Transcribed by Jenny for BSO!
Gwen Simply Irresistible
Gwen Stefani never expected to be doing so much in so many arenas â€“ sheâ€™s a superstar singer, a successful designer (this month: kids line at Target!), a devoted wife, and a mother of two. Luckily, this SoCal gal who knows how to rock it can roll with it too.
By David A. Keeps
Gwen Stefani stands center stage in her light-filled white-and-gray fashion studio, a swank annex to her hilltop home at the end of a long drive in a gated Beverly Hills community. The singer and fashion designer has just finished a two-hour meeting with executives from Target and members of her design team. Gathered at a massive marble table beneath a space-age chandelier, everyone looked at sketches for her Harajuku Mini for Target collection, an adorable new toddler-to-tween line, which hits stores in mid-November. â€œYou canâ€™t edit out any of these designs,â€ the persuasive businesswoman told the Target folks sweetly. â€œYouâ€™ve got to sell it all.â€ By the seasonâ€™s end, they even proposed added swimwear to a future collection. â€œNone of us have ever designed swimsuits before,â€ Stefani said, considering the idea briefly. â€œLetâ€™s do it!â€
The meeting is now over and the suits are gone, but the pressure isnâ€™t off. â€œThereâ€™s so much to do,â€ Stefani says. She contemplates what lies ahead: In addition to Harajuku Mini, sheâ€™s got the day-to-day demands her two fashion labels â€“ L.A.M.B. and Harajuku Lovers, which brought in sales of over $150 million last year â€“ not to mention her fragrance line and spokeswoman duties for Lâ€™Oreal Paris. Her No Doubt bandmates are dropping later to record in her home studio; it looks like their record â€“ their first in a decade â€“ will release next year. â€œOn top of all that, thereâ€™s my family,â€ she says. â€œThere are so many things to make decisions about. Every day is taken up completely. Itâ€™s almost impossible, to the point of being insane.â€
Thank goodness, then, for moments like this: Stefaniâ€™s 3-year-old son, Zuma, fresh from a nap and with the most adorable case of blond bedhead, climbs into her arms and nuzzles her neck. Her eldest, 5-year-old Kingston, is traveling at the moment in Texas with her rock-star husband, Gavin Rossdale, whoâ€™s on tour with his band, Bush. â€œI miss my other boys,â€ says Stefani, pretend pouting. But the other members of her happy clan are close at hand: Assistants buzz around, pitching in when needed, and her mom and dad live in town, too. And Stefani, 42, no longer feels like she has to do it all. â€œAt work Iâ€™ve learned how to delegate,â€ she says. â€œIt makes you a better wife and mom. You donâ€™t have to be on a ladder in a warehouse, micromanaging. You can be at home. And teamwork is also such a big part of marriage and parenting.â€
Stefani sits on a gray leather chair, situating Zuma on her lap, then takes a swig from a concoction by Pressed Juicery, a liquid salad made from celery, kale, romaine, parsley, spinach and cucumber. When asked what sheâ€™s wearing, she swiftly runs it down: Yohji Yamamoto abstract-print pants (which somehow match the studioâ€™s graphic wallpapered ceiling), a black top from her pal Andrea Liebermanâ€™s ALC line, and open-toe L.A.M.B. high heels. â€œDo you want to know my braâ€™s brand?â€ she asks, eyebrows raised. â€œItâ€™s Agent Provocateur. I havenâ€™t pulled this out in a long time. I didnâ€™t even know if it would fit.â€
Though she is best known as the beauty with the pale, powdered face, arched eyebrows, and red-lips â€“ â€œthe makeup goes on everyday, even if Iâ€™m not going anywhere, â€œ she says â€“ Stefani has a whisper of a tan. â€œWhen you have two little boys, you have to play outside,â€ she says. â€œThereâ€™s no way around it.â€ Sheâ€™s working a Gwen Lite look at the moment, with pink lipstick, toenails painted a color she calls â€œneon bubblegum,â€ and a traditional French manicure. â€œI wanted to see what it would look like to have the kind of nails normal people have, â€œ she says, laughing. On her arms are bracelets studded with tiny rose-cut gems by an Indian-based designer whom she befriended online. On her right hand she sports a Lorraine Schwartz pave diamond ring shaped like an elephant (one of Kingstonâ€™s favorite animals), which was last yearâ€™s anniversary present from Rossdale. â€œIâ€™m due for a new one,â€ she says. â€œOur ninth is coming up.â€
