Sunday, February 19, 2012

Lana Del Rey - Fashion's New Sweetheart

As the hoo-hah of the consecutive Fashion Weeks prevail, my religious and consistent following of it have resulted in my more "general" posts taking a backseat. This is half of the excuse for my delay in manifesting this particular post. The other half is down to the fact that the subject matter is something of a, well, controversial nature. It is a more recent debate, which has divided opinions right down the middle - the Marmite effect. And no, I'm not distributing my views on whether or not the wearing of fur should be deemed acceptable or if Marc Jacobs took things too far by permitting 14 year old models to walk in his f/w '12 show last week. No. The hot topic I am addressing in this post is the enigmatic Lizzy Grant, alias Lana Del Rey.

Over the years there have been many celebrity folk who have been filed under the "Marmite" section of the filing cabinet in the office that is pop culture. Some self-confessed, a la Lily Allen, and others, like Lana, are automatically chucked in due to the whirlwind of mixed opinions that seems to arise out of nowhere regarding them.
Lana propelled to stardom after the video for her song Video Games (a home-made video montage of herself and other miscellaneous clips soundtracked by the wounded love song) went viral on YouTube. The song continued to provide the musical accompaniment for Christopher Kane's s/s '12 show at London Fashion Week last September and now, she adorns the cover of the March 2012 issue of British Vogue. Alexandra Shulman, Vogue editor, says of Lana's acquisition of such a, to many, prestigious honour of gracing the cover: "She is probably one of the newest stars in her field that the magazine has ever had on the cover".
So why the controversy?

Like a bully in a school yard, there are bands of keyboard warriors skulking around their natural habitat (the internet) in search of new victims (in this case, Del Rey) to latch onto and devote the best of their time to trying to drag said victim down - be it to boost their, possibly critically low, self esteems or simply for their own sadistic amusement. On my own Twitter timeline, I've witnessed crude variations of the singer's name being tossed about in a carefree manner but for no reason whatsoever other than the people in question don't like her. They don't even bother specifying as to why that is. Some claim they don't like her music or the intense hype revolving around her. Fair enough, but is childish and, frankly, ridiculously nasty name-calling necessary? I don't particularly like Bucks Fizz but I wouldn't spiral off into a fury of malicious insults - partially because nobody would know who on earth I was talking about.

There is no doubt Lana is a beautiful woman - a reincarnation of the sultry, seductive pin-ups of the mid-century era who blew flirty, playful kisses from their photo on the page of a young army soldier's Playboy magazine, stuffed at the bottom of his mattress to avoid confiscation from the General. Her barrel waves of fox tail-auburn hair that tumble loosely down her back, the sparkling sapphires behind the extravagant lashes and those lips (the lips - the Jolie-esque smackers that fuel the ongoing quest of the internet trolls to prove they are pseudo) all contribute to create this captivating, sad-eyed siren, crooning tales of heartbreak in that hauntingly endearing manner of hers.

From the point of view of style, Lana's Vogue shoot accentuates her pin-up image. A lemonade yellow sleeveless blouse and complementing collar from Louis Vuitton's impossibly girly, pretty and appropriate s/s '12 collection serve as the cover shot's ensemble. Lana's subtle, yet flashy, diamante jewellery are all her own, as are the elaborate, red-tipped talons at the ends of her fingers. 
The remainder of the shoot is very feminine and I found it to be very Valentinesy which may have been the approach as this was all in the run up to V-Day (I also included this shoot in my Valentine's Day 2012 Inspiration post) - the pinks and reds that made up the basis of the shoot's colour scheme, the use of luxe textiles, clothing and decor, of satin, silk, fur and glitter, right down to the handwritten signature on the double page spread in her flirty, curvy print: "Lots of love, Lana Del Rey xxx". 
The garments in question are, primarily, from the s/s '12 collections of Prada, Viktor & Rolf and Meadham Kirchhoff - overly girly, emphasising Lana's femininity and coquettish charm. Not forgetting, of course, the trademark wreath of flowers that crown her head.

