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Style Icon: Lorde

by Maxwell Tielman

Design*Sponge / Style Icon: Lorde
Illustration by Libby VanderPloeg

It’s hard to believe that less than a year ago, hardly anybody had heard of Ella Yelich-O’Connor, the sixteen year-old New Zealander otherwise known as Lorde. Today, you can hardly go two steps without hearing her chart-topping Royals or seeing her visage on some music blog or magazine (just last week, she graced the cover of Rolling Stone—no small accomplishment!). While Lorde’s whiplash ascent from unknown newcomer to untouchable superstar has been remarkably swift, it’s no surprise why. Although just a teenager, this songstress writes and performs like an old pro—tossing around sharp social observation and poetic imagery with deep, breathy vocals and utterly hypnotic beats. Lorde has been touted as the underdog’s darling, but such categorization seems blind to the fact that her music speaks to just about everybody. Indeed, Lorde’s music seems to defy genre. Some have called it alternative. Some have called it pop.  David Bowie called it “the future.” I have been known to, without a shred of irony, refer to her music as “transcendent.” Just like her music, Lorde’s personal style seems to come from a place that is at once deeply individual and heavily influenced. A little bit punk, a little bit grunge, and a little bit architectural, Lorde’s look, like her music, takes something familiar and makes it entirely, shockingly new. Check out our picks for designs inspired by Lorde’s style after the jump! —Max


1. Acne Studios Major Jacket | 2. Snake Zardozi Pillow Cover | 3. Jeffrey Campbell Biafra Platforms | 4. Doce & Gabbana Purple Lipstick | 5. Raymond Carver: Collected Stories | 6. Teeth Print Tote


1. Stitch Cigarette Trousers | 2. Eric Therner Diamond Lightbulb | 3. O-ring Choker | 4. Triple Turquoise Ring

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      • Agreed, age makes no difference. I’ve met 3 year old kids with better style than most adults!

        Lorde is amazing- seems like an old soul to me. I don’t even like most new music, but hers is so original and beautiful- it really stands out.

        Love this illustration and feature!

        • I agree. To have such a solid sense of her own self and style and such advanced powers of art and communication at such a young age is interesting, amazing and inspirational. I especially love her uniqueness, in view of her being of a generation who sadly believes it’s own rhetoric that “there is nothing new in the world” as an excuse for lazily resigning themselves to mediocrity and appropriation. Originality still lives and I find that expressly refreshing!

  • Very compelling young individual! Wondering about her black finger tips at the 2014 Grammy Awards. Were they dipped in paint or wax? Also, the Weeping Angels during her performance. Any thoughts?

  • Please tell me item #6, the tote bag, is a reference to “White Teeth Teens”.

    Anyway, I admire Lorde for doing her own thing musically and style wise. She sure can mature moore but ah yea…she’s a teen.

  • She changed the style landscape of her generation which just happens to be the present. She is a genius and humble and kind. She started a conversation about youth and their ability to create meaningful music and art. The late great David Bowie once said when he heard her music “feels like I’m listening to tomorrow”
    She is a very worthy icon in my opinion.

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