In Cologne, Germany I had the chance to talk with Cristina and Andrea about sty le in all its forms and shapes. I tried to dig out a little bit all aspects of style and they had lots of interesting stuff to tell me; enjoy!
What would you say, is your definition of style (as a look)? How would you define it and what does it mean to you personally?
C: I would say that we are probably slightly different from other bands, because we are coming from Milan, which is very commonly known as the fashion capital of Italy. So our style is definitely dark, we love to dress in black, which is pretty clear. But we also like to keep it a little bit classy and stylish, just because we like to keep it clean, maybe with that specific detail, but a cut has to be a cut that looks good on you, that fits your body in the right way.
A: Yea, surely style can be something personal, everybody can look good in a specific style, maybe if I would wear certain things, I would look funny but somebody else could actually portray the outfit better. So I think it’s very important to find your own way, what that fits you as a person. I think very often, style is influenced by personality. A shy, less outgoing person might dress up in something more elegant and simple, while somebody who is outgoing might wear something that is a little more exaggerated. It’s portraying the character or the person, so it’s very important to find an own style and not just follow the others. For example we shouldn’t wear camouflage because nowadays everybody wears camouflage and it’s pretty stupid if everybody looks the same. I like fashion and I have respect for certain styles, even if I don’t buy big brands and super expensive stuff. I’m not against buying something expensive but I guess it has to make sense; it has to be really something that is great, either for the cut or for the quality of the fabric. Otherwise, very often I go for cheap shopping, you can find very nice stuff if you look for it in the right place at the right moment. I don’t think you’re trendy because you dress like everybody else, you’re trendy when you can understand what’s the moment and what’s the vibe in a specific year, but to adapt it to yourself and to this moment in life. That’s when you find your right style.
You already answered my second question, which was about how important you think it is to express yourselves by having an own style and not copying other people/trends.
C: I think that the most important thing is that you feel comfortable in how you portray yourself. If you wear something that might be visually striking, but something you don’t feel comfortable in, that will show off in pictures and it will especially show off on stage. So it has to be something that you feel comfortable with. I think we found our own style, we like to change and evolve, but usually, we like to start from a basic, well-cut dress and personalize it the way we like and want it to be.
A: It’s definitely something we learned also, it’s like songwriting; the more you do, the more you learn. Sometimes you try stuff, and like Cristina said, you don’t feel comfortable with it, because it’s exaggerating for who you are. Also it’s important to understand that there is a difference between a life show and how you dress in real life, you don’t necessarily have to dress the same all the time. If you go to a pub with a friend or if you perform before 2000 people at a show, you have to understand what looks good in the right moment.
What advice would you give to people who are trying to find their own place in life and trying to figure out an own style?
C: I wouldn’t give any specific advice, because even when we started as a band, off course we started maybe putting on to much stuff that was not exactly appropriate. The point is to experiment to the point where you feel comfortable in what you’re wearing, what can reflect your personality. So I think it’s normal, even if you exaggerate at first, put some stuff on that might look a little funny from the outside, but it’s much better to experiment then regretting it afterwards and living a life, dressed in something very boring, just to belong. It’s better if you can actually say something about your personality from the way you are dressed.
Cristina, you are considered as a role model and an inspiration, because you post many quotes and inspirational messages, but the fans also like to look at your style and how you express yourself. How do you feel when fans are trying out the same looks as you have, like the smokey eyes, black clothes…?
C: I feel good, but obviously it’s nothing that I personally created, I am inspired by other things myself, so it’s a cycle. There’s never anything new, it’s just a cycle and an evolution of things. For my own style, for example, I like to combine stuff that I find around. As you know, I like second hand stores and thrift stores, because you can find that specific item that is there, waiting for me. It fits perfectly and nobody else can have it because it’s the only one in the store. And I like to combine it with something completely different that might clash with the style, creating something absolutely different. I feel very honored when somebody looks at me and at my style, because that means that I’m portraying a good image or I can be a bringer of good vibes. Obviously I am not perfect, I have ups and downs, but I don’t want people to believe that I am the person that nobody can convert, because I’m human as everybody else. What is very important is to know that you’re going to have down days but there are also going to be ups, so you just have to be strong during the downs because it happens to everybody. Life is not perfect, I am not perfect, but I’m really thankful if somebody can look at me this way.
