7 of stevie nicks' most iconic outfits

A celebration of the mystical artist's velvet capes, silk-fringed shawls, and layered chiffon.

by Brittany Natale
22 October 2019, 3:05pm

When rock royalty Stevie Nicks sings about the Velvet Underground in her 1982 song “Gypsy” she doesn’t mean the New York band — she is talking about the vintage shop in San Francisco that she used to frequent in the 60s. The California store’s pieces — racks of velvet, chiffon, and lace — enchanted a younger Nicks and ultimately helped shape the iconic style that she is known for today. Over the past 50 years, the Fleetwood Mac frontwoman's bohemian look has continued to inspire — even on the runway with Rodarte, Ralph Lauren, and Anna Sui taking notes from the songstress’ mystical fashion sense.

Since it's the perfect time of year to layer on those velvet shawls and capes, i-D rounded up some Nicks' most influential outfits:

Photographed in Layers of Chiffon and Lace by Photographer Sam Emerson, 1977
Nicks’ style through the years has been otherworldly, saturated with deep velvets, intricate lace shawls, and tons of fringe. She once confided in Rolling Stone that she does not do casual well, and her favorite day of the year is Halloween. What some people may not know though is that Stevie developed her fantastical way of dressing as a strategy to help banish the intense stage fright she felt at the beginning of her career. In 2009 she told The New York Times that her younger self remembers thinking, “I’ll be very, very sexy under 18 pounds of chiffon and lace and velvet, and nobody will know who I really am.”

Sheer Black Gown in “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around”
Nicks, dressed in free-flowing chiffon, took the stage with fellow musician and good friend Tom Petty while performing in their 1981 music video for their chart-topping song, “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around”. Throughout the decades the two collaborated together countless times and were incredibly inspired by each other: Petty wrote “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” for Nicks, with the lead originally supposed to be sung solely by the songstress. Meanwhile, Nicks wrote another one of her Bella Donna hits, “Edge of Seventeen”, after becoming inspired by a conversation with Petty’s first wife, Jane Benyo; and also toured as part of The Heartbreakers for three months. Nicks and Petty shared the stage one last time in 2017 while performing in London’s Hyde Park as part of his 40th-anniversary tour.

Fringed Silk Shawl at the 1983 US Festival
Earlier this year, Nicks shared with Rolling Stone magazine that she has a temperature controlled storage vault where she keeps her collection of shawls, an assortment that hovers in the thousands. Embroidered, fringed, sequined, knitted, lace, silk, chiffon — you name it, she has it. Her shawls throughout the years have become an integral part of her style and a detail which has particularly set her apart from other women in music.

Black Velvet Cape by Herbert Worthington in 1981
In 1977 Nicks started working with Los Angeles-based fashion designer and celebrity stylist, Margi Kent. The two collaborated together through the decades to create what would eventually become Nicks’ iconic ethereal look: a romantic, whimsical array of outfits that Nicks said were inspired by a woman she once saw in the audience wearing a Gibson Girl hairstyle and Edwardian era clothing. In 2011, Nicks told Harper’s Bazaar that she would often draw a stick figure outfitted in the clothing she dreamed up and give it to Kent to bring to life. Besides Stevie Nicks, Kent has worked with other artists throughout the years including the Beatles’ George Harrison, soul singer Gladys Knight, and disco queen Gloria Gaynor.

Pink Chiffon and Beaded Lace in the Music Video for “Stand Back”
Nicks solidified her common, and perhaps most appropriately given, nickname of “Rock’s Fairy Godmother” while singing and dancing her way through her music video for her song, “Stand Back.” Shots of the singer draped in pink chiffon, sheer black beaded gowns, and fringed shawls are interspersed between frames of an 80s dance troupe bathed in soft light emphatically gesticulating to the rhythm of the music.

Photo by Dave Allocca/DMI/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

Rolling Stone’s 30 Years of Covers Exhibition Opening
In 1998 Nicks appeared on the red carpet dressed in a crushed brown velvet gown with matching overcoat alongside bandmates Lindsay Buckingham and Mick Fleetwood. The three were attending Rolling Stone Magazine’s 30 Years of Covers exhibition at the Puck Building in New York City. The exhibit celebrated the many memorable covers created by the popular publication, something that Nicks and crew were very familiar with — Nicks has been on the cover of Rolling Stone many times, both with and without Fleetwood Mac. Not surprisingly, one of the rock group’s covers, which hit stands March of 1977, was shot by none other than the inimitable Annie Leibovitz.

Photo by Barry King/WireImage

Gold-Embroidered Gown for the 1987 MTV VMAs For the 1987 MTV VMAs
Nicks ditched her usual uniform of draped black lace dresses and fringed shawls for a form-fitting gold-embroidered velvet gown with matching hair accessory. Although Fleetwood Mac nor Nicks were nominated for any awards this year, they still partook in one of the most memorable evenings in pop culture — Prince performed a medley of “Sign o’ the Times” and “Play in the Sunshine,” Cyndi Lauper set the mood with her performance of “Change of Heart” and “True Colors,” and Run D.M.C. along with Steven Tyler and Joe Perry brought forward an unexpected, but iconic, live collaboration with their hit “Walk This Way.”

fleetwood mac
stevie nicks
80s fashion
70s fashion
7 Iconic Outfits