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!"
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