How I see it from you guys, I can see 3 different images; the image when you are on stage performing, the photo shoots and then the moment where you are off stage, dressed normal. Where do you think the balance between the 3 should lay and what image do you want to show most to your fans?
C: For me, I like to look at the stage-moment as a specific moment, that is still a side of Lacuna Coil, off all the members of Lacuna coil, but it has to be even more theatrical, because it is a show, it’s entertainment, so whoever comes there has to be like “wow!” . They don’t have to see you as you wake up in the morning, because they paid for a ticket and they want to see a show, we will give them a show! So that includes make up, different clothes, we’re not going to put on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, because that’s not a show, at least not in my mind. That said, we are not that different off stage, we might have less make up and maybe not have clothes that are exaggerated, but we’re not that different. We’re pretty much wearing the same type of clothes, the same style at least. But definitely I look at the show as something where we can do everything we want, from like fake blood, or dresses that are some more extreme and exaggerated.
A: It’s important because it has to go together with the musical style; our music has a lot of influences and different elements, more melodic and dark elements sometimes. It’s really great to play with, because I think it belongs to the theatrical aspect and it offers you ideas to play with. I wish we could do even more, and maybe in the future we will. Sometimes it’s just a matter of space, we don’t have a lot of space on the bus, because we already have to carry a lot of stuff. Or sometimes it’s a budget thing, but maybe in the future we will try to dig out a little bit more this side.
Some bands go on stage and they perform in whatever they are wearing that day, other artists are really concerned about their outfits but they still wear something else every day. I understood that for you guys it is important to have one outfit during the whole tour?
C: Yes, sometimes you can change, for example this tour we changed a few times because there was the Halloween gig in between the dates and then we did something different, but it’s always an artist’s choice. It also changes from what musical style you play. I understand that there are some artists that don’t really care about the image and there’s nothing wrong with it. Every artist has a different type of expression. Our type of expression is that we want to pick something that is cool visually. To me, it is not taking anything away from the show, it adds something, so why not?
A: Yea if you don’t have any good idea its maybe better to just dress normal (laughs). There was a moment when Metallica released “The Black Album” and they were all dressing black on stage; black t-shirts, black jeans.
C: That is still a look!!
A: It was the perfect look for that and they wanted the music to be just the focus, even if there is still a very iconic image of James Hetfield with the wristbands and stuff. Another example are the Foo Fighters, they all have the typical clothes, look and haircut and it’s perfect for their style. So even if it’s not something that looks very special, it’s still very appropriate for what they are as a band. It’s like a country artist who has the typical hat and the boots, it’s nothing that you haven’t seen before but it fits that genre!
What is your favorite stage outfit up until now?
A: I don’t know if it’s the favorite one, but the strongest one is definitely the Comalies ‘priest’ look, that’s visually the strongest look we’ve ever had. It was something more original and unique for that time. Then we’ve had some other strong outfits, like the ‘Karmacode’ look, with the white shirt and the black tie, many people showed up in own made outfits at our shows! Or even the dark adrenaline outfit, also many people made their own outfits that looked like ours.
C: For me it’s pretty much 2 or 3 jackets, I’ve had a couple of vinyl jackets, one was black and red and another one was black and white. I like very much the Tuxedo cut, which is longer in the back, that’s kind of my style. I like to be comfortable on stage because I like to move a lot, so I would never be able to stand still with stilettos on, even though I love high heels. After a while I would go crazy to always stay there, I definitely need to be comfortable.
C: Well the one that I’m using right now is not very easy, just because it’s pretty long. Sometimes it gets trapped under my shoes, but I’ve learned how to manage it (laughs).
How did you come to the idea to make the dress you’re performing in during this tour?
I always liked the idea to perform in a kind of wedding dress on stage, actually I have something else working on, as well. I found this dress that I really like, I like the cut. I’ve read in an article, and it makes sense, that it makes me look like I’m a crazy escaped kid and it makes perfect sense, it perfectly fits with the concept of this tour and with everybody else’s image, I like it very much.
C: I’m very fund of leggings, just because they are easy to wear and you don’t have to deal with size changes, so leggings are just the best and they are very comfortable. I usually wear boots, I also love to wear a funny t-shirt, whenever I can related to cats, because I like cats! Mainly black, surprisingly (laughs), but that’s usually the style I wear.
