The glittering style of Whitney Houston
By Vivian Onyebukwa
Saturday, February 18, 2012


The news of the death of a music icon, Whitney Houston came as very big shock to music lovers all over the world. Whitney died suddenly at the age of 48, just one day before the 2012 Grammys Awards. She was reportedly found dead in the bathtub of her hotel room. The shocking news cast a dark cloud over the Grammys, where Houston had often been a mainstay over the course of her 26-year long career.

Whitney won six Grammy’s in her time and graced the Grammy’s red carpet and pre-parties several times over. Her statuesque model figure and stunning looks, combined with her bold style, always made her one to watch. Never one to shy away from bold colours, patterns, textures and sequins, Whitney knew how to dress like the superstar she was. She never shied away from the spotlight, never stepped hesitantly, and never apologized for her sartorial choices. Whitney Houston’s fashion sense reflected the trends of the times, from the over-the-top fashions of the 80s to the sleeker styles of the new millennium.

As the music world pays tribute to Whitney’s musical legacy at the Grammys, we take a look at her fashion life.

Her early modelling career
In addition to being one of the greatest voices of our time, she was a fashion model before she started singing professionally. She also was one of the first models of colour that appeared on cover Seventeen magazine as young girl. Whitney definitely had diva style and signature big hair, but she wasn’t necessarily a fashion icon. Still, she’s had a huge number of magazine covers and features devoted to her. While she’s been on the covers of countless tabloid and music magazines over the years, she got her start as a model in the early 1980s, where she was featured frequently in Seventeen magazine, including as one of the teen mag’s first-ever African American models.

The glittering style of Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston was a legend in voice, soul and style.
She was one of the defining songstresses of her era and generation, and she certainly knew how to dress the part: her style was pure glamour, befitting of a singer who won six Grammy awards throughout her lifetime.
Both on-stage and off-stage, the soul diva glistened, pulling off even the brash fashions of the 1980s with class and panache.
Although her glamorous days may be over, her talent, beauty and style will forever be remembered.

Her signature style looks over the years
A look back at the signature fashion of Whitney Houston, reveals a choice selection of the best trends from the ’80s and early ’90s. The legendary talent’s glowing skin, big hair, and forward-thinking wardrobe was both trendsetting and refined, so much so that her looks are still being repurposed on the street and in films today.

Whitney Houston in Fashion, through the decades
1985, foxy look
Her technicolor eyeshade, matched with a hair bow and arm warmers may have been a total fad, but who would have thought the video for How Will I Know will become an MTV classic for the MTV Video Music Awards.

1986, in stripes
Her first ever album, self-titled Whitney Houston, was a stepping stone, she earned two American Music Awards and a chance to get noticed, Whitney was clad in a sparkling striped blazer and wild curly hair to collect her first trophies.

1987, topping up the charts
Shoulder pads and hairstyles have changed through the years, Houston kept it at bay, partially into menswear-inspired jackets, paired with everything from jeans to fancy skirts, and at times donning full suits for formal events.

1988, getting bigger
Houston’s perform at Nelson Mandela’s 70th birthday concert in London, more than a billion people watched where her big voice matched an even bigger look. She dressed in a beaded, double-breasted blazer, layered over a turtleneck, plus black gloves and a half-up hairdo.

1991, superbowl
Whitney’s performance of the national anthem during the 1991 Super Bowl is still considered one of the best of all time. Her look was also notable for the patriotic striped and checked jumpsuit she paired with a wide white headband.

1992, drama in the big screen
For The Bodyguard, her first film role, Ms. Houston donned a number of jaw-dropping ensembles, including the dramatic black satin cloak that was on the cover of the original soundtrack that featured as one of her biggest hits, a cover of I Will Always Love You.

1994, striking public figure
Having won two Grammys to her name, but the success of The Bodyguard soundtrack snatched her three more, that included album of the year. Picking up her trophies (with songwriter/producer David Foster) she was clad in an ivory sequined gown, a loose, curly up do and sparkling jewellery.

1998, faceoff in fashion sense of humour
Teaming with Mariah Carey for When You Believe (The Prince of Egypt), the two divas showed some fun at their high esteemed profile by showing up to the 1998 Video Music Awards in matching chocolate brown dresses.

2001, taking the risk
Her performance at a tribute to pop legend Michael Jackson, Houston’s weight caused a stir but still she proved she had power vocals (and moves to match), singing Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin in a gladiator-inspired border-edging ensemble.

2001, fan of fur
Fur, the star is a big fan, be it coat, stole or shrug, she’s often seen enfolded in it. During the Vanity Fair Oscar party, Houston (together with then-husband Bobby Brown) she top it with a keyhole-cut out black gown with a vivid wrap and tons of jewels.

2009, the big comeback
Her tour that year sure had has its problems, the singer still looked flawless and was able to put-together when she performed at the American Music Awards. Dressed in white yet her most elegant look – a one-sleeved portrait-neckline gown, and performed I Didn’t Know My Own Strength.

2011, keep on shining
Houston sang for longtime friend and mentor Clive Davis at the pre-Grammy gala. She was dressed in a timeless, shimmering ombré sequin gown and barely any jewellery.
Whitney Houston and fashion police

In a sad case of irony, Whitney Houston was singled out by the E! Entertainment programme, Fashion Police, on the weekly show that discusses sartorial ups and downs.
During the half hour on Friday before she died, the late singer was said to be wearing a retro look of high heeled boots and old school shades as she was out and about in Los Angeles with Ray J.
On the day before she died, Fashion Police arbiter, George Kotsiopoulos said that Whitney Houston looked “healthy and happy” and although he would have wished for a more up-to-the-moment outfit, he was glad to see the Queen of Pop in a lighter moment. She was just “living an American dream,” as Joan Rivers put it.
But when George put out that minor slam about Whitney’s attire and accessories, Kelly Osbourne begged to differ, saying that her dad Ozzy has “worn the same sunglasses all his life.”
And now the life of Whitney Houston is gone. Gone but never forgotten. Not on Fashion Police, not by anyone who ever heard her sing.

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