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May 15, 2024

Why Eurovision has become the ultimate fashion stage

The Eurovision Song Contest is a kaleidoscope of colours, emotions, and diverse sounds that transform the stage into a global catwalk. Every year, artists not only perform their musical renditions but also showcase outfits that captivate and inspire millions across the globe. Behind these bold ensembles are seasoned fashion designers and emerging talents, all striving to leave their unique mark and seize the global spotlight with their distinctive aesthetics.

As we prepare to explore the love-hate relationship with fashion at this multilingual songfest, let’s first delve into its rich history. What exactly is the Eurovision Song Contest? Now in its 68th edition, it is widely recognised as a musical festival and competition created in the post-war era to unite and engage nations that had experienced one of the most devastating conflicts of contemporary history just a decade earlier. The European Broadcasting Union, the world’s leading alliance of public service media, established this televised show, placing songs at its core in a fresh and communicative manner.


The Golden Opportunity Eurovision Presents for Emerging Fashion Brands

The Eurovision Song Contest’s innate ability to embrace diversity and individuality is a cornerstone of its influence.

Each artist brings their personal history, culture, and unique style to the stage, which is not just evident in their performances but also in their choice of attire. It’s a celebration of creativity, an exploration of styles and cultural influences that inspires and captivates the audience. 

Moreover, the Eurovision Song Contest provides an unparalleled opportunity for fashion designers who are either upcoming or renowned within their country yet not well-known internationally, enabling them to catch the eye of key figures in the music and fashion industries. Their creations often spark conversations and trends on social media and prominent fashion communication channels, ensuring unprecedented visibility.

The song contest is a rare chance for budding fashion designers to break into the fashion industry and turn their dreams into reality.

While for emerging brands, the event serves as a launchpad, for established fashion houses, it’s an opportunity to collaborate with fresh talent and create iconic outfits that become integral to Eurovision’s history. The final show is a beautiful blend of creativity and skill, resulting in an explosion of style and glamour that makes it truly unique.


Costumes as Stage Ensembles Rather than Fashionable Attire

When examining the iconic looks of Eurovision artists, they’re often dismissed as “trashy.” Yet, this label fails to recognise their true purpose. They’re more than flashy outfits; they’re functional stage costumes designed to enhance the performer’s story and concept. Each performance is a meticulously planned act, and the costumes play an important role in conveying its message. 

In essence, the purpose of these looks is to communicate and become integral co-stars of the performer’s act, amplifying the artist’s personality.

Costumes are valuable assets on stage, evolving to incorporate elements like shiny fabrics and hair extensions blowing in artificial wind. Sequined suits perfectly complement performers’ movements, adding glamour and enhancing their on-stage presence.


Fashion and Eurovision: A Timeless Romance

With daring makeup, figure-hugging dresses, and theatrical costumes, the concept of fashion has always taken centre stage at Eurovision, making the contest a trendsetting powerhouse. 

In the 1960s, the Eurovision stage witnessed the debut of the miniskirt, marking a significant shift in fashion that led to the emergence of plunging necklines and bell-bottom pants, eventually incorporating hippie influences and the glittering glory of sequins in the 1970s.

Feathers are a staple at the Eurovision Song Contest, adorning costumes ranging from angelic wings to bird-inspired attire. One of the most famous examples is worn by Israel’s Dana International, who clinched victory at the 1998 Eurovision Song Contest in Birmingham with her song “Diva,” wearing a black dress with a colourful feathered top known as the “parrot dress,” designed by Jean Paul Gaultier.

Over the years, costume design has evolved in tandem with technological advancements, becoming an essential element of stage production. Who could forget Moldova’s Aliona Moon in 2013, with her 5-metre skirt serving as a canvas for projecting fire and ice? A few years later, in 2018, Estonia’s Elina Nechayeva captivated the audience with her 52-square-metre dress; some considered it a masterpiece, others found it kitschy, but it was undeniably brilliant.


Italy’s Fashion Influence on the Eurovision Stage

It’s worth mentioning that Italy is one of the founding countries of Eurovision. Gian Stellari participated in 1956, followed by Domenico Modugno’s iconic performance of “Nel blu dipinto di blu” in 1958. Gianni Morandi graced the stage with “Occhi di ragazza” in 1970, and Massimo Ranieri sang “L’amore è un attimo” in 1971, followed by “Chi sarà con te” in 1973. These are just a few of the notable Italian artists who have performed on the Eurovision stage over the years, with Italy taking a hiatus before returning in 2011.

In recent years, Italy has experienced a renaissance, with artists bringing unique songs and styles to the international stage. However, it’s not just the music that has captured attention; Italian fashion and the excellence of ‘Made in Italy’ luxury have also played a crucial role in making artists stand out with meticulously curated looks.

In 2021, Måneskin’s victory at Eurovision marked a pivotal moment as the band commanded attention in their rebellious rock chic Etro attire. Their bold fashion statement quickly gained iconic status, igniting inspiration among fans and fashion enthusiasts worldwide. Italy’s ability to blend style and music into a harmonious performance remains unparalleled.

As the 68th edition unfolded in Malmö, Sweden, Italy captivated Eurovision once again, this time with the young and talented Angelina Mango, following her victory at the Sanremo music festival.

Angelina Mango made a statement by wearing Etro designs handpicked by the creative director Marco De Vincenzo and styled by Nick Cerioni, the pro player behind Måneskin’s unforgettable ensembles. This once again highlighted Italy’s enduring impact as a beacon of style and creativity at Eurovision and worldwide, reinforcing its status as the ultimate fashion destination.


Why Eurovision Is Embracing Fashion Like Never Before

Now more than ever, the Eurovision Song Contest has become a vibrant stage for fashion, serving as a platform where emerging trends and designers show their talent and leave an impact on global style. The outfits donned by the performing artists often spark admiration from fans, who eagerly seek to replicate the looks of their beloved musical icons.

Who will emerge as the best-dressed of the 2024 edition? Only time will tell which artist and ensemble will leave a lasting impression in our collective memory. We will surely remember the stunning outfits worn by Mahmood and Blanco in 2023.

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Un post condiviso da GQ Italia (@gqitalia)

Additionally, the sculptural masterpiece designed by Alberta Ferretti and worn by Laura Pausini at the 2022 Eurovision in Turin, where she co-hosted alongside Alessandro Cattelan and Mika, remains a timeless symbol of Italian fashion excellence. 

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Un post condiviso da Alberta Ferretti (@albertaferretti)



Agnese Pasquinelli
Fashion Business, Digital Communication & Media student, 3rd year, Milan