It is difficult to describe what Aaliyah meant to us back in 2001, when her life was tragically taken so abruptly on August 22. She was the epitome of understated cool, of raw talent mixed with genuine humility and effortless, chameleon-like style. She was both hard and soft, edgy and adorable, the it girl who wasn’t interested in wearing the crown. She was stunning, always, as evidenced in the red carpet pics below. But most importantly she was a massive musical talent who owned the industry during her short life. On the verge of a movie career, Aaliyah was posed for mega-mega-stardom when her plane crashed after taking of from the Bahamas, following the video shoot for her hit single “Rock the Boat.” There is no doubt that she lives on in legacy of performers — Beyonce, Gaga, Rihanna, Ke$ha, Katy — who have followed in her footsteps, mixing style with serious singing skills.
RIP, baby girl.
Check out 15 of Aaliyah’s most iconic looks, from the red carpet to the stage and everywhere in between, below.