VIDEO VOGUE : Singers Finding Some Designer Clothes Suitable


Current music videos offer a few good hair and clothing ideas for hot summer days, as well as continuing evidence that musicians are moving toward tailored clothes.

Dread No More: Yes, that really is Seal with newly bald head and striking tailored suit in "A Prayer for the Dying." He takes the ultra-cool designer minimalism favored by jazz and R&B; artists one step further by going to the top. The singer first asked for a custom suit from Richard Tyler, but tight production deadlines made that impossible. The final choice was a sleek black Giorgio Armani suit off the rack, which fit him perfectly and ends up getting as much attention from the camera as the singer. Seal's not-for-everyone fashion tip: Skip the shirt and tie and accessorize with a smooth bare chest. Not for the Squeamish: One of the most arresting videos out is Nine Inch Nails' "Closer." It's a sexy, stylized, sepia-toned mix of vintage-meets-industrial rock. Old photos come to life amid science experiments, shots of singer Trent Reznor floating mid-air and Francis Bacon-inspired sides of beef. Its fashion statement mixes a tough metal-and-leather look with current fashion, such as an Anna Sui crocheted shirt--which here is cut up--and tattoo-look bodysuits by Jean Paul Gaultier. Stylist April Napier picked up dishraggy shirts from Souled Out in London, the Sui shirt at Maxfield and Jean Colonna PVC pants from Gallay on Melrose. Old leather pieces were rented from Warner Bros. Napier had the incredible Jules Verne sunglasses made at Old Focals in Pasadena, where they doctored up welder's glasses with oversized screws and leather sides.

Next Up: Janet Jackson's sexy video "You Want This," being edited and readied for airplay, features gal pal MC Lyte (also her opening act) and California designer Mossimo as one of the young men pursued across the desert by Jackson and her dancers. Mossimo is a friend who has done shirts, bodywear, belts and accessories for Jackson's past videos and tours, but not this time. What Jackson wears in the new video is still under wraps. Meanwhile, Jackson's softer "Any Time, Any Place" video still tops the airplay charts. Fans of that video's long, sheer, faded floral dresses and skirts can find similar filmy styles at Neo Romantic in Los Angeles.

The Thing to Do: Layer crop tops. In her "Back and Forth,"15-year-old singer Aaliyah layers tiny white and black tops, while Salt-N-Pepa's Pepa wears a cropped vest over a crop top in "Heaven 'N Hell." In Aerosmith's "Crazy," parochial-school escapees Alicia Silverstone and Liv Tyler (lead singer Steven Tyler's daughter) wear a variety of cropped tops. Stylist Lauren Ehrenfeld picked up the blue vintage Angora sweater at American Rag and put it over a classic underwear tank, then scissored both off below the bust line and added Plein Sud plastic-coated pants from one of her favorite stops, Bullock's contemporary department on the Beverly Center's seventh floor. Ehrenfeld found plaid schoolgirl skirts in Sue Mills, a Santa Monica uniform shop, and small men's saddle shoes for the girls at American Rag.

Another Good Look: Never mind what Dorothy Parker would say. Lisa Loeb makes it OK to wear your nerd glasses with a sexy dress and high heels in her video "Stay." The black lace-front mini-dress with an empire waist and scoop neck is by Betsey Johnson.

Taxi Driver: Yes, that's supermodel Shana driving the cab in John Mellencamp's and Me'shell Ndege'Ocello's "Wild Night." You know her as the one in the white bathing suit in Calvin Klein's Escape TV ads. Moonlighting as a cabby was a smart move--it scored her a chance to read for the part of the love interest in the upcoming "Batman Forever."

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