Rock Star Style at Christmas - Rolling Stone
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Rock Star Style at Christmas

Katy Perry

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Like many pop sirens, Perry took the sexy Santa chanteuse route when she performed at Y100's holiday concert spectacular in 2010.  To keep the look distinct, she gave it her own cartoonish twist: that red velvet, fur-trimmed skirt is a bit flouncier than it needs to be, but Perry wouldn't have it any other way. And neither would we.


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Motorhead Works the Denim (1975)

Metalheads love Christmas, too – something Motörhead's Lenny Kilmister proved in 2008, when he contributed a hair-raising cover of "Run Rudolph Run" to the We Wish You A Very Metal Xmas compilation. Yet even before he recorded his seasonal spirit, he dressed for the occasion: this young Kilmister photo demonstrates his ability to combine denim, a cheap holiday headdress and a conveniently dressed woman into a ramshackle Christmas vibe.

Kylie Minogue

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Kylie Minogue in Rubies (2005)

Out of all the songstresses to offer their take on Eartha Kitt's sultry Christmas classic "Santa Baby," Kylie Minogue's breathy coo suited it best in recent years. She performed her cover all over British and international televison throughout the 2000s, and even brought it to a New York stage for last year's lighting of the Rockefeller Christmas Tree. But her mid-2000s Top of the Pops performance of the hit remains her most memorable Christmas moment, and for good reason: in a full-length Santa cape and enormous ruby ring, she proved that good things really do come in small packages.

The Beatles

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The Beatles Joke Around (1964)

In 1964, the Beatles toyed with the British tradition of  "Christmas Pantomime" for a cheeky group portrait that outfitted Paul, John, George and Ringo as matching jesters. Interestingly, though they seem content to rock red (and, er, pink) stockings and neck frills here, George Harrison later stated that the band intentionally eschewed Pantomime stylings for their actual Christmas recordings and shows. The Fab Four insisted on performing proper rock & roll shows around the holidays, with the occasional chuckle-worthy visual gag thrown in.

LL Cool J

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LL Cool J Goes Beardless (2010)

Every pop culture fan possesses the inexplicable urge to witness Santa Claus as a pimp, right? For that, we turn to the hip-hop universe at Christmas. LL Cool J took an impressive stab at filling that role when he dressed up as Father Christmas for a charity party in 2010. Given that the party was to benefit children, he couldn't take too many liberties with the look, though he did eliminate a crucial element of Santa's traditional appeal: the snowy white beard.

Keith Moon

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Keith Moon as Scrooge (1970)

The Who drummer gave Christmas a sprightly, rock & roll edge when he dressed as Scrooge for a 1970 edition of Disc and Music Echo magazine. Here he is standing outside the Old Curiosity Shop in Portsmouth Street, Westminster (the inspiration for the antique shop in Dickens' A Christmas Carol). In his bowler hat, frock coat and specs, Moon's bemused expression makes him a more jovial Scrooge than any cinematic representation.

The Pogues

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Shane MacGowan and Kirsty MacColl Go Glum (1987)

In 1987, Kirsty MacColl and Shane MacGowan collaborated on one of the most heartrending Christmas songs that pop music has ever produced, "Fairytale of New York."  The song touches upon some of the bleaker realities that face our world, even in this time of year. For their live performance, they took a lighter approach, posing with toy guns and an inflatable Santa backstage at Top of the Pops. Perhaps the wine helped to lift the mood, too.

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Mariah Carey’s Modern Anthem (1994)

Mariah's "All I Want for Christmas is You" is the ultimate modern yuletide ode. For its accompanying video, she hits all the right seasonal style notes. Yes, there are the requisite sexy moments where Carey is staged as Santa's Shortskirted Helper, but there's plenty of pure whimsy, too. Carey engaging in a snowball fight with her own Mr. Claus is one of her most charming early video highlights.

Twisted Sister

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Twisted Sister Go Garish (2008)

Jay Jay French of Twisted Sister and Lita Ford of the Runaways offered a gloriously garish take on Christmas attire for their "Twisted Christmas" performance at Manhattan's Nokia Theater on December 6th, 2008. Ford popped eyes in a red latex catsuit (accidentally reminiscent of Britney's in the "Oops! I Did It Again" video), a bondage harness and white furry boots, creating the impression of a go-go dancer who wandered onto the wrong stage.

Vampire Weekend

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Vampire Weekend Rock Sweaters (2010)

For better or worse, Vampire Weekend have spearheaded mainstream indie's fondness for the collegiate nerd uniform more than any other act. For the holiday season, that role obviously obligates them to explore the treacherous world of the Ironic Christmas Sweater. For KROQ's Almost Acoustic Christmas in 2010, they managed to avoid the clichè, though Ezra Koenig's sporty red sweater is just festive enough for us to visualize a few candy canes embroidered within those jaunty stripes.

The Saturdays

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The Saturdays Don Micro-Minis (2011)

Following in the footsteps of their friendly rivals, Girls Aloud, color-coded British girl group the Saturdays use Christmas as an excuse to drape themselves in matching micro-length velvet and fur. While they've yet to record a spunky Christmas album, they recently echoed the Spice Girls' 1996 milestone of lighting London's famous Oxford Street lights. Last week, at a concert appearance in Bournemouth, UK, they proved that they've got more than enough seasonal style to compete with pop's best.

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Eazy-E Wishes You a ‘Merry Motherfucking’ Xmas’ (1988)

This one is all about the provocative title, but the accompanying promo shot, the late rapper Eazy-E donned a jovial stocking cap paired with two locked and loaded pistols and a shit-eating grin. Is there anything else to say here? Merry Christmas indeed, mofos.

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