Etta James was definitely an icon. She had a career which spanned half a century and a legacy which will last forever. This is the woman who was known as ‘The Queen of Soul’ and redefined a whole era and brand of female music. She recorded her first single aged just 15, launching a highly successful career as a soul singer, before going on- in the 1970s- to make a name for herself as a rock artist. This not being enough for James, she recreated herself once more, as a heartbreakingly soulful jazz singer in the 1990s.

James was known for many things throughout her career, and her style and fashion sense was often overlooked. Her image represents so much about a whole era of style,  culture, society and, of course, music.

This is the cover of her 1963 live album Rocks the House, which is wholly representative of everything that Etta James was: beautiful beyond measure, and loaded with attitude and allure. The album was released at the height of her career, and was produced with the intention of catching James’s raw, firey persona outside of the recording studio. The dress she wears creates a timeless elegance which preserves a moment in time that Etta James was at the top of her game in every way possible.

This is a portrait of Etta in the 1960s, where she is classic and elegant in a black dress and signature hairstyle of the time. Her expression suggests she is distant and thoughtful, which creates the impression that she is masked in her strong public persona; the real Etta is someone who rarely sees the light of day.

Etta wore a lot of black, and here she teams the staple black jacket with eye-catching pearls along with her signature hairstyle. This picture captures a moment of true happiness in James’s life, which is then she is recording music.

Etta adds a touch of Old Hollywood glamour and sparkle here with diamond earrings in this breathtaking portrait.

The 2008 film Cadillac Records saw legendary singer Beyoncé portray the character of James, in which she wore a lot of classic ‘50s cut dresses in bold prints


This is James three years before her death, where she is looking classy and elegant, having celebrated 50 years in the spotlight and whose influence on music will be justly celebrated for years to come.




Jessica Allen-Summers


Related Posts

Leave a Reply