Back in 2006, I was sweet 16 and my bedroom was full of kitsch, kawaii clutter. You could find me chatting on MSN, out with my friends walking about our boring small town, deliberately going past the houses of boys we fancied, or dancing around my room to Goldfrapp. As well as their otherworldly alien electro-pop, I was enthralled by Alison Goldfrapp's stage costumes. With her naturally curly hair, doe eyes, petite frame, and unique stage presence, it's no wonder I took the sensual and ethereal singer as an idol. Her music — which is a collaboration with musician Will Gregory (who has performed with the likes of Tears For Fears, Portishead and The Cure!) — captured me with its poetic and painterly lyrics, atmospheric layers, and sometimes a hooky chorus. It was girly, playful, and bloom-ingly sexual — sparkling with something akin to both fairy dust and the sheen of a futuristic spaceship. Both a tree nymph and a sleek sci-fi sweetheart, Alison Goldfrapp's style has been through quite a few transformations — from the Tim Burton meets Angela Carter meets The Wizard of Oz stylings of her Black Cherry album era, to the Caravan Girl bohemian, costume trunk look of her fifth album, Seventh Tree. With '1930s inspired black satin shorts, ruby slippers, horse tails, stripy tights, peacock feathers, Pierrot costumes, and some seriously kooky millenary, Alison Goldfrapp's wardrobe has been a fantasist's dream.
A prolific musician and style muse, Alison Goldfrapp is also an inspiration in her personal life. Her stance on sexuality as a fluid concept is one to be admired, especially as she had to deal with navigating her very first same sex relationship in the public eye. Until 2009, Goldfrapp had only had relationships with men, until she met now-partner and amazing filmmaker in her own right, Lisa Gunning. Despite her outlandish demeanor on stage and in music videos, Alison's a shy and uncertain lady in real life. She suffers from crippling introversion, which has often got her into trouble with interviewers perceiving her as frosty. In reality, it seems that Goldfrapp, despite her plethora of successful albums, has what is often referred to as imposter syndrome. She has oft been quoted saying she has a complex about being interesting. In spite of this, Alison Goldfrapp still continues to perform on stage, wears theatrical head-turing costumes, and has had a abundant creative career! If that's not inspiring, I don't know what is!
Her attitude, also, towards the fraudulence of the industrial fashion and music machines, as opposed to the rawness of genuine creativity, is refreshing. Alison openly calls out the fakery of trends and the difference between media fantasy and reality, and opts out of gossipy celebrity culture. So if you like your style heroines a little wayward, run away with the circus and Alison Goldfrapp, and get routing in the dressing up box...
The Pierrot Ruffle
"In my 20s, I thought, 'When is this going to happen?' Then I thought , 'Debbie Harry didn't start until she was older, so it's okay.'"
Tulle Ruff, $25
Frill Top Jumpsuit, $67
Vintage '70s Peach Ruffle Top, $25
My favorite Goldfrapp era, sartorially anyway, is the Seventh Tree era, in which Alison took inspiration heavily from vintage clown costumes. Posing with a large, paper-crafted owl-lover, Goldfrapp made Pierrot wearable. Her thigh-skimming dresses embellished with pom poms and soft neck ruffles are dreamlike but not too silly.Channel your inner Pierrot in a ruffle collar. Either wear one as an accessory, if you are daring, or try one of these finds, which are readily adorned with a ruffled neck.
"I felt slightly uncomfortable that people wanted me to be that over-sexualized image all the time. I was slightly naive in that I didn't think people would take it that seriously or be so interested in what I was like off stage."
ASOS Crepe Top, $51, ASOS
Long Fringe Tassel Dress by Kate Moss, $8, Topshop
ASOS Fringed Body, $24, ASOS
BA&SH Viva Mini Fringed Dress, $508
Like most festival going songstresses, Alison Goldfrapp has worn her fair share of tasseled delights, and it seems the fringe trend isn't going anywhere anytime soon. If you don't fancy creating your very own dress from multi-colored Maypole ribbons, why not try a more subtle version, as seen above? It's definitely an excuse to throw some serious shapes.
