LOS ANGELES — Get ready to grow accustomed to this face. Eliza Doolittle, who will perform at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on April 15, is on the crest of a new wave of Brit pop princesses to hit stateside. And there’s something about her quirky style that just makes you smile.
With sunny, upbeat hits such as “Skinny Genes,” “Rollerblades” and “Pack Up,” comparisons to Lily Allen are inevitable. (Both attended Bedales School in Hampshire, England.) But Doolittle — born Eliza Caird (Doolittle was a school nickname that stuck) — is trying to find her own voice, with inspiration from the Spice Girls and Destiny’s Child.
The Londoner with corkscrew curls has legs up to her ears and likes to show them off in acid-washed denim short-shorts with fringe, ruffles, even garter belts. Her colorful, 1990s-inspired style has already garnered attention from the fashion industry — the 22-year-old has attended fashion weeks in New York and London and modeled for a Moschino Cheap & Chic advertising campaign.
She blogs about her style obsessions at ElizaDoolittle.com, where fans can buy “Doo It” cropped T-shirts and the singer’s favorite shade of pink nail polish. We caught up with the star-in-the-making recently to talk about her favorite designers and her love of sneakers and shoelaces.
Q. How would you describe your style?
A. I love bright colors, short-shorts and short dresses. Usually, I’m in an upbeat mood, and hopefully that is expressed in my clothes.
Q. When did you start loving high-tops?
A. I remember going to Foot Locker when I was 10 or 11 and buying Nike Air Force 1s because everyone was wearing them. It started off as a trend thing and trying to fit in. But I just held onto (them), and eventually I found my own trainer, which I pretty much always wear, which is the Blazer. I have developed a relationship with Nike, so they send them to me.
Q. How many pairs in your collection?
A. I just got another pair yesterday, in a Liberty print, so I’m about 38 pairs along.
Q. Tell me about all the shorts you wear.
A. They are from a label called Bitching & Junkfood, which is run by these girls who cut up old Levi’s and make fun shorts. We’ve done really fun shorts with bubbles, fringe and laces hanging from them. I’m really into laces; I always accessorize with shoelaces whether I wear them as a belt, or attached to my shorts or in my hair or as a bracelet.
Q. Did you enjoy modeling for Moschino Cheap & Chic? I don’t think I had ever seen you in a long skirt before I saw those photos.
A. It was a little different to what I usually wear, but it was loads of fun dressing up. I would never wear a long skirt like that, but it brought out another character in me.
Q. Who are some of your favorite designers?
A. Mark Fast is my No. 1, Tim Ryan, and Marc Jacobs — I was carrying one of his little handbags the other day, a heart-shaped one. Vivienne Westwood, she’s a legend, and Christopher Kane, I love his stuff.
Q. What was your last big splurge?
A. A Christopher Kane dress. He did a remake of one of the styles from his first collection for (the London boutique) Browns Focus. I had to get one. It’s red and form-fitted, with a belt that’s like a car seat belt, and a zipper with a big jewel hanging from it.
Q. What are your favorite shops, besides Browns?
A. Colette in Paris, Rokit vintage in London and Flight Club in L.A. for all those fly-boy jackets and trainers.
Q. Do you think there is more pressure today for singers to have a signature style, to achieve success?
A. It’s always been that way. And music and fashion go so well together, it would be a shame not to play around with that. I always will because it’s good fun.
Q. What will you be wearing on stage at Coachella?
A. I have no idea yet. I would love to get one of those big Indian feather headdresses. That would be really cool.
Doolittle’s eponymous debut album is in stores April 19.