Log onto The Weeknd’s Instagram and you’ll see his fans hilariously commenting “not this fit again” and “hey babe, when is your nose going to recover?” What may seem like a case of quarantine laziness is in fact a clever ploy by the Canadian singer to curate an instantly recognizable uniform – a deep-red blazer, pointed loafers, and bruised makeup – that toys with themes of his most recent album “After Hours.” And let’s be real, who hasn’t been living in the same outfit since March?
Just as David Bowie crafted a sartorial vernacular during his “Ziggy Stardust” era, The Weeknd – aka Abel Tesfaye – is taking a similarly holistic approach that amplifies his musical narrative through intentional wardrobe choices. In a time when public appearances are few and far between, Tesfaye has managed to stealthily emerge as one of music’s most exciting tastemakers. Sleekly clad in a fire-red blazer, rose-tinted shades, and leather loafers, the singer is toying with some of the biggest menswear trends while also adding a horror-tinged ‘80s spin. At last month’s American Music Awards, the singer appeared with his head fully bandaged on the red carpet which continued throughout his captivating performance – causing fans to sarcastically speculate why the signer keeps appearing like he just got beat up.
So, why does The Weeknd keep dressing like this? Though the singer has been hesitant to reveal his outright intentions, he has provided some insight into his thought process and points to cult films such as Possession and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas as major inspirations. Both of these films toy with ideas of substance abuse, fame and lust, and rash behavior – aspects that fit firmly in the singer’s eerily intriguing album. Tesfaye has crafted a hyper-realized version of his own troubled experience with stardom while remaining grounded in visual touchstones that provide a sense of familiarity and justification. “After Hours” and its accompanying visuals construct a story of fame, addiction, and loss that allow the mysterious singer to express his qualms with the industry while remaining behind the security of his well-dressed, erratic character.
Since the debut of the “Heartless” music video in December 2019, The Weeknd has not strayed from the debaucherous persona, signature outfit, and at times, unhinged mannerisms that have come to define his current musical era. Throughout the flashy video, the star explores the perils of Las Vegas – drunkenly gambling in casinos and guzzling down scotch at parties with music producer Metro Boomin, all while maintaining the mannerisms and well-to-do look of his now famous character. The pair delve into Sin City in a way that is hyper realized but still feels fully tangible – the scenes of excess, joy, and dismay are exceedingly relatable in a world of constant emotional ebb and flow. The Weeknd’s demeanor is eerily similar to the psychedelic driven haze of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, where an overly rash Benico Del Toro and Johnny Depp engage in many of the struggles and temptations seen throughout “Heartless.” Subtle details such as the dangling cigarette and stumbling strides, show The Weeknd’s character in a vulnerable, influenced state, perhaps commenting on his inner-demons and complicated love life. Also citing Sammy Davis Jr.’s boisterous character in the 1973 film Poor Devil, the singer toyed with varying sartorial archetypes that explore inner-demons and the harms of fame. In a recent interview with CR, the singer explains just that: “I play a character in the video who becomes compromised and then overcompensates with all the sins that Vegas provides. It’s a great introduction to the next chapter of my life.”
In sleek cohesion, the songsters next video venture “Blinding Lights” continues the chaotic, lust driven narrative that was born out of a drunken night in Las Vegas. In the same vibrant blazer and baggy dress pants, the daring madman speeds through the busy city streets to find his lover, this time sporting patent leather gloves and a more heist-like vibe than in the previous video. In appearances and recent visuals, the singer has continued this luring narrative: his VMAs performance featured him at the top of a New York City building and his following AMAs appearance displayed an even more bloodied character, sauntering with a fully bandaged head while avoiding the surrounding fireworks.
The Weeknd’s continued wardrobe choices throughout the promotion of “After Hours” reveal fashion’s unparalleled power in shaping narratives and constructing archetypal characters. Behind the singer’s seemingly monotonous sartorial choices is a cleverly maneuvered Joker-esque character that amplifies the album’s messages of stardom, relationships, and lust. In collaboration with London-based duo Aleksi and Anton Tammi – the album’s artistic directors – The Weeknd has transcended traditional musical performance into the realm of continued story-like persona.
Amidst this fashion-focused narrative, the singer took to Twitter calling the GRAMMYs and its governing body “corrupt.” This call out follows a controversial snub that saw the singer fail to pick up a single nomination from the prestigious award show. With industry greats such as Elton John and Drake coming to the singer’s defense and die-hard fans flooding the social media sphere, it is clear that The Weeknd does not need industry recognition in order to vouch for his musical storytelling (although, a proper nomination wouldn’t have hurt.)
The star has teamed up with Spanish songstress Rosalía for a remix of his hit-single “Blinding Lights,” showing his reach goes well beyond the realm of status-quo award shows and into cross-genre collaborations. In his now signature blazer and accessories, the pair sultrily pose during the lyric video in what may be one of the closing chapters of the hitmaker’s most recent album.
Continuing with his shape shifting abilities, the singer took to Instagram to show off his “new look” that may give us a hint into why he has been wrapped in bandages for so long. With what seems like lots of botox and filler, The Weeknd’s plastic surgery inspired prosthetic shocked, and even scared, his fans.
Although the singer “can’t feel his face,” he is seemingly commenting on the perils of fame and stardom by taking a jab at the plastic surgery obsessed industry. His newest visage also appears in his just released “Save Your Tears” music video, where while performing for an audience of masked gala attendees, the singer dances with his newly healed face and now iconic red blazer. And in true “After Hours” fashion, we’re left wondering what appearance The Weeknd will take on next and if he’ll ever opt for a non-Joker outfit.END
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createdAt:Fri, 04 Dec 2020 21:52:33 +0000
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