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Q&A With Liela Moss: A McQueen Muse for the Masses

Though she's been making music for nearly five years, Liela Moss has remained under the mainstream fashion and music radar.

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Though she's been making music with her band The Duke Spirit for nearly five years, and has put out two albums, including 2008's "Neptune" (Shangri-La Music), Liela Moss has remained under the mainstream fashion and music radar. The London native does, however, have a big fan in Alexander McQueen — although the two have never met — and the designer is about to take his muse to the masses with his Target Designer Collaboration (see main story), which features, among other pieces, a T-shirt emblazoned with the singer’s face. Two days before the official debut of the collection, WWD sat down with Moss to discuss the line and her personal style.

WWD: How did you and Alexander McQueen first connect?

Liela Moss:
Well, [the McQ team] contacted us. [McQ stylist] Sherry Lamden had seen us play a few times and was a fan of our work. I guess time and time again, over the last year or so, they’d brought us up on mood boards, or, you know, used pictures of my hair flailing around at a gig. It just felt like it was recurring — that they would always come up with images of our band. I think they finally just decided when this thing with Target was proposed that it would be a good time to make something work.

WWD: How does it feel to be considered a muse for someone like McQueen?

L.M.: It’s sort of preposterous and delightful at the same time. I feel like I’d be a bit of an a--hole if I was really lapping it up too much, but obviously it helps you feel more justified about what you’re doing, your performances. It’s justified all of that hard work — like people have noticed your movement and the visceral quality of what you do — so, for someone to actually approach you and talk about design, it’s very cool.

WWD: What’s the difference between what you wear on normal days and what you wear onstage?

L.M.: I think [my outfit today] is an example of what I would wear onstage, but sometimes I just wear it out to dinner. For performing, I think in terms of accentuation of shapes or things that I know would work really well with arm and hip movements. In terms of day-to-day wear, I really do enjoy a tailored, sharp silhouette; like a great tailored blazer. I like to pick really simple pieces that, when you wear them with jeans and jewelry, they just pop.

WWD: Are you ready to reach a much broader audience and see girls wearing T-shirts with your face on it?

L.M.: God no! I think one egomaniac part of me totally wants it, not for the self-gratification, but because finally, after touring for four and a half years, I’m just more excited that they will be led to our music.

WWD: What was the extent of your involvement in the design process?

L.M.: Not a huge amount, but I was invited to the studio where they were pinning up all of their ideas and they were showing me fabrics and sketches and things like that. In a way, they’ve looked at me and what I’ve worn and then put that into a casual, lower-priced range [for Target]. I remember three visits, and I was wearing something different each time. And each time, they would find a shape in the jacket I was wearing or the fact that there was a tie or clip on something I was wearing and show me how they had incorporated that into their designs.

WWD: Have you spoken to McQueen recently? Has he given you any advice about how to handle the fashion press?

L.M.:
Not really, no. The McQ team did pop ’round last night, and we had a chat. I really think we’re on the same wavelength. They’re so busy and we’ve been on tour so much, we really haven’t had the chance to sit around a table and go, “How will this work?” In fact, there was just a memo sent to me with ideas to talk about, you know, in terms of press, but I didn’t read it. Partly because I was in a hurry but also I just thought, ‘You know what, I’m not really going to worry about having pointers.’ I think sometimes my naïveté or my ignorance about the fashion world might come in handy because you just get an innocent, honest reply. And I’ll just toughen up gradually.

 

 Click here for the interview with Alexander McQueen>>

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