Paper Magazine's 25 Most Stylish Songbirds
From Stevie Nicks' billowy dresses, to Grace Jones's power-suits, to Madonna's Gaultier bra, to Björk's swan get-up, female musicians have a long history of making fashion statements. These days, the current crop of songstresses, both up-and-coming and fairly established, are carrying on the tradition. To honor these women and their impeccable senses of style, we decided to compile a list who we think are the 25 most fiercely fashionable femmes doing their thing in the music biz today. As a way to keep things organized, we divided up the gals into those that rock an ethereal, very L.A. flower child look, those who go for the chic high-fashion thing, those who dress like an early-'90s club kid, those who think outside of the fashion box and those who we lovingly like to refer to as hot messes.
Victoria Legrand: One-half of ethereal Baltimore-based duo Beach House, Victoria sports flowy thrift store dresses that evoke a faded photograph look.
Becky Stark: Becky Stark, lead singer of Lavender Diamond, wears flowery frocks that compliment her angelic, operatic folk ballads.
Zooey Deschanel: Wide-eyed actress turned songstress Zooey Deschanel sings creaky folk ballads alongside M. Ward in She & Him, always donning a dress that we could totally see the Oliva d'Abo character on The Wonder Years wearing.
Joanna Newsom: Recently crowned the cover girl for PAPER's 2008 Beautiful People issue, Joanna dresses like a chic (think Sonya Rykiel and Stella McCartney) wood nymph.
Chapin Sisters: This sister act -- comprised of Abigail Chapin, Lily Chapin and Jessica Craven -- rocks an L.A. meets Appalachia kind of style.
THE ORIGINAL: Joni Mitchell
Chan Marshall: Performing under the moniker Cat Power, this Chanel-clad chanteuse was approached by Karl Lagerfeld outside of a New York club and he apparently told her: "Only a certain type of woman can look glamorous when smoking."
Eleanor Friedberger: As the be-banged sister half of brother-sister duo Fiery Furnaces, the former Miu Miu model likes mixing and matching thrift duds with the likes of Alberta Ferreti and Prada.
Lykke Li: The best thing to come out of Sweden of late, singer Lykke Li (who is in the process of relocating to New York) is known for sporting (generally black) deconstructed, Imitation-of-Christ-y numbers.
Jenny Lewis: She of Rilo Kiley fame loves a classy hot pant -- whether it be in flower jumper or sparkly high-waisted shorts form -- and vintage mini dresses.
Janelle Monae: The futuristic R&B sensation is a recent signee to Bad Boy records and her new album Metropolis Suite, out this month, introduces us to her alter-ego Cindi Mayweather. Monae's trademark look consists of a tuxedo jacket, mini bow tie and saddle shoes.
THE ORIGINAL: Marianne Faithful
Kid Sister: There's nothing childish about this hood-chic (and sometimes blonde) bombshell who kicks it with Kanye without breaking a bedazzled nail.
Katy Perry: Conservative she is certainly not, but referencing an '80s interpretation of the '50s for her style inspiration, the coquettish pop phenom still manages to keep it classy.
MIA: Don't be confused by a Marc Jacobs campaign -- the Sri Lankan/British singer, with her Day-Glo-hued, eccentric threads, has a style all her own.
Santogold: All that glitters isn't gold, but the MIA-likened musician backs her funky hip hop-meets-punk panache with beats that prove she's just as solid as her style.
Yelle: This Parisian starlet has invaded the States, bringing energizing anthems in coy pixie haircut and awesome neon nylons.
THE ORIGINAL: Salt N Pepa
Sabina Sciubba: Lead singer of the dance-tastic Brazilian Girls (who are not from Brazil) is known for her way, way out there looks -- from translucent face masks to dresses made from Chinese lanterns to silver-ball-adorned frocks.
CocoRosie: Sisters Sierra Rose Casady and Bianca Leilani Casady sport freaky, gypsy-esque duds mirroring their freaky, gypsy-esque sound.
Karen O: The lead wailer of New York's Yeah Yeah Yeahs doused herself in olive oil for her first live show and hasn't looked back since. The bowl-hair-cutted singer tends to sport outrageous outfits for her shows, including (but not limited to) dresses made from safety pins, cat-suits covered in tinsel and lion-esque headdresses.
Lizzi Bougatsos: The queen of downtown art-rock, the lead singer of Gang Gang Dance favors a miss-matched Roma-style look.
Ebony Bones: The Brit it girl calls her look "cartoon couture" -- i.e. clothes made from Legos, neon-colored wigs and humungous necklaces.
THE ORIGINAL: Björk
Amy Winehouse: The controversial English crooner is not unlike a bad car crash: rockin' a raggedy beehive and some busted ballet shoes, we still can't look away.
Beth Ditto: The Gossip’s leading lady is large and in charge -- and proud of it. She manages to look truly amazing while sporting multi-colored leotards and flailing around onstage like a maniac.
Aubrey O'Day: Being one of five pretty ladies in Danity Kane, it's hard to stand out. But Aubrey, with her platinum tresses and boob-revealing party dresses (sometimes featuring brown splotches courtesy of her fake tan), always seems slightly unhinged -- in a good way!
Dirty Harry: So much for cleaning up nicely, as the British performer (née Victoria Harrison), who's been in the business since she was 15 and is good friends with Courteney Love, keeps it positively filthy instead.
Lovefoxxx: The lead singer of Brazilian electro outfit CSS loves performing barefoot, jumping like a madwoman into the audience and wearing a spandex jumpsuit... or two, or three, or four -- all at the same time.
THE ORIGINAL: Courtney Love
... Indifference is scary ~ Lady Gaga
..not really a fan of any of these girls' style to be honest, Joanna is the one that would probably made my own personal list.. she seems genuine in her taste... Eleanor and Zoey (whom I would hardly consider a musician other than an occasional singer) aren't so bad either but I get the impression that their style comes from a good training rather than some much needed spontanety..
and Cat Power has been established for ages.. don't know why they included her on the list, they could've included Kim Gordon as well then.
thanks for posting, libra!.
neither am i really. where the hell is alison goldfrapp? where are helen and mira from ladytron? natasha khan from bat for lashes??????? <<<<want to speak of somebody original.
yeah and i agree....if they're going to include somebody like zoey why not charlotte gainsbourg?
Last edited by Scott; 13-06-2008 at 09:40 AM.
I wouldn't mind seeing Alison and Natasha, but I'm not complaining about the people who I like who were included. Oh, and by liking some of the last one, change that to next to last.
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