Jennifer Lopez during 1998 MTV Video Music Awards at Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)

The JLo effect: how Jennifer Lopez became the fashion world’s biggest muse

As 00s fever takes the world of fashion by storm, there’s one style star of the scene that is proving a perennial inspiration.   

As the brands which have long been the gatekeepers of the fashion industry grapple with how to evolve their labels in the digital age, it would appear that there’s one style stalwart of the 00s scene that’s proving a perennial inspiration: Bronx-born multi-hyphenate and entrepreneur, Jennifer Lopez.

In line with the rapid ascent of 00s fashion into the arena of desire this year – searches are up – Lopez, one of the original purveyors of the oughts’ love-in with all things flesh-flashing, midriff-baring and hip-slinging, is proving that 22 years after her debut EP was released, her star hasn’t even remotely begun to wane.  

The JLo effect has never been higher, or more powerful
JLo at the 1998 MTV Video Music Awards

Indeed, at their 00s-inspired spring/summer 2022 show in Milan this weekend, Dolce & Gabbana presented an ode to the star in the form of diamante-encrusted ‘Jennifer Lopez’ T-shirts, chainmail micro minis and her once-staple camouflage cargo trousers. “The Dolce & Gabbana spring/summer 2022 look is a tribute to JLo,” the brand wrote on its Instagram, noting that the collection “pushes the boundaries of joy and optimism in a celebration of the 2000s.”

Dolce & Gabbana SS22
One of Dolce & Gabbana's JLo-inspired spring/summer 2022 looks

Not only is her chainmail-filled sartorial line-up of yesteryear providing renewed inspiration for Dolce & Gabbana, but Lopez’s clout has also been tapped in recent years by her longtime collaborator and matron of fellow Italian brand, Donatella Versace. Twenty years after she wore that jungle-print Versace dress to the 42nd annual Grammy Awards in 2000 (an outfit which initiated so many internet searches for “JLO” and “Versace” that the powers-that-be built Google Images to fix the problem), Lopez was asked by the designer to sport a replica of what is now referred to simply as The Dress to close the brand’s spring/summer 2020 show. Needless to say, the moment went viral, which, according to Lyst, generated $9.4 million in media mentions and online engagement.

JLo at 42nd Grammy Awards, February 2000
JLo in That Dress at the 42nd Grammy Awards in 2000

Even her recent appearance at this year’s Met Gala proved Lopez’s unwavering influence. The star, who wore a rodeo-inspired get-up by Ralph Lauren, instigated a 8800% spike in internet searches for fedora hats after she sported one to the event. 

Jennifer Lopez with Donatella Versace in 1997
Jennifer Lopez with Donatella Versace in 1997

Lopez is also the face of Coach, a role she first assumed in 2018, and has fronted campaigns for Guess and Versace too. While the JLo effect is no great surprise, owing to her just shy of 200 million Instagram followers, for brands to bet on a star that isn’t plucked from the elite handful of supermodels that currently supersede all others – Gigi, Bella et al – proves that Lopez’s cache of cool is as relevant today as it was a couple of decades ago. In fact, when Coach announced that the JLo Beauty founder would be the face of the brand in 2019, searches for the label spiked by 67%.

Let’s Get Loud for Jenny From The Block; long may the JLo effect reign supreme.

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Images: courtesy of Getty.