Meet Birdy: The Opening Act No One Is Skipping
If there was ever a time to be running late, last Thursday night’s concert at NYC’s Irving Plaza wasn’t it. You would have experienced a state of gridlock in the lower-level ballroom and you would have encountered burly bouncers who tried (without success) to keep you from blocking traffic. British singer-songwriter Birdy—the source of all the excitement—was performing songs from her upcoming sophomore album, Fire Within. But truthfully, finding a place in the room didn’t entirely matter; her voice was powerful and profound enough to fill every one of the venue’s nooks.
Last week’s sold-out show marked the tenth of Birdy’s 33-city North American tour with Atlantic labelmate Christina Perri. Although the Hampshire-native is only 17 years old, new songs like “Words As Weapons” and “I Know All About You” depict her evolution as a musician. The teen first landed on the UK music charts in 2011 with a self-titled debut album composed entirely of covers—like Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love.” She hasn’t abandoned the piano in Fire Within but the music is her own and it is enriched with pop-beats and guitar strums distant from the footprints of her first record.
“I’m on my own for this tour,” she told me during a visit to the InStyle offices the next morning. She spoke with a voice far breathier and shyer than the one she uses to belt out songs, reminding me for a brief moment of her age. “My parents traveled with me for two years but they knew I would be okay, that it was time.”
She credits her mom, a concert pianist, and Dad for staying grounded amid an enormity of success—her first album sold 1.5 million copies and she has garnered more than 138 million views on YouTube. They’re also the ones responsible for her stage name (she was born Jasmine van den Bogaerde). “I resembled a little birdy when they’d feed me as a baby,” she said with a laugh while tucking her naturally wavy locks behind her ear. “And it just sort of stuck.”
Birdy’s approach to fashion and beauty echo the independent approach she’s begun to take with her music—she styles herself and is the mastermind behind those impeccable, thick brows. “What I wear in person is what I’d probably wear on stage,” she told us of her Topshop blouse and Zara jeans. “Don’t get me wrong though, I love to sparkle, too.” As she left the office to hit the road for a show in Philadelphia I couldn’t help but fully appreciate the title of her album.
— Brooke Mazurek, InStyle Assistant Editor
Around the Office: Bright Coral Pink Color Coordination
A happy coincidental color-match: InStyle.com Associate Photo Editor Sarah Balch’s mani and her iPhone 5c.
Nail polish: JulieG in Bikini
Rings: Catbird and Bohemian Collective
Photo credit: Andrea Cheng for InStyle.com
What We Wore (Coachella Edition): Laura Simola
"Since this was my first experience at Coachella, I gathered as much info as I could from seasoned Coachella-goers, like my colleagues and friends.
I borrowed InStyle Deputy Photo Director Michelle Egiziano’s LeSportsac animal print fanny pack, which was incredibly helpful. Believe me, hands-free and arms-free was the way to go. Since the festival is set in the desert, I packed light, breezy dresses and breathable pieces to keep cool—it got unbelievably hot during the day! With that said, I heard the temperature cools down at night, so I made sure to bring a kimono (worn above) to protect me from chilly breezes. Finally, sunscreen and sunglasses were definite musts… and comfortable shoes, since I knew I was going to be on my feet all day, stage-hopping.
There was so much inspiration packed into one weekend—from the music (Pharrell, Calvin Harris, Ellie Goulding, and HAIM were my top faves), to the art installations (which were handy spots to meet up with friends), and the eclectic festival style—it was truly magical. Now it’s time to start counting down the days ‘til next year’s Coachella!!”
— Laura Simola, InStyle Assistant Art Director
Flip through to see what she wore each day:
NY vintage cap: J. Crew (borrowed from my boyfriend)
Dress: Free People
Halter top: Zara
Shorts: Alexander Wang
Fanny pack: LeSportsac
DAY 3 (Full look on first slide)
Tank: James Perse
Kimono: Alexis n Ryan
Photo credit: Tyler Joe
InStyle's 20th Anniversary: Looking Back With Cindy Weber Cleary
In honor of our 20th birthday, we’re taking a walk down memory lane with the help of longtime staffers. Fashion Director Cindy Weber Cleary, who oversees all of InStyle's fashion content, has been with the magazine for fifteen years. We interviewed her to find out her favorite InStyle memory, why she loves her job and more:
What year did you start?
How did you land the job?
I wrote to Martha Nelson (the Editor of InStyle at the time) saying I liked the magazine and would love to meet her.