Lana describes her look as a fusion of "Lolita got lost in the hood" and my personal favourite, "I live in Monaco but don't fuck with me". She insists that this image in which the world perceives her is how she naturally is - however, she doesn't see it as tangible, that she doesn't dress to fit a certain image of herself. Her ethos on clothing is that "If I'm going on television, I guess I should wear something nice, but that's as far as it goes". Interviewer and fashion editor of The Guardian, Jess Cartner-Morley observes Lana's inability to think of someone who she believes dresses exceptionally and offers Grace Kelly when pressured. She also includes her theories as to Lana's reluctance to reveal too much, and that it could relate to "the internet trolls who have it in for her".

As it would seem, the haters are the driving force for Lana's ascending success. She was chosen to supply the musical entertainment for SNL on the 18th of February (I was aghast at the vindictive tweets that are still surfacing in response to this when I scanned through her name's tagged tweets on Twitter this morning) and as an even bigger middle finger gesture to the Anti-Lana mob, Mulberry has launched a new bag, the Del Rey, in her honour.
"I love the design" Lana mused, "A perfect mix between old school Hollywood and contemporary style. It's such an honour that such a classic and prestigious brand would name a bag after me".

2012 will be the year of Lana Del Rey - whether you like it or not. The world is her oyster-studded knuckleduster.


  1. I'm so happy that someone is defending her, or at least trying to get people to realise that she's an actually human being, and not an object to be debated over. The only thing is she has never described herself as 'The Gangster Nancy Sinatra'.
    'She looks like the quintessential American dream girl, a fact re-enforced by a fluffy stars and stripes jumper, short denim shorts and some sparkly Nike dunks. This must be what Del Rey’s YouTube page calls her “gangsta Nancy Sinatra” look. She laughs at the suggestion.

    “I didn’t come up with that! My managers were struggling to describe my music to labels and kept saying, ‘What genre is it? What style?’ I called it Hollywood Sadcore. But my manager said, ‘She’s like a gangsta Nancy Sinatra!’ And as soon as it flew out of his mouth, it fucking stuck like glue. I spend eight fucking years writing gorgeous songs and someone in a meeting says ‘gangsta Nancy Sinatra’ and that’s that. It’s brutal. I know two of Nancy’s songs but she’s not someone I’ve ever really listened to. I know everything about Frank, of course, because he’s the real singer. It just goes to show how fucking stupid people can be sometimes.”
    But seriously Sian, thank you so much for this post. All the Lana hate seriously depresses me because she is god. <3

  2. Brilliantly written, as always. I adore Lana and her look (and, of course, her voice), I don't understand why people attack her so much. Her hair is my dream.

  3. I love this article & you but Lana Del Rey just ceases to interest me. I do not however hate her and understand why people like her.

    1. It's always refreshing to hear the other side of the opinion spectrum. You've respected my view, and so I will honour yours.
      Thanks for your comment. I guess it's slightly biased from me, but I also can't understand why people HATE her to the degree that they do.

  4. I absolutely love Lana Del Rey, it would be fair to say I've got a bit of a girl crush.. I hate that people are so quick to try and write her off for reinventing herself from Lizzie Grant, or for possibly getting her lips done, or just being herself. Glad you are defending her, and I loved reading this post! That Vogue shoot is one of my favourites of all time. xox

  5. This is beautifully-written.

    I am not a fan of Lana Del Rey in the least. I haven't resorted to "name-calling" yet but I'm sure that I will by the end of the year, assuming that 2012 does turn out to be 'her year.' It is the combination of zero talent (a.k.a. her voice is terrible (SNL)), insignificant music (I don't hate her actual music, it's just nothing special to me), and image (I don't think she's attractive at all/the triteness of her faux-retro look bothers me) that has me rolling my eyes every time her face pops up on tumblr.

  6. this is nicely written :) i love how you write and keep going.. You're amazing :)
    - Anna, from Finland

  7. That pic with the dress where you can nearly see her ass - or just a lot of thigh,3rd from the top. ZERO cellulite! Jealous!

  8. Omg this post is amazing. Lana Del Rey is like my new style obsession :)

    Becca Germanotta xox.