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Though she’s been making music with her band The Duke Spirit for nearly five years, and has put out two albums, including 2008’s “Neptune” (Shangri-La Music), Liela Moss has remained under the mainstream fashion and music radar. The London native does, however, have a big fan in Alexander McQueen — although the two have never met — and the designer is about to take his muse to the masses with his Target Designer Collaboration (see main story), which features, among other pieces, a T-shirt emblazoned with the singer’s face. Two days before the official debut of the collection, WWD sat down with Moss to discuss the line and her personal style.
WWD: How did you and Alexander McQueen first connect?
Liela Moss: Well, [the McQ team] contacted us. [McQ stylist] Sherry Lamden had seen us play a few times and was a fan of our work. I guess time and time again, over the last year or so, they’d brought us up on mood boards, or, you know, used pictures of my hair flailing around at a gig. It just felt like it was recurring — that they would always come up with images of our band. I think they finally just decided when this thing with Target was proposed that it would be a good time to make something work.
This story first appeared in the November 18, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
WWD: How does it feel to be considered a muse for someone like McQueen?
L.M.: It’s sort of preposterous and delightful at the same time. I feel like I’d be a bit of an a–hole if I was really lapping it up too much, but obviously it helps you feel more justified about what you’re doing, your performances. It’s justified all of that hard work — like people have noticed your movement and the visceral quality of what you do — so, for someone to actually approach you and talk about design, it’s very cool.
WWD: What’s the difference between what you wear on normal days and what you wear onstage?
L.M.: I think [my outfit today] is an example of what I would wear onstage, but sometimes I just wear it out to dinner. For performing, I think in terms of accentuation of shapes or things that I know would work really well with arm and hip movements. In terms of day-to-day wear, I really do enjoy a tailored, sharp silhouette; like a great tailored blazer. I like to pick really simple pieces that, when you wear them with jeans and jewelry, they just pop.
WWD: Are you ready to reach a much broader audience and see girls wearing T-shirts with your face on it?
L.M.: God no! I think one egomaniac part of me totally wants it, not for the self-gratification, but because finally, after touring for four and a half years, I’m just more excited that they will be led to our music.
WWD: What was the extent of your involvement in the design process?
L.M.: Not a huge amount, but I was invited to the studio where they were pinning up all of their ideas and they were showing me fabrics and sketches and things like that. In a way, they’ve looked at me and what I’ve worn and then put that into a casual, lower-priced range [for Target]. I remember three visits, and I was wearing something different each time. And each time, they would find a shape in the jacket I was wearing or the fact that there was a tie or clip on something I was wearing and show me how they had incorporated that into their designs.
WWD: Have you spoken to McQueen recently? Has he given you any advice about how to handle the fashion press?
L.M.: Not really, no. The McQ team did pop ’round last night, and we had a chat. I really think we’re on the same wavelength. They’re so busy and we’ve been on tour so much, we really haven’t had the chance to sit around a table and go, “How will this work?” In fact, there was just a memo sent to me with ideas to talk about, you know, in terms of press, but I didn’t read it. Partly because I was in a hurry but also I just thought, ‘You know what, I’m not really going to worry about having pointers.’ I think sometimes my naïveté or my ignorance about the fashion world might come in handy because you just get an innocent, honest reply. And I’ll just toughen up gradually.