Style icon challenge Annie Lennox Part 3: Diva

"Annie Lennox" may be a catchphrase for androgynous style, but on stage and in other kinds of performance, Annie can be chameleon, adopting whatever persona fits the song (or the occasion). Unlike many celebrities, she's always been in charge of her own costumes, both in videos and on stage. Deciding what to wear, what role to play, is a fundamental part of her artistic process. It's the difference between real singing and lip-synching. Annie has genuine style as well as an amazing voice. No wonder she’s an icon! 

You can see her awareness at work in the video for the song "Why" where she starts bare-faced and then step by careful step applies the makeup and costume of the Diva. Born to the working class and still practical to the core, in real life she has never been a “diva” as we typically use the term (i.e. a temperamental woman who's hard to please). But what is a diva, she seems to ask...and who gets to throw that label around at whom, and after all, don't we all feel operatic emotions at times and need to express them? These are all the years we've spent/ this is what they represent....do you know what I feel?

She is, after all, a rock star. :)   But a lot less hard edged than that term seems to imply, at least most of the time. Photo 1 is the most RATE she ever really gets. In #2, I tried to recreate it, and felt….uh…ridiculous! 

 And yet...with just a few tiny tweaks (no midriff exposure; maybe a different tank) this outfit would feel downright great, even at my advanced age. Put me (or Annie) in the right pair of jeans and we come home to ourselves. It's as simple as that. 

Annie may like to dress with a boyish flair, but she’s always a consummate lady. Consider her choice for receiving the OBE. (Photo 3) A reporter asked her why she didn’t wear her HIV Positive t-shirt to the event. After all, the whole reason she was getting this award was for her charitable work on behalf of AIDs.

 But as Annie pointed out, wearing a short sleeved casual tee would not have been respectful to the Queen. Instead, she purposely chose an outfit that she hoped would please Her Majesty. Right down to the paste pearls! (Talk about adjusting your outfit to suit your audience!)

In the end, I think she looks a bit like a bridesmaid. But not just any bridesmaid. One who got to choose a flattering colour. ;) 

 In trying to recreate the look I discovered that I am sorely lacking in the right components. For example, I’m quite sure that black is utterly unacceptable for an afternoon reception with Her Majesty, and I doubt if it's ok to go sleeveless either. Also, I don’t own a fascinator. Fortunately, like Annie, I do have some thrift store bling. And at least I know how to curtsey.  (Pics 4/5) 

Speaking frankly, I’d feel very awkward in this outfit in real life so I’m glad I don’t have to wear it. I prefer a more streamlined look, both on myself and on Annie.

 As a consummate performer, Annie always has plenty in her closet for those last minute awards presentations. :) Take, for instance. her classic black gown in Pic 6.  Doesn’t she look amazing? Impossible for me to recreate since I don’t have a full length evening gown. But my blue linen cocktail sheath in Pic 7 (and a copy of Angie's turquoise dress) captures something of the same simple drama, I hope, and did me very well for receiving a National Magazine Award. 

Then there is the fabulous 30s inspired cold shoulder dress she wore to receive her Oscar.  (Pics 8/9). I have nothing remotely like this in my closet. But I do have a 20s inspired silk that makes me feel super feminine. 

(Note to self: Must purchase a fabulous white silky satin gown for the Giller presentations...)

As beautiful as Annie looked at those two events, who will ever forget her amazing performance at the 2015 Grammies? Listen if you haven’t yet — she’ll put a spell on you. She mesmerized the audience and critics alike. Age, she showed us all, brings power, depth, resonance, and fire. 

I had the most fun yet recreating my version of that outfit. BR sequin culottes, Trouve jacket, BR necklace. I actually wore a slightly more casual version (with denim jacket instead of tux jacket) just last week and I know I will wear this version at some point, too. Sequins and star power. What could be better?

Stay tuned for the final instalment of this series: Shining Light. 

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41 Comments

  • Karie replied 3 years ago

    Amazing! You have captured not only her look, but her spirit as well. I love all of these, and you seem as comfortable in your outfits as she did in hers.

  • Xtabay replied 3 years ago

    Fabulous, Suz!  You're a chameleon, just like AL!  So cool.

  • kathryn replied 3 years ago

    So glamorous and fun! I especially love your "Grammies outfit."

