Anni-Frid Lyngstad is a style icon. Whilst ABBA’s music videos probably wouldn’t have won any VMAs, Frida’s usually outlandish outfits definitely garnered a lot of attention. If you were to watch all of ABBA’s music video from 1974 to 1982 Frida’s clothes somehow manage to capture the zeitgeist of each individual year. I genuinely think we should have put ABBA’s videos on the Pioneer plaque. Who cares about the hyperfine transition of neutral hydrogen when you have Knowing Me, Knowing You!?
I decided to rank all of Frida’s outfits because I’m sure this piece will definitely get me a job at the New Yorker sometime in the future. There was nearly fifty outfits overall so I have cropped it down to her top twenty. Maybe put on some ABBA while going through this list. Or not. I don’t care what you do.
20. That’s Me (1977)
You don’t get to see much of her clothes in this video but look at that neckerchief! What does it say, “ma”? What could that be? Oedema? You don’t see neckerchiefs anymore, except on y’know sailors and scouts. Do air hostesses wear neckerchiefs? I don’t think the ones on Ryanair do. Probably can’t afford them.
19. One Man, One Woman (1978)
I had a blanket like that once. I probably vomited on it. I was a very vomity child. You could never take me anywhere. Too much vomit. Once I was sandwiched between these two old neighbours in the back on my parents’ car and I vomited all over the man to my left. He had to throw out his jacket. He’s dead now.
18. Tiger (1976)
Denim was everywhere in the 70s. I think. I wasn’t around in the 70s so I could be making that up. Frida should have put a neckerchief with this outfit. Now that I think of it I’m sure Aer Lingus hostesses have neckerchiefs. Oh actually speaking of planes, Agnetha had a fear of flying. That’s definitely true. I read that. Still not sure about my earlier denim comment though.
17. Money, Money, Money (1976)
I… I don’t know what this is. Is it a poncho? Is it a cape? I like it, I think. Useless in the rain though. Her hair’s going to be drenched if a shower comes along. She didn’t think about that now did she. Is it just a blanket? Maybe she got up and was like “fuck it, I’m wearing my blanket today” and nobody said anything because she’s Frida, y’know, the singer from ABBA.
16. Money, Money, Money (1976)
Ohhh she’s in the dark! What could it mean? I bet she didn’t pay the light bill, typical Frida. Pay your light bill Frida! That’s a nice hat though. Look at it. I bet it fits really well. Like, y’know, it isn’t too tight but it also isn’t going to fly off if the wind acts up. She’s lost her blanket though. What happened there? I bet Benny told her to take it off. No wonder they divorced.
15. Chiquitita (1979)
Is she wearing that coat backwards? That’s definitely the hood at the front. First the blanket, now this! Jesus who pissed in Agnetha’s Corn Flakes? Look at her face there. Nah she’s probably just cold. No wait a sec this video was shot in a studio. That’s fake snow! What are they playing at!? This is just like The Truman Show but without Noah Emmerich. I hate Noah Emmerich. I bet he smells really nice and I detest that.
14. When I Kissed The Teacher (1976)
This video is just creepy. I love the song, it’s one of ABBA’s best, but for god’s sake did they HAVE to dress up as schoolgirls to sing about kissing the teacher!? Also in what school would that pass as an acceptable uniform? That is definitely sportswear. We weren’t even allowed to have non-branded jackets in my school! Also they’re all in their late-twenties so what are they still doing in school? This video is forty years old and is still raising questions.
13. Gimme, Gimme, Gimme (1978)
A jumper and a pair of trousers with high-heels. Elegant, sleek, and am… nice? I don’t know. God that carpet reminds me of the old carpet in my sitting room. It was fitted in the 90s so was therefore grotesque. Is Benny wearing denim jeans and a suit jacket? I’m presuming his fashion sense was a big part of the divorce. I mean, c’mon. He just couldn’t compete with Frida.
12. Happy New Year (1980)
I’m glad to see my grandmother’s net curtains made it into an ABBA video. How is that under-shirt even constructed? Is it like just one massive doily that you wrap around yourself like a toga? I hope it is. Although now that I look at it I bet that collar is rubbing off her neck. That’d drive me mad. Frida puts up with it though. She is stronger than all of us.
11. Knowing Me, Knowing You (1977)
How many fur coats did Frida have!? I’d love a fur coat. Y’know like a real one. Not one of those weird synthetic ones. I want the bear from The Revenant on my body. Not the actual bear though, he’s 200 years old and that would smell really bad. Frida doesn’t need fur coats anymore because she lives in Majorca. She’s also a princess. Literally. She married a prince, look it up.
