Before 2019, I have to admit I didn’t know all that much about Dua Lipa, except that she had arguably one of the most symmetrical faces in pop music. (It would make Leonardo Da Vinci proud.) Style-wise, all I can remember are the images that popped up in my feed of Lipa wearing bondage harnesses, chokers, or colorful bodysuits. But this all seemed to change in 2019. Lipa had a comeback not only with her music, but also her style—and now I can’t take my eyes off her Instagram feed.
Much of her style evolution can be credited to her embracing smaller designers. Last week, her stylist Lorenzo Poscocco posted a fitting image of Lipa in a full white bodysuit and half-moon print cuissardes by French designer Marine Serre. Throughout the year, Lipa’s style has begun to feel far more experimental; freely wearing up-and-coming designers, she manages to pull off even more outré looks with genuine ease. (Wearing lesser-known labels is, of course, what also put Rihanna on the fashion map.) Lipa will wear a nubby Ashley Williams checked knit or a corset in her own way—often with a sexier spin, like a tight top underneath a cardigan, or no dress under the corset. Another bonus: It’s great that she promotes young designers from her country of the UK.
Her biggest (and most unlikely) breakout fashion moment? When photographer Hugo Comte shot promotional images for her single “Don’t Start Now,” capturing Lipa in a simple tank top and a metal choker; Comte’s photography has a high contrast, slightly granular effect à la Steven Meisel that transports the viewer straight back to the ’90s, and has made him a favorite of indie fashion magazines. Later, he shot her for her second single “Future Nostalgia” in an oversized pink coat with orange leggings, complete with her tongue half sticking out. Through this lens, Lipa looked, well, cool and fresh, in a way that would appeal to people within the fashion industry, while also offering some more avant-garde visuals to her fans.
Along with her ability to make an everyday look feel exciting, this year Lipa proved she knows her way around a megawatt red carpet outfit, too. Back in May for the 2019 Met gala, the musician attended the event in a blooming, loud Versace print gown with jutting, pannier-type folds and a pumped coiffure of Priscilla Presley-pumped proportions. She can also easily venture into a more classic moment: Back at the American Music Awards, she wore an elegant fuschia Miu Miu dress with a bow across the waist. She also handled the ear-splittingly loud ET news reporter Keltie Knight with grace, calming her down by pointing out that they were similarly both wearing belts on their gowns. Sure, Lipa might be a Gen Z mannequin for clothing, but she also has a fun personality that gives whatever she wears that extra va-va-voom.
It’s this very combination of red carpet appeal and down-to-earth garb that has come to define Lipa’s style, and what makes it so appealing. In November, she headed to the American Music Awards in a spicy crop top by Italian high streetwear label GCDS. In another image, she wore the label again while posing in Los Angeles: A mohair blue GDCS tank with high-waisted white pants and Louis Vuitton sneakers. It’s a stellar concoction that resonates with Gen Z: An emerging designer (GDCS), a basic item (could-be-by-anyone pants), and the luxury addition (those LV boots!). And it’s this mix of attainable and elevated that makes her looks so effective. It’s the quintessential recipe that resonates with her tuned-in followers—and has even got a previous non-fan like me listening.
Originally Appeared on Vogue