The en­ter­tainer

The new ul­tra-wide sil­hou­ette calls for a level of self-as­sured­ness and con­fi­dence, which British singer Dua Lipa has in strides. By Zara Wong.


Dua Lipa works so hard that she has been on tour for two years, with one more year to go. Al­though for the 22-year-old British mu­si­cian, per­form­ing and dress­ing up is less ‘work’ and more a driv­ing pas­sion that has ex­isted for as long as she can re­mem­ber. “I’ve al­ways wanted to sing and per­form,” she says after her Vogue shoot. “Peo­ple have asked when was the first time I re­alised I liked mu­sic but it’s never been a thing; it’s al­ways been around. I never had a plan B.”

So re­lent­less is her ap­proach to her ca­reer – stel­lar so far, with a list of ac­co­lades and record-break­ers so long it would take up most of this para­graph to in­clude them – that dur­ing her recent Aus­tralian tour, Lipa was forced to take time out for emer­gency wis­dom teeth surgery. “You just have to get it done,” she says with a rue­ful smile on hav­ing de­layed the process be­fore it came to a head dur­ing the Aus­tralian leg. “I was like: ‘Wow, great, in Aus­tralia – I didn’t ex­pect this!”

While many mu­si­cians are in­tro­duced to the fash­ion world through their mu­sic ca­reers, Lipa says it was an in­ter­est from early on. Grow­ing up, she would read her mother’s is­sues of Vogue and cre­ate scrap­books of her favourite im­ages. She also re­mem­bers be­ing struck by both the sound and im­agery of artists such as Pink. “That hair on her Mis­sun­daz­tood al­bum!” she ex­claims. “That was such a look.”

Lipa’s own style can be seen in some of the most mem­o­rable mu­sic videos of the past 12 months, such as the pop-tas­tic film clip for New Rules, which Lorde pro­claimed to be one of her favourite mu­sic clips of the mo­ment.

“It’s not nec­es­sar­ily the putting to­gether of the im­age that is im­por­tant, but be­ing able to rep­re­sent your­self and who you are as an artist that is im­por­tant to mu­si­cians,” she pon­ders aloud. “When I get in­volved in

the fash­ion world, it’s another out­let for my cre­ativ­ity, another ex­ten­sion of my mu­sic and who I am as an artist. Fash­ion is an ex­ten­sion of what I’d like to say, another part of me, so from the very be­gin­ning I had quite a clear idea of what I like to wear.”

Em­brac­ing the sil­hou­ette of wide-legged pants with fit­ted tops was a log­i­cal step from her on-stage to off-duty looks, which in­clude track­suit sets or cropped tops (that show off her boxing-honed midriff) with match­ing pants, as seen in her chart-top­ping IDGAF video clip. She says the turtle­neck with black pants (see below) was a favourite look from the Vogue shoot. “It was re­ally cool, and the low cam­era an­gles the pho­tog­ra­pher used were re­ally fun,” she notes as­tutely. “I’ve al­ways liked to play dress-ups.” Even as a teenager, the singer ex­per­i­mented with her wardrobe, reg­u­larly can­vass­ing the high street: “Dif­fer­ent colours, dif­fer­ent styles – I would never limit my­self and would make the looks my own by ac­ces­soris­ing and lay­er­ing.”

While shop­ping in her lo­cal stores back home is less of an op­tion for her, given her busy tour­ing sched­ule, she still buys on­line, send­ing pack­ages to her par­ents’ ad­dress.

Born in Lon­don to Koso­var-Al­ba­nian par­ents, Lipa moved with her fam­ily back to Kosovo at the age of 11, be­fore re­turn­ing to Lon­don on her own at 15. “I al­ways knew I wanted to sing, but didn’t re­alise how much un­til I didn’t have the op­por­tu­nity to do it on the scale I wanted to,” she says of her time in Kosovo.

Three years after ar­riv­ing back in Lon­don, at just 18, she signed a record deal. “That was when I re­alised it was real; the record deal meant I could quit my job as a wait­ress,” she re­mem­bers with a laugh.

Her style, it seems, sashays from boy­ish to fem­i­nine – like the Gi­ambat­tista Valli haute cou­ture tulle gown she wore to the Brit awards where she won Best British Fe­male Solo Artist and British Break­through Act. “That was my dream dress!” she says. “I re­mem­ber the box when it came in – it was hu­mon­gous. When we un­packed it, the dress went on and on and went around the lit­tle is­land in my kitchen and so when I tried it, I couldn’t move! Pil­ing it in the car was re­ally tricky. I had to go into the car back­wards and lie on the dress.”

On the day of the shoot the team is taken aback when Lipa turns up to the stu­dio wear­ing a short, sum­mery wrap dress that she bought at Bondi mar­kets. “It caught my eye and I’m ob­sessed with it!” she says. “Day to day I dress de­pend­ing on how I feel – mostly track­ies and a crop top, a hoodie and a scarf and heels. Most of the time, it’s what­ever won’t crease, be­cause I have to get around re­ally quickly!”

While Lipa is mostly iden­ti­fied as a pop mu­si­cian, her lower-pitched voice (as a child, she was once told it was too low for choir, mak­ing her doubt her mu­si­cal abil­ity) means she can ex­per­i­ment more mu­si­cally. “It’s crazy and sur­real and ex­cit­ing, all at once,” she says of achiev­ing smash hits.

In 2017, Lipa was the most streamed fe­male artist on Spo­tify in the UK, beat­ing out Bey­oncé, Taylor Swift and Ari­ana Grande, while her track New Rules hit more than a bil­lion views on YouTube, mak­ing her the youngest fe­male mu­si­cian to reach that mark. “I love pop mu­sic and it’s some­thing I’ve grown up with, but my mu­sic is di­verse, and I feel like that’s sim­i­lar to how I like my fash­ion – it’s quite play­ful and un­ex­pected.”


Burberry top, $700. Mon­cler pants, $1,735. Alinka ear­ring, $2,505 and $1,846 (in left ear). Fear of God shoes, $1,250, from Har­rolds.

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