Shania Twain on Her Best Fashion Moments, From Leopard Prints to Canadian Tuxedos
By Christian Allaire
March 13, 2020
Shania Twain is one of the most iconic country singers in the world. Since bursting onto the music scene in the 1990s, the star has served up a number of memorable performance looks on the stage—and she’s revisiting some of her best fashion moments for Vogue. Her trip down memory lane begins with an early appearance on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show in 1995. “I am a little surprised that I wore this on national television,” she says, referring to her Canadian tuxedo look comprised of pieces from her own closet (including ripped jeans, a denim vest, and a crop top that she made herself).
As her fame skyrocketed, Twain’s style got even more theatrical. In the mid ’90s, she particularly remembers finding her signature look: leopard print. “For better or for worse, I just really latched onto it,” she says. “It was a favorite.” She recalls two such looks in the pattern: one in jacket form and an off-the-shoulder dress too. Another unforgettable leopard moment was the hooded ensemble she wore in her “That Don’t Impress Me Much” music video—a “glamorous” look that comes with a not-so-glamorous backstory: “I camped out the night before in the desert on the location,” she says. “The drive was so long the next morning, and I thought, I’m going to be too tired, so I just camped out.”
Next up, Twain remembers her 1998 VH1 Divas Live special, during which she performed alongside fellow divas Aretha Franklin, Céline Dion, Carole King, Mariah Carey, and Gloria Estefan. “All of these women were my heroes,” she says. “I wish I could revisit that same night over again.” It was this era, the late ’90s, that Twain began gravitating towards a glitzier aesthetic. “This is where I really started to get excited about being shiny and glitzy,” she says, referring to the white bedazzled turtleneck dress she wore to the ’99 Grammys. “Country music artists when I was a kid were always really glitzy and shiny. I always thought I wanted to be more sober with my style, but oh, no, once I got into sequins, that was it.”
A number of outlandish ensembles followed, including the miniskirt and corset she wore in 2003 for the “Man! I Feel Like a Woman” video at that year’s Grammys. “The boots were killing me; they were so tight on my calves that it was cutting off the circulation in my legs,” she recalls. Other hits included her “Pepto Bismol pink” outfit for the ’99 Country Music Awards, and the “edgy rock” look she wore for the 2003 Super Bowl. “I was approaching 40, and I wanted to be sure that I didn’t get mumsy after having a baby,” she says of the outfit. One can’t forget when Twain hosted the Juno Awards in 2003 either: she wore several glitzy Canadian-hockey-team-themed ensembles, including a Montreal Canadiens two-piece and an Edmonton Oilers gown. They were the creative vision of Marc Bouwer, a designer and her longtime collaborator. “I wonder if he has a secret stash somewhere of Shania things,” Twain says.
As for more recent fashion serves? Twain performed a medley of her greatest hits at the 2019 American Music Awards in a pink and orange gown—also by Bouwer—that reflected the night’s celebratory feel. “I loved this moment,” she says. “I wanted to shine.” And over past two decades, she and her many winning costumes have continue to do just that.
Directed by Rom Bokobza
Edited by Marcus Niehaus
Director of Photography: Nate Gold
Sound: Kara Johnson
Set Designer: Robert Ziemer
Art: Charlotte Patterson
Associate Producer: Nina Iuppa
Swing/OP: Mario Rodriguez and Kevin Stiller
Production Assistants: Zack Kawasaki and Carol Wachokier
Senior Talent Manager: Lauren Mendoza
Vogue Video Team: Kimberly Arms, Max Bartick, Marina Cukeric, Anna Page Nadin, Marissa Price, Robert Semmer, Sam Sussman, and Emily Yates
Vogue Visual Director: Sam Adler
Filmed at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills