Garbage's Shirley Manson celebrates her changing style and a new collaboration
“It’s funny that I should be talking about style when I hardly think of myself as a stylish person. I admire people who are really put together, but standing next to them, I feel very shambolic… So I guess the way I look somehow stems from that sense of vulnerability. When I first arrived in the US to work with Garbage, the music scene was all about grungy girls with aggressive, androgynous looks. I thought I could never be as cool as them, so instead I chose to develop the very things that made me different. I started wearing mini skirts in bright colours with Dr. Martens and lots of makeup – my obsession with makeup reaches fetishist proportions! It started when I was a teenager working behind the beauty counter at Selfridges. Makeup is a bit like magic: it can completely change the way you look and the way you feel, and I find the process of putting it on very relaxing, almost like meditating. I particularly love lipstick (MAC’s Lady Danger is my all-time favourite), which in the 90s became my style signature. I’ve often been asked if I wear it in order to be sexy, but in all truth being sexy has never been important to me. Focusing on sex appeal can be dangerous, since it’s the first thing to fade away, and I’d like to build my life on more solid ground than that. I want to enjoy getting older and be graceful as I grow up, which is why my style has changed with time… It would be pretty scary if I was still dressing like I did in my twenties! Western cultures are fixated with youth to the point of hysteria, but there are great things that come with age: comfort, confidence and self-knowledge. For instance, it took me a long time to feel comfortable with my red hair, but now I actually colour it to make even more intensely flaming… turns out I love it!”
"Focusing on sex appeal can be dangerous, since it’s the first thing to fade away, and I’d like to build my life on more solid ground than that" — Shirley Manson
Born in Edinburgh and currently living and working in Los Angeles, Shirley Manson is best known as the lead vocalist of the rock band Garbage. Her trademark red hair, rebellious style and outspoken personality made her a 90s style icon and an empowering inspiration for women. Brands have approached her throughout the years seeking her collaboration, but she has remained elusive: “a few years ago I did a campaign for Calvin Klein and another one for Olivier Peoples, but I only work with brands when they connect with my own philosophy. Otherwise it doesn’t make sense.” This season, Manson has worked with & Other Stories, modelling the Swedish brand’s Celebration Collection, styled by B. Akerlund. The campaign and the collection will be launched in stores and online on 14th November.
Text by Marta Represa
Marta Represa is a freelance writer specialising in fashion, art, photography and culture.