A look back at Prince’s most awe-inspiring moments in style

Photography by Neil Lupin/Redferns

A collective sense of grief made its way through the airwaves today as news spread that Prince, one of the most influential artists of all time, had died. As a product of the ’90s, I was immediately brought back to my first introduction to The Purple One in the form of a chilling rendition of his classic hit “When Doves Cry” in the Danes-DiCaprio retelling of Romeo and Juliet. A movie and soundtrack that would play on repeat in the bedrooms of teenage girls across North America and beyond. Never before had a classic story been told in such a young and modern way, with the sweaty backdrop of a modern Verona causing us impressionable youths to pine for a love that was truly lethal.

Having so recently lost the equally idolized David Bowie, it’s hard to think about how the future of music will ever compare to the generations past. Prince was known for leaving his heart and soul on the stage when he performed, often playing for three or four hours at a time, giving everything he had to his adoring fans each time. Lest we forget the mind-blowing 2004 Grammys performance alongside Beyoncé that would bring the ’80s icon to a brand-new generation of music lovers. As we look to the stylish icons of music today–Gaga, Rihanna and even Kanye–it seems impossible that Prince and Bowie could ever be replaced.

The winner of seven Grammys, a Golden Globe and a damn Academy Award was more than just a performer; he was a veritable style magnate. Despite being considered the music industry’s ultimate ladies man of the ’70s and ’80s, his flamboyant style pushed the boundaries of the gender binary, proving that there was more to male sexuality than simple machismo.

His ability to pull off a ruffled collar was rivalled only by the likes of Mozart in the opulent, Oscar-winning spectacular Amadeus or a Sofia Coppola period piece. He could rock a pantsuit like no other, with separates in every fabric and colour imaginable. His style was entirely undefinable, marrying influences from disco, hip-hop, historical costume and high fashion to create something that was truly unique.

Much like the dearly departed Bowie, Prince inspired countless generations to feel empowered by their differences, to push the boundaries of cultural norms and let their freak flag fly high. To this day, you can see the influence his style has had on so many of our favourite stars, from Lenny Kravitz and D’Angelo to Andre 3000 and Janelle Monae.

So, as we say goodbye to one of the 20th century’s most-loved royals, we take a look back at some of Prince’s most memorable looks. Click through below and prepare to be wowed.