Josephine Baker in the 1920s, All Over Press

Josephine Baker in the 1920s, All Over Press

The 10 best on-stage outfits

It has always been the place where musicians have shown off their creativity and wild sides, not to mention cement their places in fashion history. We count down the 10 best on-stage outfits through the years.

Madonna & David Bowie, All Over Press

Despite her chameleon-like character, this is Madonna’s defining image. She wore a pink silk ‘cone-bra’ whipped up by Jean Paul Gaultier for her 1990 Blond Ambition tour, and launched a thousand fancy dress costumes in the process.

His gender-bending set new standards for fashion icons, and Bowie’s style from Ziggy Stardust to Labyrinth still gives us endless inspiration, as evidenced by his retrospective at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum last year. A Starman, truly. 

Katy Perry & Josephine Baker, All Over Press

Katy Perry takes her themed costumes seriously. She’s done it all, from quarterback to human cupcake, and here, rave Cleopatra. Plus, she almost always includes her dancers, which makes for really coordinated dance moves.

Think “Josephine Baker” and the phrase “Go big or go home” springs to mind. Sure, she turned a lot of heads in Paris for her dancing and famous friendships, but those elaborate costumes were legendary, even in the Roaring Twenties.

Kanye West & Mick Jagger, All Over Press

Trust Kanye West to procure Maison Martin Margiela to make his Yeezus tour couture costumes – including the house’s signature bejewelled silk masks, for some full-on fashion cred.

Mick Jagger isn’t one to shy away from a jumpsuit or some leggings. A typical look for the Rolling Stone may include sequins, shiny fabric and a plunging neckline more often found on a Hollywood bombshell than a swaggering frontman.

Prince & Lady Gaga, All Over Press

Blurring the lines between feminine and masculine, The Purple One revels in Edwardian romance and Baroque glamour, always with a touch of lace, some striking makeup and those all-important Cuban heels.

The current queen of outrageous outfits, Gaga is utterly fearless. Who else can rock slabs of meat or see-through plastic with such gusto? Here, on the Monster’s Ball tour, she even manages to turn a giant plastic torch into a must-have accessory.

Grace Jones & Elton John, All Over Press

Setting the bar high for today’s stars, Grace Jones costumes from the 1970s and 1980s used androgyny to redefine sexy on-stage. With her statuesque frame and mind-blowing outfits, Grace has inspired everyone from YSL to Lady Gaga.

Before Gaga and Madonna, there was Elton John, playing the piano in lamé, ostrich feathers and of course, ostentatious sunglasses. This man made extravagance on stage into an art form, and we thank him for that.