New year, new girl.
If fashion muses bloom in the dead of winter, as ateliers begin to hum with sewing machines preparing for the fall 2013 collections, the singer Rita Ora might be a particularly flamboyant breed of English rose.
At 22, Ora, the prized protege of Jay-Z, has been rapidly winning over designers with her carefree style: a blend of hip-hop, designer bling and 90s Gwen Stefani.
Fashion has been so serious for so long, were ready to have some fun, arent we? said Pucci designer Peter Dundas, who dressed Ora for several red carpet events last year and admires her hip-hop and ultrafeminine yet tomboy look. Dundas met the singer for the first time when he invited her to escort him to Bergdorf Goodmans 111th anniversary party last October. Ora wore a classic cream column that matched her Jean Harlow hair, Dundas said, declaring his date a ton of fun.
Peroxide blond, and usually spotted with her full lips painted matte red, Ora seems as if she would probably find a spotlight in Antarctica. And this despite the fact that her first album, Ora, doesnt yet have a firm release date in the U.S., though it was released (at No. 1 on the pop chart) in Britain in August and a music video single, Shine Ya Light, has topped 5.6 million views on YouTube at last count.
Vogues Best Dressed
Along with wearing the glamorous Pucci designs, Ora has proved an able mannequin for stacks of gold accessories, including a couple of Cartier Juste un Clou bangles, newly acquired Birkin bags, mannish suiting, and wacky House of Holland outfits, one of which earned her a spot in Vogues Best Dressed selection in November.
For fashion party bookers, Ora seems to meet all necessary prerequisites. I like her sound and I like her look, and in order to become mainstream, you need to have the look, the sound and a strong social media following, said Janjay Sherman, a publicity and talent relations director. She has the three things.
Music meets fashion
Despite Oras youth, the English designer Henry Holland of House of Holland is already sensing a maturation of her fashion choices. From her first video she was very urban, and now that shes become more successful, shes got more of a polish to her look, but its nice to see that she still adds an urban twist on things, he said. Shell still pair a gown with trainers. Shes not having an identity crisis.
Holland suggested its because music and fashion often collide in London circles. These girls have a really strong sense of self and what they want to look like, he said. Theyre more educated and aware of designers. Theyre not being pushed around by music executives.
In fact, Ora will argue with her stylist team, led by Jason Rembert in New York, and her best friend, Kyle Devolle, in London. We fight all the time, and she wont back down, Rembert said. But on the other hand, I can respect that. A lot of girls will say theyre into fashion when theyre not. Thats not the case with Rita.
More designer clothes
And Ora sees more designer clothes in her future, particularly as invitations to fashion shows come flowing in. (She has already been in the front row at Louis Vuitton and Vivienne Westwood.) Shes inspired by what the designer was thinking, how did he choose fabric to how he sewed the embroidery, Ora said.
One day, I want to do a line. But maybe after I do like 11 albums. Music is my first and foremost.
Notably, though, she has sought out a sartorial signature. A photo of Daphne Guinness adorns her living room, focusing on the heiress fingers, completely covered in rings.
And her heels, of course, are usually high, like the nude mesh Christian Louboutins she wore recently scored at a sample sale, she said.
Like the kitten heel, I hate, Ora said, cringing. Either wear a heel or dont wear a heel, OK? I really despise those wedge trainers, too. (Though she loves Air Jordans.) I understand they want the lift, but I think theyre a sin. One hundred percent sin.
And perhaps redemption is to be found on the red carpet. I am committed to glamour, she said.