Doja Cat has managed to become a household name over the past two years, and the artist is practically synonymous with songs you can't get out of your head. It started with her parody track, "Mooo!" which turned an internet meme and, later, ended up on the deluxe version of her album Amala (2018). It put the singer on everyone's radar, labeling her as a woman with a sense of humor who has a distinct voice — even if the content was ridiculous.
Since then, Doja Cat has seen plenty of success with Hot Pink, her second studio album. She's managed to turn more than half of it into singles — many of which inspired viral TikTok dances — including "Say So" and "Streets." And now, with the release of Planet Her, she's for sure headed for superstardom.
Doja Cat has also proven she can serve looks, stepping out in Mugler body suits, Givenchy items, and gorgeous custom creations by emerging designers. She's also been leaning into the space theme as of late, and in turn, it's making us want to live in her futuristic world. It's true the singer has always had a knack for bold fashion, from wardrobe, to makeup, and various hair styles (in bright and pastel colors), owning over-the-top pop star status. But looking at music videos for Planet Her's "Kiss Me More" and "Need To Know," Doja Cat has somehow managed to dress out of this world — pun intended — without it being too gimmick-y.
The singer's choices have been women-positive and high fashion. They're an amalgamation of Doja Cat's vision of the future, along with interpretations from her stylist and Creative Director, Brett Alan Nelson.
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"I wanted to make sure that whatever we do feels like our own future," Nelson tells InStyle over the phone, where he assures us that Doja is a major part of the overall process. Nelson says he turned to art for most of his references for a mood board, although he was also influenced by the film The Fifth Element (1997) for the looks we see in the "Need To Know" music video. In that specific project, Doja Cat and her crew of friends wear sexy outfits with prosthetics, making it known that they're from another planet. Even Doja's cropped tee shirt looks like the NASA logo, but it says "DOJA" instead.
According to Nelson, he was inspired Milla Jovovich's character from the film, who wore revealing, cutout clothing and a crop top that gave futuristic rave energy.
It's inevitable that, when trying to predict the future through fashion, the looks will likely remind us of something we've already seen, similar to the aesthetics of space movies like Austin Powers or Guardians of the Galaxy, both of which reference styles of the past. So, when it came to this album's wardrobe choices, sci-fi films from the 1960s were a good place to start. Nelson even pulled from the archives of Jean Paul Gaultier for some of Planet Her's album art, dressing the singer in a metal conical bustier from the Autumn/Winter 1987-88 "Forbidden Gaultier" Ready-to-Wear collection. The image, along with Doja Cat's 2021 GRAMMYs look, may even bring to mind the fembots from Austin Powers: The International Man of Mystery (1997).
"You're never going to be able to really create futurism unless you are able to do a hodgepodge mix of things. Because, if you really think about [it], even today, people dress from all different eras," Nelson explains. "That's really what our future is. People are always going to be inspired by the past."
While Doja Cat's outfits have indeed been alien-like, the singer and Nelson are also taking the futuristic theme literally, too. Sure, the stylist is pulling from big-name labels such as Gaultier and Balmain, but lesser-known brands, whose sense of style illustrates the future of fashion and includes a playful aesthetic, are also in the mix — which may help catapult another career, too. For the "Need To Know" single art, Doja's boots, with their wildly whimsical soles and heels, are from Windowsen. Design duo Whitaker Malem also constructed a leather bodice to look like a vagina for the album art of Planet Her. The piece feels artful rather than raunchy, and that's the beauty of it.
Like Nelson tells us, what sets Doja Cat apart from other artists out there is that she isn't afraid to take risks, but at the same time, her fashion choices are still authentic to her. So, as she continues to prove she's not only a musical force but a fashion icon as well, we'll continue to take notes and use her as a source of inspiration — even if it's just motivation to take more risks, get creative, and think ahead.