A: I don’t like to wear leggings so much (everyone laughs). Obviously, it’s simpler to pick males clothes. It’s important to find something that is comfortable.
When it comes down to stage outfits, it’s important to find something that fits with what Cristina wears, something that fits in the global picture. Obviously it would be easier to just go with a tank top and a pair of jeans, because it’s easier to move around, but it wouldn’t look as good. It’s important to find something that is compromising and comfortable. It’s still something we’re trying to explore a little more. Recently, on every tour now, we try to change some more. The internet is so quick that if you wear something for example in the American tour, it’s going to be all over the internet, so when you come to Europe, people have already seen the outfits. Especially because a lot of people take pictures of us, so you get a lot of pictures with the same clothes on.
Also, sometimes it’s not easy to find the right materials, like now on this tour, the army jackets we wear are very heavy and we sweat a lot on them. We’re trying to think what we can do to change them. It’s not a long tour so we can make it, but it’s really crazy sweating for us and we can’t always wash them because it’s difficult on tour. Probably after the tour we will put these jackets away and find something else that we can wear. I like the fact that we change. It’s good in the beginning to have the same image, but then it’s also good to change, it brings variations into the shows and the pictures!
Let’s talk a little bit about make up now…
What’s the importance of make-up for you?
C: I love to use make-up, mainly on stage because I like my skin to breathe in every other moment of the day. I’m not fixated with make-up but I like it a lot! I’m the classic girl that wants to know about new make-up items , buys a lot of stuff and maybe never wears it (laughs)! During the years I found out that it’s better to invest a little more money in good products, quality products, instead of getting cheap products and get more of them, because you will never have the same quality on your face. Cheaper products will not last and they will vanish in one hour or even less and you’ll never finish them, so if you can find these few products that are perfect for your skin and perfect for your look, you will always go with them and in the end you will spend even less, because you will be able to finish them all, up until the end! So I have, my little bag with make-up with me on every tour and use these specific products, I’m pretty stuck with them because I found out that they are very good with me.
What brands do you like most?
C: For the eyes I’m always using MAC, there’s a MAC pencil that is like a gel and it’s called ‘Smolder’. It’s very greasy so it’s easy to apply and easy to move around like an eye shadow almost. I’m using MAC eye shadow, and also a Lancôme one, that is kind of cool because it’s sparkly. Other brands that I love, are Bare Minerals, there’s also one brand that is called Anastasia; it’s really cool to define the eyebrows! Then there are other brands that I found out, to use every once in a while, they bring a big variety in my make-up. There’s this new brand called Bite for the lips, that I like very much. Also Urban Decay; I found a lip pencil that stays on for the whole concert, I can sing trough the microphone and smudge it around, it stays on. It’s amazing and it’s inspired by ‘Pulp Fiction’, I love it!!
So if you have to pick some absolute favorite pieces that you are wearing most of all, what would you recommend?
C: For a general look I would say… as a base I use Yves Saint Laurent, a foundation that totally matches with my skin color , I use this when I’m home mainly because it’s pretty expensive. When I’m on tour I use some cheaper products that are still good. I use a MAC powder to fixate and I wear Bare Minerals as a concealer. Oh and there is also one of Sephora that is kind of cool. Then I would say eye shadow and eye pencil by MAC and also the Lancôme eye shadow. Mascara would be Yves Saint Laurent because it’s amazing, I tried other ones but this is my favorite, it’s called ‘Shocking’. Anastasia has good brushes for the eyebrows and as a sort of blush, I use Bare Minerals, it’s called ‘Warmth’, it’s just to give the accent. That would be pretty much it! OHH and brushes, good brushes are very important to, they cost a little bit more but they will last forever!
Another important expression of style are tattoos and piercings, piercings are often seen as a sort of decoration, do you think tattoos can be seen in the same way or does a tattoo need a deeper meaning for you guys?
C: I like to have a meaning for every tattoo that I get, not really something that other people can see, but I want to know why I took that tattoo in that specific moment, because it reminds me of a specific situation I’m going through. Tattoos are beautiful to see, so I also understand everyone who likes to have a good piece of art on the skin. If you find a good tattoo artist and you pick up a design that you like, it can be decoration. As long as you don’t get bored of it … (laughs). But after a while you get so used to it because it becomes a part of your body.
