20 decades immediately after her death, Aaliyah’s style nonetheless reigns

Composed by Jacqui Palumbo, CNN

Aaliyah’s velvety sleek vocals redefined R&B in the 1990s, and her sporty, edgy style celebrated individuality in a ten years that observed the rise of matchy-matchy pop groups.

Through her all-way too-small career, the singer and actress — entire identify Aaliyah Dana Haughton — epitomized the era’s road type in Tommy Hilfiger crop tops, lower-slung dishevelled trousers and utility jumpsuits. But she also mixed in darker, futuristic undertones, with shiny vinyl jackets and pants, vast chokers and black lipstick. (She even went total vampire for the 2002 gothic horror film “Queen of the Damned,” donning regal headgear and an intricate, significant-collared chest piece while ripping out a nevertheless-beating coronary heart.)

With Wednesday marking 20 a long time due to the fact her dying, some of Aaliyah’s discography, very long absent from streaming companies, has at last arrived on platforms Spotify and Apple Songs amid an ongoing struggle to control her legacy. And with a 1990s and Y2K manner revival at present underway, now is also an opportune time to revisit her design and style legacy.

“She owned that avenue stylish vibe,” explained her stylist Derek Lee, who commenced performing with Aaliyah in advance of the launch of her 1996 sophomore album, “One particular in a Million.” Her design and style was, he additional, “challenging and gentle at the exact same time. It is really masculine, but female.”

“I see her affect in most (stars these days),” Lee continued. “Any female that you see that wears saggy trousers and a very little crop top, and it is even now pretty, that’s Aaliyah all day prolonged.”

“I see it in specific billionaire girls,” he additional, devoid of naming names.

Legendary Aaliyah appears to be have also been right replicated over the a long time. FKA Twigs’ compensated homage to the R&B singer’s transform as the bloodlusting vampiric Queen Akasha in her video clip “Two Months,” and, in 2013, Zendaya sported a familiar crimson, white and blue Tommy Hilfiger outfit at a charity occasion. Keke Palmer, Kim Kardashian and a great number of admirers have worn the glittering bikini major, belt and choker Aaliyah built popular in the audio video clip “Try out All over again,” from the “Romeo Need to Die” soundtrack.

To Lee, no 1 could hold a candle to Aaliyah when she introduced that video, which won two MTV Video clip Audio Awards that yr. The Swarovski crystal-embellished get-up she wore in it, from Dolce & Gabbana’s Spring-Summer 2000 selection, right away grew to become a person of her ideal-recognized appears to be like.

“She just messed it up for any one else who required to use anything from that Dolce & Gabbana line at that distinct time,” Lee stated.

Model legacy

On August 25, 2001, Aaliyah and eight many others were killed, shortly following wrapping her music video for “Rock the Boat,” when her chartered plane crashed in the Bahamas. Lee was present for the shoot in Abaco but delayed his vacation and did not consider the flight again.

“In the commencing it was truly tough to deal with,” Lee told CNN in 2016. “It improvements each and every 12 months.”

The Los Angeles-centered stylist initially outfitted her for the movie for “1 in a Million,” made by Missy Elliot and Timbaland. In that online video, Aaliyah wore a lace-up leather crop leading with a vest and matching lace-up pants and gloves in other scenes, she donned a silver eye patch beneath her aspect-swept bangs.

“At that distinct time, people didn’t truly understand how she generally required to have this tomboy chic look,” Lee explained. “So they would try and alter her model.”

When Lee often preferred to emphasize her “vibe” and “swagger,” Aaliyah hardly ever required to glimpse styled, he claimed.

“She under no circumstances needed to glimpse too much away from achievable for any female on the avenue.”

But that was portion of her identity, he said. Her public and private persona have been 1 and the same.

“(She wasn’t) seeking to fake to be this sweet female — she was a sweet woman. She wasn’t trying to fake to have this dark mysterious side — she experienced it,” Lee said. “She was specifically what you noticed. She … was younger and leaned into remaining youthful, and seriously desired to delight in that time of her daily life.”

Scroll through the gallery higher than to see some of Aaliyah’s finest appears to be from the 1990s and early 2000s.