lielamoss_dukespirit2 The Duke Spirit's feisty front-woman gives the lowdown on her amped-up style. By Erin Donnelly
What is it about females fronting otherwise male rock bands that make them so darn cool? In the case of tambourine-shaking Liela Moss of British rock export The Duke Spirit, it's a commanding stage swagger; bewitching, bluesy vocals that have earned comparisons to a pre-Starship Grace Slick; platinum, Blondie-by-way-of-Brixton locks; and a rebellious, appropriately rock-infused fashion sense swathed in sex appeal.
Hot on the heels of the release of her band's second album, Neptune, and gearing up for an American tour with the band, Moss took a breather to speak with us about her love for indie designers, the female musicians who have inspired her, and her style survival kit while on the road. And though music is what makes her tick, it's clear that fashion is never far from the singer's mind. "I'm doing a couple of collaboration projects with some designers, so I shall be wearing some new stuff that I've had a hand in creating," she tells us. "This will be personally very satisfying."
What are your five most loved items lurking in your closet?
1. "A jumper dress by Bernard Willhelm."
2. "An all-in-one shorts thing by Suzy at Unhee."
3. "A circus ringmaster-style black blazer by Rag & Bone."
4. "A Canadian Mounty ex-military cape from an Army & Navy store in Toronto."
5. "A gold tunic by Renata Morales in Montreal."
What do you find yourself constantly wearing?
"A black all-in-one unitard—you can put anything over the top and always feel like you have a complete outfit—and a gold bit of rope. Strangely, this adds a touch of maritime regality to any boring old T-shirt."
What's on your fashion wish list for fall?
"Givenchy! There have been so many sculpted, crazy big pleat/ruffle things out of Givenchy that I love. Gorgeous."
From left to right: Liela on the cover of The Duke Spirit's Neptune album; Liela at the All Points West festival, photo by Kimi.
How would you sum up your personal style?
"Classic shapes with a bit of a savage sexual feel to them, masculinity within the feminine, and always something you can run around in and thus be empowered by. I love pleats, puffs, and patterns as long as something—usually the color black—infuses it with a hard simplicity."
Who are your favorite designers or labels?
"They're all fairly recent discoveries, and all came about through meeting the designers themselves, who were fans of our live show: Renata Morales, D'Albert, formerly of D'Albert & Hart, Unhee, and the Kiki de Montparnasse shops. More generally, [I like] Alexander McQueen for his sheer brilliance over the years; Hussein Chalayan for his exhilarating genius and architectural style; Junya Watanbe—oh my God!; and Bernard Willhelm for gorgeous geometrics—if that is a word!"
Liela with her bandmates
Ever steal clothes from your bandmates?
"Yep. Jeans. Vests. Many, many pairs of socks have ended up in my luggage for some reason."
As the female singer of a rock band, do you feel there is added pressure to have a strong style?
"If anything I tried not to 'dress up' for the first few years, to shy away from being the brassy blonde 'frontfrau'! However, with so much touring and a genuine love for clothes, I got bored and wanted to wear stronger-looking stuff. I also think that by exploring what I could wear, I found new moves on stage."
Liela poses in studio, photo by Jamie Beeden; Liela rocking the tambourine and her favorite Unhee onesie
What female musicians have influenced your fashion tastes?
"Björk, Chrissie Hynde, Marianne Faithful, Grace Jones, Courtney Love, and Tina Turner."
What else influences your look?
"Bryan Ferry, The Stones, Truffaut films, La Dolce Vita by Fellini, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and the accessories grotto, Tatty Devine."
What fashion trend are you sick of seeing?
"Pork pie fucking hats!"
Liela looking dreamy (and like a ringer for Brigitte Bardo), photo by Andrea Spotorno
Clothes-wise, what do you live in while on tour?
"Siwy jeans, thrift-shop T-shirts, and blazers."
What are your favorite boutiques?
"Kokon To Zai, Sigerson Morrison, Selfridges, and vintage shops around the world."
Let's talk about those blond locks. Who does your hair?
"I've always done it myself, hence not being able to reach the back. Just last month for the first time ever I let a lovely called Jenay at the Juan Juan Salon in Beverly Hills do it."
Which of your song titles best describes your style?
"'Love is an Unfamiliar Name' on our first album, and 'This Ship was Built to Last' on our latest album, Neptune."
Liela onstage in Brussels, photo by Oliver Cesar
If you could trade closets with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
"Brian Jones."
Besides The Duke Spirit, what bands are you into?
"CSS, TV on the Radio, Future of the Left, Archie Bronson Outfit, Last of the Shadow Puppets, and Joanna Newsom."
What do you listen to while getting ready?
"The Stones, The Clash, and Jackie Wilson."
You studied art. Do you still pursue that when not making music?
"I love to see plenty of exhibitions, but I don't draw anymore. I honestly have a problem with creating material images as I feel like I make clutter around me. It's a weird reaction, I know, but I just prefer to sketch in terms of words rather than have pages of designs or pictures strewn around me. Maybe the urge will return. I'm in a lyrical phase right now."
The Duke Spirit's feisty front-woman gives the lowdown on her amped-up style.

More from

Falling asleep is a natural process, so it should be easy, right? Ha! We wish. Of course, we've all had trouble getting to sleep at some point. But for ...
Waking up (makeup-free — because we know you always wash your face before bed, right?) with utterly perfect, lit-from-within skin is on our list of #...
Weeknight dinners are always an adventure. When we leave work at dinnertime and are already hungry, the thought of cooking can make us want to cry on the ...
'Tis the season for pumpkin spice and everything nice — am I right? We thought there was no better way to celebrate than with a doughnut
Everything about Luke Cage communicates strength. The burly Harlem resident seems patient and unfeeling. Bullets can’t wound Luke Cage, and knives can’t ...
Try as we may to separate the man from his work, it feels disingenuous to write about a Woody Allen project without so much as mentioning the personal ...
Just two months ago, Dior announced (finally) that Maria Grazia Chiuri, the former co-creative director at Valentino, would succeed Raf Simons as ...
(Paid Content) We take our boot shopping very seriously around these parts. After all, the pair we end up choosing will become the crux of our uniform for ...
Update: Costco's drama with Tiffany & Co. looks like it's finally coming to a (very expensive) close. According to Reuters, on Thursday, a federal ...
In New York City, fitness studios are like restaurants: you have your go-tos, the top-reviewed places you're willing to spend your dollars on, the hidden ...
We're great fans of accessorizing in the bedroom. Au naturel stimulation is wonderful, but sex toys can do things that people just can't. The sex toy ...
We need to talk about Amanda Knox’s eyes. Knox is 29 now, nine years removed from “Foxy Knoxy," from her Italian study abroad trip, from that time she ...
In a city of never-ending menus and food trends, it can be hard to figure out the next best brunch spot, lunchtime haunt, or recipe to master. However, all...
A major network has just ordered a series about a man who sends for a mail-order bride from the Philippines and winds up with a full mail-order family. ...