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What makes an outfit "iconic"? Surely there's a philosophical debate to be had on that subject, but we think it all boils down to one basic concept: what we remember. Every so often, a performer takes the stage and blows an audience to pieces — not just with their musical prowess, but with an outfit that will henceforth be burned into our collective consciousness.
We're talking about career-making ensembles, the ones that sear a musician's image into our memory for years to come. These looks cover as broad a spectrum as music itself: the flashy to the subdued, the sparkly to the vampy, the sculptural to the very, very fitted. For some celebrities, the standout look might err on the side of infamy — let's not forget Twerkgate 2013. But, for every childhood-ruining teddy bear bodice, there's one dotted by fist-sized candy buttons; each reptilian accessory is matched (raised, even) by a gravity-defying bubble sculpture. And, in these cases, you can't separate the look from the artist.
While this selection is by no means exhaustive (many of the musicians featured have too many looks to choose from), we want to celebrate those impressive get-ups that were as momentous — if not more so — than the performances for which they were worn.
Photo: Kevin Kane/Getty Images