Design of the Week | Lana Del Rey
Yes, she is a singer/songwriter, but Lana Del Rey is more than a musician. Lana Del Rey has become a brand. Her music toes the line of mainstream pop and indie rock, but her image and style put her in a league of her own. She isn't necessarily doing anything new, but cashing in on themes of melancholia and 1950s/60s American pop culture. Her Facebook page coins the genre "hollywood pop/sad-core." She uses nostalgia as a vehicle for her fresh, catchy tunes. Much like the Beach Boys did in the 60s, Lana Del Rey's music, along with her cinematic videos and image, takes you somewhere else—whether it be the golden West Coast, glamorous South Beach, eclectic New York flat, seedy Las Vegas motel, or oversaturated desert. She romanticizes heartbreak, drugs, and love in a fictionalized American landscape. She even makes living in a trailer park seem cool.
When she rose to fame with her internet music video, Video Games, followed by her first major-label debut, Born to Die, she was immediately compared to the likes of Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, etc. People assumed she was THE next female pop-star, or at least trying to be. She quickly disregarded the comparisons and almost rebelled against mainstream pop music. Born and raised in New York as Elizabeth Woodlridge Grant, she created the Lana Del Rey persona after spending a lot of time in Miami with her Spanish speaking friends. She has said that the name was inspired by the glamour of the seaside. The adopted stage name has catapulted her to icon status.
As polarizing as she can be, Lana has become massively famous thanks to calculated marketing and intentional stylistic decisions. Pouty lipped Lana always appears vintage-chic. Even her Instagram feed looks like found footage from JFK's home videos. The internet monster that has become Lana Del Rey has garnered a frenzied cult following. Her brand sells. I feel like a sucker, but I'm buying it.