here is an excerpt from the austrailia observer publication this week where she talks about the label A Gwen Stefani fashion label made brilliant business sense. She's become one of those pop stars whose innate style - a sort of streetwise haute couture - means that she wields influence beyond the stage. Women watch what she puts on the morning in the same way as they do with Madonna or Kylie. 'I think Gwen is the ultimate 21st-century pin up,' says Stefan Lindemann of Grazia magazine, which features Stefani time and time again. 'She's modern-retro - she plays on the pin-up thing with her vintage aesthetic, but she's also ultra-modern. Like her music, her style is sexy but also out there - eclectic, almost aggressive. She's no victim, and certainly no fashion victim. With someone like Victoria Beckham, you can see that a stylist has decided what she's going to wear and put it together piece by piece, but Gwen's style always seems organic.' Sales of her label in the smarter department stores of New York, London and Tokyo have been healthy and Nicole Kidman and Teri Hatcher are fans. However there was a hiccup earlier this year when Stefani's designer, Zaldy, left her to concentrate on his own lines, notably for Scissor Sisters. 'It was unfortunate timing,' she says. 'I was like, "Don't just plop this on me!" Now it's just me and my stylist doing the Spring 08 collection. But I'd love to have a bigger design team. Someone like Marc Jacobs, I wonder how many people are working there, just feeding him ideas, feeding feeding feeding ... I have, like, maybe five people in my entire team. I'm very hands on with it, but it's got to change, I've got to get more people.' She does if L.A.M.B. keeps expanding. She's recently moved into handbags and launched a diffusion line, Harajuku Lovers. And what celebrity franchise is complete without a perfume? Her latest venture is a bespoke scent called L. 'I would never have done a fragrance as ce-leb-ri-tee ...' she maintains, tapping the syllables out on her tongue, 'just to do one for the sake of it. But because I have L.A.M.B. it's really the most milestone, prestigious kinda moment. Basically, you have an inspiration of a perfume that you like, whether it's a flower or a certain direction.' Gwen Stefani's first stage appearance was at a school talent show, wearing a self-made copy of the drop-waist tweed dress that Maria wore while singing 'I Have Confidence' in The Sound Of Music. She grew up with three siblings in a comfortable middle-class household in southern California. Her father worked in marketing for Yamaha motorbikes. Her housewife mother was a seamstress, and teenage Gwen made her own clothes, too. 'My parents always pushed creativity on us, but they made it seem like the fun thing to do. '