It’s undeniable that Olivia Rodrigo is pop music’s newest it girl — ever since the release of Driver’s License, Rodrigo has been erupting across streaming platforms. An important part of her popularity is her relatability. She aligns herself with the average teenage girl, and her songs are purposely vague so that most listeners can find relatability within the words. Alongside this, Rodrigo’s aesthetic is undoubtedly inspired by 00s pop punk.
Whilst the punk subculture is rooted in its liberal political values, 00s mainstream punk is less activism, and more aesthetic. Think Avril Lavigne in Girlfriend, or the pink-and-black aesthetic of Monster High later in the decade. This style was a predecessor to emo, and mixed stylistic trends within punk with the bright palette also popular in the 00s, a consequence of the 80s revival.
Here, we explore the 00s punk aesthetic — first popularised by the likes of Avril Lavigne — that Rodrigo has utilised within the Good 4 U and Brutal music videos.
Good 4 U, directed by Petra Collins, starred Devon Lee Carlson as stylist. The music video does not include a large amount of looks, however the music video takes inspiration from Jennifer’s Body, the 2009 horror film starring Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried. Jennifer’s Body is now known as a cult classic, and when drawing inspiration for 00s looks, Jennifer Check’s iconic heart-print hoodie is always cited.
The costuming of the video includes three colours: black, white, and light blue. The first outfit is all-white, and quickly transitions into the main outfit of the video, a light blue cheerleader's uniform. What’s interesting about this is its similarity to the background; Rodrigo blends into her surroundings, suggesting that she has been ‘left behind,’ like the song argues.
The corset and plaid skirt at the end are reminiscent of the cheerleader uniform beforehand, however both of these pieces provide 00s motifs. Plaid was a staple of the 00s, with the reigning queen being the Burberry beige tartan. Corsets, on the other hand, have always weaved in and out of fashion, but it was the 00s when they were recognised as tops. Rodrigo has worn many a Vivienne Westwood corset over the Sour era, and the plain white corset within the video is similar to these. Both plaid and corsetry mimic mainstream punk of the 00s, a style popularised by Avril Lavigne especially.
Brutal takes a deeper dive into 00s fashion — styled by Chloe and Chenelle Delgadillo and Ron Hartlemen, and directed again by Petra Collins, the video shows an array of 00s trends, with an emphasis on the punk aesthetic.
The Vivienne Westwood motif remains — this time, in the form of the iconic pearl necklace, alongside a bright pink blazer. Although this ‘character’ of Rodrigo’s is supposed to represent corporate media, the use of Vivienne Westwood undermines this, and instead pokes fun at the character she’s playing. Vivienne Westwood herself is known for her activism, so by using her designs to dress the corporate, the video emphasises the irony. Although this character is mainstream, the chosen designer makes it punk.
A personal favourite is the classroom outfit — the beret, paired with the ‘flirt’ diamanté t-shirt and plaid skirt, looks like it's straight off of a Jade Bratz doll. The music video incorporates two diamanté slogan tees. A highlight of the 00s, t-shirts with kitschy slogans like ‘flirt’ (or ‘a little bit dramatic’, as shown on Mean Girls’ Regina George) provide a playful element to any outfit. But, the colours used in the classroom outfit are certainly similar to 00s punk, showing how mainstream punk is less subculture, and rather, 00s trends with an edge.
by Lucy Eaton