A Vogue cover is the fairy godmother swoosh of acceptance in the fashion industry. Two Vogue covers in two years? Well, that’s a special hall of fame. It’s one into which Dua Lipa was inducted this week with the unveiling of British Vogue’s February 2021 cover which sees Britain’s most successful solo female artist in a generation given a Linda Evangelista-style makeover, early ‘90s blonde crop, sleek Armani LBD and all.
It’s the cherry on the cake of a stunning run for Lipa, who was born in London to Kosovar parents in 1995. Since she signed with Warner in 2015, she has been courted by the fashion industry in all the ways you might expect for a promising, beautiful young star, be that her collaborations with Pepe Jeans and Puma or the exciting mix of cutting edge and classic designers who dress her.
But just as Lipa hit new professional heights in 2020 - her second album, Future Nostalgia, was the the fifth most streamed of the year on Spotify, clocking up three billion streams in total - so her style struck a chord like never before. Just as for most of us, our stay-home standards slipped by the day, so Lipa’s look became more exuberantly striking as the year went on.
In the caption introducing her Vogue cover, Lipa declares herself a ‘true chameleon’. Guided by her longtime stylist Lorenzo Posocco, the past few months have seen the star score some major fashion hits.
I was late to the party, but the Lipa look which really piqued my interest was the twinkling silver fringed kaftan which she wore to perform on the Graham Norton show in November. The Valentino Couture design exuded decadence and glamour at a time when we are starved of it but was also a dramatic, thrilling departure from the crop tops, bodycon and athleisure which characterise the former model’s usual style.
Another beautifully executed change from the norm came in December, when Lipa appeared at the Billboard Women in Music Awards wearing a vintage (well, vintage-ish, from 2016) Giambattista Valli black tulle gown with a diameter enormous enough to satisfy anyone enforcing the two metre rule. A little bit fairytale, a little bit starkly stripped back, the look cemented a more grown-up, but no less bold, direction for Lipa.
On that bold point, one of her most brilliant recent ‘casual’ looks has to be the 8 Moncler Richard Quinn puffer jacket and leggings in a graphic black and white print which Lipa wore in New York before Christmas with one of the crop tops which are ubiquitous among the Gen Z style set of which Bella and Gigi Hadid, the supermodel sisters of Lipa’s boyfriend Anwar, are also high profile members.
Amidst her flurry of high profile appearances at the end of last year, Lipa also ‘mermerized’ Donatella Versace in a series of mini dresses from the designer’s spring/ summer ‘Trésor de la Mer’ underwater-inspired collection which she wore for the American Music Awards, lending a more whimsical edge to a comfort zone silhouette.
More noteworthy outings were her Studio 2054 disco extravaganza livestreamed concert for which Posocco commissioned bespoke pieces by labels including socialite favourite The Attico, whose white sequinned frock was like a reincarnation of Jazz Age glitz and her turn on Saturday Night Live in a magnificent cascading white gown and feather hat which inspired Valentino creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli to quote from Lord Byron’s She Walks in Beauty (‘She walks in beauty, like the night/ Of cloudless climes and starry skies;/ And all that’s best of dark and bright/ Meet in her aspect and her eyes…’).
Feathers appear to be a new favourite theme for Lipa, who, as part of her Vogue cover star obligations, stars in a video for the magazine wearing a feathered bauble dress by London Fashion Week designer Michael Halpern. Ostentatious and uplifting, it’s just the kind of right-for-now style cocktail we have come to expect. More of the same please, Dua Lipa.