A: I think it’s something that has been changing with the modern times, they used to be something very strong that people accepted or not, sometimes they gave you troubles in finding a job and so on. Now in recent times, especially in Italy, lots of people have a full sleeve and there are more tattoo studios then there have ever been. So it’s something that went together with the fact that a lot of people get tattoos just to look tough. Also a lot of soccer players get full sleeves. So it’s probably not what it used to be, it has changed. Tattoos are now something when more visual then before, they used to be more meaningful, even if they were not always done very well. Now getting a tattoo, or a piercing, or coloring or cut your hair became kind of the same, for many people at least.
Can you tell something about your own tattoos?
C: Yea I have 3 of them, so I didn’t go crazy with them. The very first one is a sun, which I have close to my hip/leg. I got the tattoo in a period where I needed something to lift me up and to remind me that I always have to see the light in things. It’s a long time ago, around 93’ or 94’, surprisingly the colors are still visible, because it’s not a big one! Then I got the very first official logo of Lacuna Coil on my neck. I also have a tattoo on the right side of my back, it’s basically the work of 4 different artists. It started as a fairytale, but I didn’t really like it so another artist worked on it and then it became sort of a demon/angel and changed completely. Then I got two other artists working on it to add some more details and shadows. I will probably add something in the future, but now it’s hard for me to think about what I want and what I would be completely happy with. So, I’m not in a tattoo-mood currently.
A: I have 2 tattoos; one is also the Lacuna Coil logo, on my leg. We did it together, me and Cristina and Marco. We did it during the ‘Unleashed Memories’ recording sessions in Germany. I also have a sleeve on my arm, representing the monster family from the TV-series from sixties. I’m thinking about another, sleeve, a Japanese full sleeve, but I have to find the time for it, it’s not always easy on tour! I have a friend who is really good at Japanese style, he actually got a degree in it and he gave himself a Japanese name, because he can also do the technique with the sticks. He’s really good, and not only the classic Japanese things like the fishes or flowers but he can also tattoo demons and dragons with a deeper meaning. We talked about it already, but I have to find the time. I also bought a house recently, so that has my priorities at the moment. It’s always a matter of finding the right time. Doing it on tour is very hard, as it’s not comfortable to seep with it on the bus and it needs to heal properly. Next year will be a little bit calmer when it comes down to touring so maybe I can do it then.
To finish the interview I will show some pictures. To every outfit and style, a memory can be related. You guys have to choose a few of the pictures and then you can tell something about it, where it reminds you of…
A: We can tell a quick story about all off the pictures!
C: I’ll start with this one, because I think it’s the oldest one of them all. It’s one of the very first photo shoots we did and one thing that I really remember is that the photographer was super excited because I came up with this eyelashes-thing, and he thought it was looking great as a torture instrument, so we came up with this idea. I really like the photo-shoot from this record, we did so many! It was probably the album where we did more photo shoots for, because I remember a big variety of pictures
A: I still remember we did this shoot in our practice room, we were in a studio in Milan and the practice room had a lot of white walls, so we used that room for the pictures.
C: These 2 pictures have been taken in Paris and they have a bittersweet taste. The promotion was amazing and we had a great time in Paris, we love our French fans! But the second night of the promotional days, which was the end of European tour, we went back to the room and found out that somebody had stolen our computers from the room. Somebody got in with a key and literally just took the computers out of our backpacks. So that is bittersweet, we still love France, but that sucked.
A: It’s the only time the computer was stolen from us, and I can tell you we have really been in some really dodgy places in South America and the States and nothing ever happened. Then in the center of Paris they stole the computer from the room.
C: While the maiden was in the room, despite of the ‘do not disturb’ sign. So some guy just entered, pretended that it was his room and took the computers, it sucked!
A: This is the most recent picture; it was taken in Berlin, at the metal Hammer Awards right before we went to the states.
C: The outfits have been realized by a friend of ours who realized some other clothes for us as well, for Broken Crown Halo. I designed the hair piece and Ingeborg Steenhorst , this is the name of the designer, realized the clothes for us.
