Sunday, 8 December 2013

Fashion Role Model: Hannah Hooper

For too long, I believe, we have worshipped at the feet of 'the style icon'. The very word 'icon' tells us that they are not quite real, that they are images rather than people. Of course, sometimes this is because they represent a movement or aesthetic, but I still think that by having style 'icons' we're idolising an individual who makes mistakes just as much as the rest of us. In this new series, I'd like to put forward a series of 'fashion role models': people who aren't always perfect of consistent in their style, but who have taught me something about fashion. Maybe that's in the attitude they wear clothes with, or ideas they have. It will be more about the thought behind their outfits than flawless execution of styling.

And so on to my first subject. Hannah Hooper is one of the two lead singers of the band Grouplove, and the only woman in the band. Their music first came to my attention when the song 'Tongue Tied' was used in an iPod commercial, so initially I had no idea what they looked like, but when I researched further, I was struck by the free mix of styles which they all adopted. There are elements of hippy, punk, surfer and vintage in how they all dress, but there's no set aesthetic. If anything, their style can be called eclectic. I'm focusing on Hannah because I just think she has some of the most incredible outfits, but the rest of the band are pretty cool too.

What I love about her is her versatility. She can go from West Village tomboy to Victorian ma'am to rock goddess and not once will it seem awkward. And that's what I've learned from Hannah: if you like what you're wearing, and you want to wear it, you can damn well pull it off. Want to wear a skintight leopard print bodysuit? Do it! Feel like slouching around in a men's shirt? Fine! If it feels like who you are today then who has the right to stop you?

OK, now here's where it gets personal, prepare for the gushing. I've never felt very able to take risks with what I wear. IN part, this is because, when I go shopping, I tend to be very practical: how many wears will I get out of this? what else in my wardrobe will it go with? And even though I do own a few reckless impulse buys (a sequinned slouchy top, a tasseled cowboy jacket, a tie-dye cropped sweater) I'll put them on and look at them in the mirror for a long time before wimping out and reverting to a dress with a jumper. I blame being indoctrinated by Trinny & Susannah: I know exactly what looks 'flattering' on my body and therefore I am wary of stepping outside of that zone for fear of looking ridiculous.

But when I went to see Grouplove live at the Boston Arms last week, I had a sort of revelation during the show. Hannah was wearing her famous skeleton bodysuit and currently has bright blonde hair. She was an inexorable force on stage (so much so that all my photos of her look like the one below). And it just made me think, what's stopping me from dressing like that?

OK, much of what she wears is part of a stage persona, but that doesn't mean it isn't part of her personality. Equally, her offstage outfits have that same carefree aura about them. That's why she's one of my role models: she takes risks, she's confident about them, and she looks amazing.

1 comment:

Midnight Cowgirl said...

She has great style!