Though she will happily chat about music and fashion for hours, Stefani says she wonâ€™t talk about her husband. â€œEveryone knows I love him; heâ€™s awesome. But itâ€™s private, and I would rather not get in trouble!â€ Still, revelations do slip out, like the fact that all the amazing streetwear sheâ€™s spotted in isnâ€™t just for the cameras â€“ Stefani says she likes to dress up for Rossdale. The other night they went to dinner with friends and she tried on five outfits before leaving the house. â€œIt was like my own runway. I thought, You are being such an idiot! But I had so much fun.â€ (The winner? A white bowed Opening Ceremony blouse with L.A.M.B. shorts and tights.) And she expects him to reciprocate. â€œHeâ€™d better,â€ she says, grinning, then adds, â€œI like him in all kinds of clothes. He looks good in everything.â€
Zuma, now fully awake, squirms and climbs down as Stefani watches him intently. â€œThe thing Iâ€™d like to do is enjoy these boys while theyâ€™re young â€“ so I donâ€™t regret I was working too much when theyâ€™re big and donâ€™t want to cuddle with me anymore,â€ she says. Itâ€™s clear sheâ€™ll make it all work, satisfying both her maternal instincts and her creative impulses. But for now, itâ€™s back to business as she settles in and smiles, saying, â€œSo, what did you want to ask me?â€
Now that youâ€™ve designed a full line of kids clothing, spill it: What did you wear as a kid?
â€œMy mom made me a lot of Holly Hobbie dresses. Then in sixth grade I was into tight Chemin de Fer corduroys from the store Cotton Tail at the mall. I had no business in them because I did not have a figure.â€
What made you want to become a clothing designer?
â€œI started my first line, L.A.M.B., in 2003 because I didnâ€™t think I would still be making music when I was 40. But I knew Iâ€™d be depressed if I wasnâ€™t doing something creative. Plus, I love having a job where I can be in my office and look at the window and see my kids playing.â€
Can you sew?
â€œYes. It runs in the family. My grandma made my momâ€™s prom dress â€“ Mom didnâ€™t have a choice! And Mom would take us to the fabric store and weâ€™d pick out Vogue and McCallâ€™s patterns. When I got older I was very antifashion. I was into thrift stores and making my own stuff. I had my own sewing machine, glue guns, and projects everywhere. My room was a danger zone!â€
Is fashion easier than music?
â€œItâ€™s not as draining. But fashion is much more greedy â€“ there are endless ideas and dreams about what you want to wear. And then youâ€™ve got to make that happen. But I enjoy all parts of the creative process â€“ making the cookies and eating the dough.â€
Do your sons wear whatever they want?
â€œIâ€™m not strict. I like them to be creative and have fun. Iâ€™d love to be a part of it â€“ donâ€™t get me wrong. Sometimes theyâ€™ll get dressed and itâ€™s horrifying. But they often come out in outfits that are awesome.â€
Do you dress differently when you are with the kids?
â€œWell, if weâ€™re at the park, I try not to wear heels. The kids are so gigantic if would be painful. I always bring back-up shoes!â€
Do you have a huge closet?
â€œItâ€™s a work of art. But it needs to be cleaned out again. Thereâ€™s a whole wall of shoes â€“ a shameful amount. But I design them and I do wear them. And I put them up for sale at charity auctions.â€
What was your first fashion splurge?
â€œThe first piece I really wanted was a Betsey Johnson crushed-velvet, patchwork number, but I couldnâ€™t afford it. I tried to make my own â€“ a complete disaster. The first piece I spent money on was an $800 Vivienne Westwood corset I wore in the â€œSpiderwebsâ€ video.â€
How did you arrive at your signature dramatic lip look?
â€œWhen I was 17, my grandmother got me a gift pack with all these different colored lipsticks, and one of them was burgundy. I tried it on and looked in the rearview mirror and said, â€œThat looks good.â€ Iâ€™ve worn it ever since.â€
Whatâ€™s the secret to your amazing hairstyles?
â€œYou have to bleach your hair because it makes the texture different. I have to fry it to do all these sets and styles!â€
Didnâ€™t you work at the cosmetics counter at the department store when you were younger?
