The Weeknd's latest album, Dawn FM, is officially releasing on January 7 and if his previous record After Hours is anything to go by, the narrative of the project will be told by his appearance as much as the music itself.
The artist religiously stuck to one look for a year when doing anything related to his last project. A red blazer, black shirt, and pointed loafers defined the creative direction for the After Hours album, it's a look that has become so synonymous with the artist that it is now even available in NFT form. The only thing that changed about his appearance was his face, which went from being covered in cuts and bruises, to being wrapped in bandages, to having exaggerated plastic surgery.
Now with a new album about to drop, fans are hypothesizing about what the artist's next style transformation will be and how it relates to the new body of music.
In a cryptic trailer for Dawn FM, the Canadian artist switches between an older version of himself with grey hair and an untamed beard (which is shown on the new album cover) and a current version of himself clad in a black leather jacket, a black shirt and tie, and black Chrome Hearts sunglasses with tinted yellow lenses.
Fans of The Weeknd will recognize this look from the music video for Take My Breath Away, the lead single from the new album. Having released the music video in August 2021 only to re-use this outfit in the album trailer and tracklist announcement this week — the monochrome set-up looks bound to be part of the creative direction around his new album.
Looking at the fit, it's hard not to get a sense of deja vu. With The Matrix's latest movie Resurrections having released only last month, at the end of 2021, The Weeknd appears to be bringing back a signature look from the movie franchise into the new year: leather jackets and sunglasses.
Morpheus's famous uniform has become pop culture legend and is often styled with a shirt and tie in the films, just like with The Weeknd. The look was once again re-interpreted for the latest film, but with a distinct lack of leather as the character opted to instead make a statement through bright-colored suiting. However, that didn't stop Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, who plays Morpheus in the latest film, from paying ode to his character's original look at the film's premiere.
And who can blame him, the "Matrix look" remains as relevant as ever. Something that has consistently popped up on the runway since the film launched in 1999, most recently Balenciaga's Spring 2022 and Balmain's Pre-Fall 2022 collections included the leather jacket and sunglasses pairing.
Not to mention Balenciaga's biggest fan, Ye, matching a leather jacket by the label with sunglasses as part of his recent style transformation and possibly persuading Julia Fox, his rumored new girlfriend, to get on board with a matrix-style floor-length leather trench. And the continued renaissance of the Y2K aesthetic is only helping to fuel further Matrix cosplay.
Since leather jackets were created to keep pilots warm when facing extreme cold at high altitudes and sunglasses are a summer essential for keeping the glare of the sun away, the pairing of the two does feel like a mismatch. But, as we have seen from other trends from recent years, such as shorts and puffer jackets or winter hats in the summer, breaking seasonal conventions is by no means a bad thing. In fact, we have argued that winter sunglasses are a cold-weather essential.