"Born To Die" - Lana Del Rey

[I'm deviating from my usual formula for today's post, and perhaps experimenting in what will turn into an additional formula going forward: discussing the styling of a music video. Instead of creating a unique look for a specific song, I'll be analyzing some of the stylistic details of a specific music video and creating a collage of looks similar to those seen in the video. Cool? Cool. Here we go.]

all screenshots taken from the music video

Lana Del Rey is an interesting artist, no? She's certainly beginning to garner much more attention in the recent months. She signed with Interscope in October, her debut album is due in January 2012, and her video for "Born to Die" received over 1.5 million hits in two days. 

She's not brand new to the scene, however. Amanda Dobbins of nymag.com wrote an excellent piece summarizing her rise to fame, as well as the backlash surrounding it. Essentially, she's being marketed as a sexy new indie sensation, but a number of music bloggers have called her out for being a poseur and adjusting her image to fit into the indie mold (Dobbins' piece references most of those bloggers and their articles). 

As for me, I've enjoyed listening to her singles "Video Games", "Blue Jeans", and now "Born To Die", but at the same time the idea that she may be manufactured to appeal to a certain audience leaves a bad taste in my mouth (bad sound in my ears? Does this idiom work?). And then again, how many hundreds of other artists are completely manufactured in order to be successful? I think the issue here is it's typically pop artists and the machines behind them that fall into this category and their listeners don't care as much to lead to any real backlash. Lana Del Rey's people tried to pull one over on the wrong demographic. As an indie sensation, she's appealing to the hipsters, those vehemently opposed to "the mainstream". I know I'm stereotyping, but I think it's those stereotypical hipsters that are being the loudest over all this. If your audience yearns for authentic indie cred and then finds out it's not authentic at all, you can bet they'll yell about it. 

Anyway, this is a fashion piece, so let's be done with the politics and controversy and get back to the style, because, you guys, this video is pretty stunning. 

The song is about a relationship that's essentially doomed to fail (hence the title) and, in the video, it does so, quite literally. The video was shot in a French castle and the juxtaposition of shots in this ornate location and the gritty scenes in the car is beautiful. The colors are simple and impactful, and the flames at the end are especially abrupt as they provide a bright pop of orange after scenes of neutrals, reds, whites, and blues (minus the tigers, of course).

Each look worn by Lana is fantastic and understated, and the beauty is spot-on. In her throne she wears an Antonio Berardi gown with her floral crown and pet tigers. We also see her face featuring a strong red lip, dramatic cat eyes, and oh-so-trendy triangle nails, a favorite of refinery29 nail DIYs. The next time we see her she's wearing a classic Americana chic ensemble with Daisy Dukes, some red hiker boots and a fabulously fringed motorcycle jacket. Her final outfit is an uncomplicated slip with a perfectly curled hairstyle and nude lip.

Want to recreate one of the looks? Here are some ideas.
Born To Die


  1. Although i enjoyed video games (More specifically Bombay Bicycle Club's cover of it), i don't think Lana's manufactured look appeals to me, it simply comes across as fake, much like her new pumped up lips.

    On the other side though, i enjoy your post on her video, and i may just have to watch it for fashions sake.

  2. Completely fair point on the lips - they are a bit distracting.

    Glad you liked the post!


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