UPDATE: Heading out for some weekend shopping? Take a cruise through this local lady's closet for some serious wardrobe inspiration. This story was originally published on August 30.
To say we're fond of Thievery Corporation
and the group's lead singer, LouLou Ghelichkhani
, is putting it mildly. ESL Music
has been a player in the D.C.'s nightlife and entertainment scenes for as long as we can remember, from the late-night institution that is Eighteenth Street Lounge to its body of musical work that could soundtrack our parties for life.
And vocalist LouLou is a lyrical muse if ever we've seen one—her style swings between rock-'n'-roll badass (complete with face paint) when she's on stage to well-traveled bohemian artiste
when she's at home in her Bloomingdale digs. With roots in Paris and Iran, the multi-talented singer has one of the coolest wardrobes around, stocked with vintage gowns, towering platforms, and jewelry sourced from some truly rad under-the-radar designers.
We caught up with LouLou right after she returned from a sold-out Thievery show at Colorado's Red Rocks, and got the skinny on her life as a recording artist, her favorite D.C. hangouts, and where she gets those sick statement pieces
. Click through to get a firsthand look at some seriously awesome style.
Photographed by Sebastian Marin
Tell us a bit about your career as a musician, both with Thievery and with your own side project, Bone Fur and Feathers.
"I have been a muse for Thievery Corporation for 13 years. I have had the honor to record songs on five of their studio full-length records and many more mixes/compilations. I was very young when I started, and it has taken me some time to really find the confidence to write my own music.
The Year of the Water Dragon has been incredible so far. I have been working on one of the most exciting projects, called Bone Fur and Feathers — Conrado Bokoles and Rob Pierangelli are my musical soulmates. We are finishing our first EP; our first single will be out early fall."
Inside ESL Music studios, LouLou wears a Cameo top, American Apparel leggings, and handmade sandals she bought in Costa Rica.
Describe your personal style. What inspires you to get dressed?
"Style has always been about fit for me. I never get stuck on a genre —same with music. A good song is a good song; a beautiful garment is a beautiful garment.
I am a very visual person, but I need space to be able to create ... I don't particularly like busy or flashy looks — a statement can be made with simplicity in lines. Listening to music in the morning, after yoga, really inspires me. YouTube mash-ups can really create a new character — one of my favorites is Cat Power's "I've Been Thinking" with Brigitte Bardot's clip from "Et Dieu à Crée la Femme." This song makes me wear dresses that hit my hips, put my hair up, smoky eyes all day and night."
Bracelet by Amanda Jett. Designer Amanda Gordon makes LouLou's jewelry for tours.
Who are your style influences or icons?
"Sophia Loren, Blondie [singer Debbie Harry], agnès b., Brigitte Fontaine. And a major girl-crush on Scarlett Johansson."
Do you have a signature look for performing on stage?
"Betty Boop meets superhero meets wild child."
LouLou at Chez Billy in Petworth, where she DJs and curates the music selection. She wears a vintage hat gifted by her boyfriend, Zara denim shirt, Rojas tank from Alter in Brooklyn, AllSaints leggings, and Stuart Weitzman booties.
What about the rest of the time, like when you're in the studio or at home?
"I love simple casual wear — jeans with cool t-shirts and sweaters. [I'm] addicted to stripes and dots, beautifully designed jewelry, and lots of boots."
Panther ring from Alter.
What inspires your music?
"Patterns; taking photos of our adventures and travel and making collages; animals; books and more books. Everything about them — the stories, and the art of making them."
Did you always want to be a musician?
"No, I was studying to become a French or math teacher."
So, you didn't see "musician and muse" in your future?
"Yes and no. I always wanted to be involved in the arts. I did momentarily become a holistic skin care specialist in upstate New York for about four or five years, on the side. A life goal is to have a bed-and-breakfast with an incredible spa."
LouLou at home in Bloomingdale.
LouLou in her at-home studio, where she records and dreams up ideas for new songs. Her red Marshall amp is a prize possession.
Vintage dress from a clothing swap, Anthropologie belt, Miss Sixty boots.
You wear a lot of under-the-radar designers — how do you find them?
"Mainly word-of-mouth, or I meet them at after-parties on tour and at festivals. Coachella and Lollapalooza have some of the coolest artists' lounges — you get to meet a lot of really interesting and talented people."
Seahorse earrings made from old records by San Diego brand Grammatique.
Where have you found your favorite clothes and accessories?
"Locally: Meeps ( old and new), Redeem, Violet, Lettie Gooch, Buffalo Exchange. And Smash! I love Daisy, she finds really sweet pieces. Nationally: AllSaints, Rag & Bone, American Apparel, Alter (Brooklyn), Devil May Care (Rochester, New York).
Favorite shopping cities: Sydney (best boho wear), Barcelona (best pinup, edgy wear), and Ubud, Bali (for yoga wear). All my favorites were found by accident on tour."
Dept polka dot jacket from Gilt Groupe, Forever 21 top, Rich & Skinny jeans, Betsey Johnson heels.
What are your favorite places to hang out in D.C.?
"Big Bear Cafe (I'm in love with John Cochran's menu), Room 11, El Chucho (my new favorite Mexican joint), and Chez Billy on the weekends.
We bike all around Rock Creek on the weekends, when Beach Drive is closed, and [I love] the Freer and Sackler galleries and gardens."
Melody Ehsani ring.
What's your favorite part of living in D.C.?
"Fall and spring. The diversity. And knowing some of the coolest cats around."
LouLou channels a classic pinup next to a neighbor's beautiful roses.