I love her music, I love her message, and I absolutely love her style — British import Estelle has been making big stateside buzz finally, and she’s made an impression on me as a style icon to watch. Here’s why.
Estelle is an unconventional beauty. She’s got distinctive features, and she doesn’t try to be anything other than who she is. From her first track, the phenomenal 1980, she revealed her roots in the lyrics, along with some offhand beauty advice —
“Boil a big pot of water on the stove to take a bath, Rub my face with Olive Oil, All my mates used to laugh...” ahem, is she talking about the oil cleansing method? No wonder she’s got such amazing skin!
Estelle seems to have sprung out already a self-confident, full fledged star. Her name’s more than appropriate in that regard. In the UK, she first made big waves in 2004 with her album The 18th Day, and she seemed poised to make worldwide waves, along with the then-new crop of British singers, including Miss Dynamite and Natasha Bedingfield, who she collaborated with on Free. LOVE that song! It didn’t happen for her then, and Estelle’s gotten some flack recently for speaking out against racism in the British music industry. Quite a few have branded her as a racist for her statement, but Paul McKenzie, editor of the urban music magazine Touch, agreed with Estelle. “There is a fashion for YWFs – young white females. They are the ones who are given the money and the time, and most importantly, people are patient with them. Duffy, if she hadn’t had this hit, would have been given a second chance, and a third. Estelle wasn’t. The people who hold the purse strings are looking at trends rather than talent. If you’re not a young white female – in other words if you’re black – I can imagine that is incredibly depressing,” he’s quoted as saying.
Estelle’s statement has been blown up into a beef between her and Duffy, which has brought attention to both artists. Estelle’s outspoken, but I think there is some essential truth worth considering in her brash statements. Either way, she’s flying a flag for dark skinned beauties and truly talented musicians. She’s got a gorgeous singing voice and she’s a skilled rapper. I think she’s going places, and I hope that kicks down the door for more musicians of her caliber.
Estelle’s look is simple, effortless, and easy to do. She plays up her beautiful eyes — she’s got eyelids perfect for bold makeup looks. Check her out in American Boy — her makeup is FLAWLESS. Glowing skin, big, beautiful kohl rimmed cat eyes accented with white or silver shadow, lush, mascara-ed lashes, and a pretty, subdued lip. Very polished, very fresh. She rocks the short hairstyle she describes as “Audrey Pepa” — Classic Audrey on one side, Salt-N-Pepa sass on the other. There are rumors that Atlantic Records has pressured her to change her hair and get her teeth fixed… but in this SOHH piece, Estelle says that’s rubbish. I sincerely hope so — the last thing America needs is another contrived pop singer whose style is borne from a Svengali who can’t see beyond a lacefront wig.
Estelle’s new album Shine is poised to make a stateside splash, and her hits are already blowing up on VH1 — American Boy is in regular rotation, as is Wait a Minute, which is produced by Will I Am, and relies on a heavy sample from Screaming Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell on You,” one of my favorite songs of ALL TIME. (the Nina Simone version rules too!)
I adore Estelle’s makeup in Wait a Minute — glow in the dark eyeshadow rules! That’s a fun club look — bold white/silvery lids under a black light guarantees attention. You could use MAC’s white Kohl eye pencil to accent just above your lids, and Urban Decay eyeshadow in a pale silver/pink like Cherry or Midnight Cowboy would be ideal for this look as well (don’t forget your Primer Potion! Wouldn’t want to sweat off all that gorgeousness on the dance floor). Of course, if you REALLY want to glow, you could go bananas and use real ravers’ glow in the dark eyeshadow. That bright yellow would really pop on brown skin.
Like myself, Estelle adores reggae music — her Grenadian background played some influence there, no doubt! Her new album — which drops next Tuesday, April 29 — includes a
cover version of one of my favorite classic reggae tracks of all time, Substitute Lover by Half Pint. (new reggae fans, don’t sleep on Half Pint. I think he was one of the main inspirations of Sublime’s sound. Listen for yourself and see. Half Pint rules). Here’s Estelle’s new, Wyclef-produced version.
Love that hook. She’s a stellar live performer, and I am just livid that I missed her performance this week in Miami. I hear it was fantastic. Alas. Next time for sure, Estelle!
Are you feeling Estelle as a style icon? Do you have a favorite Estelle track already? I love American Boy and the title track, Shine, which just makes me wanna dance. That beat is bangin’! Can’t wait to cop this next week. Enjoy Estelle with me this Friday, bellas and fellas. Happy weekend to you all!