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Charli XCX
Charli XCX wears dress by Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood, boots by PradaPhotography Gwen Trannoy, Styling Rebecca Perlmutar

Charli XCX on her fave cult fashion moments and inspirations

Dazed’s guest editor wants Isabella Blow and Leigh Bowery round her dinner table, and Fran Drescher’s entire clothing archive hanging in her wardrobe

Charli XCX is the sound of pop right now. For September 2019, the prolific auteur is guest editing Dazed. Head here to check the fashion brand she’s spotlighted, her dream collaborators, a visit to her home, video of her reacting to fans’ memes, plus way more.

Since landing on the music scene back in 2011, Charli XCX has joined forces with a pretty eclectic bunch of musicians – collaborating with everyone from Iggy Azalea, Brooke Candy, and Sky Ferreira, through to Christine and the Queens, Troye Sivan, and Danny L Harle – so it makes sense that her approach to fashion is similarly unconventional. 

Fresh from spotlighting Ottolinger as her favourite rising brand as part of her stint as Dazed’s latest guest editor, Charli sat down with us – mid-shoot – as we grilled her on her cult style inspirations, which iconic runway show she wishes she’d walked in, what IRL cult she’d join purely for the lewks, and the five fashion icons she’d love to get round her dinner table (spoiler: things would definitely get wild).

They’re recasting your fave cult movie which happens to have an incredible set of costumes and you’ve been called to audition. What’s the film and who are you playing?  

Charli XCX: It would have to be either Grace Jones in Vamp or Nomi Malone (Elizabeth Berkley) in Showgirls. Both roles are so powerful and fun to me, and the fashion is all really centred around the sexuality and sensuality of the characters’ bodies. They’re sexy movies, both in very different ways. Plus Grace’s make-up and the fact she’s a vampire? What’s not to love?  

What cult fashion meme account makes you laugh the most when you’re scrolling through Instagram?  

Charli XCX: I was going to say @michelgaubert (who is great!) but then through his Instagram I found @thomaslelu – who I think is really, really funny, particularly when it comes to reinterpreting fashion ad campaigns. It’s like trolling mixed with puns all at once, and feels stupid and silly and funny and brilliant all at the same time. Also, I’m not sure if @tommycashworld counts here but I think he should definitely be taken into consideration.

Who was your first ever cult style icon? 

Charli XCX: Fran Drescher in The Nanny. I never really watched it growing up but when I was younger I worked with a stylist who kept telling me I dressed like The Nanny and would gravitate towards the kind of things she wore. I was like ‘okay, right, who is this?’ and started looking into her and the looks were just endless! I think big hair and bold colours and loud prints always get me really excited, plus the cuts of all the clothes she wore were always just really cute. There were lots of minis and cropped jackets, and co-ords, and her look is very maximalist in a way. 

Which iconic runway show would you have killed to walk in and why? 

Charli XCX: Hahaha! Firstly, me walking in a runway show is a hilarious idea, I would probably fall or do something ridiculous! But if I had to, it would be Alexander McQueen’s 1997 It’s a Jungle Out There show. I recently watched the documentary on his life while I was on a place and I found it all so overwhelming and emotional. He was a true original. 

This particular show was insane and so disruptive, with the students storming the entrance to sit among the invited industry guests and celebrities. It was so punk and political in such a literal way. And it was funny! Like, when the same students knocked over the gasoline container causing the car to go up in flames and everyone just thinking it was part of the production! People never know what’s real and what isn’t, but they’re willing to believe it all if it’s convincing enough. 

Your love of vintage clothing is well-known. What are your fave cult vintage stores, and what’s the best thing you’ve found in one? 

Charli XCX: Relik, and Found and Vision are my favourite vintage stores in London, and my best find was probably vintage red and white striped choker dress by Jean Paul Gaultier from Found and Vision. I wore it in a music video for a song called Superlove when I was a lot younger. I still have it!

If you could own a cult piece of fashion history, what would it be? 

Charli XCX: Probably any of the Spice Girls’ wardrobe – all of their looks were iconic! But actually I’d give Geri’s Union Jack dress a miss. I don’t really like flags and it would feel a bit too nationalist nowadays.

Which five cult fashion figures would you most want to get around the dinner table? 

Charli XCX: Isabella Blow, Marie Antoinette, Naomi Campbell, Malcolm McLaren, and Leigh Bowery. Just imagine the conversation. 

Last question. Which IRL cult would you be most likely to join? Purely for the lewks, obvs. 

Charli XCX: The Rajneeshpuram from the Netflix documentary Wild Wild Country, for sure. I read somewhere that they were all instructed to wear clothes that reflected the colours of the sunrise, and I love a colour block moment tbh.