Fashion Flashback: Aretha Franklin

Wishing a happy 72nd birthday to the Queen of Soul in style!
ESSENCE.COM Jun, 16, 2010

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The soul singer's style was as distinct as her voice. Specifically, Aretha Franklin had an affinity for ornate caftans especially beaded ones. Here, Aretha Franklin poses for a portrait in 1965 wearing a embellished bell-sleeve style to die for.

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Franklin's voluptuous curves were front and center proudly. On a 1973 comp card sporting an oh-so hippie style fringe number with cowgirl boots.

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In this 1968 portrait, Aretha Franklin sports a then fashion-forward afro, glamorous fur stole and embellished gown.

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With hair perfectly primmed and make-up naturally stunning, the singer completes this look elegantly in a beautiful lace shroud.

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When it came to 80's style, Franklin was just as fierce. This ruffle asymmetrical says it all.

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Franklin's affinity for fur and animal print were very apparent. Here, the 18-time Grammy winner throws a leopard and zebra mix-print coat over a white mini-dress with wild mink cuffs for an over-the-top touch.

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“The bigger, the better” became Aretha Franklin’s fashion motto in the ’90s. The talented singer and pianist gravitated to ornate and over-the-top details to make a statement.

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Even today Aretha Franklin never misses an opportunity to wrap herself in fur. Here, she dons a long mink with matching headscarf during a tree lighting performance at the Rockefeller Center.

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Aretha Franklin brings back the chic chapeau, one that caused a fashion frenzy at Barack Obama’s inauguration –– a Swarovski crystal-bedazzled wool hat with a large bow hand molded especially for her by a Detroit milliner.

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At the 2012 ESSENCE Music Festival, Franklin sparkled on stage in a green caftan with silver sequin embellishments while singing “Chain of Fools.”


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