POP FIBER: Mariah Carey’s Heartbreaker Crop Top

Mariah Carey Pink Crochet Crop Top Heartbreaker

We may be on our way to the first woman president, but events this week have shown that patriarchy is still the law of the land. So let today’s post stand as a hair flip of sorts towards the legal system that commands an assault victim to answer questions like, “What were you wearing?”

Inspired by the current 90s revival and the recent flourishing of crop top patterns, I want to take a moment to honor a memorable moment of babedom—and crochet!—in pop culture: Mariah Carey’s pink crop top in the 1999 video for her song “Heartbreaker.”

The year was 1999. It was well before the resurgence in handicraft or slow fashion, so there was much more pleather and plastic on the scene than, say, organic cotton or homespun wool. But, fabric choice aside, crop tops were the hot item. I’m sure we all remember these:

“Heartbreaker” was the first single from Mariah’s album Rainbow, an album that solidified her new post-divorce image. No longer the soft-rock ingenue controlled by husband and record-exec Tommy Mottola, Mariah had begun to spread her wings with 1997’s Butterfly and continued that flight in 1999 with Rainbow‘s inclusion of R&B elements and hip hop artists and producers. Mariah’s change in sound was accompanied by a change in style—less princess, more pop star. Her outfit in the “Heartbreaker” video is one iconic example of her sartorial shift.

Most fashion commentary about “Heartbreaker” focuses on those jeans. That extra-low, frayed edge (a DIY job by her stylist, by the way) inspired many a teenage girl to take scissors to her suddenly-frumpy-seeming waistbands. But the top, while perhaps less immediately wearable in the everyday, was just as memorable: the bubblegum color and crocheted fabric so sweet, the high hem and low V-neck so sexy.

I love this video now as much as I did at the time. The difference, though, is that as a sheltered teenager I marveled at the daring look, the Hollywood bod, and the cinematic stand-off against her “evil twin”; now I watch closely to figure out the stitch pattern and construction of her top. Nerd alert, I know.

But I’m not alone in wanting to steal this look. There are a slew of new patterns to help us all DIY ourselves into butterflies:

  1. KNIT -> Good Night, Day’s Napanee Halter
  2. CROCHET -> Wool and the Gang’s Doris Top
  3. CROCHET -> Wool and the Gang’s When Doves Crochet Top
  4. SEW/GLUE -> Rian Phin’s Display Case Tube Top

So happy Friday, folks. Let’s move on from this week and keep fighting the good fight, wearing whatever we like while we do so.

–LWS

 

 

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