Since making history with their victory in the Eurovision Song Contest 2021, the popularity of Italian rock band Måneskin has skyrocketed. Not only does their music literally accumulate Billions flows, but they’ve also made a name for themselves as fashion icons. In the Eurovision Song Contest final, they captured the hearts of viewers with a charismatic stage presence and a powerful performance. Another must-have aspect of the show was their outfits: burgundy metallic leather suits by Italian brand Etro were coordinated with chunky black boots and smudged eyeliner, as they stole the show in every way.
“We like to experiment, have fun, mix it all up,” bassist Victoria Di Angelis explains in an interview with GQ. Indeed, it is clear that they do not bother when it comes to style. Inspired by ’70s glam rock both musically and sartorially, a quick scroll through their official and personal Instagram accounts shows why they’re one of the hottest bands in the world right now. Previously, they’ve been photographed in head-to-toe Vivienne Westwood, Gucci and even bondage gear, achieving looks Harry Styles could only dream of. Although they cited Styles as a role model, it seems they actually remains him – rather than looking like they’re trying too hard to push the envelope, the four members of Måneskin exude a true effortlessly cool-kid vibe in even the most extravagant outfits.
Måneskin’s personal styles have evolved with their music, though that’s to be expected since they started their career in 2016, strolling the streets of Rome in exactly the kind of outfit you’d expect from a group of teenagers. Europeans. The drastic transition from skinny jeans and denim shirts to flared pants and embroidered suits occurred with their musical transition from funk/pop-rock to alternative hard rock. Måneskin’s fashion sense and impeccable coordination are a blessing for rock fans, as the fashion side of this genre has been underwhelming for the past few decades. Yes, Fall Out Boy filled my childhood with amazing songs, but their outfits left a lot to be desired (WHO let Patrick Stump get away with those fedoras?).
However, outside the west things look different. Japanese rock bands have been influenced by 60s American and British rock since the late 80s, with various movements emerging based on a combination of sound and looks. One of the most notable genres is known as visual kei, featuring punk, glam rock, and heavy metal music. Bands belonging to this movement are characterized by elaborate hair; extravagant costumes referring to gothic, steampunk or even rococo styles; and heavy makeup. By comparison, Western hard rock bands such as My Chemical Romance seem tame. Such emphasis on appearance and expression has called into question whether visual kei is a musical genre or simply an expressive fad. I make this digression to show how western rock bands could do better with their image – although you could say that rock is about music, Måneskin has proven that it is possible to elevate a band’s popularity while also looking good.
Nowadays, it is often female musical artists who emphasize their style of dress. This has created an imbalance in which female performers generally have to work a lot harder on their looks, often alternating between multiple outfits at a gig, while their male counterparts can sell out Wembley Stadium in just jeans and a checkered shirt ( I’m looking at Ed Sheeran here). Of course, there are exceptions, with artists such as Lil Nas X upping the game with expressive and daring outfits at shows and in music videos. Yet when male artists do makes an effort, it is considered revolutionary. This highlights a somewhat frustrating double standard among music performers where many try too hard, and others not at all, receiving varying degrees of appreciation depending on pre-existing popularity. Fortunately, Måneskin shows that straight men can dress up too. Frontman and vocalist Damiano David has become a fashion icon in his own right, often sporting some of the band’s most daring looks. Band coordination outfits make no difference between male and female band members, and you can sometimes see them all going topless on stage (Di Angelis has to cover up lightly, but that’s a whole other matter) .
Måneskin could again change the image of western rock artists today by stressing the importance of combining visual and musical aesthetics, nodding to icons of the past such as David Bowie and Fleetwood Mac . They also struck the right balance between great music and a powerful image, which you don’t see all the time. One can only hope that their popularity will inspire other rock bands to take a similar approach. It is very clear that fashion and music go hand in hand; as seen in the case of Måneskin, they evolved together, and through this they grew in popularity – rightly establishing themselves as one of the biggest rock bands in the world today.
Image credit: Valentina Ceccatelli on Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.