My Style: Harley Viera Newton

The DJ/musician muses on her style in the making. By Kelley Hoffman
harleyvieranewton_op2Being called an It girl, or, even moreso, an Internet It Girl, makes 20-year-old Harley Viera-Newton laugh. "I feel like I've made fun of people called It Girls," she says. At first, she dismisses it, she finds the label "a little embarrassing," explaining it tends to connote someone whose goals don't extend beyond being photographed, or partying, which she can't relate to. Sure, she's been photographed out and about, but she's a busy girl. Besides being a budding shutterbug (she's got an internship with Mario Testino under her belt, and cites Henri Lartigue as an all-time fave), she mans the DJ booth at Lit and various parties (notably, the Whitney Biennial), and plays bass in Lissy Trullie's band. She's also a full-time Egyptology major at NYU (she's learning hieroglyphics) and works a retail job on the side.
With her enigmatic style and fey expressions, her look has consistently captured the attention of Cobrasnake's
Mark Hunter, bloggers, and magazines, but it's her eclectic interests and upbringing that add to her intrigue--born in London, Viera-Newton's her father worked in the music biz, her mother in fashion, and her own style comes off as a fusion between the two worlds. "If I don't know what to wear I'll call one of them," she says of her parents. Of course, she's also influenced by effortless people she'll see on the street, denouncing trends in favor of confidence. "If you're not comfortable and you're aware of wearing an outfit, everyone else is going to be aware that you're wearing an 'outfit.' That's not style, that's trying to be stylish."
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What are your top five style staples?
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Harley in Tom Binns jewelry for an Elle magazine shoot; a piece from Tom Binn's Tough Chic collection; Chloé Doc Martens wedges.
1. "I wear Tom Binns jewelry everyday. He's like my favorite favorite favorite. I'll sleep in this...when you take this off (points under wrist) it's like another color under here."
2. "I usually have one pair of shoes a season that I just wear everyday and every night. These are the Chloé Doc Martens wedges, the low ones. They're pretty wild, but I love Doc Martens and any reappropriation of that I'm into."
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Harley in Dior lipstick; her Chanel purse; Harley sporting a Crass tee
3. "I tend to wear a matte red lipstick, rouge Dior in colour 752. I only wear Dior makeup."
4. "I always have a small Chanel purse. I wear it every single day at all times."
5. "When I'm not wearing [one of] a thousand really too-short dresses, I'm just wearing jean leggings and a T-shirt. I collect band shirts, only of bands I really like. I have one Cramps one that I live in and one Crass one."
Any new looks you've been into lately?
"I'm a recent fan of the crop top. I've been trying to bring that back. I found this incredible shredded, Union Jack crop top, it's like sooo kitsch and awful and in the same way amazing."
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Who is your top style icon?
"Tom Binns. He influences my style more than anyone. He's so ahead of the game. He worked with Westwood and Maclaren like way back in the day and just has like such an incredible eye. He is the person you want to take to a flea market with you. He will find something either a gem that you're like 'Oh my god how did you find this?' Or something that you're just like 'Huh?' and then he'll put it on you, and you're like 'This is incredible.' He could tell me to wear a cardboard box and I would. I trust him."
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What song lyrics sum up your style?
"The lyrics I identify most with in general are all by Morrissey. For style, 'I can't go out tonight because I haven't got a stitch to wear.'"
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Do you have a have a favorite album cover?
My favorite album cover of all time, which applies to this because its also such a style statement is The Slits' Cut album cover because it's just the three of them in (I think they're wearing like bikinis?) and just like covered in mud and they look so incredible. It's like the best cover of all time. Also, there's a good Elastica cover where there's just the four of them wearing all black against a brick wall, and that image has always stuck with me, as well.
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Harley out and about
Did you go to your high school prom? What did you wear?
"I did. I had two outfits, of course. I wore this Balenciaga blue knee-length dress. It was silk and buttoned down. And then to the after-thing I wore this really slutty, houndstooth, vintage Alaia dress with six-inch Alexander McQueen heels. I was like, 'I look good tonight,' and looking back, I'm like, 'You look like a whore!' I had my hair in a slick-back pony or something really embarrassing."
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A photo of Harley's mother
Your Myspace says you and your mother have matching tattoos. What's the story?
"When my mom was 16 in Rio--she's Brazilian--she got this tattoo from some shitty parlor, and it was a big deal because she went home and her mom was furious and she like ran away for a few days and it was like a whole thing. And then one day I was visiting family in Rio, and we were just walking through the streets, and I think we'd been like drinking earlier, and it was the first time my mother and I had ever gotten drunk together, so it was like this real bonding, like compandre moment, like me and my mom in Brazil, and it's like boiling. And then she goes, 'Oh my God, that's where I got my tattoo.' And I'm like, 'No way.' and she's like, 'Go see if like like Joe Bang, or like whatever the fuck his name was is still there.' And the same dude that gave her her tattoo is still there and she was just like, 'You have to get it' and I was like, 'I have to get it' so he gave it to me. So its really tiny, just a tiny bird (pulls back hair to show what looks like a small, elegantly stretched "M"on her neck) but it's just so funny, I mean me and my mom have the same tattoo!"
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What designers do you prefer vintage from?
"Definitely Westwood. I dont really wear any new Westwood, but I collect vintage Westwood. And old Alaia. I think that the new Alaia collections are beautiful but I think they're harder to wear and insanely overpriced. And vintage Hervé Léger, but mainly Alaia. They, actually, make some good crop tops!"