Thank you so much to Taylor for sending us in the scans from the March 2010 of Canadian fashion magazine, Flare. Gwen has a two-page spread in which she was interviewed back in September. She discusses how she is still in awe how successful both her fashion lines have become. A couple things to keep in mind: L.A.M.B. made over $80 million dollars last year in US sales, and Harajuku Lovers has been in the top 20 ever since it launched. She laughs at the idea of people calling her a businesswoman… which she is… a very smart one. Gwen is also really happy that the band took nine years to get commercial success cause they were able to live in the moment of their success.
We transcribed the article for everyone below — enjoy! Click here to see larger scans!
There are a few ways to tell when someone has passed from being a celebrity with a small “C” into being a very big deal: a handprint on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, a major boulevard named in their honor or, in Gwen Stefani’s case, a doll (five in fact) fashioned in her own likeness.
“This one is literally me!” Stefani says gleefully, picking up a miniature Kewpie doll with curled-under platinum-blond hair and a certain perky, cheerleader-ish charm. The doll is one of the mascots of the Harajuku Lovers fragrance line, a spin-off of the youthful clothing and accessories brand, L.A.M.B., Gwen launched back in 2003 (the latest limited-edition iteration of the fragrance is called Sunshine Cuties). Mini-Gwen’s creator is here, talking about the secrets to her success, in an office high up in the Empire State Building — a fitting enough symbol for having hit the big time.
That this multitasking blond dynamo — the flesh and blood one, that is — has achieved effigy status isn’t entirely surprising. In the fifteen years since Gwen Stefani first penetrated the public consciousness, she’s gone from fronting a fledging, ska-inspired garage band to controlling a global entertainment and businss juggernaut.
Given the high profile of the brands (L.A.M.B.’s 2009 retail sales came in at $80 million US, while Harajuku Lovers line has maintained a top 20 ranking since it’s launch), one could be forgiven for expecting the head of Gwen Incorporated to appear in a no-nonsence gray suit and sensible heels. But this Gwen Stefani. She’s dressed, instead, in a see-through black lace top over a fluroescent yellow bra, towering in vertiginous heels, bombshell-blond hair loosened from it’s pompadour of earlier and falling around her face in chaotic curls. Her eyelashes are so long butterflies could land on them and she’s wearing her signature siren-red lipstick, the kind most businesswomen only dare apply after they’ve left the office.
Gwen’s “office” is, of course, everything but a cubicle: a stage, a catwalk, a fashion atelier and a recording studio. On the day we meet, the indefatigable 40-year-old has just come off the end of a four-and-a-half-month-long reunion tour with No Doubt, during which they played to almost one million people. Plus, she’s just wrapped up a particularly well-recieved show at the New York ready-to-wear spring collections.
This is Gwen’s seventh year showing her popular L.A.M.B. fashion line, but she’s still awed by the amount of goodwill the fashion community has towards her. “It’s really exciting,” she confides in her famous SoCal drawl. “When I first started the whole thing I couldn’t believe people were so supportive, I thought everyone was going to be like, ‘Come on, get out of this lane, you don’t belong in this lane.'” The typical Gwen reaction to her own success is often in this vein. Every triumph is met with a sense of wonder and increduilty that comes across as incredibly so often equals unfettered hubris. Of the newsest Harajuku Lovers fragrance collection, she says, “Even with this whole project, who would have though… like when I said I think it needs to be five of them? You can’t do five fragrances at once, who’s going to be put that on the shelves? Who’s going to take that risk? And they went for it, and people went for it. And it just blows all of our minds.”
She laughs at the idea that she might have a business style, or indeed be perceived as a businesswoman. “It’s such a joke — the idea of business, or even woman. I know I am one but it just sounds so funny… I like to do all the creative stuff. Whatever happens, happens and I kind of hope for the best.” Nevertheless, she attends every creative meeting, be it for fragrances, accessories or apparel. “The problem is I can’t deal with everyone and do everything,” she says, “but I am involved in the approval of everything. No one is telling me how to do it, I’m still trying to figure it out. It’s been seven years now, but I’m starting to get the hang of it.”
When asked if she knows instantly when something she’s created is going to be a big hit, she shakes her head and says vehemently, “No. Sometimes I’ll choose things that I think are really great then sales will drop it, and I’ll be like, what are they talking about? Those sort of things happen all the time you know, of course, it’s business. And other times I’ll think, ‘Oh, that’s kind of cute’, and all of a sudden, it’s like a huge hit. You never know what’s going to be the next big thing. I basically try to make stuff that I want. It’s not anything more than that.”
Music is a different story. “I think it’s different with a song,” she says. “With songs, it’s like you’re writing ‘Hollaback Girl’ and jumping all over the couch with Pharrell [Williams, the song’s co-writer] and you know you’ve created the next [hit]… you just know.”
So what does the multitasking, overachieving, pop-culture icon consider her life’s greatest achievement so far? Her answer is prompt and from th heart. “My marriage and my children. Definently those are the most challenging things I’ve ever done, the most real. I don’t mean this in a braggy way, but I don’t have any regrets. I feel really lucky that it took us nine years to get commercially successful as a band. It really all worked out because I got to enjoy every moment.” She stops to take a contemplative sniff of the fragrance in front of her — a clean, beachy scent that reminds of the ’90s. “It just flew by.”