Female musicians, from Patti Smith to Gwen Stefani, have long led double lives as fashion icons. But it was some of the scene’s rising female pioneers who rocked the crowds at Paris’ women-only festival, Les Femmes S’en Mêlent (Women Take Charge), in May. Here, WWDFast spotlights some of those emerging acts and their eclectic fashion connections, from Paris to Brazil.
Provenance: Tel Aviv
The act: Each band member has a stage character. Take organist Petite Meller, “a philosophy major trapped in a Lolita’s body,” who wears too much rouge, tiaras and a baby blue tracksuit top. She sucks her thumb and scraps with the other band members on stage. Lead singer Louise Kahn plays the role of the rebel teenager who stays out all night. “We’re all from really bourgeois Jewish families, so we live through the imaginary character Terry Poison, who gets up to a whole lot of mischief,” jokes Kahn.
The fashion connection: Gili Saar, Terry Poison’s bassist, is an actress and model. The ladies also are gearing up to launch their own lingerie line with themes for each character in the group.
Style: “We like to wear bathing suits on stage—we are from a beach culture, after all,” quips Kahn, wobbling awkwardly on her intentionally tacky high heels. Neon belts, tiaras and baseball caps are typical accoutrements.
Projects: The group is preparing its first album and is heading to Mexico for a shoot with Baby Baby Baby magazine.
CSS (Cansei de Ser Sexy, Portuguese for Tired of Being Sexy)
Provenance: São Paulo
The act: The electro-pop girl band met hanging out in clubs and via social-networking groups such as Fotolog and Trama Virtual. Shortly after forming in 2003, the act was thrust into the spotlight following a lot of chatter on MySpace, which drew thousands of hits on its Web site. To date, the group counts almost 650,000 hits on its site.
The fashion connection: Bassist Iracema Trevisan worked as a designer for Alexandre Herchcovitch for five years. “People are in love with color right now, although in London I kept spotting all-in-white looks,” she says, adding that she plans to launch her own clothing line soon. “I remember venues by what clothes people in the crowd were wearing.”
Style: On stage, Trevisan sparkles up her act with a glittery guitar strap hung with giant metallic tassels. But it’s the lead singer, Luísa Hanaê Matsushita, aka Lovefoxxx, who’s the clothes horse. At the band’s recent gig in Paris, she tugged off a knee-length tie-dyed dress to prance around in a metallic catsuit. “When Lovefoxxx stage-dives, people grab at her clothes, so leotards really free her up,” says Trevisan.
Inspiration: “Cheesy pop,” such as Michael Jackson and Mariah Carey, as well as Nineties acts Sonic Youth and Nirvana.
The act: Part of Paris’ “bébés rockers” scene, this quartet of high school graduates—they’re all in their early 20s—has added a dose of girl power to France’s dormant music scene. Wielding a rock ‘n’ roll nonchalance beyond their years, they’ve got the looks, the attitude and the sound to go places.
The fashion connection: No fashion campaigns yet, but the photogenic group bagged the cover of the May issue of Parisian teen magazine Muteen and posed for a fashion spread inside. “I adore fashion and would love to start attending the shows,” says gamine bassist Louise Basilien.
Style: “We do like to dress up, but there’ll be the odd day when we’re hungover, say, and haven’t put much thought into it,” says lead singer Katty Besnard. The girls stick to affordable basics from brands such as Cheap Monday and H&M, with elements of vintage. Striped Ts, denim minis and skinny jeans are stage staples.
Inspiration: Blondie, The Kinks and The White Stripes.
The act: The group’s cheeky playlist includes “Don’t Fart on My Heart,” and “I’m Ur Future X-Wife.” The sound? A cacophony of new-wave-meets-post-punk with a stomping carnival spirit.
The fashion connection: Lead singer Ebony Thomas fronts the current Dr. Martens campaign, and backup singer Nazinna Douglas has her own line of custom vintage accessories, “Alpha Omega.”
Style: The girls’ flamboyant “post-punk voodoo” style is as loud as their sound, a brash concoction of high street and vintage finds. Tutus, vibrant stockings, feather headdresses and oversize necklaces are thrown into the mix. Stephen Jones provides a lot of the act’s hats. “Our look comes from not having a lot of resources, which breeds creativity,” says Thomas. “We never wanted the slick look of an R&B group.”
Inspiration: X-Ray Specs, The Slits, The Clash.