'NSYNC Video Music Award Style Journey

This week, rumors quickly spread that Sunday's MTV Video Music Awards would feature the much anticipated reunion of popular musical group 'NSYNC.  It is no rumor that Justin Timberlake, one of 'NSYNC's central members who has gone on to have an explosively successful solo career, is slated to receive the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award akin to a Lifetime Achievement Award. The root of the reunion rumor, and many a fan's newfound hope, is a picture that surfaced on Lance Bass' Instagram of several of the members backstage at a Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z concert on August 17th. With no member currently denying the rumor, our hope burns strong for this potential (albeit one evening) reunion!

In honor of this moment, we take a short look back at some of the fashionable highlight's of this popular boy band.  'NSYNC's style journey has been a long and rather exciting one. It would take an entire book to fully cover (one I'd gladly write if any publishers are interested)! 

Some of the band's biggest highlights come from their three high-profile performances at the Video Music Awards in 1999, 2000, and 2001.  Their first VMA performance found them paired with Brittany Spears in a number that combined Spear's "Baby One More Time" with 'NSYNC's "Tearin' Up My Heart".  The costumes for this performance were very simple in nature, mainly athletic clothing and street-wear in deep shades of burgundy, navy, and olive with little to no adornment.  The late 1990s influence is very evident in fit, with a mix of tight and oversized tops paired with very baggy pants.

'NSYNC 1999 VMA performance.

'NSYNC's popularity sky-rocketed with the release of the album "No Strings Attached" in 2000. At the time it was the first album to ever sell more than 2 million copies in its first week of release! With that momentum behind them, their appearance on the 2000 VMAs would feature a three song medley. They started off the set in a range of all white costumes featuring different silhouettes, layers, and array of rhinestones while they sang the ballad "This I Promise You." This quickly broke-away (pun fully intended) to flashier versions of street clothes layered underneath as they went into a fast-paced dance routine to accompany  "Bye Bye Bye" and "It's Gonna Be Me."  In the last section we see a subtle transitioning in silhouette as their costumes take on a more fitted appearance, though nonetheless still baggy by today's skinny jean standard. Markedly the most noticeable difference was the use of embellishments and reflective surfaces to create a more theatrical flair.  From Joey Fatone's high shine metallic threaded pants, to Chris Kirkpatrick's clear vinyl sleeves, these costumes did anything but recede in a sea of back-up dancers.  And with a mix of screen-printing, safety pins, and silver-leafing on JT's pant cuffs, side-seams, and umm "fly," their style moved from street-wear to pop star.

(Forgive the poor photo quality, it was a fight to find any images for this performance.)

'NSYNC 2000 VMA performance.

'NSYNC 2000 VMA performance.

'NSYNC 2000 VMA performance, Justin details.

Their last VMA performance as a band in 2001 would prove to be their most stylish and theatrical to date.  Performing "Dirty Pop," they took the "pop" reference to the n-th degree.  Combing imagery and props that included soda-pop, popcorn, and pop art, the stage was filled with bright colors, 1960s inspired dancers, and played homage to several famous pop-artists including Lichtenstein graphics and dot motif.  The costumes feature a clear motocross theme with garments that are fitted, with leather piece-work and quilting executed in bright colors that reinforce a strong graphic vibe.  (It is interesting to note the dramatic change in fit of men's pants as illustrated by 'NSYNC's stage costumes in as little as three years.)  By far 'NSYNC's most colorful costumes to date, these looks are a kaleidoscope of pattern; combining quilted, printed, and painted techniques.

'NSYNC 2001 VMA performance.

'NSYNC 2001 VMA performance. 

'NSYNC 2001 VMA performance.

'NSYNC 2001 VMA performance.

'NSYNC 2001 VMA performance. 

With twelve years between now and when we last saw 'NSYNC perform together on the Video Music Awards, what we can expect stylistically is anyone's guess.  With Timberlake's wildly successful career and the focus of this year's honors, it will be the challenge of a good costume designer/stylist to dress them in a way that is cohesive but very clearly features JT.  Let's hope these rumors prove true and we can add this performance to the history of one of pop music's most successful bands.

Check out all three of 'NSYNC's VMA performances to date below!


Britney Spears and 'NSYNC performing "Baby One More Time" / "Tearin' Up My Heart" at the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards.

'NSYNC performing "This I Promise You" / "Bye Bye Bye" / "It's Gonna Be Me" at the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards

 

'NSYNC performing "Dirty Pop" at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards.