Since forming on the UK X Factor five years ago, the members of One Direction have morphed from nervous kids in baggy jeans, unlaced gym boots and confused neckwear into self-assured, stylish rockstars with one Chelsea boot-clad foot firmly planted in the fashion world and thousands of people tracking every style move they make.
Increasingly, they've been recognized for this transition. Harry Styles, living up to his pop-star name, won the heralded British Style Award in 2013, while Zayn Malik took out the top spot inGQ Readers' Best-Dressed poll in 2014, with three of his bandmates slotting into the top 10 behind him.
From day one, the fashion decisions that have, slowly but surely, lead to their sartorial fame has been all part of one woman's grand vision for the One Direction's image and reputation: that of stylist Caroline Watson.
Watson was working as a celebrity stylist in LA when the soon-to-be-members of One Direction were auditioning separately for The X Factor. Upon her return to her native England in 2010, she pitched a long-game concept for the newly formed band's look that would see them go from teenage unknowns to the biggest and best-dressed boy band in history.
When their current worldwide stadium tour began in Australia earlier this February, I wove through huddles of fans staking out a hotel lobby in Melbourne to meet with Caroline and talk about life behind the scenes with One Direction, her fangirl past, and the part she's played in creating pop history.
Marina Diamandis, the Welsh singer and songwriter also known as Marina and the Diamonds, is the queen of reinvention. She made her pop debut in 2010 with The Family Jewels, and in 2012 released the ambitious concept album, Electra Heart. It stars a super-glam character of the same name, embodied by Marina, who comments on female pop-culture archetypes (housewives, Hollywood starlets, bad girls, et cetera): “I’ve lived a lot of different lives, been different people many times,” she sings on the album’s opening track, “Fear and Loathing.”
After spending a few years talking about and being Electra Heart, Marina put the character behind her, but that doesn’t mean we’re any closer to knowing the “real” Marina. She once told an interviewer that she “wouldn’t want to spoil someone’s opinion of [her] by them knowing [her] as a person instead of an artist.” We know her because of how she executes her ideas—the things she makes for the world to see and hear.
In April, Marina will release her latest album, Froot; last week, I got the chance to chat with her about self-expression, playing a character, and sticking to your guns.
Gal Pals create music that makes me want to grab my best friend’s hand and sneak out of the house. Like the bands Best Coast and Hunx and His Punx, Gal Pals blend the mentality of garage punk bands with the harmonies made famous by girl groups of the ’60s. Their debut album Velvet Rut is going to be my daily soundtrack: I can see myself walking down the street feeling super brazen and confident with tracks like “Here’s To the Girls” and “For Our Sake” in my headphones.