LOS ANGELES — A few days before she boarded a plane to New York to present her spring L.A.M.B. collection, Gwen Stefani was perched in a trailer parked outside an industrial photo studio in downtown Los Angeles. The multitasking multihyphenate was taking a break from overseeing the collection’s look book shoot to feed her six-month-old son, Apollo.
“He’s so awesome. He’s always like that,” she said of her son, sitting up on his nanny’s lap and politely keeping the noise level down for the interview. “I don’t have to tell him anything. He has a good instinct. He even knows when to smile.”
Apollo was partly the reason that Stefani chose to sit out New York Fashion Week for the past three years, but L.A.M.B.’s return coincides with a milestone for her two older boys, Kingston and Zuma.
“I have all these children who start school the same week. So I’m going to drop them off for their first day, pick them up, take them for frozen yogurt, then go to New York. They’re old enough to understand now, but I do feel guilty. I’m not going to lie,” said Stefani, whose New York presentation is today at ArtBeam from 5 to 7 p.m.
Stefani was determined to return to the tents this season: “I had said a year ago, ‘We are doing fashion week. I don’t care what happens.’ The reason you even do a line is to wear the clothes, but also to show it. For me, I love the theater of it.”
L.A.M.B., which celebrated its 10th anniversary this year, has always been a personal project for Stefani, who infuses each season with ethnic influences such as tribal prints and her favorite black-and-white-with-a-pop-of color look.
The 90-piece spring collection, dubbed “The New Nomad,” takes those tried-and-true themes into more streamlined and colorful territory. “My life is so full of color and so rich right now, and this reflects that, with hot pink, hot orange and even some aqua,” she said of the painterly prints and batik-style patterns. “I’m really into pink right now, which is weird because I did pink back in the day with my hair. Each time I’m cocooned, each time I transform into a new chapter, I do pink — when I turned 30, when I got married and now this. Oh, my gosh, it’s true! That was not intentional. I just figured it out right now. I love when stuff lines up like that,” she gasped.
Clearly the stars are aligned for Stefani, who will make her debut as a new coach, along with Pharrell Williams, on Season 7 of “The Voice” on Sept. 22.
“It’s all coming together and what’s so weird is that none of it was planned. I literally put a new No Doubt record out, then all of a sudden I got pregnant. I was like, ‘What? Now I’m going to be pregnant? This is crazy,’ ” she said. “So I just decided I was going to really work on my brands [in addition to L.A.M.B. there’s Harajuku Lovers, DWP and Gx] and be pregnant and just chill. I had just had the baby when ‘The Voice’ called. Luckily I had been working so hard in the downtime on the brands that it was perfect timing.”
Stefani has teamed up with stylist Petra Flannery, whom she first met when Flannery assisted Stefani’s longtime stylist Andrea Lieberman over a decade ago, to create a sleek new look for the network show. “[Petra] brings a really chic sophistication. I think I was a little more theatrical-kooky and now I’m a little more streamlined. Making something that’s simple but still great is one of the biggest challenges,” Stefani said.
Her new style was evident at last month’s MTV Video Music Awards, where she wore a pink-and-black Mod-style L.A.M.B. ensemble created by Flannery, and at the Emmy Awards, where she donned an Atelier Versace chain mail top and skirt. But her biggest style stage yet will be the NBC vocal competition show.
“I started getting overwhelmed, like, ‘I’ve got to bring it,’ because I’m the only girl [alongside Williams, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton], and it’s a whole other level I’ve never been at before because [the show] is so huge,” Stefani said. “And the L.A.M.B. show has surprises I’m not even gonna tell you about. It’s gonna be like, ‘Bam! You thought I was doing that? Look, I’m doing this, too!’ ”
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