Aretha Franklin passed away on Thursday, leaving behind a legacy that includes 18 Grammy Awards, 17 top-10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and six decades’ worth of music. The Queen of Soul touched lives all over the world, with her talent and always memorable performances, which were amplified by her delightfully extravagant sense of style.
In terms of both her music and her fashion, Franklin has been referred to as the ultimate diva—her onstage outfits as dramatic as her four-octave voice. Up until her retirement from performing in 2017, feathers, sequins, and fringe were her signatures. The silhouettes evolved over the years, from formfitting dresses in the sixties to eccentric caftans in the nineties, but her joyful, luxurious approach to dressing remained, emphasizing Franklin’s star power.
Her approach to fashion wasn’t always praised, but Franklin had the perfect response. In the nineties, when a New York Postwriter said that Franklin was too “bosomy” for the clothing she wore, she had a confident reply: “You are hardly in a position to determine what separates stars from divas since you are neither one nor an authority on either.”
Indeed, Aretha Franklin embodied the very essence of what it means to be a “diva.” From her first number-one single in 1967 up until her later appearances in 2017, her wardrobe was admirably over-the-top and commanded respect. Ahead, we remember the decorated artist with 30 of her most iconic looks.