A: There’s a bit of a Spanish, bull-fighting mood (everyone laughs)!
C: Olé Olé !!!
A: it was a good night with a lot of friends!
A: These 2 pictures are from a charity-project video in Italy, ‘Rezophonic’. All the characters in the video where portraying a cartoon or a comic-book character. I picked ‘Popeye’, which is called ‘Braccio di ferro’ in Italian, it means ‘Iron arm’. My last name also means Iron, so that was the perfect character for me. And it was fun to do!
C: And I picked up Maleficent for the same video, I always liked it so I asked if a ‘Maleficent’ costume was available. We were dressed as characters because the theme of the song was sort of a song for kids, like a remake of an original song for kids.
C: This one, with the hair piece and horns, was taken in London. It took FOR-EVER for the preparation, because the hair-piece was done by a Robert Masciave, a hairdresser who makes shows where he over-exaggerates everything with hair, so we created this piece, which was something like 9, 10 or 11 pieces of extensions, it was huge! It was very heavy and complicated. The dress is by Jane Doe, she is a specialist on latex dresses. I usually don’t wear latex, just because I’m not used to that style. I found out that it needs dedication, because it’s hard to put on! I had to put talc all over just to let it slip. It also needs a shiny spray over the latex. It was looking gorgeous, I felt like a malefic Snow White. I remember taking the pictures in the venue where we were playing, it was ‘Astoria’, and I was literally dripping sweat, it was coming out of the dress! So props to everyone who is wearing latex, it’s a hard job just to wear it !! But I really really like that dress and I’m still in touch with the stylist, she makes an awesome job ,she has some awesome clothes. I also remember that they were laughing with me !!! I was so fucking pissed because I stayed 4 hours to do this, and they were just laughing at me, I hated them !!
C: This one was taken in Milano and it has a bittersweet taste as well, because it was supposed to be for a cover of a magazine, so we took different pictures. Then whoever took the pictures leaked them online and they were not supposed to! The concept of the cover was me, as a bartender. It was supposed to be a very cool collage of pictures but then they all leaked so I was pretty disappointed because I thought is was not professional at all. So, we’ll never work again with that photographer.
C: This picture was also taken in London, in a hotel.
A: It was promotion for Shallow Life, it was meant to be some kind of Paparazzi-inspired story, because the Shallow Life theme was about all these shallow things. The video for ‘Spellbound’ was filmed in the Dolce and Gabbana restaurant. So the whole concept for that album was about over-exaggerating. Not everybody actually got that meaning, they thought we were playing like rappers or something but it was just meant to represent a shallow life. Maybe we didn’t portray it in the right way, so maybe we got misunderstood.
C: some people thought that we had changed our looks!
C: This one was taken in LA, it was a single portrait but also a band shot was taken there. It was in a house that the photographer uses for his shots. It was a very awkward but beautiful house, so this room was all decorated with religious things. There was another room that was decorated with car rims, all over the wall. I also remember it had a beautiful top of the house, were we could see the whole city.
A: It was taken during the ‘Karmacode’ period, it was the only time we took pictures in LA all together.
C: It’s a pretty old one, I also remember we took pictures with a black cat. If I’m not mistaken it was right before we went back to Italy after an American tour.
C: This last one was also taken in LA, at the end of the first tour we did with Rob Zombie. I thought that it was interesting to make this contrast of me, dressed with this beautiful dress by ‘Junkers’ and make it as a sort of modern geisha, very stylish, BUT sitting on trash cans. From that photo-shoot, there are a lot of cool pictures! We did it just for fun, because I knew the photographer was really good. Another good memory from this period is the following; it was such a pleasure for us to tour with Rob Zombie because we are fans of him, and he found out that I love’ Captain Spaulding’’, one of his characters. I remember that we went back to the hotel and I found a box of ‘Captain Spaulding’ stuff plus a letter from him that said it was awesome touring with us. That was super sweet, I never expected that!! It was really really cool
A: The picture thing was a good idea, pictures are very spontaneous, sometimes you don’t remember certain stories of ideas of some tours and when you see the pictures, the memories come back.
C: It’s cool yes, pictures are creating more memories!!!
I would like to thank Andrea and Cristina for this amazing conversation and special thanks goes to the management of Lacuna Coil to make this possible!!