Girl Stalk: PJ Harvey, feminist fashion icon

PJ+Harvey+PJ_zoetrop
 This post is my response to Feminist Fashion Bloggers.

I love PJ Harvey. For the sake of brevity, let’s just call her a pop star – just not one you’ll see shilling mobile phone and grinding against big TVs in music videos (ahem, Britney Spears). PJ – or Polly Jean to friends – is also a shapeshifting creature. She’s an artist, and creates her identity through her clothing and how she presents herself.
Consider the photo above, taken around 1998 when she was promoting Is This Desire? I first heard PJ on Top of the Pops, performing the album’s lead single, A Perfect Day Elise (low quality video here). Against the pop stars of the day – the Spice Girls, Billie, Steps and so on – she looked startling. Shocking, even. Curly hair, minimal make up and singing live.

PJ has created different versions of herself over the years, complimenting the differing musical styles of her albums. She’s been unshaven and unashamed circa Rid Of Me (1993), and straight-backed in Broderie Anglaise for the creepy chamber-pop of White Chalk (2007). She’s also done glossy and ‘feminine’, but she’s done it her own way. Take a look at the video for This Is Love (2001), below. She might be wearing a Christina Aguilera approved amount of make-up, rhinestone stilettoes and a revealing jumpsuit, but she’s parodying macho guitar heroes. Not so dissimilar to what Lady Gaga’s getting up to in the video for Born This Way.

Does she label herself a feminist? I don’t think so. Does it matter? To me, no. She’s amazingly talented. Plus she always looks great.