You probably already know that No Doubt is due to perform at the F1 Rocks Singapore with LG party in two days. When I first heard the news, I flipped out, because I had already booked and anticipated a vacation to Korea five months before.

After a few weeks of moping and disgruntlement, I decided to instead pay tribute to Gwen Stefani’s fashion evolution to iconism and in turn, take a trip down the years I spent growing up idolising her. I hope you have as much fun reading this as much as I did writing it.

No Doubt started off in 1986 under the name Apple Core, though they only propelled to stardom in 1995 with the release of Tragic Kingdom, which focused on the demise of the seven-year relationship between Stefani and No Doubt bassist Tony Kanal.

If you do the math, Stefani was already 26 when we first started noticing her; though she certainly didn’t look it.

Stefani didn’t look (or dress) a day over 20, old (but trendy) enough for us young ones to idolise like we would an older sister. She started off grunge; with tanks, baggy jeans and layered bracelets with a bindi perpetually on her forehead.

It was five years before No Doubt released their next album, Return of Saturn. This gave Stefani plenty of time to establish her momentous sense of style as an fashion era. You see, Stefani always followed the recipe to every true blue style icon’s success – she distinctively revamped her wardrobe in conjunction with the release of every album. And because most of the songs she penned were deeply personal, each phase was completely transparent, explaining why it isn’t hard at all to grow fond of her and her fashion phases.

Return of Saturn focused on getting over her break up with Kanal, and the beginnings of her relationship with Gavin Rossdale. This era saw Stefani embracing independence by letting go of a relationship she grew up with, and in turn, all she knew. Which translated into dyeing her hair pink, and taking far bigger fashion risks.

In 2001, Rock Steady saw Stefani melding reggae with rock into her wardrobe in line with No Doubt’s new sound. Stefani maintained this worldly rock style for a time, even after No Doubt went on a hiatus…

A hiatus during which she got hitched to Rossdale! I just had to throw  in shots of her Christian Dior wedding gown, because I’d never seen a better fitting gown! It was just so Gwen, and I always thought it was a sugar sweet allusion to the pink hair she sported during the start of her relationship with Rossdale! Like she loved him from head to toe, aww!

In 2004, Stefani released her first solo album, Love. Angel. Music. Baby. She also launched her own fashion line L.A.M.B., the acronym of the album. L.A.M.B. initially started off as a collaborative project with LeSportsac in 2003 (the print below on a hobo was my first ‘designer’ handbag), though it expanded into a full blown brand the following year. 

L.A.M.B. is a reflection of Stefani’s personal fashion influences, incorporating punk with Guatemalan, Japanese and Jamaican styles into each collection.

I adore the line. The only problem I always saw with it though, was that Stefani always looked far better in the clothes as compared to her customers.

In 2005, Stefani launched a sister (and more affordable) line, Harajuku Lovers, which revolved around her four back-up dancers for the album and its respective tour.

Surely you remember her public persona at the time, right? Stefani embodied a rock-goth version of Alice in Wonderland, while her entourage of Harajuku Girls perpetuated as a figment of her imagination.

Then in 2006 came The Sweet Escape, in which Stefani’s style began to evolve into diva-esque rock. Honestly, I believe this look came light years before its time, and eventually inspired the styles Lady Gaga and Christina Aguilera said to ‘pioneer’ in 2008.

As the years went by, Stefani’s style began to soften into a personalised rock interpretation of old ’50s Hollywood glamour.

Perhaps this 180-degree turn had to do with Stefani’s settling down. Either way, she made it work. That’s what I love about her really. Stefani is one of the rare few who has the ability to completely universalize, modernize and not to mention, transform, her personal fashion influences.
But because she had evolved so much, it was so amazing to see Stefani suddenly get paparazzi shots styled like this last year. Despite being a current interpretation of punk, it was perfectly clear that No Doubt is back in the game!

Stefani is a fashion icon through and through because her stardom is so intricately interlaced in her fashion choices. So much so, that you can’t even tell if its her music that drives her superstar imagery or vice versa. Either way, she’ll always have her lyrics to explain her current fashion and personal phase. Which also justifies my belief that she’ll always be a contributing factor to popular culture and style in her time. 

But enough about how I feel. What do you think of Stefani? Do you think it’s justified? More importantly, are you going for No Doubt’s upcoming gig? Do tell!


[Photo Credits: orange5, zimbio, thefashionspot, tmz, accesshollywood, downloadlatestonlinemusic, teensaol, 9sn, photobucket, pinkhair, woundsarebleeding, thestyleccentric,  nodoubt2007, thetropics, celebrityclothingline, petitecouture, fisherwy, stylefrizz, joannascouch, pursepage, fadedyouthblog, therandomn, agirlgottaeat, daniranidesigns, shoeblog, zimbio, bellasugar]