Singer-Songwriter Diane Birch’s Sassy Style

Singer-songwriter Diane Birch just seems to ooze wisdom and maturity well beyond her years: Her soulful tunes are so rich and multi-faceted, you wouldn't believe that she only officially debuted in the music biz two years ago. A piano virtuoso since childhood, Diane's influences run the gamut from the gospel hymns she was raised on to New Orleans jazz, folk, psychedelic rock, and pretty much everything in between. Her style—a little bit vintage, boho, and goth—matches her music in its eclectic yet effortless simplicity. And seriously, has anybody ever rocked a fedora better? Needless to say, we're smitten with this brown-eyed belle and had to sit down with her to find out more about her style secrets. 

Diane at her favorite Williamsburg cafe, Bakeri, wearing a brown felt fedora from James Lock & Co., and her boyfriend's sweater from high school.

What are the five key pieces you find yourself wearing constantly?  
1. "I love hats and always keep one stuffed in my bag even if I'm not in a hat mood."  
2. "I love Native American jewelry and have a handmade beaded bracelet by Djare that I never take off."  
3. "I have this raggedy old KMFDM T-shirt that i wear to bed, and can't bear to take it off sometimes, so I just leave it on during the day too!"
4. "My Raquel Allegra leather leggings."
5. "My No. 6 shearling boots have been my best friends this winter."

The silk caftan is from Torso. A collection of Diane's everyday jewelry.

What's your secret style weapon—the thing you turn to to pull your look together in a pinch?
"That would have to be red lipstick."

Diane wears a black chiffon velvet floral dress from Gypsy Nation.

Tell us your soundtrack for:
A lazy day at home
: "Serge Gainsbourg, 'Histoire de Melodie Nelson.'"
Singing in the shower: "David Bowie/Gorgio Moroder, 'Cat People'."
Getting ready to go out: "Azari & III, 'Into the Night (Prince Language Remix)'."
A roadtrip: "Zaza, 'Cameo'."

"This is a collection of little oddities like my grandma's pill box, vintage engraved compact from my best friend, and a Cire Trudon candle that apparently smells like the moon." On the right, Diane wears a Raquel Allegra chiffon tank dress, a Queen of Hearts braided leather minktail scarf from Gyspy Nation, Opening Ceremony fringe knit skirt, and vintage moccasins.


You grew up all over the world as a child. Did that influence you as an artist? And how did it influence your style? You do seem to love a good caftan...
"It had a major impact on me. After making friends and then saying goodbye over and over again, I started to become more reliant on myself and my imagination for company since those were constants. As a result, I created my own world, which has had the biggest influence on me as an artist. Also, being a preacher's kid and being dragged around from place to place makes you rebel against everything. Ultimately I'm so grateful for those experiences. Growing up in Africa, I have a real weak spot for bright colors and tribal fashions."

Diane tickling the ivories.

As a teenager, you used fashion to rebel against your religious upbringing. Can you tell us about some of your most notorious outfits from that time period? 
"I had a few winners, but my old faithful was always my thrift-store bought wedding dress, which I attached some of my mother's lace tablecloths to, creating a divine bustle! I also added a curly wig with some Christmas tree ornaments. Once I even got a mini birdcage inside that wig!" 

Diane's vanity.

Tell us a little bit about recording the new album…were there any challenges or surprises as you were making it?
"I'm still in the early stages of the recording process, but I'm really most excited about showing the world a different side of myself, which they might now know from my first album."

Diane wears a vintage beaded/fur jeans from Torso, Finsk wedges, a Topshop beige knit top, and a vintage Sunday's Best cross necklace.

Describe your favorite song on your new album.
"It's hopefully the kind of track that will make you cry on the dance-floor."

Where the magic happens.

How do you get in the music-making zone? Do you have any rituals? 
"It's a little sad to admit, but I can't even attempt to write any music unless I've had a REALLY strong Americano from Stumptown Coffee."

Diane's shoe collection. The caftan in action.

Your style is very eclectic. Do you have any off-the-beaten-path shopping spots you love? 
"My favorite places to shop are Torso in San Francicso (or off their website) and Gypsy Nation Vintage in Williamsburg."

Diane wears a black chiffon dress from No. 6. "The wall is covered with the layout of my boyfriend's book which we've decided to leave up since it would feel naked without it there."

Who are your style heros?
"Stevie Nicks, Jane Birkin, Marchesa Luisa Casati."

Best cheap score of late? 
"A Victorian velvet hat with feathers from an antique mall in Oregon for $10."

Bronzed knickknacks.

Do you have anything in your closet you could never bear to throw away? 
"A vintage Halston floor-length black tank dress."

If your style was a song, what song would it be?  
"Cher, 'Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves.'" 

To see more of Kava Gorna's photos, visit her website.

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