Taiwanese pop star Jolin Tsai has gone from teen idol to diva over the course of her almost two-decadelong career, marking each transition quite seamlessly with a fresh look. Thrust into the spotlight after winning an MTV singing competition, Tsai defied the odds to become one of the most enduring stars of Chinese pop. With 13 studio albums to date, she has established herself as a hit maker, and like fellow pop provocateurs Madonna and Lady Gaga, she gets the importance of an attention-grabbing wardrobe, too.
At just 5’2”, Tsai doesn’t have the statuesque height of a model, but that hasn’t stopped her from wearing pieces straight from runway, altered slightly to fit her petite frame. As a style chameleon, she dresses to suit her mood and the occasion; a modified Versace minidress for a press appearance, say, followed by a floor-length Roberto Cavalli gown for an awards show. Onstage Tsai chooses items that offer bombastic glamour and a youthful take on luxury; a croc-patterned Tom Ford bomber made for the perfect performance piece at the Echo Music Festival in Shanghai in August, as did a bronze Ellery gown worn with Giuseppe Zanotti pumps for maximum sex appeal at the Love Is King charity concert in Taipei. She borrowed a page from kindred spirit Rihanna by sporting a revealingFenty x Puma crop top and hot pants, causing a sensation, as did a trip to the2016 Met Gala in a transparent gown from Marc Jacobs.
Even with her unabashed love of clothes, Tsai avoids many of the traps other fashion-obsessed celebrities fall into. Careful to save her most daring outfits for concerts, Tsai keeps her onstage audaciousness separate from the cuter styles she chooses for off-duty. Even her most casual looks come with plenty of flavor; why wear jeans and a T-shirt when you can wear a patchwork Marc Jacobs bomber jacket or DKNY’s buzzy “Dazed Kids New York” sweatshirt? After all, for Tsai, every day is an opportunity to play dress up, and with a feature on EDM star Alesso’s latest track, her dynamic style is soon to be everywhere.