Why Sade’s Style Still Inspires Designers & Rappers Today

On Tuesday, Rachel Comey presented her spring 2017 collection disguised as a chic dinner party in the Met Breuer on the Upper East Side while Sandra Bernhard, Molly Ringwald, and our amazing global editor-in-chief and co-founder Christene Barberich looked on, presumably sipping a flute of bubbly. But one celebrity wasn’t present: Sade. Last week, Comey shared on Instagram that she had invited the 58-year-old singer to her show, which she politely declined to attend. She uploaded a screenshot of the email, writing “If u r wondering… don’t blame her,” and concluded with the hashtag, #Sade4Ever.

Comey isn’t the only fashion person currently obsessed with Sade, born Helen Folosade Adu. Fast-fashion retailer Zara is currently selling a t-shirt with the singer's face on it for $22.90. Yara Shadidi channeled Sade on Instagram, paying homage to one of her most iconic looks: the Canadian tuxedo with good hoops and a smattering of red lipstick, proof the chanteuse is still inspiring the generations after her. For Vogue Mexico's April cover, model Adwoa Aboah was photographed holding a bolero hat by its strings and a fitted dark teal blazer, with of course, red lipstick. If the inspiration was subtle for the cover, the accompanying editorial inside made it all the more obvious with a recreation of the iconic image of her in the canadian tuxedo, her hair slicked back in a braid, a huge pair of gold hoops on her ears.

Rappers can’t get enough of her either — most notably, October’s Very Own, Drake. He attributes his love to what he calls “‘Sade moments,’ where you hear it, it hits you, and you feel something.” He solidified his love with not one but two tattoos of the British-Nigerian singer who brought major hits like “Smooth Operator,” “No Ordinary Love,” “Sweetest Taboo,” and “By Your Side,” before disappearing completely from the public (2010's Soldier of Love was her first album in 10 years).

But it isn’t just her music that exhibits such an understated yet sultry vibe. Though, the mother of 21-year-old son has remained primarily out of the public eye, one thing is for certain, her style still haunts us in the best way. Click ahead for a deep dive into the elusive woman whose style remains just as timeless 33 years after her debut.

The classic Sade look consists of slicked-back hair, gold hoops, and a turtleneck. Some things are timeless for a reason.
Sade also knows how to dress up her go-to pieces, in this case adding a red bolero jacket on top.
Yes, this look is pure 1984, but if you wore this outfit today you'd be considered glamorous, not retro.
1985's "Sweetest Taboo" offers all of the style inspiration courtesy of Sade's mom jeans with a suede jacket camel-colored jacket (that detailing!) sans shirt, her hair is slicked back in a low ponytail, and those signature gold hoops.
A voluminous polka-dotted blouse, a skinny white pant, and ballet flats. This look couldn't be more now — and yet this photo was taken in, you guessed it, 1988.
Sade's stays true to her aesthetic, even underwater, as she did in the music video for 1992's "No Ordinary Love," where she wore a cropped white sweater, and tulle and fur circle skirt as what appears to be a wedding dress over cropped white pants. Cool brides, take note.
Sade's performance look from 1993 could very easily double as a date night look in 2017.
Part of what makes Sade's style age so well is that she chooses timeless silhouettes in classic fabrics, like this cheongsam she wore during a performance in 2001.
Sade reemerged (somewhat) into the public eye in 2010 when she released Soldier of Love. She was a vision in white at the Keep A Child Alive's Ball in a slinky silhouette.
In 2017, she performed in this all black ensemble that still brings to mind her iconic looks of the early '80s. Switching a white turtleneck for a sheer black one, and adding oversized sequined cuffs for a hit of avant-garde glamour.