â€œYes, I sold Ultima II and Borghese, but first I worked in classic sportswear, which was literally a wall of polyester pants in every single color of the rainbow and matching print blouses. Women would come in and Iâ€™d help them look nice. I was styling back then, but I wanted to graduate up to one of those bitches at the makeup counter who looked like the â€œAddicted to Loveâ€ girls in the Robert Palmer video.â€
Were you always such an ambitious go-getter?
â€œIts not ambition. Itâ€™s passion. Generally, I am really lazy. I just want to lie in bed and eat. The TV will just be on â€“ I wonâ€™t be watching anything specific â€“ and Iâ€™ll be shopping online aimlessly. Thereâ€™s Yoox, Shopbop, Net-a-Porter. Even if I donâ€™t buy anything, I like to look. I canâ€™t imagine a day off, really. I didnâ€™t know that all of this would happen at one time â€“ that Iâ€™d be a wife and mom, still making records, having three clothing linesâ€¦ and pulling my hair out.â€
How do you stay sane with all the demands on your time?
â€œMeditation is my new thing. But Iâ€™m not going to lie: Sometimes I go into my closet and lock the door so no can find me!â€
Additional quotes from InStyle magazine:
â€œItâ€™s so amazing that I have three fashion lines. I watch Project Runway and there are these people trying to do fashion shows and I think, How did I get to do this?â€
â€œI really love old Hollywood. I love that glamorous world and the makeup those stars wore.â€
â€œBeing a mother is probably the most challenging thing I do. The responsibility of it is very heavy. But itâ€™s the only thing that matters! If you donâ€™t do it right, itâ€™s going to have the most consequences.â€
â€œIâ€™m conscious of what I eat, but some days I cave and have those cookies. On fun nights with the family, my husband cooks amazing things and there will be carbs.â€
â€œMy hair color is Lâ€™Oreal, but I wonâ€™t reveal the number. And I do my roots as often as Marilyn Monroe did hers. Iâ€™m serious, I found out.â€
â€œThe first time I went to a couture show, I cried. I thought, This is my world â€“ where have I been?â€
â€œIn the past I was a runner and a kickboxer, I also did weight training. These days I do Pilates, yoga, and a lot of walking â€“ not itâ€™s more about feeling good than looking good.â€
Quotes on Harajuku Mini:
â€œThe kids clothes are a reflection of things I wear â€“ like polka dots. I asked Vivienne Westwood to make me the dress Iâ€™m wearing for the 2003 Grammys. I actually got the fabric myself and flew it over to her.â€
â€œI love the whole androgynous look of menâ€™s jackets and bow ties. In the â€œSpiderwebsâ€ video I wore punker pants with straps, but the boys tartan version has a contrasting color zipper and detail. The plaid is so traditional and so right for the holiday season.â€
â€œThis outfit was influenced by the military-inspired section of L.A.M.B. show. I love mixing proportions, shapes, and materials, like pairing a leather jacket with a short skirt and tights.â€
Her 3 fave femmes:
â€œI love her look in the 1930s and â€˜40s films, but I really think she personified the 1950s with those amazing print dresses. There is also something incredible about her being so beautiful yet so funny too. You know, I was a redhead once. Right after we came home from the first No Doubt tour I felt like I might get recognized, so I colored my hair red. I hated it.â€
â€œCertain films in your life make a huge impression. When I saw The Sound of Music, I thought Julie Andrews was so talented and the character she played was so wonderful. I never wanted to meet her so my impression wouldnâ€™t get ruined! I take a lot of inspiration from the way she dressed in that film. The first dress I ever wore onstage was a copy of the one she wore when she sings â€œI Have Confidence.â€ It was a tweed drop-waist with little pleats, and I made it myself!â€
â€œThere is something so magnetic about Deborah. The reason so many people followed her is she really had â€˜itâ€™. She was so ahead of her time. Her style juxtaposed pretty and punky, like wearing a boyâ€™s T-shirt and red lipstick. I like the contrast of her edgy, hard, male attitude and her sexy, girlie makeup and hair. I admire that cause I love to get onstage with energy and attitude, but I also love the theater and beautiful hair and makeup. That kind of contrast is something I always put into my concerts and collections.â€