  • Elizabeth P replied 3 years ago

    Ok, wait. You're going to the Gillers? Tell me more!

  • Suz replied 3 years ago

    Ha, Elizabeth, I WISH!!!  

    My answer to that is not yet. Wait 5 to 8 years. :)  

  • Elizabeth P replied 3 years ago

    Phew. Wondered if I'd missed something MAJOR!! Actually I wondered if you were a guest of some sort. How cool would that be?

    I absolutely love (now that I've recovered and gone back to look at the pics) dhow you've used Annie's outfits as inspiration. Definitely a good use of the term inspiration... They are not copies, they are Suzified. Yup, that's a word.

  • Alexandra replied 3 years ago

    Oh Suz, how fabulous! I've enjoyed both the pictures and your prose. That purple dress was rather unfortunate. I like your take on it better.

  • columbine(erin) replied 3 years ago

    What a delightful post to read, Suz. And of course you look fab.

  • AJ replied 3 years ago

    Kudos, Suz!  Fab style interepretations!  I especially like the last outfit and hope you wear it to your holiday parties this year. 

  • Debbie replied 3 years ago

    Love these outfits. They are definitely Suzified.

  • kellygirl replied 3 years ago

    Fantastic inspiration. You have taken these looks and made them your own. SO fab! Love this :)

  • Maneera replied 3 years ago

    Suz, I LOVE #12&13!!!! I swear, you're becoming more gorgeous everyday!

    I love all your inspired outfits but the last one blew my mind! Stay inspired!!!

  • JenniferAnne replied 3 years ago

    I loved reading this, Suz! And you rock ALL these looks!

  • tulle replied 3 years ago

    Feeling a little traumatized by the sight of Annie Lenox in that odd "bridesmaid" dress with the purple pancake on her head . . . but I love your outfit in pics #12 & #13!

  • rachylou replied 3 years ago

    Snap! :D

  • Sally replied 3 years ago

    I love them all but I absolutely love the two glamour outfits you did in the Navy dress and the black and white dress. They are superb.

  • Bijou replied 3 years ago

    I love how you put yourself out of your comfort zone to recreate Annie's looks. I also love how you framed the context of what she is wearing. The purple dress is not really "Annie", but given she wore it to meet the Queen, it thoroughly makes sense. Now you look absolutely SMASHING in your formal dress and sequinned culottes!

  • Mirjana replied 3 years ago

    Love them all, wonderful as always, congratulations.

  • Brooklyn replied 3 years ago

    What a lovely tribute to AL! Your outfits are fab. Especially the last two. Definitely rock star material.

  • Eliza replied 3 years ago

    Gorgeous. Sequins- you rock that look. Love that you went for those culottes and am glad you plan to wear that outfit again.

    Well done and extra thanks for the background AL info.

  • Style Fan replied 3 years ago

    I was thinking the same as Elizabeth.  You are going to the Gillers!  Okay recovered.
    Love how you researched all these looks and made them your own.  Annie is a thoughtful woman and so are you.  I like the culottes.  Hope to see you in them again.  That sheath is gorgeous.  Wow!

  • April replied 3 years ago

    Fabulous post, Suz.  Seriously, as I glided through the photos the first time around, I missed the transition between Miss Lennox and you!  Not that you look so much alike, just that your current haircut and the glamorous dress filled in the blanks.  :)

    I was in college during the early days of Eurythmics, when it was still unusual to see a woman with a haircut like Annie's.  I had that haircut (buzzed short on the sides, inch or two long on top -- only mine tended to curl) and I learned from Annie Lennox that the way to carry it off without looking overly masculine or hard-edged was to sport full Chanel-style makeup.  If she did that, she could even wear men's clothing (as below) and not look mannish.

    P.S. And I realized after posting that you have been going through her career in eras, and you're in the Diva era here, way past Eurythmics.  You're in the "When Suz Had Annie's Hair" era, not the "When April Had Annie's Hair" era.  :)  

  • lyn67 replied 3 years ago

    OMG, both of You are gorgeous ladies, but I still prefer  some of your looks better:-) the sequin culotte are just...oh well, A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!

  • shevia replied 3 years ago

    You just seem to inhabit her - what a perfect style muse for you Suz! I love the sequined culottes on you.

