The Freedom Of Lil Nas X: The Style In “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)”

The rapper Lil Nas X burst in 2019 with the hit “Old Town Road”, mixing country and R&B. Now, he intends to release a new album: “Montero” - which is his real name. However, the production is quite different from the style of his old songs: he promises to reveal his real identity.

Before, Nas X publicly admitted that he had already pretended to be who he wasn’t because of music industry pressure. As time went on, the 21-year-old artist from Georgia was breaking through this barrier of a “country boy” for daring and extravagant looks style.

Admittedly Queer, the rapper made his musical and dress-style transition with the Christmas single “Holiday”, wearing clothes that are not socially expected by a man. The next step was the music video for “Call Me By Your Name’’, released on March 26th of this year, which broke even more barriers and gave a definitely “bye” to the past Lil Nas X style.

The music video brang many controversies, despite the LGBTQIA+ phobic opinion of some people, like  his clothes, the trip to hell, a lap dance in the devil and even “satanic” sneakers. To talk about this deconstruction of stereotypes through fashion and music, Her Campus Cásper Líbero interviewed Martina Vignoli, graduated in fashion at Anhembi Morumbi University.

Fashion and identity

The video features a fantastic visual production, marked by many scenes and artistic clothes. ‘'It’s an amazing clip. The visual identity is very striking, is not something that you forget easily, it gets in your mind later. From costumes to hair, accessories, makeup, everything dialogues very well with his choices. It’s a very controversial clip, I believe it was a watershed for criticism in general", says Vignoli. 

As a fashion student, she  said what was her favorite clip look: "I really liked the blue looks, I even wanted it for me! It is  reminiscent of the patchwork technique, because it uses several types of jeans. It was very good. I wouldn’t change anything'’.

In Vignoli’s opinion fashion can rather be used as a way of doing politics: “I think that fashion can be a form of political expression. It is a very delicate subject, which can cause controversy since each one has his own thought. But it already has some stylists who show their positions by clothing, as Ronaldo Fraga, which has a very strong activist side. I’ve participated in a parade that had Marielle (a murdered Brazilian politician) embroidered. So he takes matters out of these issues and expresses what he feels from his clothes.’’

As Nas X wears some clothes that are traditionally considered feminine - such as boots, made-up nails and makeup - the gender and clothing issue has also been addressed: “I think that gender clothing is something that needs to be deconstructed and has been deconstructed very strongly in recent years. The non-gendered fashion is really a trend in the future and it’s already happening. In my final work for the graduation, we did some research and one of the questions was whether the Z generation looked at the gender issue in their clothes or whether they bought what they liked. In response, they actually buy what they feel comfortable with, not caring much about this gender issue, so I think it’s a trend that tends to increase over the years.’’

The fashion student also gave her personal opinion about the religious polemic, saying that, at the end of the day, art is important. “I found it quite controversial. I didn’t know the singer. I found it very aggressive, I believe that people with religious identities did not feel comfortable watching the clip, but I believe that this message was important to the artist. It was necessary for him.’’

Controversies

The music video for “Call Me By Your Name'’ generated a lot of debate due to the visual production aggressive style. One of the polemics was the fact that Nas X, in the clip, was killed, but chose to go to hell - and, arriving there, did lap dance in the devil. In addition, as a way of promoting the clip, the rapper released a tennis shoe known as Air Max 97’s ‘‘Satan Shoes’’ with the presence of human blood drops.

Despite the limited sale of the 666 pairs already sold out in less than a minute, Nike sued the artist by claiming that it didn’t authorize the sale of the product. Thus, Federal Judge Eric Komitee requested the withdrawal of tennis pairs from the market. “I haven’t been upset until today, I feel like it’s f*** up they have so much power that they can get shoes canceled. Freedom of expression is gone out the window. But that’s gonna change soon”, said Lil Nas X on Twitter.

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The article above was edited by Gabriela Sartorato.  

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