How has your position changed since you started?
It’s a much bigger staff and magazine! I’m working on so many more things besides our fashion pages: videos, new business initiatives. It’s an exciting time!
What was your most InStyle moment?
Probably the time I went to the Golden Globes ceremony and found myself elbow-to-elbow with Brad and Angelina, Leo DiCaprio, Helen Mirren, Salma Hayek, Will Ferrell, etc. I thought I was jaded about celebs—but not in that crowd!
What is your favorite InStyle memory?
Our wild offsite trips in the early days: Jamaica (pictured above, with InStyle Editor-at-Large Hal Rubenstein in 2000), Anguilla, Virgin Gorda…
Our motto was: “The staff that plays together, stays together.” We had a blast! I thought I had landed in magazine heaven! And I had.
What do you love most about working at InStyle?
The people I work with and finding new ways to help our reader look her best.
What has changed the most since you’ve started at InStyle? What has remained a constant?
The scope of the brand has changed the most! What has remained a constant: The commitment to giving the reader/viewer/customer a joyful and useful experience.
What are you most excited about at InStyle in 2014?
The spin-off of Time Inc will allow us to explore a lot of exciting new opportunities!
Beauty Moment (Coachella Edition): A Crown Braid
"Surviving Coachella means weathering the 90-degree desert heat—and having really long hair doesn’t help matters. On the morning of my second day at Indio, Calif., I headed to the Olay braid bar, which was set up at the 5th Annual Music Lounge in Ingleside Inn, and asked for a crown braid to keep my strands off my shoulders and the nape of my neck. The result? A very Coachella-updo, complete with a pretty flower halo."
— Laura Simola, InStyle Assistant Art Director
Around the Office: GlamSquad Makeover
Pictured, from left: Elyse Maloni (Accessories Assistant), Angelique Serrano (Beauty Director, Claire Stern (Editorial Assistant), Sharon Clott (Senior Editor), Noora Raj (Associate Communications Director), Jennifer Ferrise (Assistant Editor)
"Armed with an arsenal of Oribe hair products and various tools, two stylists from GLAMSQUAD, a new on-demand, in-home (or in-office) blowout service, swung by InStyle and turned our conference room into a makeshift salon. “It’s like Uber meets Drybar,” said one stylist of the three-month old company, which, similar to the mobile car service, operates through an easy-to-use iPhone app.
First, you peruse GLAMSQUAD’s style menu, book the look you’d like, and—voilà!—a stylist will arrive at your location ready to give you a statement-making ‘do. Because it was the weekend, I chose to get The Bombshell, an uber-glam, voluminous wavy style that had me feeling like J.Lo. We were all whipping our hair back and forth for the rest of the afternoon.”
— Claire Stern, InStyle Editorial Assistant
Photo credit: Sarah Balch for InStyle.com
What We’re Wearing: Gold Jewelry + Pretty Mint Mani
Kim Peiffer, InStyle.com Senior Editor, looked spring-ready, sporting summer whites that she topped with a denim jacket. But the real scene-stealers? Her selection of gold rings along with a freshly minted mani.
Rings from top:
Double-finger ring: Henri Bendel
Banded ring cuff: Rebecca Minkoff
Studded chain ring: Rebecca Minkoff
Midi ring: Catbird
Leather bracelet: Miansai
Nail polish: Essie’s Mint Candy Apple
Photo credit: Alex Reside for InStyle.com
What We’re Wearing: Overalls at the Office
"My entire first grade class can attest to the fact that I wore overalls to school every single day (almost exclusively from Gap Kids and OshKosh). Needless to say, I was on board with the trend when it made a high-fashion comeback. But, having grown a solid two feet since, I was struggling to find a pair that would look flattering and not childlike. My eyes lit up when I came across this pair by Paige Denim. The dark wash gives the tried-and-true style a modern update, and teaming it with ankle boots is a mature departure from my go-to patent leather Mary Janes.”
— Claire Stern, InStyle Editorial Assistant
Overalls: Paige Denim
Tee: James Perse
Boots: Rag & Bone
Photo credit: Alex Reside for InStyle.com
Look Who We Met: Singer Allie X
Just before the elevator doors open, I envision poofs of Technicolor confetti. That seems like the only entrance befitting for LA-based singer-songwriter, Allie X, whose quirky electro-pop single “Catch” makes you want to sing into your hairbrush-microphone like no ones watching (listen below). It’s sonically textured, layered with dark lyrics and do you need more of an endorsement than Katy Perry tweeting it to her 51 million followers? During our hour-long chat, we got the scoop on how Perry actually discovered her and how rebelling from the music industry is paying off:
So you’re self-releasing instead of going through a big record company. How does that work? Why take that path?
