Right when I have just typed Aaliyah in the title, Amy’s Back To Black had started on the radio. Aaliyah had been tenderly sore to write about already, yet here comes Amy. I’m off the deep end / Watch as I dive in, thank you Lady. As I dive in the style file on Aaliyah, ladies and gentlemen.
When, back in 2001, I heard of the plane crash Aaliyah had died in, an instant sharp sadness struck me. I loved Aaliyah right from the start and hadn’t ever thought of her not being around until the end. Some things feel like forever. It is a happy thought, though, that some things are forever. Her music.
There’s something about some people you relate to and hold on tight to on a level that you yourself almost don’t even realise. And when those people are gone, to Heaven or another planet, that little piece of something becomes even more obvious. To you. More precious than before. And it feels like no one would really, really ever know what that something really, really feels like, but you are cool with that. It makes it even more special. You treasure and slip it so finely somewhere into a corner of yourself that becomes almost like a heart on its own. It is a corner in our heart, however. One is enough, no? One of ours. When it comes to someone else’s, that’s a different story. Or is it, though? No.
It’s the same as the coincidence with Amy.
I am trying to get to the style part as I write,
But this feeling won’t let me,
The fingers type by themselves.
It feels like a wave and what’s with all the rhyming?
It’s just flying.
I stopped again and starred. Into myself, I guess. I saw my instinct. How do I switch this into style? Wait, this has been about style all along. There is no style if there is no little piece of something coming from within. It makes sparkles spark and transforms that instant sharp sadness into an instant inner happiness you go to whenever you feel like slipping into the corner no one knows about.
Except maybe for the one that does.
Love, the lightest, soft, easiest, mellow, airy, sweetest, diaphanous feeling and yet, the most excruciating, acute and piercing in the universe. Sometimes! And we slip it so finely somewhere into a corner that almost feels like a heart on its own only we – truly and honestly – know about. The kind of truth and honesty no one can dismantle, nor should no one want to even try to.
At the end of the day, the end of it all, that little precious, special something that feels like a heart on its own you secretly (or magically not) go to for a spark, is really all that matters. And then, one day, we find out that nothing breaks like a heart. But there always comes another day also. Brighter. If you don’t know what I am talking about, I am not sure whether I can call you lucky or not (yet!). You’ll figure it out.
Style has a lot to do with that little precious special something.
Aaliyah’s style evolution always felt gradual, organic. She incorporated previous elements into her forthcoming looks, making her look feel natural every time. Hand in hand with her personality – shy, yet passionate (the hair), her work – sexy (low-cuts, a lot of waist showing), yet tomboyish (baggy jeans, Timberland boots, boxer shorts), her girl next door vibes – her smile, bandanas, dungarees.
Fresh from the basketball court chic.
She captured the style of the era – the ’90s – in a manner that it’s become a legacy for the fashion world to grasp on now and then, in a manner in which for one to wear the baggy jeans, one has to feel the baggy jeans. It’s the attitude that comes with the territory. It’s that something!
An inspiration for the nowadays bra-tops cool girls wear. Yeaaah.
Aaliyah circa 1997 must have crossed Demna Gvasalia’s at Balenciaga mind.
The Bottega Veneta sandals, 20 years later.
The sunglesses everywhere, 20 years later.
Isabel Marant shoulders.
Aaliyah was free and unapologetic. Her lyrics are all about love – the lightest, soft, easiest, mellow, airy, sweetest, diaphanous feeling and yet, the most excruciating, acute and piercing feeling in the world. Not afraid to not only admit it, but also live it. The conversations Aaliyah must be having with Amy, up in the sky, right now…