Spotlight: The Evolution of Miley Cyrus

Whether you love her or hate her, there’s no escaping Miley Cyrus. Her ‘wrecking ball’-like approach dominated media and popular culture over 2013. Who can forget the image of a twerking, tongue-wagging, scantily clad (sparing that foam finger) Miley at the VMAs? An image which sparked immediate controversy and launched an unprecedented mass debate. Though her questionable antics have divided opinion and earned her a wild-child reputation, one thing Miley has certainly done is impress the fashion elite: earning her a campaign for Marc Jacobs’ Spring/Summer ’14 collection, as well as an upcoming collaboration with Roberto Cavalli, who has custom designed a series of outfits for her ‘Bangerz’ world tour later this year.


In contrast to her notoriously risqué stage outfits, Miley’s personal style proves her fashion credibility. Her everyday wear and red carpet attire showcase a more demure side to the star, demonstrating versatility and cementing her a position in the fashion world. Best known for her high V body suits, Miley’s offstage outfits may instigate less media attention but, are nonetheless deserving of attention. With her trademark peroxide pixie cut, punk-esque, carefree attitude reminiscent of 80’s and 90’s grunge era, Miley’s streetwear style includes a host of crop tops, oversized vintage tee’s and jackets, chunky gold jewelry paired with her signature Doc Martens and an extensive collection of mini-shorts and skirts.


However, her red carpet and event wardrobe choices feature sophisticated designs by the likes of Balenciga, Calvin Klein and Emilio Pucci, to name but a few. Her mesh polka-dot bralet and skirt combination worn whilst out in New York were the works of high-fashion industry giants Chanel and Marc Jacobs. Similarly, Miley was dressed in a strapless monochrome jumpsuit by Valentino for the Maxim Party, where she topped their infamous Hot 100 List. Evidently, this is a girl who knows her designers, and isn’t afraid to experiment with cutting edge style.


The evolution of the new Miley has garnered a seal of acceptance from the international fashion press, recent months seeing her grace the cover of dozens of prestigious magazines, from Rolling Stone to Elle, LOVE, V and Notion. Her photo shoots reinforce and reflect her attitude towards style, she creates multiple looks that render her almost unrecognisable. Her October cover for Harper’s Bazaar shows Miley in a more glamorous, pared back light: she dons a satin little black dress and a red pout. In stark contrast to this is the March cover of W magazine, which depicts the star reclining provocatively on a bed, covered only by a strategically placed pillow; the focus is not on the clothes but Miley’s evolution- the singer has been reinvented as a modern day siren, her crop replaced with a tousled blonde bob and bleached brows. Speaking of her style in the interview accompanying the shoot with W, Miley states: “I like that I’m associated with sexuality and the kind of punk-rock shit where we just don’t care […] like Madonna or Blondie or Joan Jett.”


Perhaps as a result of her former squeaky-clean Disney persona, Miley’s sexualised image and particularly contentious performances have evoked constant media attack and scrutiny; in a recent interview with Harpers Bazaar she defends and justifies her actions:  “I know I’m not putting down women. People get a rise out of me saying that I was a feminist, but I am. I’m telling women: ‘be whoever you want to be’”. Fundamentally, she knows what she’s doing. Yes, she might be scandalous, but despite her outspokenness in interviews, she never takes fashion, or herself, too seriously. Whether in her clothing choices, music or media, Miley is fearless. If we can take anything from her, let it be her confidence. Notorious? Definitely. Brilliant? Obviously.

Zoe Williamson and Tara Bell

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