Tavi's Harper's Bazaar assignment was a little strange. The magazine's monthly "Fabulous at Every Age" feature begins with age 20, not 14, and here they were offering runway critiques from a 13-year-old. But oh well, the publicity must have been fun for all involved. Tavi, who has styled for Blackbook and served as a muse of sorts for Rodarte, most recently interviewed Gwen Stefani to discuss her L.A.M.B. line for Teen Vogue. And the result was pretty great.
I can't say I'm enthusiastic about the recent celebrity-turned-designer trend. In fact, I'm a skeptic. Too often I feel people are expected to drop a couple hundred dollars just because X celebrity was good in Y sitcom, thus somehow making X's design abilities top-notch. So, though a fan of Gwen Stefani's music, I wasn't sure what to expect when I entered the L.A.M.B. studio.
Then they discussed cultural cornerstones of the nineties — Tavi's favorite decade, despite not having lived during most of it — like Heathers and No Doubt videos. Tavi, of course, reaches a pleasant conclusion about Gwen: that she is a Real Down-to-Earth Person, with a sense of humor, who isn't just making clothes for the sake of making clothes, but to express herself:
In discussing how the brand came about, she said she didn't want to name it after herself and that she hopes those who buy her clothes do so for the garments, not her celebrity. As Gwen showed me different ways she'd style a pair of what she nicknamed "jailbird pants," an old video I'd seen on YouTube came to mind: Gwen is 22, pre-fame, and showing the camera a DIY "jailhouse dress." That use of personal identity is what makes her designs not derive from tabloid appearances but act as a further reflection of her as an artist. Like her music, they embrace a side of her that is unabashedly unique, whether she executes it through kaleidoscope prints or by singing a friendly reminder: "It's my life!"
But no matter what conclusion she reaches, the best thing about this story is that it's well-written — the kind of prose teen girls should be reading versus lots of what's in magazines like Cosmo.