The Batwing Mini
"I don't like to be defined by my sexuality, which swings wherever I like to swing."
Zanzea Round Neck Batwing Chiffon Mini Dress, $12
Vintage '70s Batwing Starburst Woolen Tunic, $12
Make like Miss Goldfrapp and pull on an easy batwing mini — the shorter the better. The wing-like shape is perfect for some twirling this summer, and is both comfortable and striking. As they're not really an on-trend item, keep a lookout for quirky pieces on Etsy, or local vintage shops. No one will have the same dress as you!
The Harlequin Print
"You go into a newsagent and there are all those magazines saying which women look 'right' and which women look 'wrong' — it's horrible. I find it depressing... you can't help but be made very aware of how you look. It's not a healthy thing to do..."
Vintage 80s Sequin Cardigan, $49
Harlequin Sequin Shorts, $40
Rumbus Tee, $42
Vintage 80s Sequin Harlequin Jumper, $118
Also from her Seventh Tree venture into circus-inspired threads, Goldfrapp developed a certain affection for harlequin. Whether monochrome or a confetti of bright colors, harlequin print is naturally whimsical and childlike. Thrown on an oversized vintage, sequined jumper as a dress, or pair a clown-like piece with something more minimal for a perfect party outfit.
"The two have to go hand in hand — the atmosphere and the music. I actually get rather worried if I can't see the music first. There always needs to be a mood, a feeling, a story, even if it's abstract. There's got to be a narrative to guide things before they're even created."
Princess Cottongrass Perfume, $48, Lush
A child of the country, with treasured memories of woodland walks and moonlit swims, and a woman of the city with futuristic leanings — both Alison Goldfrapp's music and persona have a dualistic anthropomorphic influence. Goldfrapp recently put on an exhibition in Salford, England, about her love of traditional folk tales. This spritely named perfume by LUSH is inspired by a Swedish folktale of a princess searching for a gold locket deep in the woods, and captures Alison's nymphet nature to a tea. Princess Cottongrass is also a pretty apt name for the singer, too, due to her wild curly mane!Described as a "delicate, alien floral," it is a perfect olfactory tribute to Goldfrapp. With nettle, neroli, lavender and pine oil, this fragrance perfectly captures our muse's nostalgic memories.
The Hair And Makeup
(On attending fashion shows): "[I would] have to dress up and I can't be bothered. Someone's going to say, 'Oh, Alison's not brushed her hair and hasn't got makeup on, and is only wearing trainers and a deeply unfashionable jumper,' and I can't be arsed."
Organic Wear 100% Natural Origin Fakeout Mascara, $10
I simply couldn't write a Style Muse piece on Goldfrapp without mentioning her gorgeous Bambi eyes. As fiber enhancing mascaras seem to be all the rage these days, why not try this affordable and organic product by Physician Formula. The naturally derived fibers cling to the lashes and act as a temporary lash extension! No need for trips to the salon.
Alison's enviable golden ringlets may not come naturally to all us women, but you can create a curly crown to be proud of with these bargain soft rollers. Simply twirl sections around these foam pieces and wait. The longer you leave them in, the deeper the curl.
Foam Rollers, $2
If you need a little helping hand, watch this fab video by xoVain. They use a Japanese brand of sponge curler, but the application is exactly the same. Enjoy your cherubim curls!
So glitter up, get playful, and dance around to this gem...
"Whenever there was a full moon we drove to the sea and swam. We lived about an hour and a half away so it would be like 'Full moon! Get in the car!' That was one of the last things I did with my father: swim in the sea under a full moon..."
It was hard to pick a favorite Goldfrapp anthem, but this strange and beautiful track "Utopia" sums up what I love about Alison and her music — it's something a little kooky, vibrantly atmospheric, and completely, unapologetically dreamy.