Gwen Stefani Breaks Down Some of Her Most Iconic Looks Over the Years: 'I Was Really Confused'
By Desiree Murphy
Gwen Stefani's fashion statements over the years have become just as iconic as her music!
Since hitting the scene in the '90s with her rock band, No Doubt, the singer has been slaying the fashion game and putting her own unique spin on what's trendy. At age 50, she's still a style queen (see: anything she wears on The Voice) and recently sat down with Vogue to break down six of her most memorable style moments from 1995 to 2019.
To kick off the chat, Stefani first discussed the ensemble she wore to the MTV Video Music Awards in 1996, which consisted of satin leopard pants, a white crop top and bindi accessory.
"I pretty much only wore tank tops my whole life," she says. "I don't know why, I just think they look cool. I had to be a little bit tomboy with a little bit glamour ... and that was just kind of the vibe for myself, like, what I always followed."
"I was so unbelievably fascinated by Indian culture in particular because Tony Kanal, who was my boyfriend at the time, he's the bass player of No Doubt, is Indian from India," she continues. "Growing up in Anaheim, I had never spent any time with anyone from India. His mom would come down the stairs, ready to go to these Indian parties all dolled up with the bindi and jewelry and these beautiful fabric dresses with patterns and gold. I had never seen anything like it, so she gave me a lot of bindis."
Stefani and Kanal began dating in 1987 but called it quits in 1994, which inspired Stefani to write some of No Doubt's most famous hits like "Don't Speak" and "Sunday Morning" from their breakthrough Tragic Kingdom album. Stefani said that shortly after splitting from Kanal, she did what every normal, heartbroken and confused 20-something would do: experiment with her hair!
"It's so true: if you go through a breakup or a really big change in your life, sometimes you go ahead and change your hair to try to, I don't know, wash whatever those feelings are out of your hair," she says of how the bright pink locks she was sporting at the time came to be. "I was really confused at this time. I was 29 years old. I was really confused about my relationship. I didn't know who I was. I had come off a long, long tour. I had gotten famous. I got to buy a house. I got to move out of my parents' house. So much had happened."
"At the time, there was really only one brand that you could get, it was like Manic Panic. I wanted my hair like cotton candy, light pink. I would have this vision of what I wanted and I ended up with fuschia pink hair for like a year," she continues. "At that time too, I didn't have any budgets. I didn't have a stylist. It was literally on my own with all guys [from the band]."
Stefani debuted another quirky hair hue for the 1998 MTV Video Music Awards -- a powder blue color to match her fur bikini top, which she wore with a black leather hoop skirt and chunky platform sandals.
"I had just gotten home from tour and people would send me free stuff! I was like, 'What? Free stuff!'" she remembers. "And somebody sent me this product that was like this gel you put in your hair and it turns your hair a color, and it was blue, it was like a paste. Just really kind of inspired by Judy Jetson from The Jetsons, sort of, in this moment."
"I had met this girl through my manager that made clothes and so she made this little skirt for me," she adds. "The shoes were just, literally, somebody sent them to me, and same with the bathing suit top. The blue bathing suit top, fur, OK. You would wear it too if it was free and you got it off tour, so be quiet."
Flash forward to her look at the 2001 Billboard Music Awards -- in which she paired black-and-red houndstooth pants with a white bra top and satin jacket -- Stefani recalled feeling "a little more proud" of herself after "finally getting to work with a stylist."
"I met the like New York, Jewish, street, cooler, way cooler person that I felt was kind of like me, but the cool version of me, and her name is Andrea Lieberman," Stefani recalls. "She was definitely my soulmate when it comes to fashion. She taught me so much because I wasn't schooled in fashion. I didn't grow up in New York, I didn't even know who Vivienne Westwood was. Like, I didn't know she did punk. I didn't know any of that 'cause I just wasn't exposed to it in Orange County. But I definitely feel like working with Andrea and having a stylist to have access to stuff I didn't even know existed was just taking me to another level as far as being able to express myself."
See more epic looks -- like Stefani's first Vogue cover in 2004 to the stunning white corset top she recently wore on The Voice -- in the video below:
Stefani's new style interview couldn't have come at a more perfect time, as the fashionista is set to receive the 2019 Fashion Icon Award at the People's Choice Awards on Nov. 10. In the meantime, press play on the video below to hear more from her 50th birthday bash earlier this month.