NEW YORK — Just 21 years old, Lily Allen is already an interesting study in contrasts. The British singer looks and sounds like an angel, a dewy-eyed ingenue with a lilting soprano voice and a penchant for frothy party dresses. Pay closer attention, though, to the lyrics on her debut album, "Alright, Still," to be released here in January, and you soon realize the girl has some serious demons to exorcise, including philandering ex-boyfriends, an estranged parent and a pot-smoking ne'er-do-well brother.

Masking her scathing musical musings are peppy melodies that swing from Doris Day-like tunes and breezy reggae-tinged numbers to speak-easy raps. It's a mix that has turned her songs into chart-toppers in Europe.

Allen is also a bit of an Internet phenomenon, thanks to MySpace.com, where she started posting her songs in late 2005. Fast-forward a year, and all that blogging has helped her win a contract with Capitol Records and a huge global fan base. At press time, she boasted 96,975 "friends" on the site, meaning that those fans have linked their home pages to her site. (Madonna has 67,193.) Allen used to respond frequently to her devotees on the site, but these days, because of her schedule demands, she only posts bulletins. Still, that hasn't stopped her fans from chatting daily about her latest show, her love life and, often, her sense of style.

For months, Allen's cheeky pairing of pouffed-out prom dresses and distressed sneakers has been chronicled almost weekly in the fashion pages of London's myriad tabloids. And with spring's promise of being another frock-heavy season, she'll continue to be right on trend. "That was the first touch of spring that I've actually seen," Allen said of the looks she wore for the shoot with WWD. "It was great to see all of the dresses I love featuring so prominently."

She says she's a major shopper, even if most of her spending now takes place in airport boutiques. "I'm just big into retail, generally," she admitted. "It's pretty shallow of me, but ever since I was younger, when I'd get my pocket money, I'd go shopping. I've always loved buying the new stuff that no one else has yet." And she's always had fun turning the debutante look on its head. "I'd go to the soccer and wear dresses with really high heels," she said. "Then when I'd go out and all my friends were in dresses and heels, I'd wear a dress with trainers."

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