.
When Stevie Nicks joined Fleetwood Mac the 1970s were in full swing. She and her then-boyfriend Lindsey Buckingham became part of the band in 1974, and Nicks’s aesthetic reflected both her youth, she was 26 years old, and the styles of the times. With her hair iron-straightened and flipped at the ends, Nicks could have been confused with one of Charlie’s Angels in her denim bell-bottom hip huggers and bell sleeved top (pictured left). Nicks’s now-famous ethereal style was already present, though, with the singer favoring flowing dresses and waterfalls of jewelry both on and off stage. The coltish beauty was about to become one of the most famous singers in the world, and her one of a kind take on the trends of the day was no doubt a factor.
Nicks performing in her famous top hat in Oakland, California in 1977.
Although her shawls are perhaps considered her signature, it’s her black top hat that is arguably Nicks’s most iconic look. Paired with a drape-y, sheer black dress that calls to mind a druid ceremony amongst the evergreens (do you see it too?), Nicks makes the English schoolboy staple into a fantastical talisman, but its origins, she told Time Out New York back in 2001, are far simpler than we had ever imagined. “The first time I ever wore [a top hat] was in the forth grade,” she tells TONY reporter Gia Kourlas, “I wore a black top hat, a black vest and skirt, a white blouse, black tights and black tap shoes with little heels. That was my ’Rhiannon’ outfit, in the fourth grade!” While it’s not surprising that Nicks has been a fashion plate since the dawn of time-fourth grade!-really, it’s her combination of airy, ethereal dresses and more luxe pieces, such as feathers, lace, and jewelry. Nicks also has a penchant for using animals as accessories, as she did on the cover of Bella Donna, where she poses with a parrot, and she even sold her famous tambourine on Ebay to benefit an pro-animal charity.
Nicks in a 1981 promotional image (left) and performing in 1982.
Any style story about Madame Nicks would be sorely lacking without at least a few sentences about the songwriter’s hair. Always long, her blonde mane went from a 70’s flip to an enormous 80’s force to be reckoned with just as the decades changed, and, rarely concealed, besides in the case of her hats, it became just as much a part of her aesthetic as her massive sleeves. Curly, bright blonde and undoubtedly full of secrets, Nicks’s mane is just the right witches brew of fluffy, curly and be-banged to be thrown around on stage while also framing her puppy-dog eyes and rosebud lips. Paired with a simple, unchanging beauty regimen of lightly applied black liner, mascara and dusky rose lips, the singers hair was at once a statement, while simultaneously remaining the perfect complement to her sartorial style. You might be sensing a theme here, and if you are you’re right: everything about Stevie Nicks is BIG. But that’s where the nuance comes in. She doesn’t need bright colors, look-at-me lengths or outrageous costumes-Nicks wears looks that, paired with her captivating performance style (the woman can do the splits like none other), communicate an energy and a power that illustrates the purest reason that clothes are so essential to music. With her tambourine in hand and her arms spread wide, Nicks transforms into that white winged dove she sings so passionately of on “Edge of Seventeen,” and she casts a spell that makes her audience think that with a little chiffon and a few feathers, maybe they could transform too.
What do you think of Stevie Nicks witchy goddess style?