  • Meredith replied 3 years ago

    This series of posts is amazing. I am in love with your last look!

  • Chris987 replied 3 years ago

    What fun! You really rock her style so well. I can see why you felt ridiculous in her "rocker chick" tank top outfit...I don't see any of that look in your style at all :-) Now you are ready with an outfit for next time Queen E or Duchess Kate visits your city! Those hats....just not a part of life for this casual American but I do love seeing them. I love the costumey side of her and others like her...so much fun to be able to basically wear whatever you want if it fits your stage persona.

    Well done! You could write her bio ....you should volunteer :-)

  • Tanya replied 3 years ago

    I have really enjoyed this post, Suz.  You writing is fantastic and you look superb in each and every outfit.

  • Beth Ann replied 3 years ago

    Wow!  Such fun to read the copy and glance through your creative outfit session!

    Inspiration matters, doesn't it?  And playing with that inspiration makes for a fresh look at familiar garments hanging in our closet.

    You look beautiful in every pic.  Please wear 12/13 sometime soon!

  • Gail replied 3 years ago

    You look fab in them all Suz !

  • Firecracker replied 3 years ago

    What a fun read, and your outfits are amazing, Suz. You are far from ridiculous in the tank and jeans--quite a polished, if simple, look! You are stunning in your dresses, and I'm inspired by your star-power poses. The silver multi-strap shoes are just gorgeous with the blue dress. You are a total knockout in the sequin outfit; glad you've worn a version already. I can see it working brilliantly for the holidays this season!

  • Suz replied 3 years ago

    Thank you all for the very kind words. I've learned a lot from this challenge -- lessons to be shared in a future post. 

    Jean Seberg and Annie Lennox are easy style icons for me; there's a physical resemblance to both, and in addition, in a broad way I share their politics -- and I also some personality characteristics. Just wait until I branch out! :) 

    The sequin culottes were the smartest purchase I made all summer! I got them for $25 (which in Canada is ridiculous!!) -- a final sale item from last year's BR monogram collection -- and wow, are they every going to do heavy duty for me on the holidays. I adore them. And Mr. Suz thinks they are "sexy" so there you go. Not everyone shares the aversion to culottes, apparently -- not even men! 

    My next style icon is going to be completely different! 

  • Angie replied 3 years ago

    YOU NAILED THIS CHALLENGE. Killer all round. I am wowed, Suz. 

    #13 launches me into orbit. Killer to the Power of Killer. 

  • Suz replied 3 years ago

    Isn't it brilliant, Angie?!  I had so much fun with that one. I will absolutely wear this outfit again IRL. I did wear a version last weekend at a WritersFest event but with sleeveless t-neck top and denim jacket instead of tank and tux jacket, as the night was warm and I knew I would want to remove the jacket and don't really wear tanks without a jacket these days. 

    I LOVE CULOTTES. CULOTTES ARE HEAVEN'S GIFT TO ME!!!! 

    Why? Because they are boyish AND feminine. Practical AND pretty. Fierce and fashionable AND not-too-RATE. 

  • Angie replied 3 years ago

    ANOTHER absolutely KILLER look, Suz. You are looking MORE gorgeous than ever. Radiant. 

  • Suz replied 3 years ago

    You are way too kind, Angie. But I do feel happy with the new hair and the new proportions of outfits!! It is fun to try new things and make them work (with your help!) 

  • texstyle replied 3 years ago

    How fun suz - great inspiration outfits all around and loving your culotte style too.

  • replied 3 years ago

    I started to look at your photos Suz and had to stop to rush and get my coral crash helmet! You are amazing in all of these iterations! What fun! Special shout out for the culotte outfit...love it.

  • peacechick replied 3 years ago

    This is so fun! I'll go back to look for part 1 now. You picked a great style icon with a really similar energy, and I love the shift from restrained elegance to rocker chic. My favourite look is the blinged out rocker one!

  • Joy replied 3 years ago

    Your looks and writing took my breath away!

  • Ledonna N. replied 3 years ago

    Suz in my book you can do no fashion wrong. 11,12, 13 are the best but I love the simplicity of 1&2.

    I enjoy your writing style.

    Thank you for sharing.

  • Cococat replied 3 years ago

    Fabulous Suz. I've so enjoyed your Annie L challenge.

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