Because I can. I have the material and I have the attention of the public, so I can curate it and control all aspects of the project. The climate and the landscape of the music industry is rapidly changing, so I’m experimenting with how far I can take things. It’s a gigantic game but I don’t want to be anyone’s b**ch, so I’m playing it the best that I can with the tools that I have—good music and good content.
Katy Perry tweets about you to her 51 million followers. What was that like? Where were you when you found out?
I was in Topanga, Vancouver and when I saw it on Twitter, I squealed! I was writing a song that I haven’t yet released, Katy’s heard it, and she ended up tweeting about it the next week.
How did she even hear about you though? What’s the connection?
It’s never been publicized properly, actually. People assume that it’s an LA thing, that we have mutual connections or something. But she actually found me when she was surfing through what she calls “the k hole of Tumblr.” I release a GIF with every song and that’s what caught Katy’s eye!
So how important is social media to you?
It’s the weapon that I have as an independent artist, it’s incredibly important. I’m no social media guru but I’m really making sure that I put in the effort and have various channels to communicate my ideas with the people who are into what I’m doing.
Do you interact with your fans?
In my own way, yes. But as an artist and as a human I need to maintain a sense of privacy. It’s not like I’m going to be taking selfies in the bathroom or talking about getting waxed—that’s just not going to happen.
Your outfit is so complex, do you work with a stylist?
Yes, the incredibly talented Krissie Torgerson who’s based out of LA. She does some work for MSMR, too. I think with anyone that I work with, I provide the initial blueprints and then they help me refine it. Photographer Logan White did the same thing with my GIFs.
What do you wear when you’re performing on stage? How important is comfort?
Things that make me feel confident! I’m like the most egocentric, overly confident slash cripplingly insecure person that I know. So I just try to bring out the really egocentric side of myself on stage. It makes me feel like I can just [takes a bite].
—Brooke Mazurek, InStyle Assistant Editor
Photo credit: Sarah Balch for InStyle.com; Logan White
InStyle editor Ariel Foxman delivered a speech this morning at Parsons The New School for Design to give students an insight into the inner-workings of a fashion magazine, what it’s like to be in a creative business, and how his personal history led to his role at the helm of InStyle today.
Missed it? Here are five takeaways from his talk that you need to know:
1. You don’t have to know exactly what you want to do from the get-go.
While Foxman had an interest in fashion in that he liked the idea of self-presentation, fashion, and shopping, he actually explored other interests and studies during high school and college. He was the co-Editor-in-Chief of his high school newspaper (aptly titled “The Daily Struggle”) and studied both Comparative Religious Studies and English while at college. He then took at job at Random House before eventually finding his way to magazine publishing.
2. It’s important to explain to your parents and peers your personal definitions for success.
Growing up with conservative, education-minded parents, Foxman felt that he didn’t convey his personal milestones for success in the fashion industry to his parents as well as he could have. Being understood and supported by your parents means enlightening them by bringing them into your field and letting them share in your personal and career successes.
3. The allure to fashion (or at least for Foxman) is the challenge of debunking the stereotype: fashion is superficial.
Fashion is intimidating, so it often gets dismissed as “superficial.” But one of the best parts about working for InStyle is that he (and we!) get to demystify fashion for women all across the world. Foxman believes that fashion is “magical” in that sense.
4. Working in fashion isn’t as glamorous as you might think.
As Editor of InStyle, one of the top fashion magazines in the world, Foxman’s life may seem enviably glamorous, but he’s quick to point out that it’s not all parties and fashion shows. It’s a lot of work. A job in fashion, like any job, comes with its own set of pressures, goals, and competition.
5. InStyle starts and ends with its readers.
What sets InStyle apart is that Foxman makes sure the publication starts and ends with its readers. Every story, every idea, and every project begin with these questions: Have we done this before? How are we serving and respecting our reader? How are we going to relay this information to our reader in the most fresh, fun, and exciting way possible?
"Creativity is the impulse to show somebody else how you see what they also see in a different way." — Ariel Foxman, InStyle Editor
— Judy Meepos, InStyle Editorial Assistant