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Billie in the Beginning
The youngest person to win a Grammy, Billie Eilish, has always been somewhat of a child prodigy for the world. She has been under public scrutiny ever since the age of thirteen. The public scrutiny, however, never seemed to pressure her into becoming something she wasn’t.
The girl who hid her body behind anti-fit, large, baggy clothing came out to the world in the British Vogue June 2021 issue looking like a blonde bombshell, and the Internet went crazy. Her pictures became the fastest Instagram post to reach a million views in under six minutes. The post also became the third most-liked within a span of two days.
The transformation which broke the internet and the reason behind it
Ever since the beginning, there was an aura of mystery around Billie’s stylistic choices. Her tell-tale dark and neon ombre hair made her stand out in the crowd. In fact, she was often spotted in an array of hats, and there were conjectures about her sporting a wig.
The buzz died down when she revealed her new hair for the June 2021 issue of Vogue, and it created quite a stir in the world. The teenager had not only changed her hair into a stunning platinum blonde tone, but for the first time, she came out into the world in a fitted corset and latex stockings, and fans were in awe.
Billie has had a tumultuous relationship with her body since her childhood, which solidified when she stopped dancing at the age of thirteen. This is where her rap couture came in. She could hide her body in extremely anti-fit, dark T-shirts.
Her attire inspired clothing lines to launch whole ranges of oversized t-shirts and baggy pants, making her name and silhouette immediately recognizable with the rap couture that created an aura of mystery around her body.
When Billie came out in the stunning Alexander McQueen corset dress, paired with gloves and latex stockings in the same color by Atsuko Kudo, her mystery silhouette was revealed. Billie had been deemed ‘body positive’ for being comfortable in her skin and not exposing her body as much as her other counterparts from the music industry.
However, Billie had never subscribed to such a view of herself and never actively endorsed it. Shunning another woman for wearing a certain kind of attire that might be deemed seductive is not the brand of feminism that Billie associates herself with. Billie did not even bat an eyelid at all the criticism she garnered for exposing her body with this edition of Vogue.
Details that defined her look
The British Vogue June 2021 presented her in an almost fantasy portrait of a woman, straight from the yesteryears of Hollywood. Her classic retro look was inspired by the likes of American model Betty Weider, Elmer Batters and the stunning illusionist frames of Vogue photographer Horst P. Horst.
The resemblance with the OG blonde bombshell, Marilyn Monroe, is unmissable. Eilish’s second look included an all-black outfit where she wore a Mugler catsuit custom-made for her with a corset. She accessorized it with jewelry from Anita Ko.
The third look, which was custom-made by Burberry, was a real stunner. She wore a pale pink corset with a plunging neckline and a little bondage pattern on the top. The corset dress was paired with long stocking boots from Mugler, while Thomasine tulle gloves adorned her arms. In all three of the looks, Eilish looked like a visual treat, channeling her inner femme fatale but in a much softer, more aesthetic and put-together frame.
Predictably, there were many questions about her new look in British Vogue June 2021. They ranged from why she decided to expose her body after hiding it for years, to if she felt the pressures of being desirable and conforming to patriarchal ideals of beauty.
Eilish chose the corset for this very reason. It has been a fairly conflicting piece of garment in the history of fashion, and Eilish was especially drawn to its restrictive functions, by her admission.
At the end of the day, whether it was Gal Gadot refusing to wear a corset for her Wonder Woman role or pictures of Billie Eilish, who embraced the corset for what it is, both of these young women chose fashion to make their statements.
To Round it Up
The label of being a feminist does not entail subscribing to a particular point of view but having the freedom of choice. Eilish chose the corset because she no longer wanted to hide her body. She said in her British Vogue June 2021 interview, “Young women, we’re expected to know and do everything and be everyone’s mom when we’re like 15.”
Eilish refused to be associated with one identity, one role, one kind of style all her life. She quipped at the Vogue interviewer in her ever so laid-back style, “If you feel like you look good, you look good,” and thus preached that everyone should be allowed to redefine themselves.