24 April 2007

panda head interviews...

before she was 1/2 of georgie james, laura burhenn was, and is still, one of DC's favorite solo artists. she'll be displaying her finely honed singing and songwriting skills at tonight's black cat backstage showcase (along with vandaveer, stella schindler, sean mcardle, brandon butler, and sarah azzara). should you be unlucky enough to miss tonight's show (or if you just need more laura in your life), rest easy - you can catch her may 3rd, as part the aforementioned georgie james, on black cat's mainstage.

how would you describe your style?
my style is eclectic and a bit bohemian with a nod to some current trends, some staple classics, and a hint of earthiness. i like to stay fresh and try new, unexpected combinations, but i'm also a taurus and like for my fashion to be at least a bit grounded. i love to pull things from vintage and thrift shops, department store sale racks, designer boutiques, yard sales, and the most unexpected corners. i still have a few pieces i found in an abandoned house in high school. a good bargain will always be my favourite, but i'm learning how to invest in special pieces.
do you pay attention to trends? how do you stay current?
i love my fair share of w and bazaar and vogue and even lucky to stay on top of the latest from the runways and from stores where things are a little more affordable. travelling is great for getting inspired, too. each little (or big) town has its own trends that aren't necessarily covered on the pages of magazines. so tying in a little something from the street style here and there is always fun.
what are your wardrobe staples?
boots! ever since i was very small i have loved boots -- boots with skirts, boots with dresses, boots over jeans, boots however you can work them into an outfit. there's a real sense of power you get from putting on some good boots. no matter if they're rugged and masculine or tall and sexy with stiletto heels, there's something about boots on a woman that says, "i'm not afraid to get dirty, and i'll kick your ass if i need to." that said, i need a good pair of jeans to go with my boots, or a hot black dress. i have a lot of black dresses -- all kinds of different cuts. they are my blank canvas with room for interesting accessories.
how do you pack for tour?
i tend to pack all of my at-that-moment-favourite stand-out pieces with lots of staple things (leggings, jeans, tank tops) to tie them together. i usually end up finding new ways to wear things i've owned forever when we're on the road because i have to look at the same shirts and dresses over and over again. i always leave a little room for new things that i'm bound to pick up along the way. since i tour with all boys, i try to pack light -- i refuse to be the one with the biggest suitcase. although, last summer i /did/ bring a bag entirely devoted to shoes...
does what you wear on stage differ from what you wear off stage?
there's usually not too much variation. the biggest difference is mostly day to evening. you won't see me wearing hotshorts and heels at 3 pm (as a general rule), but peacock feather earrings are something i'll gladly wear all day everyday -- onstage or off. sometimes i think about getting more into costuming. maybe someday. but for now it feels a bit gimmicky. i don't have anything against it-- it's just not my thing at the moment.
what's your favorite item of clothing?
right now i'm madly in love with these brown suede and snakeskin pointy-toed flat-heeled boots, and i wear them all the time. i also love these black, 80's-style slouchy boots that i got at a twice-as-nice store awhile back. and my black velvet military jacket. and i never go anywhere without my red-and-gold fringey scarf that my mom brought back from israel over 20 years ago. it's good for giving warmth or a splash of color.
who or what do you find inspiring, style-wise?
one of my dearest friends since childhood has always been a style inspiration to me. we learned to find thrift-shop treasures, sew and rework clothes, and scour new places and people, and all the magazines for new (and re-newed) things together. travelling is always an inspiration. and people on the street. sometimes people put two things together and unknowingly create genius. i'm entirely inspired by earth- and socially-friendly fashion. to make/wear great fashion is one thing, but to do that and have it do something more is always a great thing. i think this is mirrored in my approach to songwriting, too. if people are going to listen to what i have to say, i want for it to be worth their while. always onward and up.
what city do you find to be the most stylish?
different cities are stylish in different ways. i love new york for some things (dirty big city style with a hint of andy warhol mod), LA for others (bohemian, sun-soaked earthiness), austin (eclectic vintage goodness), and even DC. DC isn't a fashion city because politicians and college kids aren't necessarily the jetset fashionista crowd, but if you look close enough and in the right pockets, there are definitely some good things going on here.
any favored designers? why do you like their clothes?
while i do graze through the pages of magazines, i feel like i'm a bit out of the loop to spout off my favourite designers. i do love stella mccartney, zac posen, marc jacobs, and of course more that aren't coming to mind just now. and i really do love muss from DC (am i allowed to say that here??)...
do you make or customize any of your own clothing?
yes, both. i love to buy thrift shop pieces and rework them. and it's been awhile, but i have made some things from scratch. it's exciting to get a swath of fabric from a store (new or vintage) and turn it into something. it's like the dress was already in that piece of cloth, i just had to sew and snip the right angles and coax it out. i have this wonderful little robin's-egg-blue sewing machine. my next project is not actually going to be clothing. i want to learn the art of quilts. i'm gonna start with one made of my old concert tshirts...
how would you define 'stylish?'
as much as i love the art of fashion, i wouldn't put the definition of'stylish' in a little box. people who know who they are and aren't afraid to let it show through on their sleeves are stylish. people who have found themselves (and their look) and aren't going to change it no matter what you tell them are stylish. i have special style love for people who aren't afraid to try new things -- and who will revel in them when they do.

interview: morgan. photopraphs by shervin lainez of shervinfoto. for more on laura burhenn, visit her on myspace or at her very own laboratory records.

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