10. Gracias por la Música (1980)
I bet you didn’t even know ABBA did songs in Spanish. They had a whole Spanish language album actually. They called it Gracias por la Música obviously. For some reason they all wore boiler suits in this video. They even wore boiler suits on the album cover. Frida looks the best though. Never has an azure boiler suit looked so in place. I want a boiler suit now. […] Actually, no, I just checked Topman and boiler suits are €120. I nearly had a fucking canary.
9. Head Over Heels (1982)
I don’t know what’s going on here. I think Frida went into wardrobe that morning and just said “alright guys, fuck me up”. Robin Hood meets Quentin Crisp? A feather boa? Are they culottes? I appreciate the attention to colour though. I didn’t think there was physically that much asparagus green fabric on this planet. Why isn’t this in the ABBA Museum!?
8. One of Us (1981)
Ah yes Frida was clearly shopping at Harriet Tubman’s Doily Emporium. Is that a rope headband? I haven’t seen a rope headband since 1998. No actually, I’m wrong. I definitely bought a rope headband in the mid-00s. It was green and white. God where’s that gone? I must have thrown it out. Why did I buy a green and white rope headband? They weren’t even in style then. Was I trying to bring them back in fashion, like I did with cropped trousers on men and wearing suits for your Confirmation?
7. Ring, Ring (1974)
Look at that collar. If a high wind blew she’d take off. Think of all the glitter snakes that had to die for this outfit. What does this outfit have to do with a song about waiting for a phone call? I’m not even going to talk about Agnetha’s outfit because I don’t even know what’s happening there. I like how both outfits don’t match at all. Like, they literally couldn’t have got two more diametrically opposed outfits.
6. Eagle (1978)
“Okay guys I want to have an animal motif on my outfit. The song is about an eagle so maybe start there…?”
“Okay Frida, we’ll get back to you in a couple weeks”
*in a couple weeks*
“Hi Frida, we have the outfit. Hope you like it!”
“Uh. Hmm. Guys? That’s a fucking badger. Or is it a fox? It that a black and white fox? What the fuck is this? What have you done? The song’s about a fucking eagle. Not a badger. I don’t sing, ‘and I dream I’m a badger’, do I? Fucking hell.”
5. Under Attack (1982)
Leather trousers. V-neck cardigan. Cerulean coat. Lilac hair. Frida hit the 80s hard. Who knew leather and knitwear would work so well outside of a fetish club? This whole video is a mess and because of that it’s one of my favourites. Please watch this music video. For some reason ABBA are trapped in a warehouse and there’s loads of cutaway shots to a flashing red beacon that has nothing to do with anything and then at the end they just walk out the front door. I could write a whole piece just on this video.
4. No Hay a Quien Culpar (1981)
I speak exactly zero Spanish but since this is the Spanish version of When All Is Said and Done I can presume that’s what it says. This is how the Rosetta Stone was decoded y’know. Frida is dressed in 1981’s most sought after material – rags. Also she’s giving off some serious Bowie hair. In fact I’m not even sure that is hair, it looks like one of those fluffy dusters that your grandmother has but never uses. This is Benny and Frida’s divorce song so her outfit now makes even less sense.
3. Take A Chance On Me (1978)
THE NECKERCHIEF RETURNS. Those boots go so high they may as well have just joined them and made one giant trouser boot. Why stop there though? Keep on going, stick a few sleeves out, bring it up to the neck, there you have a boot suit. Are you reading this Isaac Mizrahi? Also I like that she is wearing some sort of fabric cagoule. Who even knew they existed?
2. Super Trouper (1980)
This is a piece that I can only describe as anti-fashion. Not only is this the most hideous jumper to ever appear in a music video, it is also the most hideous item of knitwear in all of Western history. Never has wool been so offensive. I love it. I mean, this was created specifically to be found in the back of a charity shop, nay a charity van parked in the hard-shoulder of the M4 (just outside Slough). What could possibly top this?
1. Head Over Heels (1982)
Don’t read this. Stop looking at my words. Just observe Frida’s outfit here. What is that? It’s not tin foil. It looks like something that was reaped from the darkest recesses of Frank Gehry’s psyche. Wow I really want a baked potato right now. This is the outfit to end all outfits. The final stop, Valhalla. It’s what Yeats called “a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi”. It transcends fashion and elevates the art to a near apocalyptic form. I have seen death and it wears high-heels. Also is that a mullet? That’s definitely a mullet. Oh Frida. Take us away.