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No Wonder Drake Tattooed a Picture of Sade Adu on His Torso—She’s a Style Legend

Sade adu
Could an upper-body tattoo ever do jazz legend Sade Adu justice? Well, no. But don’t tell that to the rapper Drake. The Canadian star and purveyor of sleazy chic declared his affection for the Nigerian-British chanteuse with a cloying and rather permanent etching of Sade Adu along his muscle-bound torso. Unveiling the homage on Instagram last night, the stamp prompted collective shudders and eye rolls across social media. But before dismissing the gesture as nothing more than another one of Drake’s ubiquitous thirst traps, in the rapper’s defense, we certainly understand his motives. After all, Sade Adu, who is as talented as she is reclusive, created a personal style that has led to plenty of tributes over the years.
The ubiquitous winter uniform of New York’s coolest girls—sleek turtleneck, gold hoops, high-waist trousers, red pout—didn’t just emerge from a vacuum. No, it was the “Smooth Operator” singer’s onstage uniform in the early ’80s. Scroll through your Instagram long enough and you’re bound to find images of Adu belting out her biggest hits in waist-whittling bolero jackets, her hair slicked into a back-grazing ponytail. Smoldering, cool, unfussy,Sade Adu’s easy elegance matched her velvet-smooth sound, and helped make one of her most iconic looks—a Canadian tuxedo, no less—feel moody rather than banal. It’s perhaps why so many of modern women wear it without hesitation: As Adu proved, all the uncanny combination needs is a smear of red lipstick.
Still, Sade Adu maintained a real knack for fanciful experimentation when it came to the styling and rhythms of her videos. Whether reimagining herself as a mermaid in “No Ordinary Love,” washing ashore in a red velvet dress in “Love Is Stronger Than Pride,” or dazzling her vibrant neighborhood in “Babyfather,” the singer chose pieces that helped tell stories and whipped up plenty of fantasy. Of course, there was a fair share of seduction to Adu’s wardrobe as well. A slip dress ever so casually fell over her shoulder, or an intricately embroidered crop top bore the artist’s toned abs as she seduced sold-out crowds. It’s a look that is practically age-defying, the 58-year-old emerging from time to time to dazzle crowds in polished black turtlenecks and sinuous trousers, or a coquettish qipao. So it was no surprise to see a pair of Sade Adu’s trademark gold hoops shimmering from her ears in a picture she took with Drake this week. Hugging the rapper in a warm embrace, Sade’s style seemed ready to inspire a whole new generation.
Above, a look at some of Sade Adu’s looks that are worth copying.

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